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Question
Hi Dave,

I am Aditya from India. I am learning photography and need to upgrade to a DSLR from a point and shoot camera. I have a limited budget and have shortlisted 3-4 camera options. I would really appreciate if you could help me in choosing the right option.
The options that Iíve shortlisted are as below:
Nikon D3300
Canon 600D
Canon 1200D

Answer
Hi Aditya,

Sorry that I've been away from computers for a bit...and couldn't answer you earlier! As a user of both Nikon and Canon equipment, I can say that all the models you list are probably very good. In general, I've heard that some photographers find Nikon images to be a little "cool" in coloration...tending slightly toward blue. So you might find Canon images to be "warmer," if that's important to you.

I'm not sure that anyone (except working pros) really needs 24-megapixel cameras like the Nikon D3300. Unless you plan to make big prints of your images, that's probably too much resolution for your purposes. And the lower-resolution Canon models will probably produce cleaner images in dim light. I can't promise that, but higher-resolution digital sensors often produce more "chroma noise" in low-light images.

But have you also considered any of the smaller "mirrorless" cameras from Fuji, Sony, Nikon and others? They also take interchangeable lenses (even inexpensive classic lenses from film SLRs)... but are much more portable than DSLRs. You might want to look at them too.

To be honest, though, YOU are the only one who can decide which camera is best for you! So go to a good camera store, hold different models in your hands, and take a few photos. Very often, your hands will tell you which camera is the best! That's because a TRULY best camera is one that you'll pick up and carry every day. And if a camera isn't comfortable in your hands, you'll rarely pick it up. This is especially important for someone like you who is upgrading to a full DSLR from a smaller point-and-shoot!

In general, cameras have become so good that...based on specs alone...it's hard to go wrong with any manufacturer or model. So let your hands tell whether a specific unit is best for you.

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Dave

Photography

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Dave Powell

Expertise

My specialty is highly atmospheric digital-infrared photography, and I'd love to answer questions about digital-IR equipment and procedures. I can also help people understand classic "old-photog" techniques (like "Sunny 16 Exposure" and "Hyperfocal Focusing")... which are still useful today. I can answer questions about processing, improving, manipulating, and printing digital photos with programs like Photoshop. I'm an inveterate tinkerer, and may be able to answer questions about making one's own photo equipment (such as DIY special-effect filters, close-up adapters, and pin-hole cameras); about doing super-closeup macro photography (film or digital); and about using older lenses on cameras made by different manufacturers (such as Nikon lenses on Canon bodies and Pentax lenses on Olympus bodies. I can answer general purchasing questions, such as "Can any of the digital SLRs use my old Minolta film lenses?" But as others have noted, nobody can identify the "best" camera for another person. That calls for extensive web research plus hands-on time in a good camera store. (But I can point to great web resources for doing this research!)

Experience

Over the past 40 years, I've used a huge variety of film cameras (SLR, rangefinder, point-and-shoot, high-end, fantastique-plastique, fully manual, highly automated, 35mm, 110, medium format, Polaroid, folding, even homemade pinhole). I've used digital cameras since the late 1990s (began when I was writing user manuals for Polaroidís digital cameras). I've also won juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints. (Amazingly, my best-selling print was taken with a lowly 0.8-megapixel camera, and very carefully processed to print at 12x18 inches!) Iíve taught local adult-ed classes about digital cameras, Photoshop image processing, and better photography through self-understanding. Iíve contributed to Popular Photographyís tips and tricks column, and am currently writing a book about taking better photos through self-understanding.

Publications
Popular Photography (tips and tricks column), plus dozens of magazines and blog sites that have carried my bylined articles about computers, networking, information security, and eLearning.

Education/Credentials
Masters in Science Communications, Boston University, 1980. Bachelors in Mathematics, Denison University, 1970.

Awards and Honors
I've won several juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints... especially digital-infrared landscapes, architectural abstracts, and cityscapes. I've also won multiple international awards in the technical-writing field... including a business press equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. And I've even written for Sesame Street!

Past/Present Clients
Winchester Recreation Department (taught photography classes) Jenks Senior Center (taught photography and Photoshop classes) Polaroid (wrote their digital-camera user manuals until they entered Chapter 11)

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