This is one of the popular questions that comes to almost every Photographer very frequently and believe me, no one can answer it correctly unless you share appropriate details. Even when you know the needs others can share their opinions and their choices which may not be appropriate for you as it varies from individual's style. Anyways, today we are going to talk about some very basic things one should think before planning any Digital Camera and especially an DSLR.
Do you also have any question like -
1. I want a good DSLR with decent Zoom, which one should I buy?
2. I have a budget of 40K (Indian Rupees) to buy an DSLR, should I go for Nikon or Canon?
3. I like your photographs, which Camera do you use? I would love to buy that Camera.
The very first thing is to identify the exact need - What you are going to do with this camera. Do you want a camera for clicking some good photographs during your trips, family functions or something more than that. Has Photography become a hobby of yours, which you want to take seriously or something else. It's most important thing which should be clear in your mind before taking decision on buying a camera.
So far I have directed most of the folks to following link on Digital Photography School, which very well describes advantages & disadvantages of buying a DSLR with information about factors one should consider while buying a camera - http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-buy-a-dslr-camera
Now I am sure that you already knew about all this and still your question remained unanswered, because you want one of your known Photographers to suggest a model :)
Since you know various factors to decide on camera, but more important is to know which features are important for you. At times, it's overwhelming to see some of the fantastic features of some DSLRs, but make sure that you think if you are going to use them ever? Most important thing is to know your needs and map them with Camera which can offer it within your budget.
In my opinion, it's OK if cost of suitable camera is less than budget you had set. Rest of the amount can be better utilized to have good quality Lenses. It's Important - Lens plays more important role in long run as compared to Camera-Body. So try to divide your budget in such a way that you utilize your funds in best way.
Now, you should be able to pick few models from the whole range of DSLRs in market. Next Question which will come to your mind is - 'which brand'? Many websites have prioritized various cameras on the basis of their research or user poll. Like this one - http://digital-photography-school.com/top-20-dslr-models-reader-favorites which is on the basis of response from various folks on internet. But does that really solves our problem? Yes, upto one extent because this can help in further filtering the choices but how to be sure that people who preferred a particular model have same preferences like you. This is trickiest part in my opinion.
I have used both Canon and Nikon Cameras like - Nikon D200, Nikon D90, Nikon D700, Nikon 7100, Nikon D60, Nikon D50, Canon T2i, Canon 50D, Canon Xti, Canon 550D & Canon 7D. And I was never able to differentiate between any two cameras by Nikon and Canon in same price band. It's not that they are not different, but my needs were brilliantly fulfilled by most of them except few problems with older versions of the cameras which had old LCD technologies or sensors. So any latest camera of Nikon and Canon in same price band will almost be similar.
Here are some typical arguments you may listen from Nikon or Canon fans -
- Nikon Fans always talk about Noise Handing at higher ISOs, which is past now. In my opinion latest cameras by Canon are also pretty good at it now :) ... (At times, I think that rather than answering, I might be making this hard for you to decide :) )
- Canon Fans always say this - Canon Cameras are easy to use as compared to Nikon. But frankly I always failed to understand it. First Camera I used was Nikon D200 and it was quite easy and intuitive to use. It also depends how you learned Photography. If you have learned it through some classes and your tutor is Canon user, he will always be talking in terms of terminologies used in Canon cameras and of-course using Nikon after that can be difficult. Example holds good other way round as well. So for this, better would be to go to a showroom offering both Nikon and Canon. Hold cameras of both the brands and try to see if your proffered controls are handy to use in canon or Nikon.
- Nikon Fans say - Body of Cameras is not like toys as Canon looks like and most of the times they also flaunt about wondering Shutter-sound while clicking. Are these two things really make any difference in Photography?
- At times, people say that I use Canon or Nikon because XYZ Photographer uses it. Please note that both of the companies Sponsor equipment for some known brands or Photographers OR they may be doing different type of photography for which a particular model can be brilliant. So this really a big NO reason to decide.
Here is another link with feature comparison between various entry level cameras - http://entry-level-dslr-camera-review.toptenreviews.com/ . I would recommend to go through feature comparison without worrying about ranking mentioned on this page.
I know this article doesn't cover all the aspects of DSLR buying and will try to improve it further. Please feel free to put your comments and your person experiences. It would be great to hear about your preferences and decision around first DSLR.