Every­one who buys a cam­era wants to get more fea­tures and func­tion­al­i­ty for the least amount of mon­ey pos­si­ble. This is clear. How­ev­er, inex­pen­sive cam­eras can have a few pit­falls that are good to be aware of before buy­ing. Read about some impor­tant rea­sons not to choose the cheap­est cam­era, espe­cial­ly as your first cam­era, in this mate­r­i­al.

If you have the idea to buy a cam­era for 30–40 thou­sand rubles, you need to be ready to go into details / unsplash.com

A cheap cam­era may have some impor­tant fea­tures cut off.
A cheap cam­era may have lim­it­ed com­pat­i­bil­i­ty
A cheap cam­era can be very frag­ile
A cheap cam­era often fails to com­pete with a smart­phone
Cheap cam­era because it’s used

It is clear that you want to get every­thing at once, but pric­ing, includ­ing on the cam­era mar­ket, did not fall from heav­en. Nat­u­ral­ly, cheap­er mod­els will be infe­ri­or in some­thing to more expen­sive ones.

For exam­ple, if we talk about younger DSLRs, the Canon EOS 2000D does not have a direct selec­tion of the aut­o­fo­cus focus point. To move the focus point when shoot­ing on this mod­el, you must first acti­vate the selec­tion of one of the joy­stick but­tons, then move the point using the con­trol wheel. For old­er mod­els, you can sim­ply dri­ve the focus point with a joy­stick.

There are prob­lems with the two-step selec­tion sys­tem — first­ly, it takes time. Sec­ond, it’s not the most intu­itive idea. And a novice pho­tog­ra­ph­er can just get con­fused and not under­stand how to choose an AF point. And the abil­i­ty to choose a focus­ing point is crit­i­cal when shoot­ing with a rel­a­tive­ly fast lens. Because point prob­lems often lead to large focus errors.

A typ­i­cal focus error looks like this. Pho­to: www.unsplash.com

We wrote more about this prob­lem and ways to solve it in this text.

In short, a cam­era that does not have direct AF point selec­tion is only suit­able for a per­son who is used to shoot­ing with­out think­ing about set­tings at all.

There are cam­eras whose fea­ture set is trun­cat­ed so much that they are no longer quite cam­eras. For exam­ple, instant cam­eras are more of an inter­est­ing acces­so­ry for a par­ty or vaca­tion than a cam­era. And the High Def­i­n­i­tion Mil­lion Pix­el is more of a chil­dren’s toy with inter­est­ing fea­tures.

Dis­tinc­tive fea­tures of the High Def­i­n­i­tion Mil­lion Pix­el are cute paws, ears and the abil­i­ty to take pic­tures at 20 megapix­els / Pho­to: fotosklad.ru

Anoth­er prob­lem that a per­son may encounter when buy­ing an inex­pen­sive cam­era is non-uni­ver­sal­i­ty. For exam­ple, the hot shoe of the same Canon EOS 2000D does not have a cen­tral sync con­tact. That is, addi­tion­al flash­es and syn­chro­niz­ers can be used with this cam­era, but only from the Canon sys­tem. This sig­nif­i­cant­ly lim­its the choice of addi­tion­al equip­ment and, by the way, imme­di­ate­ly cuts off many bud­get options.

In addi­tion, com­pact cam­eras with fixed lens­es fall into the low price cat­e­go­ry. Among them, of course, there are a suf­fi­cient num­ber of decent cam­eras. For exam­ple, Canon Pow­er­Shot G1 X will cost about 35 thou­sand. And it’s real­ly a good option for the mon­ey. In par­tic­u­lar, it has an excel­lent built-in lens with an aper­ture of F2‑3.9, which is not bad even for inter­change­able lens­es. But if you bought it for your­self, you will only have to shoot with such a lens. Buy­ing an addi­tion­al one and chang­ing lens­es depend­ing on the sub­ject of shoot­ing will not work.

The Canon Pow­er­shot G line of cam­eras gen­er­al­ly deserves atten­tion — you can find very inter­est­ing mod­els there / Pho­to: pocket-lint.com

This is not to say that the non-uni­ver­sal­i­ty of the cam­era is a seri­ous prob­lem. But this brings us back to the fact that in order to buy a good cam­era inex­pen­sive­ly, you need to under­stand very well what exact­ly you want to shoot. And be pre­pared to read reviews and instruc­tions.

When we invest in some­thing large, like a cam­era, we usu­al­ly want it to work with­out break­downs for at least a few years. Anoth­er bud­get cam­era — Canon EOS 4000D — has one unpleas­ant fea­ture. This is a plas­tic bay­o­net. The cam­era mount is the part that is respon­si­ble for attach­ing the lens to the cam­era.

