How to choose best DSLR camera for beginners?


Canon or Nikon? How many megapixels? Spend on camera body or lens? Which other factors to consider while choosing a DSLR? These are the common queries when one plans to buy his /her first DSLR. Even I was puzzled with several questions when I bought my first DSLR. So I thought of sharing the points which helped me to take a proper decision in buying the right DSLR .I hope after reading these points your confusion could be resolved to some extent.

Usage – Why do you need a DLSR? Buying it for hobby or you want to use it professionally too? Will you be using this for capturing your life, family events and outings? Or you want to travel with your camera? Want to shoot models or products? Macro photo or low light photography? Make a realistic list of what all you want to do with your camera.

Budget: Whenever I asked for budget to people looking for suggestion on DSLR, 70% replied budget is not an issue, tell me the best. I suggest them Canon 5D or Nikon D4S. To more enthusiasts I suggeste Hasselblad. And next time they tell me a definite figure before asking for suggestions. Yes, DSLR’s start from 30K and goes in lacs, hence you need to decide how much you can spend maximum.

Canon is better or nikon

Canon or Nikon: Another most common question. Judging Canon is better or Nikon is as simple as judging Mercedes is better or BMW. Canon & Nikon both have some merits / demerits. Hence evaluate the features and if there is not much difference go for the one which gives you some saving.

Megapixel: This is a myth that more megapixels means better camera. Megapixels play a role on the size of photo print. You decide what you want to do with your photographs. If it is for normal prints or may be as big as poster / A2 size prints, any camera with 10-12 megapixels is good enough. For professional requirements you need more megapixels.

Photo Format: In what all formats you can click photograph? Is it only jpg or Raw is also available? Getting a camera with Raw format will be good as you will have lots of control on your photograph while post-processing without losing out details. Video formats are personal choice on DSLR. I usually don’t consider that.

Autofocus points: Autofocus points (AF points) can be seen through viewfinder of the camera. These are shown as small squares in form of bracket and a circle in between. Autofocus points are the points where camera will focus and it will select one or more squares where the photo will be the sharpest.  Usually camera’s come with 7, 9 or 11 AF points, but now days some camera models comes with 19 or even 45 AF points. I personally use these AF points a lot to manually focus the subject and feel that I need more AF points in camera.

Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is the range of time in which camera will click the photograph. You need to set shutter speed depending what you are clicking. Normally shutter speed in entry level DSLR’s is 1/4000 seconds to 30 seconds. In some camera’s it is as fast as 1/8000 secs. To go beyond 30 seconds shutter speed camera manufactures provide ‘BULB’ setting which allows shutter to be opened till the time you keep the click button pressed. Compare available range of shutter speed and ‘BULB’ setting while comparing cameras.

Noise / Grains on higher ISO: Sensitivity of camera to the light is measured in ISO. Range of ISO available in camera’s is between ISO 80 to 102400, though entry level DSLR’s these days come with range of ISO 80 to 6400/12800. Higher ISO is used in low light condition, so that you can use fast shutter speed. Greater ISO allows camera to absorb more light but on higher ISO you will notice noise/grains in the photograph, which means poor quality. Please check the level of noise / grain at higher ISO while comparing two cameras. Selection of ISO is very important if you are looking for low light photography.

Continuous shooting speed: This means how many frames camera can click continuously in one second. This is very important when you are into wildlife photography or in sports. More number of clicks per second will allow you to capture the unpredictable movement of your subject in better way.

Sensor size: Entry & mid-level DSLRs come with APS-C sensor which are small in size hence gives 1.6x crop factor. This means if you are selecting 20mm focal length the actual result will be 32mm (20×1.6=32). Wildlife photographers like it as they get more zoom. Full frame camera’s like Canon 5D or Nikon D4 gives you the same result as per your focal length selection but full frame cameras are expensive.

Buying Tip:

Hands on experience: I suggest you to visit a camera shop and click some photographs using same settings from all models you shortlisted and see the result on computer screen. You will be able to analyze the actual quality of picture.

Price: You must evaluate the amount you are spending for the camera body. Balance out your budget between camera body and lenses. It is better to save some on camera body if there are no major differences and invest on good lenses.


Lens Combo: Usually entry level DSLR camera comes with kit lens (18-55mm) which is wide angle & you can’t zoom much. Many camera manufacturers now launched a combo scheme where you get one zoom lens in addition to the kit lens in fewer prices. I suggest if you can exchange these two lenses on one lens with 18-135mm or 18-200mm focal length, it will save lot of time and effort in changing the lenses.

There are many more factors which you could consider but these are the major one which I feel one should focus if buying first DSLR or entry level DSLR. Feel free to connect if you have any queries.

Factors to consider while buying first DSLR

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