Is a DSLR camera for you? Part 1…


I have been getting a lot of questions from friends and colleagues about what DSLR camera they should buy.  As a result, and because my time is valuable and not endless and I do want to answer as many questions as possible, I’m doing a blog post about it.  Something that gets you to think, gets the wheels turning in your head and is educational without being too technical.  Also, please note, that this is my OPINION.  Not based on fact though not based on fiction and I’m not a Nikon or Canon employee.  I’m just passionate about photography, my photography business, and understand the desire of others to take better photos.

When people say, “What do you recommend for a DSLR camera for me?  I want one.”  I immediately respond with, “Why do you want one specifically?  What do you want to achieve that you think your Point and Shoot camera cannot do for you?”

Still with me?  Most people can’t answer that question.  The truth is Point and Shoots are really great!  Have you ever taken the time to read their manuals?  You can usually adjust the lighting on them too!  Bet you didn’t know that.

If you want bokeh, that cool blurry background in a lot of photos like the one below then chances are you need a DSLR.

New York City Proposal at Columbus Circle, Mandarin Hotel Asiate | Mikkel Paige Photography with Brilliant Event Planning | NYC Wedding Photographer

(Pause for definition: DSLR = digital single lens reflex.  For further info click the link on DSLR.  It’ll give you more technical info than you probably want to know!)

Cameras are so intuitive these days that it doesn’t take a whole lot to “blur a background” or get crisper photo (which is usually reason #2 someone wants a DSLR) with the right camera and lens.  But do you really want to pay between $600 and $1,000 minimum to leave your camera on auto all the time?  Gosh, I hope not!  If you’re still interested in buying a DSLR read on.

 **Please most of the way a photo comes out is the person behind the camera; their artistic eye and capabilities has a lot to do with the way an image is created. Just because I am photographing something with a certain combination of camera body and lens doesn’t mean you’ll reproduce the same image given the same tools.**

If you still want one, the next question is usually, “Should I buy Nikon or Canon?”  Ahhh the age-old question.  Do you want chicken or beef?  Okay, not fair.  But seriously – it’s a personal preference.  For all the arguments I hear in favor of Nikon I hear just as many in favor of Canon.  There are, by the way, other companies that make DSLRs like Sony and Panasonic but honestly, I would only recommend Canon or Nikon to people.

I would recommend going to a camera store.  Test it out, “try it on.”  Would you buy a car without testing it out?  Would you buy a really expensive dress or jewelry without trying it on?  I’m guessing no.  This shouldn’t be any different.  When I was deciding between the two I knew as soon as I held them in the store what I wanted.  You may know from your experience at a store too.  And please, for the love of photography, go to a camera store; don’t go to Best Buy (no offense, Best Buy) where the chances of there being a specialist who is incredibly knowledgeable in the camera department are slim.

I’m going to continue this post during the week.  But my last comment will be this: if you want a small camera to take on vacation to do all the things a DSLR can do but in the size of a deck of cards, which is the size most Point and Shoots tend to be these days, you aren’t going to find it.  Though if you know of such a petite DSLR let me know!

Click here for Part 2





Well put, Mikkel. I would add a few things.

Check out this site to compare models side-by-side: Remember the type of shooting you want to do will determine what camera you need. Maybe you need a full frame for landscapes or one that shoots more frames per second to shoot sports. Do you want to record full HD video?

Check out cameras like the Canon G11 or G12 and the Nikon P7000 that are like point and shoots on steroids or a DSLRs little brother.

Lastly, if friends or family shoot with a certain brand, go with that. That way you have someone to compare notes with and maybe even share lenses. 🙂 Remember a camera is just a box that records light. It's just a tool, how its used is up to the user.

Good post Mikkel. I agree, I think people see the great pictures a DSLR camera take and they think they want that, they want those pictures. BUt learning to use a SLR camera is alot of work. I had to force myself to not shoot in auto. It worked and I learned and I think I take decent pictures. But alot of people don't realize that those awesome shots they see and want take work, not to mention some post processing!

I would recomend a Sony DSC-HX1 for the people who "think" they want a DSLR. I did tons of research while looking for a camera for my inlaws. This has alot of SLR functions, and a bunch of other stuff alot of people want, Zoom, HD Video, etc. It is easy to use and produces alot of great pictures!


The Bradford NC Photos captured by Mikkel Paige Photography. This North Carolina Raleigh event venue has beautiful gardens and is perfect for outdoor or indoor ceremonies and receptions. Design by @vivalevent with a green, black and peach palette. Hair and makeup by Silverceiling Beauty. #mikkelpaige #brideandgroom #Raleighweddingphotographer #raleighweddingvenues
Groom and bride walking away from the camera at Huntington's Harbor Club at Prime.