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What to Buy ... and Why

There's a lot of equipment out there. We'll look at a wide range of cameras, lenses, and accessories and you'll come away with a better idea of how to choose what's right for you.
Upcoming Classes

No workshops currently scheduled

As the saying goes: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” We all have capable smartphone cameras with us all the time, but what if you’re ready to get a dedicated camera to take you beyond what your phone camera can do? Or maybe you’re eyeing a serious upgrade or a gift. Which one should it be?

There is more camera equipment for sale now than there ever has been before. The explosion of choices is a boon to those who know what they’re looking for and often bewildering for those who just want to buy a good camera! If you’ve ever searched online for photo equipment, you’ll understand why we’re offering this class.

In this class we’ll present an overview of DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras to help you decide. We’ll discuss the differences between camera models better suited to casual or amateur use vs the more expensive, bulkier and robust professional grade equipment. We’ll also look at lens options along with accessories like flashes and tripods and give you some guidance on when it’s worth spending serious money and when you just don’t need to.

What we’ll cover in this class

Cameras: We’ll compare features, pros and cons of DSLR vs. mirrorless cameras including Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fuji. We’ll look at full frame vs. crop sensor, resolution (megapixels) and ISO (noise). What they all mean and why it might matter a lot or very little depending on what your shoot. Sometimes a pocket camera is just what you need and we’ll review models, quality and what features might matter to you.

Lenses: Why do they vary so much in cost and how do you choose something appropriate? We’ll survey lens choices and discuss when it’s worth spending the big money for the big glass.

Flash: An overview of camera mounted flashes (speedlights), who would benefit from them and what you should be prepared to spend to get the job done. There are some really good, inexpensive aftermarket units available that could save hundreds of dollars over the big name models.

Tripods: Shooting after the sun goes down or doing long exposures during the day requires some kind of tripod. We’ll look at a range of choices and prices.

Accessories: Memory cards, lens filters, lens hoods, straps, card holders, batteries, remote controls and a few other gizmos that might make your photography better and easier.

Where to buy: Once you’ve decided on the gear you want where do you spend your money? We’ll compare online options from major retailers and specialty sites vs big box stores and local shops. We’ll also have a little talk about when a good deal is just too good to be true.

Who this class is for
Anyone who is either buying a camera for the first time, considering an upgrade or thinking about changing to a different brand or style of camera.

What this class is not
We won’t be learning actual camera operation or theory. If you’d like to learn how to better use your camera please sign up for one of our beginner classes or workshops.

  • Cost per person is $45 early registration, $55 late registration.
  • Doors open at 8:45am.
  • Workshop starts promptly at 9am and ends at 12:30pm.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 18; minimum number to make a class is 8.
  • Parking is available on the street or in the adjacent lot at Electric Light & Power.
  • Please see age guidelines in the FAQ tab.

Q: Is lunch included in the workshop?
A: No, lunch is not included.

Q: How will I know if a workshop makes or not?
A: If a class doesn’t make and has to be cancelled, you will receive an email no later than 2 days before the scheduled class date.

Q: What ages are encouraged to attend?
A: The classes are not based on age but on ability and curiosity. If you want to learn and a class outline looks interesting to you then chances are you’d benefit from the class. Children under 16 must take the class with a parent or adult friend.

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: If you cancel 3-7 days ahead of the scheduled date of the class, you will receive no refund or 50% transfer credit toward another similar class within 3 months of the cancellation date. There is no refund or transfer credit for cancellations within 48 hours of start time of the class or workshop. Full details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Q: I have other questions. Who do I contact?
A: That’s easy. Use the Contact page to email us directly with any questions.

Peter Poulides

Peter is the director of Dallas Center for Photography and teaches several of the classes and workshops. In over 30 years of shooting assignments for national magazines and corporate/stock photography he’s learned a few things and likes to pass it on. His favorite student review is “You remember what it’s like to not know”.

He also works one-on-one with clients to further particular shootings skills, organize their photos with Lightroom or work on projects like books and exhibitions. He still shoots occasional commercial jobs but is busy with personal book projects and running the expanding DCP.

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