No New Camera? No Problem!

Do you want to start in photography but can’t buy a new camera? Then this post is for you.

Everybody wants new stuff. We want a new car, a new house, new clothes and, in the case of a novice photographer, a new camera. However, we sometimes struggle with money and can’t buy a new camera to start our photography journey. What can we do?

Set a Budget

Setting a budget should be your first step because it gives you a clear guide of your limits. Just consider that you will need a camera, a lens, and either a computer or a mobile device to process your images

Used is the Key

Maybe a used camera is a good option for you. Depending on your budget, you may find used, 2 year old cameras at a decent price. Look for them on ebay or pawn shops. In any case, if your budget is very low, you’’re probably looking for an entry level SLR with a kit lens, or a bridge camera with a 10x zoom or longer, and make sure you can shoot in Manual mode.

Nikon D5200

Nikon D5200

Before you buy ask for a new, unedited image from the camera and upload it to http://camerashuttercount.com in order to find out how many images have been shot with it. The lower the number, the better.

If you can inspect the camera in person, do it. If not, ask for pictures of it. Look for scratches on the lens front and back, on the bayonet and on the camera mount. If there are any, maybe the camera was not well taken care of and it’s better to keep looking. The same goes if the lens can’t be un/mounted easily. Another easy test is to assemble the camera and lens and then shake it a little; if anything rattles, it’s a bad sign (there are exceptions to this, but they are only a few).

Use Your Current Camera

Smartphone Camera

Smartphone Camera

The usual recommendation after buying a camera is to get a normal, fixed length lens because fixed lenses are technically superior and because having constraints makes us more creative. Well, it turns out you may already have a camera with a fixed length lens: your smartphone!

The cameras in our smartphones have improved a lot in the last 10 years and, even though they have some limitations, a smartphone may be your first tool to practice photography, specially non-technical photography skills like composition or developing rapport with a subject.

Use Film (Maybe)

Film Reel

Film Reel

Another option to start in photography without buying a new camera is to start with a film camera. However, depending on your location and the film development labs available in your area, this may or may not be a cheap way to practice photography. Unfortunately, film prices and development have increased and there are less places that develop film.

There you have it, there are two, probably three, ways for you to practice photography without buying a new camera.

I really hope I helped you figure out which way to go about practicing low budget photography.

If you liked this post, share it with your friends. If you’d like to add reasons to like kit lenses, please leave a comment below.

Would you like to subscribe to the weekly newsletter?

If you missed a few concepts here or there, and you’d like to take a free photography foundations online course, enroll in the Learn Photography in 7 Days course.

Leave a Reply

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

five + fifteen =