Friends, family, and co-workers ask me often what camera they should buy. It’s not an easy answer and involves a conversation and thoughtfulness on the part of the asker. Here is how you might want to decide.
I start with, why do you want to buy a camera? Are you going on the trip of a life-time? Is the trip a safari or a walk in the woods? Did you just have a baby? Are your young children starting to play organized sports?
I then ask them if they are willing to have interchangeable lenses or do not want to bother with carrying more than one lens. This leads to the next question about the size and weight they are willing to carry. Does it have to fit in their pocket, purse, or backpack?
I finally ask them for a budget. If you ask the cost question first, it narrows the choices too quickly without allowing the asker to explore the options they may not even know about based on why they want a new camera and what is their perceived needs.
Wait, why do I need a camera anyway since I have an iPhone or Galaxy? For the thousandth time, iPhone and Galaxy camera phones are fine, especially if you want a quick snap and will only post it on line and view on small devices. They are NOT for making prints or life long memories.
Mary, often times will make photos with her Fuji XT-2 and her iPhone in the same spot because she uses the data differently. A real camera will give you a good size file that will give you more options for processing, printing, and saving. Also, cameras have better lens options for wide angle and zoom. Finally, cameras also give you more options for continuous shooting and other custom camera settings.
So, here are my favorite cameras that I recommend
Best walk around point and shoot camera: I use Sony RX-100s. I have a Mark I, Mark III, and a Mark IV. Mary shoots with two Canon G7 X Mark II’s. If you want smaller and a little cheaper, we also have used Canon 120s. For a little more zoom, I like the Canon G16. If you are going on safari, try the Canon SX60 with a massive 65x optical zoom.
Small mirror-less single lens reflex camera: The Sony alpha 6000-6500 is being used by several of my friends. They bought a wide angle and a zoom lens and a small camera bag. This is a great small kit for vacations.
Full size DSLR: Mary and I used Canon 5Ds with L series lenses for years. They are great cameras and Canon continues to make new models with even more pixels. If you are wedded to Canon, no reason to really change, unless…
We are now shooting Fuji XT-2s after shooting the XT-1s. These are small mirror-less DSLRs with APS-C sesnors. The Fujinon lenses are light and sharp. I would not recommend these cameras for beginners. They are an interesting combination of electronic and manual controls and do not have “auto-settings.” If you are a real enthusiast and have the money and time to spend, this is a great system. See my blog post about Fujifilm cameras from a couple of weeks ago.
I did not mention any Nikon or full frame Sony cameras as I do not have any personal experience. If you spend a chunk of money on Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Fuji, I am sure you can not go wrong. There are professionals using all of these systems.
So what is the best camera for you? The one in your hands. What do you want to do with it and are you willing to carry it everywhere you go? I have one Sony in my car at all times and two in my brief case – a color and an infrared. I take them everywhere I go and I use them. I am almost always the only one at a party or event to have a camera because I am planing to make photos and will share with others later..I know, everyone has a camera too, their phone.
Again…even after reading this, you still might think my iPhone or Samsung is good enough, you would be wrong. They are great phones, but not great cameras. iPhone 6s and 7, as well as Samsung Galaxy have good cameras. They really replace cheap point and shoots. They do not have large sensors that will get the color, detail, and light that a bigger sensor and camera can. There are plenty of blogs out there that compare camera phones and cameras. If you really want to make good photos and save them for a lifetime, don’t use a camera phone, seriously.
If life is worth living, its worth documenting, and reliving. See our blog – Go. See. Photograph. Remember.
To see more of (and buy) our photographs, please go to www.pamphotography.com.