As a semi-professional photographer, I get this question asked all the time. If you read my last post you may be wondering where I’m going with all of this. Well I did mention in a round about way that a great photographer can use any camera to make great art. However, what I didn’t say is that a great camera can help a photographer create better photos faster. Just as quality paint brushes will help a painter and quality knives help chefs with their cooking. So before I answer the question “What type of camera should I buy?”, I’m going to ask a few questions.
What are you going to be using it for?
Ask yourself what are you going to use the camera for. Are you primarily going to use it for family outings and vacations? How about capturing your child’s sports events? Will you be using it to try to earn some extra income? Is taking video important to you? Do you want to be the next great Ansel Adams? You need to think about the answers to these questions, because the answers should definitely point you in the right direction.
What’s your budget?
If you had an unlimited amount of money and wanted the very best I’d say go for this Phase One IQ3 100 megapixel beast, but not everyone has an extra $50,000 to spend on a camera. If you’re just starting out and want to “try” the whole photography experience, I’d say set aside anywhere from $300 to $600 and buy a entry level DSLR – that’s only if you want to lug around a camera body and lenses. There are plenty of compact options as well out on the market that nearly meet the quality of these DSLRs. For example, I’ve had great experience using the Sony RX 100, M3. The feature image was captured with my RX100.
If you’re just starting out you want to look for certain camera specs. For point and shoot cameras, what’st the lowest F-stop the camera can handle? How does the camera handle noise? Is printing out photos important to you. Many beginning photographers get caught up in the megapixels race. Let me tell you the TRUTH about megapixels… They don’t matter as much as you think! Take a look at this printing chart, unless you are looking to make some massive printouts, you only really need something 8 megapixels or higher. The more recent smartphones have 12 megapixels or higher and cameras usually start off with at least 12 megapixels. The amount of megapixels you have doesn’t make your image that much better if you are just going to be displaying your photo on Facebook or a typical 8 x 10 print. You want to look for reviews on the quality of megapixels for cameras. Quality of megapixels will have more bearing than quantity.
How do I know a camera is a good fit for me?
One of the easiest ways to checkout camera reviews and kind of get a feel for a big ticket item purchase as to see reviews of the camera on youtube. Don’t just watch one reviewer, but watch multiple so you can get different perspectives. Also checkout reviews online. After reading the reviews and checking out videos, I recommend taking the next step. Find your nearest camera shop and physically hold and checkout the camera. If you can’t do that the next best thing I recommend is to rent the camera. Did you know you can rent cameras online for a reasonable price? Checkout borrowlenses or aperturent, both places offer a wide selection and I’ve personally used both services. They are great way to test a cameras or lenses you aren’t 100 percent committed to buying, but just want to test out.
Where should I buy cameras?
Well if you have a local shop, I’d say go there, but camera stores have all but gone extinct. You can checkout the two big online retailers – B&H photo or Adorma are trusted stores. They even have a great used gear section – which I’m a proponent of. A lot of my gear is used gear. I also recommend KEH camera for used gear as well. You can snag some great deals at any of these sites. And if you’re wondering – no I’m not sponsored by them… I’d be open to it! So if you are from those companies let me know! – I know shameless promotion!
So what now?
Well if you took the time to read this blog you should now have some of the tools to search for the camera of your dreams. I can’t really answer what camera you should buy. You are the best qualified to make that decision. Want more posts like this? Let me know? I’m thinking about doing actual camera reviews. Anyways thanks for reading!