Buying Your First DSLR Camera

DrewB is a wedding and family photographer and owner of DrewB Photography. She also writes a popular blog for moms who love photography called Mom*tog.

Buying your first DSLR camera (a camera where you can change the lenses) can be a bit overwhelming.  With so many different options and it being such a large financial investment you want to be sure that you make the right choice.

When I first started out over 6 years ago I wasn’t a mom yet.  I had intentions of starting a business, but I wasn’t sure it would be successful so I didn’t want to invest a ton of money into a camera.  I wanted a camera to learn on.  I bought the Canon Rebel (there was only one at the time) and it was a great camera to learn the basics.  I used it in a professional capacity for over 6 months before saving enough to upgrade to the 30D.

If you’re a Mom*tog I suggest purchasing a Canon Rebel.  It’s a great little camera and as cheap as you are going to get for a DSLR.  As moms, we are hard on our cameras.  They get thrown into diaper bags and sticky little hands may find their way to them.  You don’t want a camera that’s so expensive you are afraid to use it, right?  If you lose it or break it, that will stink.  But not as much as losing or breaking a $5000 camera would, right?

I specifically recommend the Canon Rebel T2i.  It has:

  • An 18 mp sensor (great image quality and you can print LARGE prints)
  • Shoots at 3.7 frames per second (great for taking lots of pictures at your kids soccer games)
  • Video capabilities
  • High ISO capabilities (you can shoot in lower light situations without flash)
  • Built in flash
  • Can shoot in both Auto and Manual modes

The Canon Rebel T2i retails for around $700 with a kit lens.  However, you can purchase just the camera body for around $500, which is what I would suggest.  The kit lens that comes with the camera (18-55mm, 3.5) is not a great lens.  It’s okay, but not great.  You will have to use a flash when shooting indoors because the aperture (3.5) will not allow enough light indoors (in most circumstances).

Instead of the kit lens I would suggest purchasing the Canon 50 1.4 lens for around $399.  This lens is a prime lens, which means you can’t zoom in or out.  And that can take some getting used to!  It’s not a great lens for sports photography, but it’s great for shooting lifestyle images of your kids at home.  The aperture (1.4) is low enough to where you won’t need to use a flash indoors when there is natural light available.

If buying your camera online, make sure you buy from a reputable retailer.  If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  I buy all of my camera equipment from B&H Photo and Video.  Their prices are always very competitive and they ship your product fast!  Don’t forget to also pick up an extra battery, memory cards, and a UV filter to protect your lens.  Also, check with your homeowners insurance to see if you can add your camera to your insurance policy.

Happy shooting!

For more photography tips from DrewB, check out Photographing Young ChildrenPhotographing Your Own Baby, and Understanding Cropping.

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