PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIALS & TIPS
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Choosing a Camera - Page 3

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Which Brand of Camera?

This, of course, is the big question that you really want an answer to and you know that nobody is going to give you one. If you ask anyone who already has a camera most will support the brand of the camera they have unless they have had some trouble with it, even then people are very forgiving. I think the reason for this is that people think that if they have made the wrong choice, it is because they have somehow failed, and they are not going to admit their failure.

Back in the 1980s I had a camera shop in England and at the time a lot of people who already owned an SLR were buying compact cameras 'for the wife'. They would ask me which brand was the best and, if I didn't already know, I would discreetly try to find out which brand of SLR they owned, then I would recommend the same brand of compact camera.

Trying to sell them another brand was like telling them they had made a wrong choice when buying their old camera and was likely to lose me a sale. So I'd better have a really good reason for not recommending the Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax or whatever and I didn't have one. All of the well known brands produce similar cameras at similar prices and, by and large, you get what you pay for.

I will stick my neck out a little bit here and say that in my humble opinion the manufacturers who make the best film cameras the Japanese Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Konica Minolta and the German Contax and Leica seem to make the best digital cameras.

I would not be too happy to put my trust in brands whose traditional expertise is in other fields when there are such good cameras available from the traditional sources. I will probably get a lot of hate mail from people who have bought Sony cameras or Hewlett Packard and are perfectly happy with them.

Hasselblad H5D 60
yours for a mere $40,000.00
Oh! and the lens is extra ;-)

If I wanted a printer Hewlett Packard would be top of my list and I am a huge fan of Sony video and TV equipment but my first choice for a digital SLR would be one of the names mentioned above.

Having said all that, if you have been paying attention you will have noticed that my current compact camera is a Lumix which is made by Panasonic. You will also notice that the lens (the most important bit) is made by Leica, arguably the best lens maker in the world (Hasselblad might want to dispute that).

So I'm afraid there is no such thing as 'the best camera' or 'the best brand', you will need to wade through the reviews, go to the shop and try a few out and rest assured that as soon as you have bought one, there will be a new one out next week. Hopefully though, you now have a better idea of what to look for.

Camera Accessories - Availability

One last word on brands, especially for those of you who are thinking of buying a DSLR. The most popular brands, Canon and Nikon, will have the largest range of accessories, lenses etc. and will have the best support from third party manufacturers. An independent manufacturer of lenses will make sure they fit Canon and Nikon cameras before thinking of which other brands to support. In case you didn't know, all camera manufacturers have different lens fittings, you can't put a Canon lens on a Nikon camera.

Other tutorials in this section

Cameras

A short introduction to the types of cameras available and a discussion on what you need to look out for when buying a camera.

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Lenses

What you need to know when choosing a new lens.

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Lens Conversion Factor

Confused comparing 35mm lens focal lengths to the new DSLRs? This will make it all clear.

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Flashguns

What you need to know before you go shopping.

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Tripods

More of a 'why you need a tripod' than a buyers guide, but it does include some tips on buying and using a tripod.

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