UPDATE – we’ve added a GigaPan Epic Pro (worth almost $900) to this prize package. Now there’s even more at stake so enter today! Welcome to the next Photofocus contest. This contest starts May 14, 2013 and ends August 15, 2013. The winner gets the following: Nikon D800 Body Only and Mosaic Archive 2TB Backup Professional […]

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All photos in this post are Copyright Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons UPDATE: The latest version of ACR is doing a much better job of converting the Fuji RAW files than when I first tested the camera so you can pretty much ignore the stuff below relating to RAW files – other than this camera […]

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So that all of you who are ardent fans of various phones won’t feel slighted, I’ll start this review by saying I own the following phones… (In no particular order) 1. iPhone 5 2. Android Samsung S3 3. Windows HTX 8x Most of you who have followed me a while will be shocked to see […]

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Adobe started moving everyone to the cloud months ago and we’ve covered it extensively on Photofocus. From the very beginning, there’s been weeping and gnashing of teeth that has bordered on hysteria. In fact, in some cases, it’s mostly faux outrage based on greed, silliness, stupidity, disinformation, mob mentality, entitlement issues and misinformation. Let’s set […]

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This post is an updated compilation of several shorter posts I wrote in the past trying to answer the question, “What camera should I buy?” It includes some new cameras in the recommendation section. But please note: The newest camera is NOT always the best camera.

It’s still the most popular question I am asked. “What camera should I buy?” Lately there’s a new twist to the question…”Is this brand camera better than that brand camera?”

No matter how hard I try to tell people that there’s no perfect answer, they keep asking. So since I can’t convince anyone otherwise, at least know the answers to THESE questions before you ask me YOUR question.

1 ) What subject(s) will you photograph most often? Weddings, portraits, wildlife, sports, landscapes, still lifes, food, fashion, etc.
2 ) What gear (if any) do you now own?
3 ) If you had to choose between ease of use and power, which would you select?
4 ) Do you want a compact pocket-sized camera (point and shoot) or a DSLR?
5 ) On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a working pro and 1 being someone who usually shoots with a disposable camera) how would you rate your skill?
6 ) What is the MOST money you’d be willing to spend on a camera?
7 ) How long do you think you might keep the camera?
8 ) What do your friends use?
9 ) Do you have a local camera store that can offer you support?

If you have thought carefully about these questions and have the answers – you should then be closer to knowing what the perfect camera for you might be.

Hopefully, your interest in photography is strong enough that you’ll read this entire article. That will give you the best chance of making the right decision. If you’re just not that interested, scroll all the way to the bottom to see some of the popular cameras that I recommend.

For those who stuck with me:

I know that beginners especially want this question answered. They are more likely to think that it’s the camera that takes the picture, not the photographer. Unfortunately for them, that’s not the case. And there’s no secret, magic or special camera that will make you into Ansel Adams.

Let’s start with goals. What goals do you have with your photography? Photographing the kids is much easier and less expensive than photographing wildlife. Making studio portraits will require a different kind of camera than that used by sports photographers. Do you want to turn pro or just make pictures you’ll share with your immediate family? Understand this simple truth: There is no perfect camera. And not all cameras are designed for all types of photography. Many photographers have more than one camera, depending on how many photographic pursuits they are engaged in at one time.

You’ll need to take into account a wide variety of factors when selecting a camera, and the first is budget.

This post continues below….

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I have made literally hundreds of thousands of bird photographs over the last 15-20 years. No matter how many times I photograph birds, I still find myself learning new tidbits that I might take for granted but that may be helpful for you. So here goes. 1. Background, background, background. If you don’t have a […]

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I decided to test the Novoflex MFT adapter with my Olympus OMD-EM5. My pal Frederick Van Johnson and I were in Santa Barbara, CA and he brought out is Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 lens. I had the Novoflex Adapter MFT Nikon version. The short version of this post is simple. The thing works. The longer version. […]

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Light is light. That’s the simple statement. But you can buy lights that cost $200 each or $20,000 each. The old saying “You get what you pay for” is true, but not 100% true. Take the Flashpoint DG600 moonlight. This thing is amazing and at under $200 is probably the best buy in studio lighting […]

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As I cruise down a Las Vegas street, I see a large billboard sponsored by Homeland Security that says “See something – say something.” I hear the same garbage on the radio and see it on TV. The implication is that terrorists abound. What is the illustration used by HLS for this billboard? You got […]

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If you are a regular reader here at Photofocus you know I have switched to micro four thirds as my primary camera format. At the top end of MFT you will find Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I bought the OMD-E-M5 merely because it came out first. I bought a bunch of lenses, […]

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I’ve rented photo gear my entire career. Before the online solutions existed, many major camera stores had rental departments. Most of the remaining large camera stores still have in-house rental departments. Although I’ve owned lots of gear, there have been times when owning it didn’t make sense or even transporting it didn’t make sense, so […]

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Skip’s Summer School is going into its fifth season this August, but thanks to feedback from past attendees and many of the faculty, the program has expanded and evolved into Skip Cohen University. Now there’s content to help you raise the bar on your business all year long with an educational resource that includes posts, […]

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A long time ago in a galaxy far away, Nikon created the original 80-400 VR lens. This wasn’t a particularly sharp lens. It was sufficient to its task, but I always thought it fell short in the image quality department. It was a long time before Nikon took a second stab at this lens and […]

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The other day we posted about a nifty plug-in from Digital Film Tools that emulates film. The reaction was amusing. All 12 of the remaining film shooters in our audience felt the need to subject me to the appropriate amount of faux outrage. Their responses were predictable and I think come from the same general […]

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Great photographers show – they don’t tell. The more I hear a photographer explain why or what their image is about, the less likely I am to think it’s compelling. Every year I tackle this subject. It’s not nuts and bolts. It’s conceptual. It’s 30,000 feet thinking. But it’s important to those of you who […]

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While you may be surprised to hear this, there’s a whole bunch of interesting stuff at NAB for photographers. Many of the same vendors that appear at the big photo shows (camera companies, lighting companies, software companies) also exhibit at NAB. They just do it bigger. With just under 100,000 attendees expected for this year’s […]

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Not quite three years ago I got my hands on a pre-production model of the Nikon D7000. It was a game-changing camera. I loved that camera. Now 30 months after it hit stores, the 7000 has been updated. Meet the D7100. It’s a significant upgrade. It’s a whole new camera thanks to the sensor. But […]

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If you’re a photographer who wants to show or sell your work, connect with vendors or other photographers, or even if you want to recruit help, Twitter is a powerful tool that you really can’t afford to ignore. To join is free. There’s no excuse not to give it a try. Here are 21 tips […]

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Copyright Scott Bourne 2009 - All Rights Reserved - Nikon D3 - Nikkor 16-24 F/2.8 at 16mm

Copyright Scott Bourne 2008 – All Rights Reserved While many people view HDR differently, this primer is intended to help you get started making basic HDR images from a still photographer’s point of view. I personally don’t ever shoot a landscape or a cityscape without at least also shooting it in HDR. It solves so […]

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Guest Post and Photos by Matthew Jordan Smith What impact will a photograph have in a hundred years? This question has been on my mind during the past few years. What if a photograph, created today, had the ability to impact lives and inspire people in the future? A little over a year ago I […]

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My last eagle trip is over. The long flight from Alaska has returned me to Vegas where I’m getting ready for NAB followed by a weekend of fun from the other side of my life – auto racing. I wanted to share one last post about the eagle trip. I had an epiphany of sorts […]

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