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Guide To Buying a DSLR on a Budget

Everyone loves to capture special moments and events with photographs. It’s even better when those photos are with higher quality camera. With camera manufacturers putting more and more effort into entry-level cameras, it’s easy to say DSLR cameras are constantly gaining popularity. If you’re looking to get a DSLR camera for yourself, here’s our full guide on what to look out for, as well as our top picks!

General Tips

Lenses are more important than the camera body

Lenses over Bodies

A lot of first time buyers focus on more expensive camera bodies and completely disregard lenses. If you’re fine with just the kit lens for about a few months (supposing that’s how long you’ll need to save up for a better lens) then you’re good to go. But buying a very expensive camera body and then using it with cheap lenses is a bad move. It’s much better to invest in quality lenses and a more basic camera body instead. There are a series of different factors that come into play to determine whether an image is good or not. When it comes to the entirely technical side of these factors, lenses matter most.

Factors determined by the camera lens: Chromatic aberrations, zoom range, depth of field / aperture, sharpness, color reproduction, vignetting, distortion, lens flare (and more, depending on the usage for video or photos)

Factors determined by the camera body: Image size (MP), noise and grain (ISO), shutter speed, dynamic range, shutter lag (and more, depending on the usage for video or photos)

When it comes to the basic factors for photography, lenses clearly have a much bigger impact. Even if we add the additional factors that come into play when recording video, lenses still play a much more important role than the camera body.

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TL;DR: Don’t blow all your money on a great camera body and a cheap lens. Focus more on the actual lenses you’ll be buying, not the camera body.

Always keep in mind what you’ll mostly be using your camera for

Types of Photography

Different DSLR setups can be used for different things. If we include all sub-genres, the different types of photography are around 50. If you were to buy lenses and camera bodies to cover all these genres it would cost you an arm and a leg (and maybe a kidney, if you really want the best gear). All jokes aside, photography gear is rather expensive. It’s best to pick a few things you’ll be photographing most often and have your camera setup based on them. Keep in mind that “universal” or “all-in-one” DSLR setups cost the most and while they cover most categories they really aren’t perfect at anything. Simply put – don’t go for the “jack of all trades, master of none” camera setup – it will do more harm than good.

TL;DR: Decide what you’ll be photographing the most with your camera and buy a camera setup based on your main preferences. 

Don’t be afraid to buy second hand gear

Second Hand Gear

When it comes to buying tech, you can always grab a great deal if you’re willing to buy second hand or manufacturer refurbished hardware. The same applies for buying DSLR cameras and any kind of photography equipment and accessories. As an inexperienced photographer you probably shouldn’t purchase your first DSLR kit second hand, but tripods, camera bags and other accessories are usually safe to buy off the web. Better yet – if you have a friend or relative who is into photography you shouldn’t shy away from asking them to help you find a good deal on photo gear. As long as you’re allowed to test the gear before paying for it you’re pretty much safe from scams and rip-offs.

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TL;DR: You can save a few hundred bucks by browsing the web for good deals on second hand gear.

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