Post & Photo by Joe Farace – Follow Joe on Twitter

Editor’s Note: I have written a camera buyer’s guide here that you might find helpful. Now on to Joe’s post…

Not a day goes buy without me receiving an e-mail, tweet or Facebook post asking “What’s the best camera?” That can be a tough question to answer because for openers, there’s the budget aspect that’s part of any purchasing decision. Next there’s the whole “what kind of pictures do you (want to) make question too.” It’s similar to asking what kind of car someone should buy? For some the answer might be a Jaguar or a Corvette, and for me it’s a MINI Cooper. My friend Paul is 6’-6” tall so that’s not a good choice for him!

So what is the best camera? It’s actually an easy question to answer. I’ll quote Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Barry Staver, “It’s the one you have with you.” For many people, that’s a smart phone, like an iPhone, since few of us go anywhere without one these days. And people, like movie still photographer Ralph Nelson have used this tool to create real art. Google his name to find his website and see a sneak preview of his new book Botanica which contains beautiful macro pictures of flowers all made with his iPhone. I’ve shot a few photos with my iPhone but they are mostly as a record. I will confess to being mildly addicted (who knows why) to Instagram.

If you’re serious about photography, I think you should keep some kind of camera handy at all times, even if it’s a point-and-shoot like the 10-megapixel Olympus XZ-1 with f/1.8 lens I currently use and love. But the best camera remains the one you have with you. Case in point: The above image. I was washing my hands in my kitchen when I looked out the window and saw this young buck in my next-door neighbor’s yard. I just finished a portrait session in my studio testing mono lights  and grabbed a camera. I happened to have a Canon 50D in hand with an EF 135mm f/2.8 lens attached. I made a few shots though the window. Then I opened the patio door and shot a few more of him lying down. When I stepped outside and shot a few more, he got up and looked at me and I made the above (uncropped) shot. Then I made a few more walking toward him, but he decided it was time to go and slowly walked away.

So what’s the best camera? On that day and time it was a Canon EOS 50D, tomorrow it might be something else.

Joe Farace is the author of “Studio Lighting Anywhere” the second book in a trilogy or glamour and portrait photography from Amherst Media. It’s available on

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