How I Picked My First DSLR Camera

Hello, all!

Yesterday, something really fun came in the mail…

I shared this picture on my instagram account yesterday, asking for any photography tips and resources. You all were so helpful with your advice – thank you!!

A few months ago, I decided I want to invest in a DSLR camera and learn how to use it. I love taking photos of my vacations, food, and everyday life. Not being an impulsive buyer (to a fault…sometimes it takes me much longer than it should to make a purchase!), I spent plenty of time doing my research to be sure that I would get a camera that would make me happy for a long time! It’s such an expensive thing to buy, I didn’t want to have to make an upgrade in a year or two.

Quite honestly, it was a big, scary purchase for me! I know zero about digital photography, and the last camera I owned, besides my iPhone, was a crappy point-and-shoot when I was in college in 2008. But I didn’t want to buy a really cheap DSLR that was 10 years old and then have to make an upgrade next year. If I was going to do this, I wanted to go all out and commit to buying a camera that will last for a long time! If you’re in the same boat as I was and interested in investing in a new DSLR but unsure of where to start, take a look at some of the things I discovered during my research.

First off, here are some of the articles that were helpful to me when I was doing my research:

I ended up going with the Canon EOS Rebel T6I with 18-55 mm lens. I nearly bought the t5i, but ended up changing my mind. After doing some research, here’s how I decided:

Nikon Vs Canon? Intuition: What feels right about the camera?

Nikon vs. Canon….seems like everyone has an opinion! But the bottom line is that good reviews can be found for both, and I’ve heard professional photographers swear by both brands. Eventually, I just had to make a choice.

As someone who has never owned a DSLR, it’s hard to know what I’ll like and what I won’t like! It will take several months of playing with the camera before I know the things about it that annoy me, and the things I like. We just have to date for a while. Unfortunately, I can’t “rent” a camera for that long, so I had to make a choice.

I went into a Best Buy store and played around with some of the cameras I was considering. In the end, it came down to the fact that my mom had a Canon DSLR camera when I was a kid, and I would use it occasionally. That small amount of exposure to that brand made me much more comfortable navigating a Canon vs. a Nikon…I can’t explain it very clearly, but something about it just felt right in my hands. But actually holding the camera was a game changer. It’s hard to know what a camera will feel like in your hands if you’re relying on internet research. Get out there and pick one up!

New Vs. Used

I emailed a few questions to my wedding photographer, Sam Hugh, who was so sweet to get right back to me with his thoughts! He said that most photographers take pretty good care of their cameras, so buying used isn’t a bad idea. I also read the article that I sourced above, which talks about the benefits of buying used.

While I was definitely considering some used cameras, I ended up going with a new one in the end because I picked a very recent model, and the price difference in new vs. used wasn’t significant enough. Now, if I had picked an older model, like the t5i, I definitely would have purchased a used camera!

Little details: wifi, rotating screen, and gps

Once I had made some decisions about the brand, price range, resolution, and sensor size, I had to choose how many “extras” I wanted on my camera. This was tough! Looking back to when I was choosing between the t5i and the t6i, besides it being a slightly newer and better (in small ways) camera, the t6i also has wifi capabilities. As someone who loves social media, I knew that being able to immediately post a picture on instagram without having to first download it to my computer would be something that would be important for me!

I also made sure to choose a camera with a rotating screen, because I love taking overhead pictures of my food, like this one:

So instead of having to stand up on a chair so that I can see the top of my screen, I can now just angle to screen down toward me. Again, it’s a little thing, but I decided that it was important to me, so I made sure my camera had that feature. There are so many small variances in DSLR cameras, so making a definite decision on something like this really helped me narrow down the field and choose a camera I knew I would love for a long time!


Ok y’all: I am brand new at this! My battery is finished charging and I’ve just barely had a chance to turn the camera on and shoot a few practice photos. I have lots of reading to do and youtube videos to watch before I learn how to use this thing, and I expect that along the way I’ll discover things I really love about the camera, and things that I wish were different. I’ll do a follow-up post in a few months about what I’ve learned, if I think it will be helpful to anyone!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!



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Izzy Bruning
7 years ago

This camera is stunning!
These are all excellent points that I will defiantly consider when buying my first camera! x
Izzy |

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