If you’re a new photographer or videographer, it is a very daunting task for you to buy a new camera today. Due to the availability of different brands for different price ranges and needs. But before you buy a camera, you have to consider a few things before buying the camera. So, in this professional camera buying guide, we are going to cover 3 most important features when buying a professional camera.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started to know the three most important features when buying a professional camera!
Also read: Best camera under Rs.30,000
Table of Contents
1. Usage or purpose
As above said, cameras are available in a variety of price ranges, features and needs.
Some of the cameras are especially designed for the specific usage such as for vlogging, product photoshoot, wedding photoshoot, Cinematic and so on. Therefore, before you buy your first camera, you need to define the purpose/usage.
For instance, if you’re looking for a camera for photography, then you should consider a camera with features like ISO, HDR, night modes, portrait, appreatur, shutter speed. If you are looking for a camera for videography, then you need to consider the camera with resolution, frame rate 4k video support, etc.
2. Performance and Features
After defining the purpose or use of the camera, the next thing you should consider is performance and features of the camera. These are important terms in the camera for taking impressive images and videos. Here are some of the features listed below.
When it comes to image quality and exposure flexibility, the main reasons people buy cameras, the most important criteria are the size of the sensor and the size of each photosite. The larger the photosite’s surface area, the more light it can capture and the more information it can record. The more information sent to the camera’s image processor, the greater the dynamic (tone) range of the resulting image and the better the image quality.
The difference is most noticeable in photos taken in bright, high-contrast conditions and in low light. In bright light, the small sensor on a compact digital camera cannot pick up the details in the brightest and darkest areas.
Much of the advertising and media material focuses on the number of megapixels supported by the camera. But when buying a DSLR, the number of megapixels is relatively insignificant. Theoretically, the number of megapixels in an image file determines the size that can be printed in “photo” quality. However, if the original photo is exposed and edited properly, you can make a good A3 impression from a 5 or 6 megapixel DSLR camera.
In addition, the 8-megapixel sensor has only 30% more image sites than the 6-megapixel sensor. At the correct viewing distance for A3 prints, this difference is negligible. Not many photo enthusiasts want prints larger than the A3 +, which is within the capabilities of all current models.
Unlike ISO and aperture, which indicate how much light is absorbed at one time, shutter speed controls the amount of time the camera spends collecting light. Because it is measured in fractions, a shutter speed of 1/125 means that the shutter is open for 1/125 of a second. The faster the shutter speed, the shorter the time the camera will record.
This is the key to getting consistent action shots. Slower speeds can absorb more light. But you run the risk of blurring your results unless the camera and subject are blurry. yet. Of course, you don’t always have to be afraid of motion blur. You can take advantage of the blur effect by connecting the camera to a tripod.
This allows professionals to create photos of highways decorated with beams of light and waterfalls composed of chunks of smoke rather than frozen water droplets. Most of the time you want to adjust the settings to fit the situation. But it can also be fun to start with a specific set of properties and rearrange the scene to fit those properties.
ISO mentioned the sensitivity of the film. It is the ability to “concentrate”. The higher the ISO rating, the better the film’s ability to capture images taken in dark places. High ISO film is called high speed film and has a shorter exposure time than low ISO film. For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity (signal gain) of the camera’s sensor.
Aperture is one of the three pillars of photography (the other two are shutter speed and ISO) and is definitely the most important. Aperture can be defined as the opening in the lens through which light enters the camera. It’s an easy-to-understand concept when you think about how the eye works.
The iris of the eye expands or contracts as it moves between light and dark environments to control the size of the pupil. In photography, the “pupil” of the lens is called the aperture. You can increase or decrease the amount of light reaching the camera sensor by reducing or increasing the size of the aperture. The image below shows the aperture of the lens.
The camera’s autofocus system intelligently adjusts the camera’s lens to focus on the subject. That means the difference between a sharp picture and a missed opportunity.
Despite the seemingly simple goal (focus ability), unfortunately the focus method of the camera is not very simple. This lesson aims to improve your images by showing you how autofocus works. That way, you can make the most of your assets and avoid shortages.
