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Editor and Webmaster - Edward Chop. Your comments and questions are welcomed.Copyright © 2009 Edward Chop. All Rights Reserved.

Buying My DSLR

By Ed Chop

Okay, I’ve taken the plunge! I recently purchased a DSLR. I’m glad I did. I’ve found myself rediscovering photography. But before I get into my purchase, let’s look at the buying process.

The number of DSLR’s available is becoming staggering. It is difficult to make a decision. They all take acceptable photos, some being better than others. So, what to choose?

First, decide your budget and your immediate and future interest in photography. If you expect to enhance your knowledge and interest in photography, and want to experiment with different aspects of the hobby, you may find yourself looking to upgrade again soon.

There are many new entry level DSLR’s under $1000. Some new models are replacing older one, also under $1000. You may find good bargains on the older models still in stock. They are still worthy cameras. I began looking at the entry level cameras, myself. Look at the features and limits of each model. Decide your needs and wants. Rank them for importance (gotta have, should have, would be nice, etc.). Look more closely at the ones that meet your “gotta have” criteria. Don’t forget about lenses, too. If you already own a film SLR, will you be able to use your old lenses, even in a crippled mode? In my case, it didn’t matter, since my old cameras are Konicia SLR’s, nothing would work anyway. What about the variety and quality of lenses available? Again, how much are you into photography now? In the future?

Search the internet for reviews and comparisons. Some of my favorites are dcresource.com, steves-digicams.com, pcphotoreview.com, popphoto.com, photographyreview.com and dpreview.com, which allows you to compare your choices side by side. Read and become informed.

When you have it narrowed down to a couple of models, go to the camera store and try them out. How do they feel? How heavy are they? Are the controls easy for you to use? These are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself and by now you’ll have some of your own.

Oh yeah, did I mention camera store? Of course I did. That’s where you can get answers, good answers, to your questions. Forget the big box stores for knowledgeable sales people. Most will just read what’s on the display card or box. Sure, you may find one that’s pretty good, but don’t count on it.

By this time, you’ll probably figure that you need to spend more than you originally planned. That’s okay, because it’s better to spend a little more now and get the camera that suits your needs. You don’t want to find out six months from now that the camera you bought is not up to your level of expertise and involvement with photography.

I had been looking at the Canon XSI, the Canon 40D, the Nikon D60 and a couple of others. Although I liked the XSI’s light weight and handling, I went with the 40D. It had the extra features and durability that I needed. I would have liked to buy both, but the salesman at he camera store said that I would need a not from my wife, first. He was right, you know.

I’m glad I upgraded at the time of purchase. I won’t have to worry about upgrading six months from now. I’ve taken more pictures the past six weeks than I have on the past six years. Why? Because it’s new, again, it’s fun and I don’t have to worry about the cost of film and development. I took nearly 350 photos at the recent Cleveland air show alone!

The 40D, like all the new DSLR’s, has so many features that you can’t remember them all, let alone how to use each one to its fullest. I have found that by looking through the manual and picking out a feature to learn one at a time is most effective. By practicing the use of that feature for a while, I find that I can understand its operation better and I remember it longer.

This wasn’t an exhaustive guide to buying a DSLR, but I hope you found it to be useful. Whatever camera you decide to buy, learn its features and enjoy it. Have fun!