5 Questions To Ask Before You Buy A Digital SLR Camera

So You Want To Buy a Digital SLR Camera?

5 Questions About Buying Digital SLR Cameras
Got Questions?

Buying a digital camera is a major purchase for most of us, especially if you are looking to buy a digital SLR. So thinking about the right camera is a good idea before dropping in at your local Best Buy or Target and exiting with a camera in your shopping bag.

Impulse buying is not a good strategy when it comes to cameras.

Where do you start?

Many individuals who are looking for a digital camera are asking the question, “Which camera should I buy?”

This is a great question, but before you dive into the quest for a camera, you need to settle on exactly what kind of camera you want.

Most photographers do not start out by buying a professional digital SLR. The journey can be short, or it can be a progression as you grow in your love for good looking pixels (pixel=the smallest bit of a digital image).

My Personal Journey

I did not buy a digital SLR as my first camera.

My first digital camera was an Olympus point and shoot. It was such a freeing experience to go digital. It was the end of my “can’t see ’em till you buy ’em” trips to pick up the prints from the camera lab. I fell in love with the LCD panel and the delete button. Each photo was a learning experience.

I then began to learn more through Lynda.com, an online subscription service, from photographers like Taz Tally. I mention him here because he is the reason for my first digital upgrade. In his tutorials, he was using a Minolta DImage7. I bought one from e-bay.

Red Headed Woodpecker shot with a Canon Rebel
You can get amazing photos with a digital SLR like the Canon Rebel

Silly me. I thought I was getting one of those cameras that had interchangeable lenses (digital SLR). But no, this was a great camera, just not a digital SLR. Even so, I learned a bunch about camera controls and photography, in general, from that camera.

After a year or so, I was chomping at the bit to get my first DSLR. The Canon Rebel 300D had appeared on the market with perfect timing. I bought it.

Now, I must admit, this sounds like a simple progression. It was not. I struggled majorly with the choice between Canon and Nikon. I won’t bore you with the details, but one can really get confused at this point.

Digital SLR Camera Brands

My advice to you is this: right now, there really is no wrong choice if you stick with a major camera brand. Yes, I chose Canon, but I am certain I would be just as happy today if I had gone with Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc..

Actually, I wish I had known that before I spent all that time trying to figure out which digital SLR to buy.

5 Questions To Ask About Buying A Digital SLR Camera

OK, that is a fairly long introduction to the topic, but here are some of the questions to consider as you move toward a digital SLR.

  1. What are your needs or desires?
    Do you have photography goals and desires that can be satisfied with a DSLR camera? If you want to get better as a photographer and learn about the art and craft of photography, you could have a legitimate reason for this purchase. On the other hand, if you plan to buy the camera and never learn how to properly use it, just take pictures using the auto mode, or only post snapshots on your favorite social media site, like Facebook or Instagram, you may not need a DSLR.
  2. Will you be happy with a point and shoot camera?
    There are some really good point and shoot cameras available. Some of them come close to the quality and controls available on DSLR cameras. If you are not totally thrilled with the idea of carrying a camera bag with extra lenses and gear everywhere you go, maybe a good point and shoot model will be all you need.
  3. What is your “technology quotient?
    “Simply stated, there is a learning curve involved with a digital SLR camera. Are you one who is comfortable with many gadgets and technology related tools? If you are under the age of 30, this is a non-issue, because technology has been part of your world forever. However, for older folks, this could be an issue worth considering. Don’t let the idea of learning how to use a new camera scare you, though. You can use the auto mode and get great pictures when needed and switch to your “learning mode” when you have the time and convenience to make mistakes.
  4. Are you on a budget?
    Even though digital SLR cameras have come down in price, they are still not as cheap as a grocery item. Also, consider that you will want to get an additional lens or two. Changing lenses is what makes these cameras so desirable and cool. Lenses can cost as much and more as the camera body.
  5. Do you have social constraints?
    I am trying to be tactful here, but the idea is that if you have a relationship with someone (i.e. spouse, parent) who is affected by your choices, how do they feel about your decision to buy a DSLR? There are plenty of questions and concerns they may have that you have not even considered. The truth is, we get tunnel vision when we are trying to justify a purchase like this. So, ask for him/her/them to give their input on the subject before you actually make the buy.

These are core questions. Every camera buyer should think them through prior to laying down that plastic card or pressing the “add to cart” button.

Let’s get social.

What is your biggest question or concern about buying a digital SLR? Leave your comment below.

(If you do not see the Comment Box below, Click Here to open it so you can post comments or questions.)

Looking forward to hearing from y’all.



  • Riz

    Thanks for your nice briefing about DSLR cameras, actually I would like to buy DSLR camera for my passions, creativity and graphics approaches also some sort of business in this path. My wish list to be selected Canon DSLR 600D camera. Hopefully very soon I will be buying my DSLR D600 Canon camera.


  • Wayne

    Riz, I wish you well in your quest for a camera to carry out your passions. The Rebel T3i is a good choice. There is nothing like seeing a nice image from your own camera.