5 Tips for Buying a Camera



After over eight years with my trusty Nikon D60, it was time for an upgrade. My D60 is still in excellent condition, but I’ve been ready to move up from a cropped sensor camera to a full frame and I wanted a new camera before my trip to Italy, so I finally bit the bullet and bought one. My wallet isn’t too happy (though I did get it at a great discount and I’ll tell you how below!), but this upgrade was definitely worth it! Plus if this new camera lasts as long as my D60, it’s definitely a great investment.

Since cameras aren’t cheap investments, I did a ton of research for months comparing different cameras and costs before I finally bought one. I thought I would compile all the steps I took into this post with tips for buying a camera to help other people who are in the market for a camera! I’ll also list some camera recommendations and tell you which camera I ended up getting 🙂

tips for buying a camera

Figure out what type of photos you’ll be taking

Will you primarily be doing sport, landscape, travel, or portrait photography, or a little bit of everything? Cameras are built for different purposes, and a camera that excels at sport photography with fast shutter speeds isn’t necessarily the best camera for portraits. If you want to take a lot of photos at night, you’ll want a camera that can take longer exposures. You also should consider the size and weight of the camera because if you’re planning on traveling the world with just a small backpack, you probably don’t want a bulky camera with a large telephoto lens. There are some small, point-and-shoots on the market now that take high quality photos if a DSLR is too big for your travels. 

I’m a Nikon girl so I primarily looked at Nikon cameras because I’m already familiar with them, but other companies like Canon, Fuji, and Sony are also great so you should also check them out if you’re interested! One feature I like about the Nikon website is that you can compare different cameras to help you figure out which one has the features you need.

tips for buying a camera

Ask for advice

I wasn’t as familiar with full frame cameras and was deciding between two cameras and I couldn’t decide, so I asked one of my photography friends and I posted in a couple photography Facebook groups asking for advice. I got a lot of great feedback, and it helped my make my decision! If you don’t know where to start or you’re having trouble making a decision, I definitely suggest asking  for help. And you can always contact me if you want help picking out a camera!

Read reviews and articles

A camera website can give you a lot of information, but reading reviews and articles from other photographers will tell you more about the experience of using the camera. You can find out more details about things like the battery life, the weight and bulkiness, if any of the functions are hard to use, and even the ergonomics of holding the camera. My favorite website for reviews is Photography Life because they’re very detailed and cover everything you could need to know, but you can find reviews on pretty much any website that sells cameras.

Research where to buy cameras

Once you figure out which camera you want, there are different options for where you actually buy the camera. You can buy cameras directly from camera companies like Nikon or Canon, but I actually get my cameras refurbished for a much cheaper price. I have bought 3 cameras, multiple lenses, and gear from KEH and I LOVE their company. They sell refurbished cameras, but they’re all in excellent condition. I got my Nikon D60 from them more than eight years ago, and it’s still in amazing condition! Their customer service is also very helpful for whenever I’ve had questions. And best of all, their prices are great! You get a like-new camera for a much cheaper price. And they even have monthly payment plans since cameras aren’t the cheapest investments. (This isn’t a sponsored post, I just love KEH that much and always refer friends to their website!)

tips for buying a camera

Other options are local stores (if you’re in Philadelphia or New Jersey, I highly recommend T&F camera), Amazon, large stores like Walmart or Best Buy, or other refurbished camera websites like B&H. (I’ve mostly used KEH and T&F so I can’t personally attest to other companies, but I’ve heard good things about them).

Learn how to use your camera

Once you’ve bought your camera (yay!), you’ll need to know how to use it. I didn’t know how to use all the functions of my Nikon D60 until I took courses in college, and I have to relearn a few things with my new camera since some of the functions are different. You can get the user manual for your camera, or there are lots of resources online if your camera doesn’t come with a manual. If you like books or ebooks, I have a post with 12 Cheap and Free Photography Books for Beginners with lots of helpful resources. Photography Life also has good with tricks and tips for different cameras, which has really helped me with my new camera.

If you like to watch videos, I created an online course called Understand Your DSLR and Improve Your Photography, and it’s 56% off this week only! It’s $24 (usually $54) and includes videos, helpful graphics, and a guided worksheet to help give you direction with your practice, plus access to a private Facebook group to ask me questions and get feedback on your photos. You get lifetime access to everything for a one time payment of $24 (no coupon code needed).

So what camera did I buy?

tips for buying a camera


I bought a Nikon D810! I am very happy with my purchase, and I can see what a huge difference having a full frame makes. I debuted my new camera at The Blog Connect, and I’m excited to use it in Italy! Stay tuned for tons of photos from my trip, as usual 😉 

What camera do you currently shoot with? And if you want an upgrade, what kind of camera do you want? Comment below! 🙂 

Blog, Photography, Photography Tips

  1. Although I know a good camera lasts for years and is a nice investment, especially if you travel a lot or are a blogger or just a photography lover, I don’t want to spend a fortune on it. I really like yours though, was it really expensive? I’m thinking of getting a Canon for my graduation, what do you think? 🙂

    Samantha | https://samanthacarraro.wordpress.com

    • Julia says:

      There are a lot of pretty cheap options out there! Mine was pretty pricey because it’s a full frame, but you can find cameras like the Nikon D3300 for only a few hundred dollars.

  2. I have a Nikon coolpix L840. I literally only chose it because it came in a gorgeous purple colour, but I’m so happy with it. I am pretty clueless about photography though! Xx

  3. Tori says:

    Congratulations on your new camera! It’s so exciting to get a new one to play with and learn again! These are great tips for somebody just looking into new cameras, the only thing I’ve seen that makes it a struggle is the whole Canon vs. Nikon debacle. Outside of that, there are so many options and new things to get and learn! Enjoy!

  4. Can’t wait to see your photos from Italy! My camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1! It’s my first and only camera that I’ve had since my senior year of high school, so it’s been four years now! I still love it and am not looking for a new camera yet, but it’s always exciting to look at new cameras anyway ;P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  5. Tonya says:

    Congratulations on your new camera!

  6. Alyse says:

    Congrats on the new camera! It’s awesome that you took the leap and got a full frame (I’m waiting to do that one day as well). I also support buying refurbished. I get my items direct from Canon and haven’t had an issue.

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