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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Trust me – this is photography-related. I went to a writer’s conference last month. I was there to support a friend. The conference featured several very famous authors who gave readings from their published works. They also taught workshops, discussing technique and craft. There were many similarities between the writer’s workshop and several photography workshops […]

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So you got a cool new DSLR as a holiday gift. For those of you who are upgrading from point and shoot to DSLR, here’s a list of accessories you need to finish your leap to the next level. 1. Tripod Okay, it doesn’t have to be a $1000 Gitzo carbon fibre tripod, but some […]

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I’ve conducted some polls on a variety of social media sites and here on Photofocus.com. I’ve taken into account all the answers and based this post on those results, plus my own experience and observation. So without further ado, here are my picks for Cameras of the Year – 2009. DSLR Less Than $2000 Canon […]

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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….

Continue reading

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. […]

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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 […]

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