Here's what I feel about buying an Professional Camera.
Buying a professional camera is like selecting a wife. It all depends on need, and not on greed. So decide upon what you need. To help below are few points:
1.What exactly do you want to do with a camera?
Is it just for regular stuff, or planning to learn an explore photography. If you intend to use it occasionally, and don’t intend to experiment, learn, and post process images just STOP here!! This is more of greed. You can satisfy this with a normal point and shoot camera. Any low budget point and shoot Camera too these days has all the fancy shooting modes, exhaustive scene modes, and various image formats.
If you want something more than aforesaid continue now!!
2.What capabilities do you look in a Camera?
Do you want just still images, or do you want videos too? The only difference between cameras offering first one only, and cameras offering both is price. Don’t worry the difference won’t be of more than 5-10k.
3.What is your budget?
A good DSLR, SLT, or Interchangeable lens camera would cost you for min of 24k in India. So fix a budget. By budget I mean not just money!! While you buy a professional camera you have to decide on equipment you’re planning to buy. Assuming that this would be your first Professional camera so you won’t be having available accessories. The accessories that you would like to buy
a.50-300mm 5.6f lens (or some equivalent telescopic lens apart from one that comes in box)
this will cost you from 8k-20k.
b.A nice stable tripod. This will cost you from 400-2.5k
c.Camera bag and lens pouches. This will cost you 2k-10k. I would specially advice you to
spend some good amount on this. This is the one that would help you in every season, and
every place you go.
d.Memory device. A 4gb device is just more than enough for shooting still images, and is you
have a video capability any memory isn’t enough. A 5 in clip by a professional cam is
approx. 800 mb. So to balance you can buy a 8gb memory. But be careful while buying this
because you may get a fancy camera with great burst speed but if you don’t have a faster
memory device the camera capabilities would be just waste of money. I advise you to spend as
much as you can on 8g device. This will cost you from 2k-5k
e.Filters. Although in my opinion this one is of least use for the very purpose it’s sold but,
it’s of great use to protect you lens. Always buy a UV lens for each of your lens which
would prevent the lens from being damaged in accidents. This will cost you from 100-400.
f.Screen guard. Buy a sheet of screen guard and cut it of the size you need. This won’t do any
harm. Don’t go for a perfect size, highly priced screen guard. I use the sheet, and it costs
me 20-50 rs. Each sheet helps me in getting at least 4 cuts. A normally used camera’s screen
guard won’t last for more that 3-4 moths. So this is good choice.
So once you’ve you budget set. Then proceed ahead.
4.Which brand to choose?
In market there are many brands. But best for Indian conditions, and service center availability Canon, Sony, and Nikon are the best. While choosing a brand there are many factors that needs to be considered.
a.First and fore most in my opinion is the ease with which you can hold it, and handle it.
Holding the camera depends on body design. Mostly you would be shooting it without a tripod,
or mono pod so, go to a nice showroom, hold each brands basic entry level professional
cameras, and then decide which one is best. Go for the best!! Else you may regret in future,
you may even not like taking it everywhere because, Camera is like a wife but not wife
b.Cannon has the best image output (remember output not quality). But Cannon has very poor
make. You may end up to service centers very often. It will be loaded with shoot modes, in
camera processing, and all. Cannon doesn’t has Image stabilization in Camera Body. That
means every time you want to add a new lens you will have to buy an Image stabilization
based lens. Cannon has just in-house lens option so very few available lenses.
Nikon is considered best in this industry when comes to everything. But Nikon is pricey, and
less flashy. Nikon D3100 is it’s entry level but too pricey. Nikon too has the same Image
stabilization problem. No HDR mode in any of its model. This one is good only if you intend
to learn how to handle an image while shooting, and post processing. Options of lenses is
quite bit. There would be two version of every lens VR, and NON-VR. VR is for Image
Stabilization in Nikon.
Sony has best of everything in its class. This is one company that offers all the three
variants of professional camera at an affordable prices. SLT, SLR, and Interchangeable lens.
SLT is the latest one. All of its camera have image stabilization in body no subsequent
lenses would be easy to handle, and cheap compared to others. Sony alpha has alpha mount for
which Tamaron lenses too fit. This opens up a huge range of lenses available. Sony has its
own proprietary memory stick duo too which would unleash the fastest capability of your
camera to the most extent.
c.Lastly it all depends on how confortable you’re with the camera you choose to buy.
5.Where to buy?
Try buying it from India. Search for JJ Mehta, and Jayesh Mehta. You’ll get the best deals in India with them with proper warranty. I’ve bought two camera’s from Jayesh Mehta and they all were honored for warranty at the service stations. Buying from abroad may be cheaper but without warranty too risky.
6.Once you’ve listened to everyone’s advice, and boiled down to some models don’t forget to compare them on on dpreview. You’ll find everything, and anything on this website regarding the model you’ve chosen.
And now some of my picks in order would be Sony SLT-33, Sony SLT-35, Nikon D3100, Nikon D5100, Sony Nex-5, Canon EOS-550D, and Canon EOS-600D. Along with Sony go for MS-HX8A Memory Stick, With Nikon go for SanDisk Extreme Pro – SDCFXP (Although Lexar Media is better but hardly available), and with Canon go for 8g Sandisk 30 m/s card (There’s an entire world of cards available. So chose for any card with higher m/s rating).
Enjoy your research, shopping, and henceforth!! Good luck. Let me know if you need anything else too…