When buying your first camera there are a lot of factors involved in the research and decision making process. To help ease that process, here are the 4 things you need to know before buying your first camera.
What are your initial needs?
Figure out what you specifically need this camera for and what type of camera you want. Do you want to take photos, shoot videos or both? Do you want a more lightweight camera such as a point and shoot or a DSLR? Do you want a screen that flips out for taking selfies or vlogging? Are you using this camera for flat lays in a controlled studio environment or shooting outdoors? Do you plan on shooting in low light setting such as events or at night? Do you know how to properly use a camera in manual mode or will you be shooting mostly in Auto? This last question alone will determine whether you need a full frame camera with a larger sensor or a crop sensor camera such as an entry-level DSLR, a mirrorless camera or a point-and-shoot.
What technical aspects are you looking for?
How many megapixels do you want? Do you want it to be able to shoot RAW files or just jpegs? Do you want it to have a high ISO range to be able to shoot in lower light situations? How far do you want it to be able to zoom? Do you want to have a viewfinder or a live viewfinder on the LCD screen? Is wifi/Bluetooth connectivity important? Do you want a crop sensor or full frame sensor? Do you want it to also shoot HD video? What kind of lenses do you plan on using with it?
What brand are you going with?
The brand that you go with can affect numerous current and future decisions when it comes to your photography. It can affect your budget when you go with pricier brands such as Sony, Leica and Fuji. As you grow with your camera you might want to buy more lenses and attachments to go with it that also can affect your budget whether you stay on brand or go with third-party equipment such as Tamron or Sigma. Picking a brand also can affect your learning curve when it comes to buying or upgrading to new equipment. When I bought my first camera it was a Nikon so when I upgraded to a larger camera I stayed within the Nikon family because I has already invested time in learning how to use their interface. I also knew that I could use the lenses I had from my previous camera with my newer camera instead of having to buy all new equipment right off the bat.
What is your budget?
This question is always the kicker. How much are you willing to spend? What can you reasonably afford? Are you looking for a kit or are you buying the camera body, lenses and accessories separately? Are you looking for something to just satisfy your needs right now or do you plan on upgrading in the next few years?