Getting Started: Choosing Your First Camera


Your First Camera


Buying a camera is a luxury. You should do as much research as you can before your purchase. That said, you should not be worrying yourself if your camera can not shoot 4K or 12 fps burst. Your first camera should be something that feels comfortable in the hands, and reliable. Remember, this camera is for helping your learn and discover how you shoot.

I got into Photography through a high school project, and I started taking pictures of everything with my phone. It didn't have the best camera, but it helped me discover what I was passionate shooting, and develop basic framing techniques. My first camera was the Nikon D3100 - an entry level DSLR from Nikon. I shot a lot with that little guy and its kit lens. It had good 1080p video quality for its time, and the 18-55mm had good range for the things I was shooting. Looking back, the only downside was the aperture, but it didn't affect me then.



Nikon D3400 + 18-55mm VR f/3.5-5.6


The D3400 is an updated version of the entry level I previously used. It's available with two lens options; 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6. Both lenses have vibration reduction (VR) modes which is handy for shooting video handheld, but should be disabled when shooting photos on a tripod. The D3400 is also equipped with the ability to transfer photos to phone via Bluetooth.

  • Megapixel: 24.72 megapixels
  • Screen Size: 3 inches
  • Sensor Size: 23.5 x 15.6 mm
  • ISO Range: 100- 25600
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 5fps
  • Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth
  • Weight: 445g


Canon 2000D + 18-55mm f/4-5.6


The 2000D is Canon's equivalent to the Nikon D3400. The lens is similar in image quality to Nikon's equivalent, and also includes an image stabiliser - which reduces vibrations in video. The 2000D comes with a wireless feature that allows you to transfer photos from camera to phone through Canon's App.

Both cameras are more than suitable for someone starting to learn photography. They're both equipped with 24 megapixels and full 1080p video.

  • Megapixel: 24.1 megapixels
  • Screen Size: 3 inches
  • Sensor Size: 22.3 mm x 14.9 mm
  • ISO Range: 100-6400
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 3fps
  • Connectivity Technology: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 445g

Buying Used


Buying used cameras is also another great alternative. You can usually find used entry level cameras for a fraction of the original price. It might even be worth getting an older model, e.g. D3300 instead of D3400 just to save money - which could be used to purchase a much needed lens later on.


A Basic Setup


Below is a list I've compiled for a basic camera setup focussing on primes. This list is not intended to be a shopping list for someone to get all at once. I believe most photographers will end up with most of these lenses by a year or two into shooting. The list is a guideline on what lenses will cover your needs - you can still create art with a beaten up, weathered 18-55 Kit Lens.  

Canon has better price to quality ratio for EF-S prime lenses (for cropped sensors). The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is an incredible lens for sharp portraits. At a wide aperture of f/1.8, it performs well in low light. The Yongnuo is a third party version of Canon's, it has been seen to perform just as well at half the price. 

Nikon's lenses are far pricier in comparison to Canon's equivalent. The 50mm and 85mm f/1.8 I've recommended are for FX bodies (full frame sensor), which means they'll be around 75mm and 125mm on a Nikon DX body (crop sensor). Bear this in mind, when you upgrade your camera body down the line these lenses will still be usable. The 35mm f/1.8G is a DX lens, it will perform great as a street photography lens - or just an every day lens.


Nikon D3400 Body Only or Nikon D3400 with Kit Lens

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G 


If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.