Here’s my annual column for the new DSLR holiday shopper:
I've been a photographer since I was ten years old. Pardon me if you've heard this story before:
My maternal grandfather bought me my first camera for my tenth birthday, a Kodak Instamatic. I can recall running around the house taking pictures of anything and everything. My Grandfather infected me with the photography bug. It wasn't long before I graduated from the Kodak to an SLR (Single Lens Reflex.)
Again for my sixteenth birthday in 1980, I moved onto a Canon T50. That camera traveled with my to Sweden a few years later. The T50 became another appendage. I carried it with me everywhere I went. I immediately saw the benefits of an SLR over the Kodak:
--Faster Shutter Speeds (The ability to shoot at a quicker speed) For example, birds in motion.
--Looking More Professional.
The above reasons also translate to a DSLR over a point and shoot digital camera. In fact the biggest reason I transitioned from a point and shoot digital camera was the "Shutter Effect."
When I migrated to digital I moved onto a Canon point and shoot. I soon saw the same limitations I experienced with the Kodak Instamatic. Specifically, the slow shutter. I sometimes like taking photos of birds as they fly across the sky. With a point and shoot camera it is quite challenging to do so as you pan the sky and press the shutter the bird can be in the next town by the time the image is taken. For me, that's the biggest advantage to a DSLR camera. Of course there are a myriad other reasons to consider a DSLR:
--Image quality is another huge advantage.
--The ability to change lenses.
--And again looking more professional.
So now that we are done with my photography history, let's get to what you should be looking for if your are considering a DSLR for someone on your holiday list:
--The most important thing I can tell you and PLEASE heed this advice:
Do NOT I repeat Do NOT buy a camera with a kit lens.
I've seen more people do that for the convenience of having a lens immediately.
Why shouldn't I purchase a kit lens?
--The build quality of a kit lens is not the same as a lens you can purchase separately.
--You'll also find image quality is lacking.
Since all the technology goes into the lens if you are on a budget, the advice I ALWAYS give to new DSLR buyers is:
--Spend less on a camera body and use the money you would have spent toward purchasing a more sophisticated lens.
Purchase a camera body separately THEN buy a lens. You'll be MUCH happier. Since I'm a Canon user I can highly recommend a decent walking around lens to start out with:
10-18mm Lens (Read my review by clicking the 10-18mm lens link.) ESPECIALLY if you’re focusing MOSTLY on landscape photography.
If you think you will be shooting close up as well, check out a 70-300 lens. Again since I'm using Canon I'm only familiar with their lenses. I can recommend:
Canon EF 70-300 This is a fantastic lens as it has two Image Stabilization (IS) modes.
I've given you much to digest today. I'll be back soon with more advice.
In the meantime:
Focus on what's ahead of you.