Camera Buying Advice for the Enthusiast
The way I rate the worth of a camera is through the kind of pictures I shoot with it. For example, if I were to buy a new camera worth a lakh of Rupees, I will consider it a worthwhile investment if I make at least a hundred excellent photographs with it.
For me, a fabulous, prize-winning shot is worth about Rs. 5000. A good shot that can be published is worth Rs. 1000. If I manage to photograph ten prize-winning shots and a 50 good shots in one year, then I recover the cost of my camera. Of course, this is a very clinical way of looking at the worth of a camera, but I find it a good measure of how much one should consider investing. Often, photographs also have a great sentimental value. Regardless of whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, if you can make a gift of the right picture of the right moment at just the right time, the value for the one who is receiving it is priceless. So, if I make about ten prints every year and gift them to people, I recover another ten or 20 percent of the value of my new camera.
In this issue, we have listed the 30 best cameras available across price segments and camera categories— from basic compacts to pro-level DSLRs. The type of camera you buy depends on the kind of photographer you are and your immediate requirements. However, do not compromise on the quality of camera you buy. If you are a hobbyist and you need a DSLR, buying an advanced compact will not serve your purposes.
Your buying decision also depends on how much you can really afford. If you find that you cannot afford the camera that you need, you can start saving up for it. It would probably do your soul some good to know that the only DSLR capable of delivering the same level of quality as that of 35mm film costs over Rs. 5 lakhs! You could simply stick to an inexpensive, second-hand 35mm film SLR and make your pictures. You would have recurring costs of film, processing and printing. And the camera is not going to do any of your work for you. Yet, this will also probably make you a better photographer by the time you save up enough for a good DSLR.