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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.