The digital age took its' time in coming, but when it arrived it took the market by storm with some big outlays! In the last few years prices have started to get back into the range of the conventional 35mm film camera technology prior to the digital onslaught. So how much do you need to outlay on a camera?
The answer to this depends on what you intend to do with your images and photos. I was very happy with my $200 dollar compact digital camera until I tried selling my images as stock photos to professional stock photo agencies. The common consensus was that the lens exhibited areas of uneven focus. This is not noticeable for normal home photo album applications, but I guess commercial applications are far more critical. So if you intend to enter photo competitions regularly or try to sell your work casually, I would suggest a top-end compact camera, or at a little more inconvenience, an entry-level DSLR camera and lens(es).
I purchased a used entry level DSLR camera off Ebay and it was great. Then I purchased a couple of used lenses, they to were great. However my $200 compact has now been replaced with $1800 worth of DSLR camera and lenses, and that's entry-level--well one of the lenses was professional and made up half the value!
So now I am tempted to upgrade the entry-level DSLR camera to a higher spec camera--but why! I haven't benefited from sales yet with this gear! Sure most of my images are now accepted by the stock image agencies, but I question my desire to upgrade further--it's like a fever that grabs you!
I think an entry level DSLR camera with quality lenses will do just as well as a top-end professional DSLR camera for this application.
If your intention is to enter the professional commercial photography game, then you might consider hard use in adverse conditions a primary factor in your decisions. Certainly the top-end DSLR camera equipment is much more sturdy & robust, designed for longevity under heavy use, but it will cost you. Your outlay will now be at the very least four times the entry-level!
The toughest choice for me is to go for a slightly older, but higher-spec semi-professional camera, or a newer technology, lower-spec, entry-level camera with quality lenses!
Ultimately I have decided to go with my budget and run with the newer but lower-spec entry-level DSLR body and put the savings into a quality lens. My time-line now looks like this:
Compact camera > Entry-Level DSLR > Professional Lens. If the demand for my work increases, I will jump the pro-sumer level gear and go directly to full frame DSLR gear. My lenses are already professional so I can keep them!
I hope this gives anybody entering into more enthusiastic levels of photography some foresight so you don't unnecessarily over extend your budget.
Buying a camera.
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3 October 2009
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