So you want a new camera...
Before you go looking at shiny new cameras, ask yourself these three questions:
- Have I learned how to use the camera I currently have?
- What is my purpose for a new camera?
- Will I invest the time to learn how to use all the features of a new camera?
Let's consider question #1
Perhaps you think a new camera will allow you to take "better" photos than you're getting now. But... Do you have your camera on the automatic setting when taking photos? If so, you're missing a world of opportunity! That's assuming your camera was bought within the last 10 years or so. It should have an aperture priority mode, a shutter priority mode, and a fully manual mode.
- Aperture mode lets you choose how open or closed the lens opening is - and the camera chooses how long the shutter is open.
- Shutter mode lets you tell the camera how fast you want the shutter to be and the camera chooses the aperture.
- Manual mode let's you set everything, aperture, shutter, ISO, etc.
I suggest you grab the camera you have, the manual that came with it, a pen and notebook, and go play. See what each of those settings will allow you to do. NOTE: it is imperative that you determine where your "sweet spot" for shutter speed is. Can you still capture sharp photos at 1/60th of a second? 1/100th? Once you know this number, you'll know your bottom limit for shutter priority mode. Or that you need a tripod.
Now, question #2
Why do you want a new camera? Most digital cameras made in the last 10 years are adequate for hobbyists. But if you want to venture into more professional photography, then by all means, consider a new camera. Do you want an SLR? If so, pay more attention to lenses than camera bodies. I recommend you stay away from kits: a camera body with substandard lenses included. You probably won't be any happier with that setup.
Choose a lens that matches the kind of photography you plan to do. Do some research. Join a private group on Facebook or if you're lucky, a group that meets in person. Bounce ideas off each other. Ask a photographer you trust for guidance. Rent a camera body and lens you think you might like and be sure before plunking down your credit card.
Finally, question #3
A new camera will probably have many more features than your old one. Are you going to take the time to read the manual and shoot lots of photos for the sole purpose of learning how to use it properly? If so, congratulations! You're ready to take your photography up a notch.
If not, save your money.