Helping first time camera buyers

Jul 5, 2016
Lincolnshire UK
I was at my local park taking pictures, a guy next to me was taking pictures using his phone,he struck a conversation up with me along the lines of he wanted to get a proper camera but they where too complicated so he decided to stick with his phone.

It would seem he had joined a photography forum and ask about getting his first camera, the advice he had received totally confused him, he should shoot raw, learn the exposure triangle and get off the mode settings among many things, including he should buy Nikon, Canon and some other makes he couldnt remember.

This got me thinking, how many forum members actually think about the advice they give to encourage new buyers, in the old days of film any one buying a camera for the first time would go to a camera shop to look at them and ask questions, they would not be told they need a dark room, or should understand exposure.
Its more than likley the shop would have made the advice simple, something like this camera has an auto mode on it so you just look through the viewfinder and focus,the next question may have been about film, again the shop would have simplified it, don't worry about film this is a good all round print film and we can load it for you, bring it back when you have used it and we will take it out put a new one in then we can send it away for prints if you want.

This eases the newcomer into photography, camera makers go to a lot of bother to make most cameras work in a point and shoot mode many forum advicers then try to destroy this facilty and make it complicated.
Ok at the moment i am still shooting raw but if ime honest most of my images would work just as well if taken in jpeg, this has moved on a fair way from the early jpeg files/jpeg engines and as i used to use slide film raw is just a bonus.

Lots of the advice given is more to show how much the poster knows rather than help a beginner, cant say i have seen much if any of this on here but lots of us belong other forums so i would ask if you see these threads on other forums bring them back down to earth.

Mike Wingate

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Feb 21, 2017
Real Name
Mike Wingate
Look, handle, ask. Read reviews and forums with a pinch of salt. Find out best prices, return to camera shop. Buy best deal.


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Jun 2, 2015
It's the same no matter what the forum subject is. I needed to buy a new snowblower last winter and I learned more about the minutiae of snowblowers in a few days browsing forums than I ever wanted to know. It boiled down to: get an Ariens. So I did and it's fantastic. Want to buy your first guitar, your first mountain bike, your first set of skis, your first backpack? All forums will overload you with too much info.

The correct answer for a new photgrapher is go to Best Buy (or equivalent) and get the least expensive Nikon D-whatever or Canon Rebel with the kit lens, put it on full Auto and have fun. Just because I grew up in the days where everything was manual and some cameras didn't have exposure meters or focusing aids (yes, you just guessed the exposure and distance) doesn't mean a newbie needs to start that way today. You can switch that DSLR off Auto whenever you like...which might be never if the photos look good to you.

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