November, 2011, Hokitika, New Zealand 1/50th sec, f/22, ISO 100 (Post and photo by Tamara Lackey – follow Tamara on Twitter) I have been fortunate enough to shoot a great number of portraits in a variety of beach locations, in a variety of countries, over the last decade – and, along the way, I have learned […]

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Sorry – none of these tips involve buying a magic camera. But if you try them, based on my own experience, they will help you become much better at producing images that matter. 1. Stop comparing your gear against anyone else’s gear. It doesn’t matter that Ernie in your local camera club has a better […]

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If you want to help your photos get noticed – arrange your composition so that the viewer needs to work just a little bit to find the treasure. Here, there is one bright stand of orange poppies sticking out amongst an entire field of purple flowers. The eye is naturally drawn to the thing that […]

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NAB is history. The show was well-attended and even though most of you are still photographers, there was plenty to look at for the average stills person. That said, video on DSLRs is here to stay and just as there were photographers who predicted film would beat digital, there are those with their heads still […]

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While in Alaska I was after eagles. I made thousands of eagle photographs. But I’m always keeping one eye open for something unique or special or just abstract. I love abstract photography. I play little games with myself wondering if people can guess what the object I’m shooting really is. In this case, I came […]

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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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This is the fourth in my “Photographers That You Should Know About” series – you can see the last one here  – which links to the first two. Henri Cartier-Bresson lived from 1908 until 2004. He was considered by many to be the father of street photography. He specialized in a photo journalistic style using […]

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