Home Photography The Basics: How to Choose Your First DSLR in 2017

The Basics: How to Choose Your First DSLR in 2017


Want to know how to choose your first DSLR? Don’t. Mirrorless is where it’s at; read our mirrorless post. But if you really, honestly insist on going the DSLR route as your first interchangeable lens camera – this is the post for you.

The DSLR, and the SLR before it, have long been the gold standard of the general photography industry. These cameras work by placing a mirror between your lens and your sensor, bouncing the image up into a prism and into the viewfinder so you can see what you are shooting. This was a huge advantage over other camera tech back in the day, though nowadays with quality electronic viewfinders in mirrorless cameras the benefits of this are less drastic.

So, if you’re ready to learn how to choose your first DSLR, let’s get started…

What are you wanting to shoot?

Are you just wanting a better camera than your phone? Are you wanting to shoot travel pictures? A family camera?  These are important things to consider because this will determine what sort of features and functionality will be needed in your DSLR.

For example, if you are just wanting a better general camera than your phone, then most entry level DSLR cameras will be more than enough. The same goes for a family camera. If you were looking for a travel camera, or something to maybe start a photo business with, then we need to start looking at more mid-range than entry level models.

When do you anticipate shooting?

Are you planning to be out shooting in the daylight mostly, or do you think you may be shooting more in dark homes or after dark? This is important to think about because some cameras have better performance in lower light than others. So, if you plan to do more than a little low-light photography then it would make sense to get a DSLR that can handle it.

Additionally, are you planning to be out in the elements much? Some cameras have better sealing against the weather than others. So if you don’t want to have to worry about your gear getting wet or cold then it would make sense to look for a DSLR that can tolerate those conditions.

Just pictures, or video too?

Another point to consider is whether you plan on shooting any video in addition to your pictures. If you do, then you need to look for a model that shows some love to the video features you will need; like a microphone input, headphone output and quality LCD screen (flip out models are a favorite of ours for video, especially if you plan to record yourself).

Why are you buying the camera?

Is this something you are serious about or just a hobby or grab and go camera? If you aren’t planning to be super serious, then an entry level or used camera is for sure the way to go. But if you have more specific needs, or plan on at least attempting to be more serious with it, then it makes more sense to invest in a camera that can meet all of your artistic and content creation needs.


OK, so we have given you some things to really think about and consider before buying your first DSLR. Now we want to give you some of our picks for great first DSLR purchases. Do your research, of course, but these are at the least a good place to start that research.