Mirrors in SLR cameras reflect the exact image that is printed onto the sensor through a kind of porthole above the camera: this is your viewfinder. Again, the more expensive models offer a more luxurious experience, with the Canon 7D and Nikon D700 having larger, more comfortable viewfinders than entry-level DSLRs.
Electronic viewfinders (EVF) are getting much better and starting to compete, especially in Sony’s line of Sony translucent (SLT) cameras like the A77, and they provide helpful guides and more information to help you improve your shot anyway. It’s about function vs. accuracy, and while purists tend to stick with optical viewfinders, electronic diversity is catching up quickly.
The camera’s white balance (WB) end has its own slot. This is a feature everyone depends on Auto. This is why most indoor photos on Facebook look yellow. Simply put, the camera is a bit dumb. If you don’t tell them that you’re under an incandescent light bulb (throwing a yellow tint), they won’t consider this and will try to balance the colors in front of you based on a preset. All modern cameras have WB presets for artificial lighting, but only more professional cameras offer fine-grained control over white balance and the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments.
The best solution I’ve found to overcome unnatural color tones is to provide a sample image to the camera. Most DSLRs now have the ability to set the white balance by taking a picture you know is white under the specific lighting conditions you want to shoot. So, if the camera takes a nice sheet of white paper under the bright orange and purple lights of a trade show floor, it calibrates itself so you can see that the white looks slightly different at that point.
HD video is a standard and mandatory feature. However, there are pitfalls to watch out for: For example, if you choose a camera that locks focus and zoom when you start recording video (like the excellent Canon S95), your options are severely limited. Stable autofocus in a possible camera remains a mirage. Manual focus is a good thing if you want to video capture the camera’s annoying focus jumps when you don’t know what the camera is trying to capture.
Cameras with larger sensors make the video recording process more difficult compared to simple point-and-shoot due to their higher sensitivity, larger housing, and usually a mechanical zoom and focus mechanism. Noise during lens operation is often picked up by the built-in microphone, so you need to be more careful.
However, it also gives you access to a variety of cinematic effects that a small camera cannot touch. Would you like to start your movie masterpiece with a nice circular bokeh that gradually focuses on the main character? A Canon 60D-class large-aperture lens is required.
You can adjust the settings as much as you like, but your photos won’t look best without a very sharp piece of glass that filters out the light. The difference between sharpness and smoothness in imaging is one of the details.
The clear image supports a clear distinction between edges and colors down to the pixel level. Unfortunately, no one has yet invented a simple way to quantify the quality of a lens, so you can’t just go to the store and order the highest version of your favorite lens. Part of the problem is that lens performance depends on aperture and zoom level.
The sharpest lenses with an aperture of f / 4 are usually f / 1.8 or f / 1.4 lenses that have been moved to the highest settings. Likewise, lenses are starting to show distortion at the extremely wide (16mm and smaller) and body (135mm and larger) ends of the zoom range, and some cameras can compensate for this automatically with software.
3. Future proof & Ecosystem
The ecosystem of the camera is important for most photographers, professionals as well as for beginners. The camera system comprises the camera equipment or camera gears such as a lens and camera body, lighting equipment, the ergonomics, the menu system, and so many more little intangibles. Instead of focusing on only the camera body, you have to consider the camera ecosystem, which will be required while taking pictures and videos.
When we talk about lenses, we mean detachable lenses used by photographers. The same principles apply to different brands, whether Sony or Nikon. It also applies to different types of camera cases, whether DSLR or mirrorless. Be sure to check before you buy, as some lenses are designed for different camera bodies. DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras are either full-frame sensors or crop sensors. Full-frame lenses can be used with crop sensors, but lenses designed for crop sensors cannot be used with full frames.
Check the focal length size guide and types here.
Also, if you are considering the lens to buy on rental basis, then it is important to know which camera brand has a better and affordable ecosystem, so the lenses are easily available to buy on the rental bases locally if you are able to afford the lenses.
Most mirrorless lenses right now
Right now, if you are looking to buy a full frame mirrorless camera with a wide range of lenses, you should take a direct look at Sony and their alpha series. They have spent over five years developing an extensive arsenal of lenses suitable for photographers. Canon, Nikon and others are now trying to catch up with this line of lenses and there are many reasons to add.