Buying your first professional camera? You’ve probably scoured photography websites, YouTube videos and forums to decide on your first big camera purchase. There are many types, ranging from crop-sensor, full-frame, mirrorless and even the trypophobia-inducing Light L16. However, this post’s sole focus is on entry-level vs. semi-pro or pro DSLRs and to guide you towards making the right DSLR purchase for the long run.
You’re probably receiving a ton of advice to buy an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3400 or the Canon EOS Rebel T7i, but that's not the most advantageous option. My first camera was entry-level and two months later, I regretted its purchase. From my experience and speaking with a few photography professionals at Henry’s, here are 5 reasons to not buy an entry-level DSLR:
1. Short-lived satisfaction
You’ll grow out of your entry-level camera in a few weeks or months and want a camera with more features and capabilities. It’s better to invest in a camera you’ll continue to use in the long run.
2. Lack of photography experience is no excuse
You’ll read a lot on the internet that beginner photographers will eventually make their way from an entry-level crop-sensor to full-frame camera as they grow more comfortable with photography and the manual mode. Both crop-sensor and full-frame cameras can produce spectacular images, but full-frame cameras do offer more advantages, such as better image quality in low-light. Think of it this way—why not just buy a full-frame camera now, if you think you may have to buy one later on?
3. Any DSLR can teach you photography basics
I bought the Nikon D3400 kit lens bundle after watching countless YouTube videos and reading forums that recommended it. It was great for teaching me how to use manual mode, however I was soon curious about all the things a full-frame DSLR could offer. You can always learn how to set the aperture, shutter speed, ISO in manual mode while using a semi-pro or pro DSLR, and then explore its more advanced functions later on.
4. Financially not worth it
Alongside my Nikon D3400, I bought an extra battery, USB cords, camera case, you name it. I spent a lot only to end up dissatisfied with it a couple months later. It’s better to financially invest in a camera you’ll be satisfied with in the long run. You can rent cameras at most camera stores and try them out before making a purchase.
5. Kit lens are underrated—for good reason
What I’ve never heard: “I took this amazing image using my 18-55mm kit lens.” If you decide on an entry-level camera, I suggest buying it without the kit lens. Buy the DSLR body, think about what type of photography you’re into, do some research and buy a lens accordingly. The best quality lenses are made for full-frame cameras. Again, you can rent camera lenses to try before you make a purchase.
Entry-level and crop-sensor DSLRs have the advantage of being lightweight and more affordable, along with crop-sensor lens. Your camera purchase relies on what you put more weight on, however it’s important to think about your long-term photography goals when deciding on a camera. And remember—photograph quality is more about the photographer than the camera.