Usu­al­ly on cam­eras with inter­change­able lens­es, the mount is made of met­al, since chang­ing lens­es cre­ates a load in this area. Plas­tic mount is a con­tro­ver­sial solu­tion, since plas­tic can with­stand less load. And both one-time and mul­ti­ple.

Plas­tic is more brit­tle in itself, in addi­tion, with fre­quent lens changes, plas­tic tends to wear off. This can even­tu­al­ly ren­der the cam­era unus­able.

Canon EOS 4000D is a super bud­get DSLR. You can buy a kit with a whale lens for 30 thou­sand rubles / Pho­to: unsplash.com

On such a mea­sure — a plas­tic mount — the man­u­fac­tur­er went, most like­ly, pre­cise­ly to reduce the cost of equip­ment. For 30 thou­sand rubles it is real­ly dif­fi­cult to buy a SLR with inter­change­able lens­es. But if you invest a lit­tle more mon­ey, you can buy one of the “big broth­ers” of this cam­era — Canon EOS 1300D. It is slight­ly more expen­sive, but it has a met­al mount and a hot shoe with a uni­ver­sal sync con­tact.

Can a smart­phone shoot bet­ter than a cam­era — a dis­cus­sion often unfolds around this top­ic. If we com­pare a flag­ship smart­phone (for exam­ple, Sam­sung Galaxy S22 Ultra) with a cheap cam­era (for exam­ple, the same Canon EOS 4000D), then it can very well. Anoth­er thing is that the Sam­sung Galaxy S22 Ultra is sev­er­al times more expen­sive than the younger DSLR.

If, for the puri­ty of the exper­i­ment, we com­pare the cam­era and the phone in the same price cat­e­go­ry (let’s take the younger SLR as a pair of Sam­sung Galaxy A52), then the cam­era can also lose. Yes, on the one hand, the DSLR has the abil­i­ty to shoot in RAW, it has high­er work­ing ISOs, bet­ter dynam­ic range and a larg­er matrix.

On the oth­er hand, the younger DSLR does not have intel­li­gent modes and auto­mat­ic HDR. And in order for it to show all its tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties, which sur­pass the tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties of the phone, you need to at least under­stand the set­tings a lit­tle. You need to shoot in RAW, under­stand what shut­ter speed is need­ed and how ISO works. Then RAW still needs to be devel­oped with the nec­es­sary para­me­ters. While a smart­phone will do it all in one frame.

You can, of course, go the oth­er way and take the cam­era off your hands: in the sec­ondary mar­ket for the same mon­ey you can some­times find a cam­era of a high­er class than in a store. But there are pit­falls here.

There are some defects that are dif­fi­cult to see in a short meet­ing with the sell­er. That is, exter­nal­ly, the cam­era may look great, but with the same suc­cess it may break down in a cou­ple of months. For exam­ple, when buy­ing a cam­era from your hands, it is very impor­tant to find out how many thou­sands of frames have already been shot on it and what is the shut­ter resource. If the cam­era is already very “deserved”, you should not take it — replac­ing the shut­ter is usu­al­ly quite expen­sive. There­fore, there are chances to lose more than save.

Bush cam­era must be cho­sen care­ful­ly and care­ful­ly / Pho­to: unsplash.com

There are a few pop­u­lar mod­els that wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phers often work for and are best avoid­ed. Because if the cam­era has worked for 2–3 years at wed­dings, then there are high chances that it has already run too long.

Among the typ­i­cal “wed­ding cam­eras”:

  • Canon 5D Mark III;
  • Canon EOS 6D;
  • Nikon D750.

And the last thing: if you buy a cam­era from your hands and send it from anoth­er city, be very care­ful with offers that are too attrac­tive. If in the store the cam­era you have cho­sen costs 150 thou­sand rubles, and they want to sell it to you in good con­di­tion for 50 thou­sand, then there are high chances that these are scam­mers. See the typ­i­cal price for a spe­cif­ic cam­era. On aver­age, a resale appli­ance in good con­di­tion costs a third less than a new one.

In any case, any trans­ac­tion should be car­ried out only through the site on which you buy it. If you are offered to fol­low an exter­nal link or sim­ply trans­fer mon­ey to a card, and the sell­er then sends every­thing, this is a very bad call.

You can also buy used equip­ment in our com­mis­sion shop. It’s con­ve­nient and safe. By the way, you can also sell equip­ment there — if, for exam­ple, you plan to upgrade your cam­era.