If you have disposable income, you should. Having an SLR is a natural progression to better photography if you understand exposure triangle and want to create images than just take photos. However, if budget is a concern, this blog is for you:
Here are 10 things you need to know before you put your money into an SLR camera.
1. If your interest in photography is about timing a shot, composing a frame, an SLR will do little to improve the game unless you go technical. Most 10k and above phones do a pretty decent job and some of the branded non-expensive phones offer good features in the phone camera segment. MI and Nubia are my favourites. They let you capture decent photos without having to be too technical about clicking.
2. Did you know that a good photograph is first thought and then made? Most photos that are garnering likes on Social Media are shot by professional photographers or those who have studied photography. This means, they know what type of photo can be created and play around to create just that kind of photography. What does this mean to you? It just means that having an SLR is just 1/10th the job done. Knowing the settings is more important. Are you ready to invest time & energy to pick-up skills in photography. This can easily last for over 6 months. If this point made you wonder, then you are possibly not a good candidate for buying an SLR camera.
3. Most dSLR cameras are around 1 kg with a basic lens. Are you ok with this kind of handling of weight. Lenses can be as heavy and if you have to carry a kit with basic two lenses with a bag, that’s good weight to carry. Are you game for this?
4. Most dSLR owners hate changing lenses. It is fairly easy but a cumbersome process which requires carefully removing lens 1 off the camera, keeping it safe while attaching the second lens, all the while making sure that dust is not hitting the inside of the camera or the rear of the lens.
5. If you wish to take good photos inside the home and that was your thought process of having an SLR camera, you will be in for a rude shock. Most indoor lighting is very poor for the camera sensor and therefore, having an external flash which can bounce off the ceiling is what makes better pictures than the camera. That’s an added cost and requires training, something you were not even considering while you were dreaming of great photos with just the camera.
6. dSLR cameras give you a much better resolution but with better resolution comes the need to have more hard disk space on your computer. A typical picnic shoot can easily end-up with a 1 GB of photos and with time, you will run out of space soon. Are you ok with this kind of space hungry set-up? And we are not even talking about shooting RAW which requires advanced level photo editing tools to play around with.
7. A point and shoot camera or a phone camera does great work as the computer inside is doing all the hard work. And without knowing what you did, you get a good picture.
Here are the 4 most important ingredients to create a good picture:
- Quality of lighting, if you can understand what is good and what is bad lighting, you are 30% sorted.
- Your understanding of using the camera and lens to create your kind of photos. If you can’t do this, having the most expensive camera will do little to your photography. See this sample photo.
- Lenses, most qood quality lenses for SLR cameras can do only a few things well. For instance, a portrait lens is not good for wide-angle photos of landscape. A wide-angle lens cannot usually take good looking portraits. A generic zoom lens does nothing great but does everything ok.
- Finally, the camera. A basic dSLR camera is more than sufficient to get good quality pictures. A better model is not necessarily an equation to better photography. Most expensive cameras have more features and finer aspects that helps professional photographers to quickly capture moments which enable them to print large. Therefore, the first camera can always be a second hand dSLR and save for the lenses and personal training. That makes for a bigger impact than a fancier camera.
8. My contention number 10 is a set of 3 positive things that you may not have thought of earlier, in favour of a dSLR:
- Phone camera or an advanced point and shoot, nothing can be shoot ready as fast an dSLR and this means it is like having a loaded gun ready to shoot anytime.
- With a good lens, you can now capture much better low light photos than any advanced point and shoot or iPhone, the king of low light photography in the cell phone category.
- Depth of field control is single-handedly the most creative reason why dSLR owners will vouch for it. This is being increasingly challenged by phones but yet, you get the best portraits only with a good dSLR lens.