Understanding Your Camera – Which camera is right for me?

As a photographer, I get asked often for recommendations for which camera I think people should buy.  My reply is always the same, “It depends”.

A camera, like many things, is a tool and depending on the job you want it to do makes a difference as to which you should buy.

Steve Edwards Photography Commercial Photographer Nottingham
The smaller Nikon d40x is where I started, the larger Nikon d810 is my current weapon of choice.

For me when I started out I bought an entry-level DSLR, digital, single-lens, reflex camera) it was a Nikon d40x. It featured a lightweight, compact body that had a ten megapixel sensor, that doesn’t sound much but when I bought it in 2007, it was cutting edge technology, well nearly.  The important thing was that it would produce images of sufficient quality that would be suitable for magazine work.  I’d been interested in photography for a long time but due to lack of space and finances I couldn’t really do anything with film so once the digital versions arrived I knew I could achieve what I’d always wanted and that was to get photos featured in a magazine.  My first was Custom Car magazine and coverage of an event I’d attended, The Hot Rod Tunnel Run, ask me, I’ll tell you all about it!

As time went on and equipment got better I knew I’d have to upgrade at some point, I’d already managed to have work printed in VW Bus T4&5+ magazine, the UK’s best-selling VW title, and wasn’t happy with my images. I took the opportunity to upgrade to a Nikon d7100 and then a Nikon d7200, both were fine for what I was producing but I’d expanded my portfolio and really wanted to take the next step up to some professional quality gear. As I was working with some networking groups and covering their events, low light really was a challenge, if you adjust your ISO to its maximum your resulting images will become grainy or noisy as it’s known and that just wasn’t suitable.

I stepped up to a Nikon d810 which has a 35mm, 36 megapixel, sensor and a massive ISO range, it really is a long way from the camera I started with. It’s taken me 14 years to get to this point and I still have somewhere to go as the d810 was released in 2014. Technology has since moved on again and nowadays the new mirrorless cameras are becoming smaller, while this is really useful when you want to take your gear out for a walk, I’m not sure I like the look of it, I think a professional camera should look like it means business rather than being able to fit it into my pocket.

So, figure out what you want from your camera, whether you want to be able to switch lenses from a fixed length to a zoom and back again or if that was all built into the camera would that suit you better?  Read as much as you can online about each model before purchase and don’t be afraid to buy a second-hand body, my last three have all been used, I try to get as low a shutter count as possible as they don’t last forever.

I know this has been quite a vague blog but it really does depend on what you want as to what you buy.  But whatever you get don’t be afraid to put it into Manual and learn how to use it properly. I wrote a blog on that too, you can find that here, Manual Blog.