Camera Buying Advice

In an email, my brother asked the following camera buying advice:

I want to get a nicer camera than the point and shoot I currently have. I have an opportunity using credit card points to get either a Nikon D3000 or a Cannon EOS Digital Rebel . Do you have a preference, considering this is for amateur use? I’m leaning towards the Nikon at the moment.

My advice to him was:

I recommend the Rebel. I’ve taken two friends to B&H Photo, each expecting to buy a Nikon, and each walked away with a Rebel instead. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either. But I don’t recommend you buy on the specs alone. Go to a camera store and try them both out to see which feels better, and tell the salesperson what kind of shooting you plan to do and what you hope to get out of the camera, and let him/her help you decide. Then buy it elsewhere with your points. I can take you to B&H if you like. I’ve done this so much with friends that they should offer me a commission.

The biggest issue with SLRs is not your investment in the body, but your investment in the lenses. Bodies come and go, and you may find yourself upgrading in the future, as I did. However, the lenses are a constant, so if you start with one brand, you’re stuck with that brand. All Canon lenses work on all Canon bodies, now and in the future. Not so with the Nikon body you’re considering, so if photography really sticks with you and you wish to upgrade to a higher-level Nikon, you’ll have to invest in your lenses all over again. This might not be a big deal if you stick  with only the kit lens that comes with the camera, but if you get accessory lenses, it’s something to consider.

My brother’s response:

Sounds like good advice. I’m not planning on being back in the city for a while so maybe I’ll stop into my local Best Buy to look at each of them.


Here’s an important thing I left out: I truly believe that if you take the time and expertise of a retail store to help you shop for merchandise, you should buy it from them. In my brother’s case, he was buying through a points catalog, but the only way to get a hands-on feel for the cameras is to go to a retail store. In that case, I would advise to patronize the store in some other way. It’s just good karma.

(Photos above come from the B&H website)


2 thoughts on “Camera Buying Advice

    • Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you visit often and enjoy reading it. In this time of decreasing presence of brick-and-mortar stores, I’m grateful for B&H, not only just for being there so I can get my hands on equipment I want to try, but for the huge staff of experts and near zero wait times. I can’t think of one visit where I was given bad advice or pressured into buying something. In addition, the Event Space is an immensely valuable resource. The expert speakers and the timely and relevant topics have been a great ongoing education for me. Please keep up the good work!

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