Photography for beginners: Choosing your first DSLR camera – Part 1

You have been snapping shots your tiny point and shoot camera for a while already.

And now you feel that you really like taking photos and wish to get more creative, also your camera sometimes doesn’t deliver the desired results even if you tweak the settings to the maximum level. Sometimes it’s too much noise, blacks are too dark, highlights are a bit burned out and overall it feels that your camera just isn’t cutting it anymore.

So, you started thinking about upgrading to a DSLR camera. But how do you choose one when the range of those is so large? The number of offered DSLRs nowadays is ridiculously huge, all of them have so many buttons and controls, that it seems nearly impossible to pick one. And the price of average DSLR camera makes the choice even harder. In this article we will try to give a brief overview of options and characteristics that are actually important when you are considering which camera to purchase.

Firstly, let us make a very important point regarding upgrading photo equipment – buying an expensive camera won’t make you a better photographer. Unfortunately, there is no “Masterpiece” button on any modern camera, no matter the price. It’s not the camera that takes a shot – it’s you. Only you can make yourself a better photographer. You have to be willing to learn and develop your skill. A high end camera will give you more technical abilities – it’s a high quality tool.

But it’s you who is behind the viewfinder, you who clicks the shutter button and takes that either epic or very average shot. Please always keep this in mind. Now when we are on the same page, let’s take a closer look at some things that need to be paid closer attention to when buying your first DSLR.

How many megapixels should a DSLR have?

It’s historically the main question asked by beginners, as other parameters in their point-and shoot cameras seem secondary. Well, this is not quite true with DSLRs. There are a few characteristics that are equally or even more important than a number of pixels. But we will get to those a bit later.

Now, to answer the pixels question, you would need to answer another one. And it is – what do you want to do with your photographs in the future? Do you want only to post them on the web, make prints for a photo album? If so, then any modern DSLR provides the resolution you need for this. You don’t even have to worry about the pixels count. Yes, at all. Most entry level DSLRs nowadays start at around 20 megapixels, which is more than enough.

If, however, you wish to make prints at an awesome size of 1m by the short side to put them on the wall then you may need a higher resolution camera. Maybe even a full-frame DSLR. These cameras are way more expensive as they are considered professional equipment.

Entry level DSLRs often produce very good quality photos that can be printed at high quality up to a certain size. Higher resolution gives you the freedom of being able to enlarge even further and use your images for commercial purposes. Image processing software can also increase the size of your photos, but they will lose some quality. Starting with a larger image means that fewer pixels are added by the program and less quality is lost, however, file size will be larger.

In the Part 2 of this article we will look at brands and features of your new DSLR, stay tuned!

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