Learn With Me Photography: Guide to Camera-Buying

Right, I’ve had a fair few lessons now, and I find myself getting the photography bug, so, I want a camera! If you do, too, you’re in the right place, as here’s a handy guide to buying your first camera, from Matt, at Matthew Wardle Photography….

A Guide to Buying your First Camera - taking you through Compacts to DSLR's

Buying your first camera can be a little tricky!! With so many options nowadays the market can seem a very confusing place for anyone who wants to take their first steps in to the world of photography.

Since the dawn of the digital camera manufactures have been coming up with more advanced cameras, new styles and designs that can give people the exact camera they need but with so much technology added to the cameras it can really seem like to much to take in. Every camera seems to offer more megapixels and zooms can make it even more confusing.

After all you just want to take a few good pictures yeah??

To be honest, unless you want to jump straight in to the DSLR market the higher the megapixels does not always mean a better photograph and the greater zoom does not always make things look amazing from miles away.

To start to find the right camera for you it is important to find out what you want to use it for and how much you are willing to spend on one. A good starting camera can range from anything from £60 to £2000 so you need to find out exactly what you want from it. Then it is time to choose your style.


These cameras are brilliant to pop in your pocket or bag and when going for a walk or night out. They offer simple point and shoot features and although many will have a basic manual setting you can get some very good shots by letting the camera do the work in automatic mode. Many of these models come with added features such as video and Wi-Fi connection. And to be fair you can get some very good shots with the lower end versions.

Starter prices – £49 -£200 +

Best uses – Family, Travel.

Compact – Camera -Systems

With a compact body and interchangeable lenses these cameras are making a big hit on the camera market and with great results. They offer lightness, adaptability and are very simple to use. If you just want to point and shoot at a family party or venture out in to the wild they offer a very good option and one that is becoming ever more popular.

Starter prices £240 – £500 +

Best Uses – All round

Bridge Cameras

These are a cross between a full on professional looking DSLR and a compact. They are ‘bridging’ the gap between them. However if you have never used a compact it doesn’t mean you can’t jump straight to one of these.  With a stronger feel and more settings it is probably a camera for the more technically minded and one very good feature with bridge cameras is that, just like a compact you never have to change lenses. The Zoom range on these is generally excellent and can often bring the question ‘why buy a DSLR?’ I shot with a Fuji bridge for two years before I returned to DSLR cameras and got some amazing results and the only reason I went back to DSLR’s is because I turned professional and need the extra clarity that a DSLR can give.

Starter prices – £150 – £450

Best Uses – Family, Travel, Outdoors, Close ups and portraits


Most people think of DSLR’s as the professional camera. Where everything is aimed at the photographer who knows what they want and know instantly what settings to use, however only a handful of these cameras are made solely for the Professional. All of the manufactures offer an entry level camera that will normally include a lens or two with it and the settings on these cameras have an automatic setting as well as additional more advanced settings that you can learn in time.  Also you can add lenses to your kit if you want to go and photography wildlife or any other subject matter. One downside about these is that they are heavy. But with the added weight comes quality.

Starter prices £300 – £900

Best uses – everything

As well as these options the other option that is now huge is mobile phone cameras. With most mobile manufactures putting the camera first on a mobile design. They do offer great results! I was reading an article about a professional landscape photographer who was challenged by National Geographic to use only his iPhone while out in Antarctica for a few weeks and he got some amazing shots. With Facebook, Instagram and twitter on everyone’s phone you can share your photo in seconds but do you get the same quality you would do with a standalone camera?? I doubt it.

All in all everyone has a different eye when it comes to photography. Some want to go out and photograph stunning landscapes and some just want to use it to add photos on Facebook. Everyone is different and this is where all the models of cameras come in. Look through websites such as WEX Photographic, check out reviews on cameras that you have seen and one very good tool is browsing Flickr, A photo sharing site where you can search for camera types and see how your end results could look.

All in all photography is simply about getting out and enjoying yourself while capturing the perfect moments.

You don’t always need the most expensive camera to do that. Just being in the right place at the right time!

Your camera is only a tool to the vision that you want to create and only you can make that vision work!


www.matthewwardlephotography.com –UK landscape Photography – workshops and prints


Thanks very much, Matt! I feel like some of the mystery and confusion has been removed now! And I do love that last line there, too – so true.

And so, the big news here this week – I’ve made my camera purchase! I’m beyond excited about it, and I just love it! I’ve gone for a Canon Powershot SX210 IS, having had a chat with a lovely lady over on Twitter about it all, and she even found me my particular camera over on eBay at a bargain price – thanks, Lynda! So, now you’ve read Matt’s tips, are you ready to buy, too? Hoping so. I’m off to play with my camera now…..

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10 thoughts on “Learn With Me Photography: Guide to Camera-Buying”

  1. Thankyou for this-how sweet of you.
    Matt is so right………in that if you don’t have some sort of “eye” you could have the best kit out
    there but still not manage to get some great shots.
    I love my compact because it’s just that-compact-and because I take most of my photos while out walking
    the dog and I am in no way prepared to faff about with spare lenses, etc. Plus I’ve NO patience at all
    so for me I see it, I photograph it. If I have to fiddle too much the moment is often long gone. However, if
    you’re maybe a birdwatcher or somebody who’s prepared to sit in one spot patiently then changeable lenses are more for you along with an SLR…I had one myself but it drove me nuts having it around my neck all the time !!
    Years ago I used to use a comparison website to upgrade my camera-you’d put in the sort of shot you wanted, whether you preferred closeups or distance, etc. and it churned out the models most closely matching. That was helpful. I’m sure there has to be sites like that still out there, too.

    1. That’s exactly what appealed to me – it’s ease to grab and use and be small – I’ve enough ‘kit’ to carry round with the 2 kids, without adding more! Thanks again 🙂

  2. Great informative post Jocelyn! I’m saving up to buy a zoom lens for my camera so am watching some of the top camera buying sites in case they have a special deal or are selling a second hand one in good condition.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this one, as I am in the market to buying my first real GOOD camera! lol I just don’t know what to choose, it’s overwhelming. This gave more a better understanding so thank you again.

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