Tip #6: Don’t get caught in the brands war between hardcore fans!
Once you step into the dSLR market, you will notice that owners here are far more polarized around their favorite brands. Some will swear by Canon, while others wouldn’t touch anything other than Nikon (and nothing made outside Japan, God forbid!). A compact group still cries for Minolta’s disappearance from the market as an independent brand, and hates Sony for taking them over, while Sony fans think it was the natural thing to do.
Another small but strong message comes from Pentax fans who divide the digital photography market in “Pentax” and “irrelevant commercial garbage.” Then comes Fuji, and Mamiya, and Hasselblad, and a long list of other brands more or less specialized, each with its own group of fans (and sometimes zealots) which, given even the hint of an opportunity, will blast their appreciation for their favorite brand and despise of anything else.
Heck, I’m sure you’ll even find a couple of guys who’ll favor Kodak above anything else because “they were the first to come up with a digital camera in the early ’70s.” That suitcase with lens and viewfinder wouldn’t be allowed as an airplane carry-on, but it is nonetheless the first digital camera in the world!
Be careful not to get in the middle of this war. Take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt, and judge for yourself 1) what makes you happy, and 2) which manufacturer satisfies your personal needs better with its line of products. Do ask product owners of pros and cons for what they own, and learn from their experiences. But don’t allow them to choose for you.
One more thing: you’re not choosing a hammer at the hardware store! Treat the dSLR as a luxury item, like an extravagant piece of jewelry. It has to fit you, to make you feel good, to “click” with you, to become a natural extension of your senses. Go out and try all cameras you can find in showrooms, make a list of likes and dislikes, then come back and learn online what you should expect from each one.