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….
Generally, if you have to choose between upgrading your camera body or your glass, upgrading your glass is the best choice. So when you go looking for that next lens, how do you decide? Which lens should you focus (pun intended) on first? Here are a few guidelines that might help you figure that out. […]
I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with Chase Jarvis. He constantly refers to himself as “gear agnostic” or “platform agnostic.” Whether it’s the highest of the high end video cameras or an iPhone, Chase focuses on the image making. He’s not hung up on which tool he uses. He uses whichever tool seems […]
So far, here are the top three announcements in my mind… Canon has announced the 1D MK IV. This new camera has a brand new 45-point autofocus system, 10FPS and a 1.3 crop sensor that offers 16.1 megapixels. They’ve also added pro-level 1080p, 24 FPS video to the camera. What’s most interesting is that Canon […]
So you want to buy a new camera? Here are some tips to help you make sure you get the right one. 1. Buy the best camera you can afford if you’re really serious about photography and buy the least expensive camera you need to get the job done if you’re just a casual hobbyist. […]
Image and Post by Rick Sammon – Follow Rick Sammon on Twitter At a recent seminar, a woman asked my advice: “I am going on a trip and I am trying to decide on what photo gear to bring. What’s your advice?” I suggested that she bring all her gear: cameras, lenses, flash, laptop, card […]
Image and Post by Rick Sammon – Follow Rick Sammon on Twitter Photographers certainly need the right camera to record their memories. They also need accessories to protect their gear – especially during the summer months, when quick rain and sun showers can show up in a flash. In this quickie blog post, I’ll share […]