I love when my friends, family and even clients ask me “Can you help me find a great camera for me to buy?”. I’m always here to help give my professional suggestion and usually, every time that convo starts, I find myself asking them the same questions. Educating my friends on the WHY I believe this is the best camera for them is so important, so much so that I decided to make a blog post of it.
I think this post will be very helpful and insightful for someone out there that is just completely confused about where to start when it comes to choosing a good camera. And, so many times, people believe that DSLR (cameras with interchangeable lenses) are the best cameras out, but that is completely untrue. Here are my 3 tips on how you should go about choosing a camera for yourself.
1. Price Point – When purchasing a new camera for yourself, whether it be for your new business, blog or just everyday use from traveling around the world, having in mind the price point in which you are willing to pay is VERY important. Cameras can range from $200-$20,000+, and just because you bought a “really expensive” one, doesn’t mean that it was the best fit for you and your needs.
My first DLSR camera, the Nikon D3000 (now discontinued, however the newer version is the Nikon D3400), was about $500-600 and it came with 2 lens, a bag and a memory card. Not long after purchasing that camera, I was introduced to a professional photography course that taught me the techniques of photography and functions of my camera, specifically how to shoot manually. After enrolling in that class, I bought my first lens for my new camera, a Nikon 35mm F/1.8, which was required for the course so we could manually manipulate all the camera functions (ISO, aperture, shutter speed). Being immersed in the professional photography world taught me SO much about the investment in GOOD equipment and how it’s very important to buy gear that you need to produce the images or video you’re looking to create. With that said, you should have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend on your camera and the potential lenses that will be needed to produce the outcome you’re looking for. Keep in mind, a point and shoot camera is a great, less expensive option, because they have same manual capabilities DSLR cameras and do just as great of a job producing high-quality images. It all depends on that camera’s specs and lens capabilities.
One of my best friends is a natural hair blogger and wanted a good camera to take shots of products, make HD video tutorials and have Wi-fi but didn’t want to spend over $800. I suggested the Canon G16 PowerShot because of its capabilities and her needs for the camera. Another great point and shoot option is the Sony DSC-RX100M III or the Canon G7x Mark II. I’ll explain why in more detail in the 3rd point below – so keep reading. 🙂 You could also get a DSLR camera for around $500, such as the Nikon D3300 or Canon EOS Rebel T5, but I highly suggest purchasing an additional prime lens for your new camera as well for around $200. This will allow you to shoot amazing low-light and/or shallow depth of field images, making it more clean and crisp. For a Nikon – the first lens I’d suggest you buy is the Nikon 35mm F/1.8. For the Canon, it’s the Canon 50mm F/1.8.
2. Purpose – I spoke to this above, but knowing exactly what you are wanting to do with your camera is very important when trying to find what’s best for you. If you’re looking to buy a camera for leisure travel, the specs of the camera would be different from a person that is looking to record HD videos or create product shots. With my first DSLR camera, I learned that shooting professionally was a bit more difficult because I wasn’t able to change my camera functions as quickly as I liked. For example, when I wanted to change my ISO based on a change in lighting during shoot, I had to go into the menu option and change the ISO there. Whereas with a newer, more professional grade DSLR camera, there is a dedicated button for ISO on the camera body so I’m able to make faster adjustments. This option is probably only needed for a professional photographer because we make camera adjustments often throughout a shoot. After learning this, I upgraded to a more professional grade camera when I was able to make a larger investment (my second DSLR camera was a Nikon D300s)
The big question I want you to ask yourself is – “What am I going to use this camera for?” Having the proper gear is key to making the images that you envision. If you are a blogger and/or business owner that wants to create images for your blog and social media platforms, having a camera that has a low aperture feature is one that I would suggest for you. Aperture controls the depth of field in an image and allows you to shoot a subject/object with a shallow depth of field or “blurry background”. See example images above. A camera with low aperture capability would be one that has a lens that allows you to shoot at F 1.8-2.8 (“F-stop” and aperture are the same thing). Again, the Sony DSC-RX100M III, Canon G16 PowerShot, Canon G7X Mark II and Fujifilm X70 Digital Camera are all great cameras for this. If you do buy a DSLR, buying a lens that allows to you manually control your aperture is suggested, like the Nikon 35mm F/1.8, or Canon 50mm F/1.8 (see above for great beginner DSLR suggestions).
3. Camera Features – Wifi, low-light/aperture capabilities, 1080p HD video, tilt-shift digital display, hot-shoe, interchangeable lenses capabilities, touch screen – the potential camera feature options are pretty much endless these days! But knowing what you need in your camera is key to making the best decision when buying.
Wifi is pretty self-explanatory. Many of the new cameras on the market have a feature that allows you to connect to its internal wifi network so you can easily share images from the camera to your phone or computer. This is super helpful when you are on the go, and want to share images fast to clients, friends or your social platform.
Low-light/aperture capabilities are different from camera to camera, and in my opinion, this is one of the MOST important features to consider when choosing the perfect camera. The aperture controls the depth of field of an image as well as the ability to shoot in low light scenarios (dim rooms lacking natural light). The aperture or also known as “F-stop” is controlled by the lens capabilities on the camera. If you have a point and shoot, you need to know the aperture capabilities of that camera before buying it and a “low-light” aperture function starts at F/1.8-2.8.
A hot-shoe is a socket on top of a camera that allows you to connect an external device such as a flash that will communicate directly with the internal camera system. This is good if you want to connect a ring light or video light for adding an artificial light for shooting or video recording. If you know for sure that you want to create videos, I’d suggest purchasing a camera with HD 1080p video capabilities, as well as low light/aperture function and a hot-shoe for attaching an external light for taping.
I hope this post was helpful to those that are currently in the market to buy a new camera. There are a lot of things to consider when making a big purchase like this, so I hope the tips I gave helped to make the decision a bit easier. I’m excited to share professional photography tips with you all, too. I’m going to be launching my PhotoBomb Academy soon, with online classes and e-guides on understanding photography better so if this is something you’d be interested in hearing more about, sign up here to be one of the first to know when the goodies are dropped!! Can’t wait!!
Suggestions List of Cameras
Nikon D3300 + Nikon 35mm F/1.8