Hey Everyone! Hope you're doing great today. This week I want to talk about cameras! Yay! I haven't talked about cameras in a while. I often get asked what's the best camera or what camera should I buy? Well, this is a very loaded question and a hard one to answer. I was listening to a photo podcast, "This week in Photo," and the host was talking about this topic, so I thought I would pile on and share some of his and my thoughts on the subject. So let's do a spoiler alert and say that the answer is that "it depends." I know, I know, it sounds like a copout answer but it really does depend on a lot of factors. Like have you ever had a real camera before? What type of photography would you like to do? Does size matter? LOL Do you have photography friends, and what do they shoot? These are just a few of the questions that you should ask yourself. I have owned lots of cameras in my life. Everything from film cameras that I started with, to a 2mp point and shoot when I started digital, all the way up to a full-frame beast of a camera that had a 36mp sensor on it. I have narrowed down the system that works for me now. It may change in the future, but now I think I have the perfect system. "FOR ME." What you need might be totally different. So let's go through a few of the questions that you should ask yourself before you go out and spend a lot of money. And it will be a lot of money.
Have you ever had a real camera before? When I ask this question, younger people will probably say, "No, just my phone." A phone with a good camera on it is a great way to start photography, and there is no shame in using your iPhone for your main camera, especially when you start out. Learning the fundamentals of composition, lighting, subject, and storytelling can be accomplished with almost any smartphone nowadays. And these aspects of photography are the most important skills you need when doing photography. If you have never had a "real" camera before, I might steer you in the direction of a high-end point and shoot. These cameras can shoot in manual or can use almost any mode available, and you will get a better quality photo than with a phone because of sensor size.
If you have some camera experience, I would ask, "What type of photography are you planning to do with the camera?" Will it be portraits? Travel? Landscape? Wildlife? Food? What are you planning to shoot? This will really determine what type of camera you will get. If you are just going to be taking photos of your kids on family outings, I might suggest an entry-level DSLR or Mirrorless camera. But if you were going to concentrate on wildlife or portraits, I might point you in the direction of a higher-end mirrorless camera, an interchangeable lens camera with a larger sensor to get more detail. So it all depends on what you're going to shoot that determines what type of camera you get.
What do your photography friends shoot? This question would help me pick out the brand of camera to shoot. Shooting the same brand as your friends has many advantages. You can share lenses. If you were going to do a photoshoot and you wanted a special lens to use for it and one of your friends had the lens, you could borrow it to do the shoot and see if you liked it enough to buy one of your own. Learning where all the buttons and menu items are on the camera is very hard to learn by yourself, and a friend with the same setup could help you figure out how and where everything is on your camera. This is a big advantage also. What brand of camera you shoot isn't that important in the long run, so if you're shooting the same as your friends, the advantages outweigh any disadvantage to any brand.
Does size matter? LOL I always joke with my friends that the answer to almost any question can always come down to size. Too large, too small. It can also be helpful in choosing the right camera for you. If you do landscape or maybe street photography, size will certainly matter. Having to lug a very large camera and lenses up a mountain to get a shot is a big chore when you can get a great shot with a smaller, lighter camera. Doing street photography with a large camera is cumbersome and awkward when taking photos of people on the street. It is also heavy and hard to conceal. This question is what made me change from a large full-frame camera and all of the large lenses that come with it to the kit that I am personally using now. For the type of photography I do, which is mainly travel/landscape, my crop sensor Sony does great. So size can matter.
So for every person, the answers to these questions can be different. And just to make sure you know, there are no bad answers. And any modern camera you get these days will take great photos. I was one of the first in my camera club to switch from a big full-frame professional camera to a mirrorless camera system. It was a hard decision to make, and it took me almost a year to commit to it. But in the long run, I am pleased with the choice I made by asking myself "What type of photography do I shoot? Does size matter?" Researching the cameras at the time, I came up with the decision of Sony crop sensor cameras. I am a nimble photographer and don't get as tired as I used to get lugging around large equipment. Would I pick the same thing now if I had to make the choice? I would still go to a crop-sensor camera but maybe FUJI instead of Sony, but like I said brand really doesn't matter. But that's just me. You might need something altogether different. But asking yourself these simple questions and researching, asking questions, and learning all of the different systems will help you decide what camera is best for you. So until next week, get your camera and get outside!