Opinion: Get hands-on with a camera before buying

Get hands-on with a camera before buying

Lots of people become obsessed with the specification of their next camera, and while it’s important, I think the handling is just as significant. If you buy the camera with the ‘best’ specification, but you don’t get on with its control layout, you’ll never truly enjoy using it. And that can be the difference between taking it out with you and leaving it at home.

That’s why I always recommend visiting a camera store before making a purchase. There’s no substitute for getting your hands on a camera when you’re trying to decide what to buy.

The Perfect Match

Recently, a friend asked me for some advice about buying a camera. She’d got a 12-year-old DSLR that she’d never really got to grips with and with a big trip coming up, she wanted something that would help her get shots she’ll be happy with.

Thanks to a decent budget, there were lots of models within her reach, both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. After a quick chat, we decided that she’d be best served by a mirrorless camera. Being able to see the impact of the camera’s settings would be very useful for her.

After that, I took her through all the current models available in her price range. Then, armed with the information, she headed off to her local camera store. The staff, all keen photographers themselves, were happy to take her through the options I’d suggested. With her hands on the cameras, it didn’t take her long to narrow down the selection. Some were too big, others too different from her SLR.

Like Goldilocks, she tried them all until she found one that felt just right.

As it happens, she selected a camera that wasn’t on my list because the shop staff produced a second-hand Fujifilm X-T2. She’d liked the X-T100 I’d recommended she take a look at, so the X-T2 wasn’t too different, but a step up. 

The end result is that she’s taking more photographs than ever before. And after mastering the basics of her new camera, she’s now starting to look at some of the more advanced features.