Choosing my first DSLR

The beginning of my adventure into the world of digital photography was triggered by many things, which meant I wanted to upgrade my camera. But why? and to what? and did I really need to?

Why upgrade?

I felt I had reached the limits of my wonderful Sony P100. I’d begun exploring the manual mode and become frustrated with the lack of control. I felt like I needed some impetus to get me taking better photographs, the images were good from the Sony but with hindsight they were no better than average snap shots. You can see one of the photos in my last post. Basically I knew I had out grown it and wanted something new and exciting to stimulate my hobby.

Why a DSLR?

I decided to upgrade to “something bigger”! Sounds crazy I know but we now had another, newer, compact P&S in the household so I had less and less need for a small carry in your pocket camera. But bigger could have meant a number of camera’s from Prosumer/Bridge/Super Zoom compacts to a fully fledged DSLR, so I did my research. As far as I could tell the bridge cameras had two things going for them over a DSLR; cost and convenience. Well I had already decided convenience wasn’t the deciding factor and I was lucky enough to have enough money stashed away for an entry level DSLR. So what would the DSLR give me for the money? I did some research; this actually involved learning a lot about photography to even begin to understand the benefits. I discovered that the main benefits were…

– Flexibility and upgradeability (new word!!!) – I could add lenses, a flash, filters etc,
– Image Quality – The large sensor would give better IQ
Blurry Backgrounds – Didn’t really get why at this stage but I knew it could!
– Greater control – I could adjust aperture?? and shutter speed to my heart’s content
– Shoot RAW – Apparently this is like shooting digital negatives

Choosing my camera.

Once I knew I was going to buy a DSLR I had to choose which one. There were loads of different models on the market and all seemed relatively similar at first. So… I hit the Internet. In hindsight the best thing I did here was try to understand what all the functions were, regardless of which camera they were on, and focus in on what I wanted. The when it came to looking at lists of features I could focus in on which were important rather than simply which camera had the most. They were,

– Good quality kit lenses so I wouldn’t need to spend more money immediately
– Image stabilisation
– Good image quality
– High Pixel count to enable printing large
Live view to ease the transition from a P&S

At the time there were very few camera’s that ticked these boxes. However the most important step in my search was to go to my local department store and physically hold the cameras. If you miss this step out you may end up being sorely disappointed. The camera needs to fit comfortably into your hand or it will be a chore to use it.

Olympus E510

In the end I chose an Olympus E-510. Primarily because it just felt right in my hand but also because it ticked all of my requirements and was within my price range. Would I make the same choice again? Yes. If I were buying again now would I buy Olympus? Probably not, more of that at a later date.

In my next post I’ll talk about the buying process and some mistakes I made.

If you liked this post or have any hints and tips for would be buyers why not add your comment to this post

5 Responses to “Choosing my first DSLR”

  1. 1 Jovan 6 November 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I have to upgrade my camera as well, but I’m just waiting to gather enough finance to do so. I said, as long as photography isn’t offering to pay my bills, it isn’t as high on my list of priorities.

    I might have my eyes on a Nikon though

  2. 2 James Fletcher 6 November 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I’ll probably do another post on why I’ve fallen out of love with the Olympus at a later date. One of the reasons being I’d also love one of the new Nikons.

  1. 1 Too good to be true? « Fletch’s Photo Blog Trackback on 10 November 2008 at 11:54 pm
  2. 2 My First Photo « Fletch’s Photo Blog Trackback on 13 November 2008 at 12:05 am
  3. 3 Should You Shoot RAW? « Fletch’s Photo Blog Trackback on 26 January 2009 at 10:59 pm

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Welcome to my blog

I am an amatuer photographer living in Sheffield, England. My blog will detail my photography journey, from fumbling beginer to, hopefully one day, competant and knowledgeable photographer

By sharing my experince hopefully I can help every one else with the same goals and maybe, just maybe impart some of the knowledge I have leaned

If you have any questions or comments about the blog then why not email me.
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