You don’t have to be good to get started, you just have to get started to be good.

Out grown your camera?

Looking for a new camera? Are there things you wish your camera could do?

How do you choose a new one?

Here’s the bottom line I teach all of my students —

Decide on a budget — Under $500? $500 – $800? $800 – $1,000? Over $1,000? There are great cameras in all these budget ranges.

Then a style of camera — DSLR, point-n-shoot, mirror-less. Fixed lens or do you want to be able to change lens?  Does it have to fit in your pocket or purse? Or maybe a small camera bag, or are you OK with a larger backpack style of camera bag for more of your toys. Choose your style.

Read reviews on-line. dpreview.com and cnet.com are great places to start. Only look at reviews for models that meet your first two requirements from above. If you think you can stretch your budget just a bit, read some of the other reviews also. Try to get a camera that’s just outside your experience and budget level, as then you’ll always have room to grow with it.

Then go try them out. You can start at the “Big Box” stores if you’re looking under $500. Try different stores, and all the models they read about in those reviews. Avoid wasting time on those with bad reviews, but are “On Sale.”  There’s a reason it’s On Sale. They’re trying to get rid of them, or the salesperson’s been told to push them hard over the other models for some reason.

Ask questions, but take some of what they say with a grain of salt, as many of them don’t really know much beyond what they’ve been told in a 5 minute sales training video.

Now the important part — Which model meets the first two criteria, has good reviews and also feels good in your hand? Do all the buttons and wheels feel natural? Are they placed where they make sense to you? Can you learn it & use its basic functions without the manual? Can you see your images and menues on the rear screen well enough? Speaking of menues, do they make sense or are there too many levels to dig thru?

Finally — Does this camera make you smile when using it?

That’s your new camera. Enjoy it!

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About masterofmadness

Semi-pro photographer & musician. Co-own a photo gallery with a digital photo-lab in a small tourist town, on an island in the Pacific NW of USA. I also teach and ongoing series of workshops in photography, Photoshop and Apple computers. I shoot mostly landscapes, in the mountains - Giving me a great excuse to go climb them. I also do a lot of fine art, macros and abstracts.
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