What photo camera should I buy?

Let’s narrow down your search.

When starting off in your photography journey it can be overwhelming to decide on which camera you should buy. There are so many options out in the market. I saw many students struggle with the camera they chose because they did not research enough before purchasing. In today’s blog let’s talk about how to select the best camera for you out of the sea of options.This is going to be a little different than the standard buy these cameras I will go over how to consider your budget, how to do research, how to factor in usability but first let’s discuss the selection process.

The best way to find a camera that will fit you is to ask yourself.

How much camera am I willing to learn?

Let me explain. Many times someone will go purchase a camera that was highly recommended or highly reviewed as an amazing camera. I have no doubt that it is in fact a great camera but is it a great camera to learn photography with? Probably not. This is how cameras end up in closets for years without being used, gathering dust. To prevent this, be honest with yourself. How much time, and effort are you willing to put into a camera to learn photography?

For most people the answer is a little bit of time on the weekends as a hobby. This is a great honest answer. There are cameras out there for this type of user. If you want something more than a phone to take photos with but don’t want to invest hours into learning camera settings, composition and manual settings. A point and shoot camera is for you. There are some high quality point and shoot cameras out in the market that will get you taking fantastic photos in just a few practice sessions. Hey, never said you won’t have to practice.

For people that really want to learn photography the next question you should ask yourself is what type of photography do I want to do?

A sports photographer and a portrait photographer carry different gear because they have different needs. The first time around you might want to purchase gear that is multi functional this is okay however you will end up with stuff that you don’t need. Take a look at photos you have taken and start small. Kit lenses can take you far and once you really start taking more photos you will know what you need to get. After evaluating what type of photos you like taking, start researching what type of gear is used for that type of photography.

The last question you want to ask yourself is how much do I want to spend? Obviously your budget will be a strong factor in which camera you decide to purchase but it might surprise you that you don’t need to spend as much money as you thought.

I made this mistake when I first started out. I thought I needed to spend $2000 on a pro level camera and I did. After the first time using it I realized that I had no clue how to use it and the photos were disappointing but the problem wasn’t the camera, it was me. I then bought a used Canon Rebel T4i for $400 with a $100 lens and for the next 3 years I enjoyed the stuffing out of that camera. I still use it today. It prepared me to use the Canon 6D I bought and it made the shooting experience so much better because I was ready to move into the 6D. It was like using training wheels on a bicycle. Take the frustration out of shooting and start at the beginning.

Now let’s talk about how to do research. One of my favorite websites is Dpreview.com. They have buying guides that I highly recommend you take a look at. This is the best breakdown of camera information I have found so far. Unfortunately this site is being taken down.

Another place I recommend you spend some time reading is the B&H photo website. They have tons of reviews and their blog is a good place for information. It’s more tailored than random Amazon reviews.

Image of the Women in Photography meetup provided by the Author, @winny_foto

My last recommendation is to see the camera you choose in person if possible. Visit a local camera shop or go to a camera swap meetup or attend an in person photography class. This is important because you don’t want to end up with a camera that just doesn’t feel good to shoot with. Maybe you don’t like where buttons are located after you see it so you go with another option or maybe the camera feels heavy or too large etc.

I am big into renting gear. Borrowedlens.com is a good place to rent gear online and there might be an equipment rental company near you. Many photographers will rent lenses for events and other shoots they do only a few times a year. This is a greater way to take a camera or lens on a test drive without too much of an investment. Who knows if you rent the camera for a few days, use it and decide “ this isn’t for me” then you only spent $100-$200 not a huge investment.

Remember that learning anything new takes time, patience and practice, lots of practice. Part of the photo journey is to embrace the learning process and know that everyone’s first photos are terrible. Enjoy the terrible photos and always compare your recent photoshoot to the last one you did.

If you are looking for camera recommendations check out my youtube video (coming soon) where I talked more about specific cameras there.

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