My advice for the beginning photographer buying their first DSLR.
I love my Canon cameras. I’ve owned two 40Ds, a 1D MkIIn, and now make my images with a 7D, the best one I’ve owned yet! I’ve gone through lenses like most people change underwear. Various Canon “L” lenses, too many to mention, have resided in my camera bag at one time or another. Some have made repeat visits(I’m currently working with my fourth 70-200 and second 17-40). Add in a smattering of third-party lenses and it becomes obvious that I’m always on the hunt for my next “favorite” lens.
But I didn’t fall in love with my Canon gear because I thought it was “better.” Though when I’m asked “which camera should I buy?” I generally steer people towards Canon. But that’s because it’s what I shoot, it’s what I know. Do I think Canon is better than any other brand? All kidding with my Nikon shooting friends aside, the answer is, no.
What’s mine is yours.
It would be understandable of you to think I did choose Canon over Nikon, or any other brand for that matter, for some advanced technical feature, or superior image quality, but you’d be mistaken.
Having no brand loyalty at the time, I chose Canon for my first DSLR for one very simple reason that had nothing to do with either. As I began my interest in photography I didn’t know nearly as many photographers as I now have the pleasure of knowing. In fact, I knew two.
Any guesses as to what those two photographers had in common?
If you guessed they both used Canon cameras, give yourself a prize!
My new-found interest in photography came with a ready-made knowledge base of Canon experience at my disposal. Throw in the added bonus of readily available lenses and other gear I could borrow and the choice was simple.
The images in this post are perfect examples of why this method of choosing one brand over another, especially when just starting out, can be very helpful. The first image of Cloudland Falls was captured using my Canon 7D with 17-40 f/4L lens attached. This is as close as I could get for a decent composition that included the entire waterfall.
17mm on an APS-C sensor camera just wasn’t wide enough.
This photo with my friend Adam in it shows just how large the waterfall is.
But I wanted to get close.
I wanted “wipe the spray off the lens between shots” close, with the entire waterfall in the photograph. Had it just been Adam and myself out shooting that day I would have been out of luck, since Adam is a Nikon man. But thanks to my good friend and fellow Canon guy, Glen, and his willingness to let me use his Tokina 11-16 lens, I was able to get up close and personal with this spectacular waterfall to capture the second image.
*To give you an idea of how much closer I was able to get, while still capturing the entire waterfall, if you look at the photo with Adam in it you’ll see a line of boulders starting just to the left of his left shoulder. The prominent foreground in the second photograph is the top edge of the third boulder to his left. My tripod was just behind that boulder*
There are a lot of great features on almost any camera made today. In the right hands, any of them will enable you (once you learn how to use it, preferably NOT on full auto mode) to make spectacular images. In certain circumstances some of these features may be of importance to you and should be factors in deciding which camera to buy. But don’t discount something as simple as the “My buddy Bob has one” reason for choosing your first DSLR.
This is why the first question I ask when I’m asked “which camera should I buy?” is “do you have any friends that are photographers, if so, what brand do they use?“
Of course if they don’t know any photographers, I’m going to highly recommend Canon ;-)