It’s no surprise that cellphone photos are now the most popular on the Internet. Everyone I know carries a smart phone with a camera in it. The iPhone 5 sports an eight megapixel sensor made by Sony. Sony/Apple claim the camera is 40% faster than the iPhone 4s. I have no way to verify that […]

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I have more camera straps than I do socks. You can never have too many straps. I’ve tested a number of these sling straps and frankly I have never really liked any of them. I can find fault with all of them and even nearly lost a D700 to one. But the Carry Speed FS-Pro […]

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I have always been fascinated with the Lensbaby concept. There’s nothing like it. It’s a totally, truly unique and original product. I have the luxury of knowing Craig Strong – the product’s inventor. He’s a real photographer who came up with this idea not to become rich, but to improve photography. I think he may […]

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Yes there are what seems like hundreds of plugins out there for photographers to use in post-processing. One that is not new but is new to me is called Perfectly Clear from Athentech. I saw demos of this product at Photoshop World and was blown away by what THEY could do with it, so I […]

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If you shoot through glass, you need one of these. That’s the executive summary. For a slightly longer explanation, let me tell you about my experience with the Lenskirt. For me, it’s best use is shooting time lapse through glass. In the old days I would turn off the lights and wear black and STILL […]

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I wish Canon followed in Nikon’s footsteps and included an intervalometer right in the camera. Unfortunately, Canon doesn’t care about my opinion on such things so they sell it as an accessory. I’ve never been a big fan of the Canon TC80N3 Timer. It’s expensive and hard to program for some people. I’ve been looking […]

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I have used just about every slide show program on the market (except those that are Windows only since I don’t have a Windows machine.) My current favorite stand alone slide show product is FotoMagico from Boinx Software. It is a Mac-only product and costs a one-time fee of $139.99 – ($99 upgrade from 3.0.) […]

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Chimera has long been a photo industry standard bearer. I’ve used just about every brand of light modifier and the Chimera products tend to be better designed and built than most. They tend to travel better and last longer too. I recently tested the 5645 kit  as a headshot booth but it has many potential […]

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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’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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Profoto is synonymous with professional, high-quality flash photography. Their products are built rock solid and designed for travel, mobile use, on the road use or in your studio. Their products are favorites of most rental houses because unlike the cheaper stuff, they rarely break. They’re workhorses. Lately I’ve been playing with ring flashes for a […]

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Two days ago, I posted a review of the Samsung Galaxy S3 from a photographer’s point of view. I received more than 100 messages, tweets and emails from people calling me an idiot (or worse) saying I should be smart enough to know how to drag and drop files from the S3 to my desktop. […]

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I own an iPhone 4s and have owned every iPhone since the very first one. I like the iPhone. But I have recently tired of Apple’s closed systems, PR policies which limit valuable and necessary information that consumers need to make informed decisions as well as other business practices. Accordingly, I have decided for the […]

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I’ve use many of Nik Software’s products over the years. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with some of their competitor’s less expensive, but equally useful plug-ins. But HDR EFEX PRO 2 has brought me back to Nik. When HDR Efex Pro 1 came out I was impressed, but not enough to use it as my only […]

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Pancake lenses are all the rage. In fact, some photographers were switching to mirror-less camera systems to get pancake lenses. So Canon engineered a way to keep them in the fold – enter the new Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 STM Lens. Canon’s new lens is really more of a reaction to DSLR video shooters. It […]

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People who follow me online know that I’m – how do I put this? – blunt? I get to the point and I don’t mince words. So let me just say this – I hate model releases. I’ve always thought they sucked, and have long categorized them as a burdensome, distracting and unwieldy part of […]

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Nikon has replaced the entry-level D3100 with the new Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Lens. The new evolutionary (not revolutionary) camera is 24.2 megapixels making it the highest resolution DX body in Nikon’s line. It’s more expensive than its Canon counterpart but offers more features. Even though it’s […]

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I’ve used super telephoto lenses for almost two decades and I’ve been lucky enough to own or have access to just about every single lens in the category. When Canon announced this new 500mm lens more than a year ago, I became excited. The old version is more than a decade old and was overdue […]

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If you have photos you need a place to back them up. If you don’t have access to a remote location for your backup storage, you need something or some place that is disaster-proof to store them. Enter the ioSafe Solo G3 USB 3.0 1TB. At just under $450 it’s more expensive than other 1TB […]

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(Image zoomed in via Aperture at 100% with no sharpening or other adjustments added.) I’ve now had some time with both the Nikon D800 and the D800E – I reviewed the D800 here – http://photofocus.com/2012/04/16/nikon-d800-mini-mini-review/ My review has widely been falsely characterized as me “hating” the D800. Nothing could be further from the truth. I […]

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There are a ton of camera straps out there and most of them are identical. Black, soulless, cheap and a burn on your neck. A company called HoldFast, LLC is out to change that. I recently procured one of their RuckStraps and I have to say right out of the box it’s nothing like any […]

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Scott Kelby and gang have launched the first ever Google+ Photographers Conference in San Francisco. I was invited to attend by the Kelby Media Group and am grateful for the invitation. With the basics out of the way, I’ll say that I am not a speaker here and it’s been almost 15 years since I’ve […]

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