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If you photograph outdoors as I often do, you’re going to realize that great big blue sky of ours has an impact on our photographs. When I look at portfolios, more than 75% of the time I see outdoor images with a hideous blue color cast. This is subtle in some cases and not so […]

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Judging your own work – I think it’s one of the hardest things to do. That’s why I usually use a portfolio consultant (typically someone with a great deal of experience as a photo editor for a magazine or book publisher) to help me do my selects. But what if you don’t have access to […]

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Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

NOTE: This post was written based on my experience as a US citizen doing business from the United States. If you are not a US resident, much of the information in this post may not apply to you so consult legal help in your area to get the most accurate information. More than a year […]

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I think so. And I did something about it. This last year, I said no to 80% of the speaking engagements I was offered and 90% of the workshops I was asked to teach. I stopped trying to be part of every social network under the sun. I stopped reading ANY photo-related comments on web […]

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A photographer recently wrote to me at Photofocus to complain that I mentioned a studio light I used when making my macro shots. He proudly proclaimed – “I only shoot with natural light. That’s how REAL photographers work.” Sigh. Well if it makes you feel better to say that then by all means say it. […]

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I have to admit that when I switched to Lightroom from Aperture one of my biggest concerns was managing my own Catalog. In Aperture you have the option of managing the (Library – Apple uses the term Library – Lightroom uses the term Catalog)  or letting Aperture do it. In the past I always let […]

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Adobe released a major update to its Creative Cloud apps. Of key interest to photographers will be the updates to Photoshop. They are significant. Here are most of the new feature enhancements in Photoshop CC: Photoshop merged to include Extended The more expensive Photoshop package which includes 3D capability and sophisticated image analysis tools has […]

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I’ve really been enjoying my new Fujifilm X100S. It’s probably my favorite camera right now. I keep using the word “fun” to describe it and that is something I really enjoy about it. It does have its limitations, i.e., the fixed focal length lens, but when I need to be at 35mm (or 28mm – […]

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Portrait photographers like David Ziser and Clay Blackmore taught me very early in my career that great portraits are almost always short lit, and that made me happy. Knowing that a simple technique could give me a leg up in making great portraits was music to my ears. Unfortunately, I didn’t really understand what that […]

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Article by Scott Bourne & Rich Harrington.  This is an update to some previous articles we’ve written on tripods. A lot of you have likely invested in a tripod…  that’s the good news.  Now let’s make sure you’re getting the most benefit from using it.  Here are a few practical tips to get the results […]

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Since the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, the United States seems to have lost its collective mind when it comes to security and photography. You’d think that people knocked the towers down by throwing camera phones at them. Despite the fact that there’s never been a shred of actual evidence linking […]

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_______ This Post Sponsored by: The Digital Photo Store

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Back in December of last year I wrote a post praising Flickr mostly because they had a new mobile app that I really liked. Fast forward six months and WOW. What a screwed up mess. Two days ago Flickr made even more changes. Most of the photographers I polled on Twitter weren’t happy about them […]

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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 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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Photo by Levi Sim

I know it’s a cheesy image for the title, but it’s an image with a story so bear with me. I made this picture a few months ago and it happened to be at a pivotal time for my family. We were visiting Oregon from Utah and were suddenly considering moving to Oregon, and life […]

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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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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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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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