Without fail I am ALWAYS being asked what camera do I recommend?
And my answer without fail, is ‘How long is a piece of string?’
There are so many cameras out there… so many brands, from the cheapest to the best… Nikon, Canon, Leica, Lumix, Sony, Casio, Fujifilm, Olympus, Pentax, Richo, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma… shall I go on?
Even Lego has a camera…
And under each brand there will be small digital with fixed lenses through to digital SLR makes, each with amazing functions that can now do the work of a small PC.
My first camera was a Nikon film camera, which I then upgraded to a Nikon D80 and then, I got a Nikon D700 …. I still use the D80 as a spare and sometimes as a lighter camera if I’m shooting on my feet all night at an event. The D700 is heavier.
I also take the two camera bodies with me when I’m shooting a wedding or large event. I can have two different lenses on and pick up and put down as I like. Or, sometimes I’ll just use the one camera with a versatile lens on it which covers wide angle and some zoom. I also have a little point and shoot Nikon which is the size of a mobile telephone and I slip this into my bag or pocket when ever I go out.
By this point, you’ll have realised I’m a Nikon user.
And if I’m a Nikon user, I know a lot about Nikon and not that much about any other camera! Nikon users are die-hard Nikon users, who rarely emigrate EVER to any other brand, unless something quite extreme happens – ie Nikon go out of business.
The same can be said for Canon users. In fact, between the two brands, there’s friendly rivalry and mickey-taking between Canon and Nikon users.
‘Poor you’, we Nikon users say… ‘Fancy having to use a Canon’ …
and vice versa.
Point and shoots are great cameras to start learning on because they don’t typically have all the bells and whistles an SLR camera has. You can master basic photography techniques without getting bogged down in the technical specifics of your camera. And they’re great on trips where a bulkier camera might be more of a hindrance than a help.
With digital cameras, the amount of megapixels is only half the story. Whilst it might be amazing to have 14mps, the other side of the equation is the sort of sensor the camera has. Point and shoot cameras usually always have a smaller sensor. SLR cameras generally have a bigger one which leads to quality and how much light that sensor can process and how well it does it.
Things to think about when you’re looking for a camera…
Do you want something small and light that will fit into a bag?
Do you want a ‘point and shoot’ camera with hardly any of those ‘confusing’ settings on?
Do you want to move from point and shoot into SLR territory?
What is it you’re shooting and will you need a tripod?
How big are your hands?
Got chunky fingers? Can you reach the buttons?
Do you want to sell your photographs or print and frame them at home?
Are you wanting to take snaps, or become a professional photographer?
Do you want to take videos with your camera too?
How much can you spend on lenses?
How much are accessories, such as flash?
Can the camera take any other lens made by another company?
I would always recommend you talk to someone in a camera shop before buying your camera. You need to see how the camera feels in your hands, how accessible the buttons are, whether the manual is in readable English or bad ‘Engrish’
The truth is that you can take great photographs with a lousy camera and lousy photographs with a great camera… partially it is about the end user – which is YOU!
The bottom line is that telling someone what camera to get is nigh on impossible. The honest answer is ‘I don’t know but I can maybe help point the way’.
For a great camera review, I always visit Ken Rockwell. And if you like what Ken says, you can always give him a few dollars to show your appreciation. 😀