• You’re a photographer? Cool! What kind of camera should I buy?

    August 28, 2013

    I’ve reached a point in my career (already) that I get a lot of questions from hobbyists and aspiring professional photographers alike about lighting, posing, composition, marketing, sales, etc. etc. I actually love talking about all these gritty little details because 1, I love talking about photography and 2, my wife does not. I’ve noticed a trend though as there are a few questions that come up the most. I’d like to address the #1 question I get right now, forever chiseled onto internet stone, for the world to see. What question is it?


    This is the mother of all photography questions I hear and it’s actually a difficult thing to answer because I do not know the person’s skill level, what their goals are, what they plan on photographing, how much they have to spend, etc. On top of all that, I actually do not pay that much attention to the latest and greatest cameras that are about to hit the shelves. I’ve found that to be an unusual trait amongst photographers. What kind of photographer am I anyway?! I don’t really like to talk too much about gear? Come on! Haven’t I heard about the new 41 megapixel phone that is going to put every photographer on earth out of business or the new Canon Rebel XZ5000 mark 7.2 with 5.1 surround sound built in that also comes with a Cici’s Pizza coupon? Ok, I’m being a bit pretentious here but I think you get my point.

    So how do I respond to this question? Most of the time I tell the person asking me that (if they are just starting out in photography) they will probably be happy with just about any camera they buy…at first. So many point and shoot cameras, in order to be cheaper, are strictly automatic and lack much manual controls. Once your knowledge of photography increases, those automatic modes will get less and less use and if you really want to improve your work, you’re going to need to be able to work manually with your camera. So make sure you buy a camera that has manual controls, even if you don’t know how to use them yet. You don’t want to outgrow your camera too quickly!

    What about SLRs? For the person who is thinking about delving into higher quality with an SLR, stick to Canon or Nikon (the two biggest players) with honorable mention going to Olympus. Really though, the technology is so advanced that you’ll probably be happy with almost any brand. I’m a Canon man myself but when I have used Nikon in the past, I loved them! The brand doesn’t really matter that much and the camera is simply a tool that will do what YOU tell it to do. If you are skilled in photography, you’ll create fantastic images with any brand. I do recommend holding the camera in the store and seeing which ones are most comfortable for you to hold. You can view image quality online at places like http://www.dpreview.com before you go to the store and also read pros/cons of the camera you might be interested in buying.

    Don’t get caught up in megapixels. They don’t mean as much as you think. The difference between 10mp and 20mp is not that much. Also, is your computer able to handle these kinds of files? They take up a lot of space and use a lot of your computer’s resources. If you upgrade to a high quality camera, you’ll probably need to upgrade your PC or Mac eventually as well.

    Avoid kit lenses or bundle deals. The lenses in these kits are usually very low quality in comparison to the lenses you can buy later on. Let’s say you have $1200 to spend on a camera and you go to the store and see a nice shiny new Canon 7d with a 17-55mm kit lens for about $1200. It might be a good idea checking Ebay for a used camera that’s a year or two old and then saving money on the camera and investing in a nicer lens. Camera bodies lose their value considerably within 2 years of them hitting the market. Good lenses, however, hold their value incredibly well.


    So that’s usually what I tell people when they ask me, “What kind of camera do you think I should buy, Nate?” Any questions? Concerns? Whimpers? Leave a comment!





    Sorry for the blogging dry-spell! With my new website under construction, I haven’t been updating the blog like I should. I’m back!


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