Choosing the Right Camera for You – Photographer’s Essential Toolkit

Choosing The Right Camera For You - Photographer's Toolkit

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If you’re starting out as a photographer or looking to take it to the next level, this essential toolkit resource will be prefect for you. Starting something new can be exciting but at the same time daunting. What products do I buy, which ones are right for my situation and do I have everything to get started?

Well before you can answer those questions you first need to know the basic setup. Good photographers are known for having a lot of gear. Gadgets that do all sorts of things to help aid their photo shoots to an highly advanced level. We could talk for days about all the different and wacky gadgets out there but for everyone new to photography, let’s get back to basics.

When we wrote this guide we soon realised that we couldn’t just create one guide with everything included, so instead we’ve broken down each essential part into small chunks so it’s easier to consume and understand. Also it means we can go into more detail for each topic. So let’s get behind the most important component of a photographer’s toolkit, the camera.

The Camera

Before you can kick off your photography journey you’re going to need a camera (obviously). There are so many brands, makes and models to choose from, all with very wide price points. Before you go splashing the cash you first need to establish your purpose. What’s your reason for getting into photography? Maybe you’re just interested in taking higher quality photos at family events or maybe you want to start your own wedding photography business? Either way, finding the reason ‘why’ will help you narrow down the right camera for you. Here are a few examples to help you establish the right camera for you and the price budget for each.

  1. Looking to upgrade from a basic or older model
  2. Want to take good quality photos but with no interest in learning more
  3. Interested in Photography and learning how to do it properly
  4. Already actively snapping away and want to upgrade and improve your skills
  5. A hobby that you want to start making money from
  6. Want to work for a photography company as a photographer
  7. Looking to start your own professional photography business

Camera’s for points 1 and 2

If your needs roughly fit somewhere between the first two points then it’s likely you’re upgrading or want something a little more sophisticated than what you’ve already got. It’s likely you’ve had the same camera for many years and technology changes so quickly you want to get back up to speed. Spending a little bit of money can dramatically improve the quality of your images without needing to know the in’s and out’s of how to operate a camera. Compact cameras are very user friendly and you can get started instantly without the need to spend hours revising the instruction manual. Compact cameras are the typical ‘point and shoot’ cameras, requiring little to no pre-configuration with automatic sensing, detecting faces and controlling the camera’s focus for you. Budget for these types of camera range between £50 to £150.

See the full list of compact (point and shoot) cameras.

Not sure which camera? Here’s our top 5 compact cameras recommendations
Canon Powershot SX240 HS Digital Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40EB-K Compact Camera

Olympus SZ-31MR Digital Compact Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ3EB-K Compact Camera

Samsung WB150F Compact Digital Camera

Camera’s for points 3 and 4

If this is you, then you’re likely to be more serious about photography and what it has to offer. You’re likely to have a strong interest in the topic including the different techniques, styles and camera modes available to photographers. It might be you’ve used the standard compact camera for years and now ready to take it to the next level. Making the jump from compact cameras will most definitely improve your skills and creatively. You’ll want to make the move into DSLR’s as they offer greater flexibility in terms of features and settings and will give you more control over your photos. The biggest difference is the freedom of using various camera lenses for different shots and styles. With compacts your stuck with the same lens for every situation. This isn’t a problem for the typical user but if you want to go to the next stage, then DSLR’s or bridge cameras are the way forward. Typically you’ll be after a low-end DSLR costing up to £300 – £400. Once you break over this price point you’ll be looking a more medium / advanced ranged cameras. The reason you want to stick at a low-end range camera is because it’s easier to learn and get the hang of all the features. This is the best DSLR camera for beginners, keeping to the low-end price points. Typically the more you pay the more features you get and the more complicated they’re likely to be.

You might also find the Histogram refresh tutorial useful now you’re moving to the next stage, which will help you understand how to read your image’s exposure levels immediately after capture, highly useful!

See the full list of low-end starter DSLR cameras

Too many choices? Here’s our top 5 low-end starter DSLR cameras recommendations
Nikon D3000 Digital SLR Camera

Olympus E-450 Digital SLR Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30E-R Bridge Camera

Canon EOS 1100D Digital SLR Camera

Nikon D200 BODY Digital Camera

Camera’s for points 5

So you’ve been doing photography for a while, it’s one of your main hobbies and you’ve already got a DSLR that you use with a handful of gadgets. You might have an active Flickr account but most importantly you love grabbing your camera and going exploring for photo opportunities. Now it’s time to make a little side money from stock, press or wedding photography (or something similar). You’ll definitely want a DSLR that has a wide range of lenses to give you greater flexibility over your shots. Most DSLR brands out there have a good selection of lenses, and the choice of lens will make the difference to the final photo quality and style. You’ll be looking for at least the higher range of medium-end DSLRs all the way up to high. Prices will start from £500+ and you could pay anything over £1,000. Depending on what your photography intentions are, be sure you read the technical specifications, for example if you’re doing sports photography you’ll want a faster FPS capture rate.

See the full list of medium to high-end DSLR cameras.

Camera’s We Recommend
Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera

Canon EOS 1100D Digital SLR Camera

Panasonic DMC-FZ72EB-K Lumix Camera

Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera

Nikon D90 Digital SLR Camera

Camera’s for points 6 and 7

This is for those who want the best camera on the market, for those who want every feature available on your camera. These are the best DSLR’s you can buy and you’ll likely buy the camera body only and any additional lens where required. You’ll know that normal lenses cost more than the camera itself and that lenses’ are the most important aspects of taking professional photos. At this end of scale you’ll be looking to pay thousands for the camera body only but is justified by the exceptional image quality and the fact it will become part of your daily life. The price pays for features, the quality and the fact your paying for next-gen technology.

See the full list of medium to high-end profession DSLR body only cameras.

Camera’s We Recommend
Nikon D3X DSLR Camera

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 24 – 105 Kit Digital DSLR Camera

I hope you found this camera post guide helpful, especially if you’re unsure what stage you are at in terms of your photography career or hobby. Have you recently purchased a camera? What type did you go for? How are you finding it? It was well worth the time reviewing and gathering all the camera information, if you enjoy please do spread the word! We’d also love to hear your experiences, so drop us a comment! Many thanks, and have a great day!

About the author - Ash


I'm a web designer from Hampshire, England, and have been working with websites for nearly 10 years. I have a deep interest in website design and development, art, and most importantly t-shirt design. I also dabble in surfing, photography and drum and bass! I'm also the co-founder of Graphic Tide, based in the United Kingdom.

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