Should you buy an expensive DSLR or an entry-level DSLR? - EMONG'S JOURNALS.COM

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Should you buy an expensive DSLR or an entry-level DSLR?

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Should you buy an expensive DSLR or an entry-level DSLR?

Should you buy an expensive DSLR or an entry-level DSLR? That is the question. It’s an age old conundrum that every camera buyer has to face, and neither answer is right or wrong. It all depends on your wants, needs, and budget. Let’s take a look at the costs and benefits of buying both expensive and entry-level cameras, so that you can make the right pick when you begin your DSLR-buying adventure.

Oh, that big black, DSLR!

A big, black DSLR is something many hobbyists are secretly lusting for, but they don’t know exactly what it is, except a vague notion similar to “it’s like my compact camera, only better”.

I describe a DSLR as a wonderful tool to up your photography game to the next level. This is a versatile camera you can use on any imaginable circumstances - from taking pictures of your travel destinations to family gatherings, landscapes, architectures and even the smallest insects. This is the camera to let you take great photos and have your great moments forever documented. Heck, this camera can make you a real photographer.

Only one question remains: what DSLR should you buy? Does it really need to be expensive?

How serious are you about photography?

It's like asking: How much money and time are you willing to spend when you buy a DSLR? An entry-level DSLR can cost you around P25,000 while the more expensive ones can go to as much as P100,000. Hobbyists start with entry-level DSLRs. They should. It's not only because they're affordable, but because most of them support a "guide" function to help them learn to use the different functions of the camera. Yes, LEARN.

It isn’t always about the camera, so much as it is about taking the time and energy to learn something new. No matter the tag price of the camera you buy, the camera doesn’t take the pictures. You do. You will have to learn to shoot in manual mode, know the light and know what exposures to use in which situation to give you great pictures. These will get you to a level way beyond your point-and-shoots and smartphones. Both expensive and entry-level cameras can give you the proper learning on how to use a DSLR.

Nikon or Canon or Sony or Fuji?

Forget about the brand. It's funny that when it comes to camera brands, people start to get political. Canon and Nikon users have long participated in debates none of them has won. All cameras offer the same specs and functions, with just a couple of differences from here to there. They're all basically the same. Get whichever camera that best suits you. Hold the camera in your hand, feel the buttons and feel which seems the most intuitive to you.

Is an expensive DSLR better? 

An expensive camera is not a guarantee that you will automatically get better photos than the others. All cameras, whether entry-level or expensive, boast the same features. The only difference I see is that a fancier camera usually have dedicated knobs or buttons to let you make a few adjustments more quickly. In an entry-level DSLR,  you still have to tinker with the menu settings to access these features. Manufacturers did it that way so they can do away with the extra buttons to save us all money — and all the features are still there in the menu system.

For a DSLR to take tack sharp photos, you need a good glass. I know of photographers who get cheap bodies and buy better lenses. An entry level camera with a good lens will produce better images than a high-end camera with a crappy one. Buy a camera body you can easily afford and save money for good lenses.

In the old days, the more expensive cameras used to have a lot more megapixels in image resolution than the cheaper ones. But those were the old days. I own an entry-level Nikon DSLR and it got 24 megapixels. If anything, it's more resolution than any professional Nikon DSLR.

Expensive cameras are quicker to focus, but entry-level cameras can have more than enough speed to chase motions in sports, theatres and concerts. Smaller non-DSLR cameras like smartphones and point-and-shoots just can't focus as fast to follow all the action.

Entry-level cameras can also shoot in the dark as well as their expensive counterparts. They used to deliver a mere ISO 6,400 back in the 1980s, but camera technology has made them more efficient, reaching as high as ISO 25,600. In digital photography, ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor which makes a photograph brighter. The higher the number of the ISO, the more sensitive your camera is to light.

The verdict

There may be a few things missing when you opt for an entry-level camera, but these are the kind of things we seldom use anyway. From my personal standpoint, an entry-level camera is for people who want great pictures. More expensive cameras are for people who want fancier cameras. Keep in mind that owning a fancy, professional gear does not make anyone a pro.

When you are a beginner in photography, just hold on to your money, then get an expensive camera when you’ll really need it.

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