Top 10 Mistakes When Buying a New Camera

Have you ever bought the wrong camera for you? Sometimes it can be daunting to try to choose one out of the myriad of makes and models out there. There are a lot of simple mistakes that can be easily avoided and John Greengo helps break down the top ten he’s seen personally:

 10. Bad Advice

Someone you know seems like a pretty good photographer and you decide to just get the same one they have. This friend may not even know how to use their camera properly or why it may or may not be a good fit for you. Don’t just ask one person because they seem like they know what they’re talking about.

9. Overestimating What Your Money Can Buy

Think realistically about your skill level and what you can actually afford. Buying a $500 camera will not put you on par with professional sports photographers or the best landscape photographers. The truth is that camera equipment can be very expensive; just a good lens alone can cost $1,000 or more. Think honestly about your skill level and find something that fits with where you are.

8. Reality Doesn’t Match Ambitions

Greengo gives the example of someone who has just retired and has big plans to travel the world and focus on travel photography. Instead, this person ends up returning the camera because they stayed home to spend more time with their grandkids and are taking more family portraits than exotic locales. Buy a camera that fits with your realistic goals.

7. Getting Distracted by Special Deals

Maybe you did all the research before going into a camera shop and you have a pretty good idea about what you need in a camera. Once you’re in the shop you see a special offer that seems too good to be true like a body with a lens, strap, bag, and tripod all included. Ask yourself if this is really what you came for. Don’t buy a camera on impulse because of a flashy sign; make sure you do a lot of research and get what you actually need.

6. Overthinking the Small Stuff

As you do your research you may learn some technical information when comparing cameras but not fully understand what it actually means. Choosing a new camera based on technical specs alone will not leave you with a better camera but more likely an inappropriate camera for your needs. There are more things to consider than just the tiny details that look fancy.

5. Thinking More Money Will Get You a Better Camera

If money isn’t an issue, just buying the most expensive equipment won’t necessarily get the right camera for you. Ask yourself if the camera fits your skill level. What’s the point of having an expensive camera with a million settings if you only know how to shoot in Auto? Start with your skill level and move up as you master it.

4. Not Budgeting for the Accessories

The more money you spend on equipment, the smaller percentage of that is the camera itself. You can’t take any photos with just a camera body, so factor lenses, batteries, memory cards, and tripods into your budget. These items can add up to more than the camera.

3. Being Over-Concerned With Online Reviews

Online forums can be a great place to find out other people’s experiences with a camera but can also be filled with angry people who write bad reviews on a regular basis. They don’t have more credibility just because they say they do.

2. Didn’t Do Any Research

It’s probably best not to walk into a camera shop and have no idea what you want or need. Do some research online and ask around. At the same time, too much research can leave you overwhelmed and frustrated and this can lead to a bad decision. There’s an appropriate amount that can be done.

1. Believing that a Great Camera Takes Great Photos

One of the biggest misconceptions for new photographers is that the camera makes the photo great. Cameras are artistic tools and the camera itself is only as great as the photographer behind it. Imagine asking a talented artist which type of brush made their painting or which guitar plays the best songs.

“It’s not the camera that’s ultimately going to determine the artwork that you’re going to create.”

which camera should I buy

By avoiding these common mistakes and figuring out what the right camera is for you, you’re more likely to end up with the perfect camera. What advice do you have for new photographers shopping for a camera?

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

3 responses to “Top 10 Mistakes When Buying a New Camera”

  1. Marvin says:

    Do not buy the kit lens. High quality lenses are worth it! You can find good deals on prime lenses. Use your feet to zoom until you can afford the high priced zooms.

  2. Dan Richards says:

    I deal with this regularly. I work at a Best Buy, while still trying to get my business off the ground, they work with me there, when I have to leave for a contract. And many people come in with little to no experience, and want to buy a camera because they read it was great! I tell people to start out with a good introductory camera, and a good starting bundle is the best way to go. Professionals, I direct by their skill and profession, as these are what count. Using some good online stores, and reading the reviews are also good (but remember what this article said about angry people) I would also add in, to watch out for idiots as well, they can be seen in their comments.
    Excellent article! I would love to use this at work.

  3. Ben says:


    Had a quick question. I am pretty new to the photography game and am looking to invest in a decent first (professional) camera. I have been looking around some, found a few i thought may fit the mold of what im looking for. Anyway, I read an article on that said the Canon EOS Rebel T6 With 18-55mm Lens was a decent camera to begin with that would last quite some time. My question is do you have any experience with this camera or do you have any recommendations on something similar that I may have overlooked?

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever