How to buy your first DSLR

by Guest Contributor

25 September, 2017

By Kalina Petkova, student
Instagram.com

So as already mentioned I like doing a bit of photography and invest a fair amount of time in it.

Add to that the fact that I am studying Media Production, which focuses a lot on video, and it really became frustrating not owning a DSLR and having to go through the tedious process of filling out risk assessments in order to borrow university equipment, if I wanted to do the tiniest of projects. At the same time, as advanced as phones are nowadays, they don’t quite hit the mark with the quality and freedom I am after. So if you’re considering buying your first DSLR, here are a couple of tips + my personal experience and opinions.

Look for an ENTRY level

If this is your very first DSLR, chances are you are not as experienced as you think you are. Even if you have the funds, don’t splash out on very pricy professional equipment, that you’ll soon feel overwhelmed with and more confused and frustrated rather than excited. Knowing what you’re doing and being in control + an entry level camera almost always leads to much better results than the latest, most amazing model with 128324 features + you not knowing what button to press. Here‘s a good list of beginner DSLR’s and a buying guide, to serve as a starting point.

Do a bit of digging

If you want a bargain, buy & sell groups on Facebook, Gumtree and similar options are your best friend. A year ago, I got a camera kit that was going for £400 on Amazon for £100 on Facebook, and it had been used no more than 10 times – you could tell it’s practically new. The guy that sold it to me was also kind enough to give me his bag, SD card and other stuff that didn’t come with the kit, for free. Important to mention here – do go and check the camera out yourself before you buy, as sometimes “too good to be true” is indeed just that.

Research and compare

If you found a bargain piece don’t just chance it because “it’s a DSLR and it’s cheap”. Go and read as many reviews as you can. Read the specifications and look at photos taken with the same model to be as sure as you can the camera suits your needs and experience. Doing a bit of research might also lead you to possibly finding a better deal for the same model.


Kalina Petkova is a media production student at Bournemouth University