Life Thru the Lens 13/52... buying a new camera

I bought a new camera. About a month, or so, ago a reader asked me, "What to look for in buying a new camera?"   

Art Alley, Rapid City, South Dakota

Art Alley, Rapid City, South Dakota

I kind of love/hate that question because I never really know what to say. Investing in a camera is objective, but it really should be subjective as well. I can tell you what specs to look for, but they might not be what you actually need to capture the pictures you are wanting, or the camera you need for your lifestyle. 

Art Alley, Rapid City, South Dakota


1. Consider your lifestyle, and do some research. Are you always on the run, or do you have a more relaxed life? Are you documenting everyday home life, or are you a street photographer? Do you love macro pictures shot in the daytime, or are you a night time star gazer? Sure the lenses you choose to capture all these moments are important, but let's be honest, the camera is important as well. You might want a smaller camera verses a larger camera, so that you can easily fit it into your purse or your backpack. If you are looking at shooting sports you might want an optical viewfinder verses an electronic viewfinder that has a continual refresh rate.  And, some cameras preform better in low light than others. For instance the new Nikon D5, with an expandable ISO range of 3 million (you read that right), is suppose to obliterate any night time photography competitors. 

2. What is your budget? Because while the Nikon D5 is an awesome camera with 153 AF points, and 12 fps, at 20.8 megapixels... okay I'll stop before I have a photography geek meltdown.... it is also $6,496! Yikes! Oh man, that baby would be coming home to momma, if I had the money to splurge on it. Most of us have a splurge value, or we save until we can purchase what we want. Either way, you should have a realistic budget to stay within because you will more than likely need to purchase accessories to go with your camera, unless this is a body only upgrade. 

3. Do you really want, or need, a DSLR camera? Gasp! Did I really just ask that question? You bet I did. DSLR cameras are the epitome of cameras; I have not meet anyone, who is at all interested in photography, who does not salivate at the click of the shutter release, the bulk of the lens, and the girth of the body of a DSLR. However, point-and-shoot cameras have come a long way over the last few years. Take, for instance, the Sony RX 100 III with a zoom lens 20-70mm f1.8-2.8 equivalent, and ISO range of 160-12800, and the ability to shoot in RAW. Now those specs make a great little camera. 

4. Once you have done some research and narrowed down the field, decided your budget, and whether or not you really need a DSLR camera go to the store and hold some cameras. When I purchased my first DSLR camera I really thought I wanted a Canon. I had narrowed down the exact model I wanted and was giddy with excitement to bring it home, until I held it in my hand. It just did not feel right in my hand. And, when I played around with the Canon menu verses the menu of a Nikon I gravitated towards the Nikon. This is where subjectiveness comes into play. Sure we can do all the objective research we want, but in the long run it might come down to... do you like the way the camera feels in your hand and do you like workings of the interface?

"Did you ever have to make up your mind? 

Pick up on and leave the other behind.

It's not often easy, and not often kind

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Did you ever have to finally decide?

To say yes to one and let the other one ride..."

~ Lovin Spoonful, Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind

My new camera is a Fuji Xt1, and I LOVE it. It has met, and exceeded, all the specs I was looking for in a new system.

~ I wanted a compact DSLR system, so that I would no longer be lugging around so much weight when we hike. 

~ I wanted a system that was water and dust resistance, and that would preform in extreme weather. (My current camera does not like the cold)

~ I wanted a mirrorless camera because they produce amazing landscape photos. 

~ I wanted a system that I could invest in without bleeding me dry.


1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and/or link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.


~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

~The link-up will open at 8:00 A.M. Mountain Time. 


{Disclosure: All links in this post are affiliate links. Although I have not used the Nikon D5 or the Sony RX 100 III, I can recommend them based on my Nikon experience and on the recommendation of a close friend who is a Sony enthusiast. After using and owning the Fuji XT1, I can highly recommend it. If you click through on these links I might make a small commission of of your purchase from Amazon Associate Affiliate Program. I will not receive any profit from Nikon, Sony or Fuji.}