This is my Budget. Which DSLR should I buy?

“Hey Ravindra.. My budget is xyz. Which DSLR camera is the best for me to buy?”

This is a very common question many of them ask me and you might have asked the same question with other photographers. The first reply of mine would be – have you done a bit of R&D on what type of camera you really want ? So, the next time you ask this question to any photographer, I would say.. do a bit of research on the following, finalize on 2 or 3 DSLR/cameras and then check with a photographer.

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Following are the things that you might want to consider before buying a camera:

  • What kind of photography do you do? – Landscape, Nature, Wildlife, Sports, Wedding, Portrait, Underwater, Fashion etc. There are different kinds of photography and go with what you like.
  • What image quality do you really want? Is it for social media or to sell? – You don’t need a DSLR if you want to just upload photos on instagram or social media. You mobile camera or a point and shoot is more than enough. It’s easy to go around with a smaller camera which has no interchangeable lens. If you want to sell or if you are on an assignment, then I would highly recommend you to go for a good quality camera.
  • Should I go with Kit lens or just the body (with Prime Lens)? – Let me tell you what I did. I bought a DSLR body (Nikon D600) without any kit lens. My first lens was Nikkor 50mm f1.4D. Usually, kit lens will not have the aperture wide open and it starts with f4.5 and above. I like prime lens because of it’s sharpness and quality. If you have plans of upgrading lens in future then think about – do you really need a kit lens. Don’t blindly go with the low price or offer.
  • This shop has an offer and discount with free tripod, bag etc? – Another very common question many ask me. Don’t be in a hurry and make a wrong choice. Kit lens are for general purpose but you may not get the highest quality. And the “free tripod” is another trap. Do not go with that, instead of all these free offers ask them if they can bring down the price of the camera. The tripod will usually be of poor quality.
  • How much are you ready to spend? – If you have enough money to buy expensive gear, then I would say go for the quality lens. Invest in lens than the camera body. Lens is meant for long time and DSLR body is for upgrade.
  • Try getting the camera for rent – Before you buy a camera get some hands on to the DSLR/Lens. Search in the nearby store or from friends if you can get it for rent for a day or 2. Try capturing different shots, check for quality, noise etc.
  • Do you need a Full Frame or APS-C sensor camera? – I have seen few famous photographers don’t use a full frame camera for sports or wildlife because with the APS-C sensor you can reach even closer, when the same zoom lens is used. Example: A 300mm lens on a Full frame camera will give you an output as seen where as the same 300mm lens on a DX (APS-C) camera can go upto 480mm instead of 300mm output. Full frame is useful for portraiture, wedding etc. Full frame lens that are available in market are more expensive but they can handle low light and noise much better.
  • Camera and Lens upgrade – If you have plans to upgrade to a full frame camera later on, then see that you buy the FX (for full frame) (Nikon) Lens and not DX (for APS-C sensor) lens (Same is the case with other brands). FX lens will be costlier, but the quality is much better. Else you will only end up in spending double the money in upgrading both your camera body and lens.
  • Think about long term – future upgrade and maintenance – As said earlier, invest in quality lens than your camera body. Camera is not like buying a refrigerator, it more like buying a house, where you keep adding stuff to make a fully furnished house. Once you buy a DSLR, you then think of buying the more lens as per your needs.
  • One lens for all – I wish if we had one 🙂 You can go for point and shoot where there is no option to switch lens ;). You might find a zoom lens in the market which can go from 70mm to 300mm but what about the aperture? With the increase in zoom the aperture also increases from f4 to f5.6. This is still a good lens if you are just starting, but as you grow into becoming a professional photography then you might consider having 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8. Do you see that, the aperture remains the same with the increase in zoom. Also, these 3 lenses have the best of best glasses and hence costlier than the camera body.
  • Spend more on quality glass/lens than camera body – New camera body will be in the market almost every 2 years, where as that’s not the case with lens. Quality lens is important when working under low light, else expect too much noise.
  • Are you looking for just photos, videos or both  – Check out for these options before buying. Checkout in the internet on which DSLR is good for video and for photo.
  • Want to pursue as professional photographer or as hobbyist – Unless you want to get into photography business, I would say better to invest in mid prize range cameras photography. Photography one of the expensive hobbies.
  • Consider low light performance and noise – Camera sensor and good quality lens matters here. Usually the full frame high end DSLR cameras have much better low light and noise handling capabilities. A good quality lens might be very expensive, but worth buying. It will usually be faster and have larger aperture f1.4 etc and low-light performance.
  • Do not always go with the marketing done by brands and with higher Megapixels – Higher megapixel doesn’t always mean better photos. Consider the Nikon D4S camera which has 16 megapixel. Even mobile phones come with 16 MP or more these days. Nikon did not initially go for a higher MP camera because it can introduce noise in your image and not so great low light performance. This has got nothing to do with the brand, but the technology. Better sensor and glass is what you need to look into. Also, these high end DSLR sensors have the capability of capturing noiseless images even at very high ISO settings.

You may check out the list of gears that I use {here}