Getting Your First DSLR – A Simple Guide


Assuming you’ve been using a point-and-shoot for some time now and you’ve learned how to make some good photographs, you may start to feel a bit limited with the point-and-shoot’s capabilities. Having that said, there isn’t a camera in the world that can make you into a better photographer, regardless of how expensive the equipment might be. If your old camera setup limit’s your creativity or you’re looking for an upgrade to the existing setup, getting a DSRL camera might be the right course of action for you.


DSLR cameras have an upper hand over traditional point-and-shoots in two key ways:

  • Use of viewfinder and
  • Use of interchangeable lenses

You might ask, why a viewfinder is any better than an LCD screen. It’s actually simple, LCDs are hard to look at when it’s really bright and sunny outside and even inside it can reflect your surroundings, which can get in the way of judging whether a photograph is good or not. The second major difference is that with a DSLR, you can change the lens you’re using depending on the type of photography you’re doing, whereas point-and-shoots cannot be upgraded with specialized lenses. Other things you need to look into when getting a DSLR include:


One of many things you need to consider before buying a DSLR is how it feels in your hands. There are different-sized cameras, so always check if it’s the right fit for you. See if you can reach the buttons without any problems and how the camera feels when pressed against your face. Weight is another factor, and if you’re just beginning to experiment with DSLRs, it’s better you get one that you can easily carry around with you. Take the cameras in your hands and play around with them until you’ve found the one that suits you best.


Megapixels refer to resolution and a bigger megapixel count is directly related to the size and the quality of your pictures. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have a camera with an insane amount of megapixels. Most people get distracted with the megapixel count that they overlook some other issues the camera might have. You need to realize that resolution is just part of the equation and think about what resolution you actually need before heading out to your local camera store.


ISO represents the camera’s sensitivity to light. Increased sensitivity allows you to take better pictures in dark conditions, even without the use of flash. However, higher ISO leads to more noise and an overall grainy look of your pictures. Some make grainy images even at low ISO and if you want to use your camera in low-light situations, then it’s better to check online for sample images and find the one that will work out best for your needs.


The single most important accessory professionals use in their work is, of course, the lens. It’s recommended that you start simple, with a wide to normal zoom lens, somewhere between 18mm and 55mm. This range is optimal for shooting both portraits and landscapes. Those who’d like to venture in sports photography should opt out for a telephoto zoom lens, which ranges from 70mm up to 200mm. This range is also used when shooting close-ups, especially the head and shoulders area and for zooming into a subject from a distance.


Using a DSLR allows the photographer to switch between various-sized lenses and adapt to the situation in order to make a creative and engaging photograph. Do a thorough research, not only on different camera types but also the equipment you might be using in your line of work. Don’t always go for the most expensive model available as they often differ slightly from their predecessors. Experiment, try out different settings and whatever you do, don’t stop making photos.

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