Expectations vs. Reality: Your First DSLR

People have varying expectations of their first DSLR. Those can vary from the really mundane or obvious to the really bizarre. In this video, Kai and the team from DigitalRev share a few of those expectations and, in the process, give us a reality check:

Expectation: My first DSLR is going to be a top model!

Have you been looking to finally put a stamp on your reputation as ‘photographer material’ by buying a pro DSLR? Well, what if the camera that you actually end up buying is far from being a pro model? Reality check: a pro model such as the Canon 5D Mark III can cost you upwards of $3,300 with a kit lens.

reality check for first dslr

Expectation vs. Reality

Most enthusiasts with anything less than a deep pocket would have to seriously think about selling their future children or body parts to afford a pro camera. So, what you end up buying could just be something like the Canon 550D (Rebel T2i if you are in the US). Hardly professional, but a great tool all the same.

Expectation: I’m going to look like a superstar pro photographer!

inspiration to buy a dslr

Think you’ll look like a superstar pro photographer?

Have you always been inspired by professional photographers who have a rock star aura about them? What if the cheap entry level DSLR you end up buying makes you look no better than a nerdy photographer?

Reality check: you are only going to look the way you actually are. Don’t pay heed to passing comments.

Expectation: I’m going to travel the world to take photos like a National Geographic photographer!

If you always thought about traveling the world with your DSLR, making images like a National Geographic photographer, you’d better be prepared to invest time, energy, and money. If you’re the type of person who has never been a go-getter your plans and promises will forever remain unfulfilled.

Reality check: buying a camera does not guarantee you great images. You actually have to go out and make them.

Expectation: My camera will be a hit with my friends!

“When my friends see my new camera they are going to be, like, so fascinated by my cool new toy.”

impress your friends with your new dslr

Expecting to impress your friends with your new DSLR?

Sound all too familiar? With a 5D Mark III maybe, but with a 550D? Not too sure.

Expectation: I’m going to take professional quality images without breaking a sweat

image quality expectations from a new dslr

What are you expectations about image quality?

Almost every beginner has been guilty of this one. They think that they can make great images easily with their new DSLR. Yes, it is a DSLR, and yes, it has got potential. But the camera doesn’t make the images—you do! Your images are only going to be as good as your skills.

Your DSLR is like an automobile. In the right hands, it accelerates smoothly, gear changes are perfect, and you get the most out of the engine. If you don’t know how to the best camera out there, your images are always going to look like crap.

Expectation: I’ll make lots of money with my camera.

Hoping to make loads of money by selling images is good inspiration to buy a DSLR. It is definitely a possibility. But first you will need to build a portfolio of work—something that clients can look at and judge the quality of your work. That, again, requires a lot of dedication.

Expectation: People will line up to have their photos taken!

With your new camera, you might expect people to line up to ask you take their photo. Maybe this is true if you know what you are doing and have the basics of exposure and composition covered. If your idea of taking a portrait is endless waiting time for the model, they will quickly get bored, probably take a quick selfie on their smartphone, and leave!

What expectations and realities did you discover when you bought your first DSLR?

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