“I’m thinking of getting into photography, what’s a good camera to buy? What camera do you own? Do you have any advise?”
“My daughter/son really likes photography and I want to buy him/her a good camera, is XYZ camera any good?”
I must first start by saying that I am not an expert when it comes to the different cameras that are out there and I only know the cameras that I have used which in terms of DSLRs (a digital camera with a lens that can be changed) I have only ever used Canon cameras. My first DSLR camera was a Canon 550d which was great, I believe that there are newer models available now. For previous posts about the cameras I use, please click here and here.
For me, there is no such thing as a “good camera”. A good camera to me is one that you actually use and for a lot of people this means sticking with the camera on their mobile phone. That said, I understand the feeling of wanting to upgrade to a “proper” or seemingly more professional camera. I was the same, I used to have a little digital Sony “point and shoot” camera and I loved it to death until I left it in my bag on the beach in Morocco and the tide got hold of it, it never quite recovered from the salt water 🙁 There is also no right or wrong camera, generally speaking, all cameras are pretty good if you take the time to work out how to use them – this means actually reading the manual or do what I did, watch You Tube videos. Canon and Nikon are the two main brands used by a lot of professionals so I would say that is a good starting point for those after a DSLR, especially if you are are thinking more long term.
Here are a few things to consider…
1. Do you already take pictures?
If you or whoever you are buying a camera for is a “photographer type” they should already be using whatever is at their disposal to take pictures. This at the very least might mean their mobile phone, even if it doesn’t have a great camera. An expensive camera will not make you take pictures, “photographer types” tend to be snap happy whatever equipment they are using and don’t use, not having a “good camera” as an excuse not to take pictures. If you are already taking pictures, there is more chance that you will enjoy and really make the most out of a new camera.
2. How will you use it?
A big fancy camera is only good if you take it out and use it. DSLR cameras are a lot bulkier than your phone camera, especially when it comes to fitting it into your bag (who wants to carry a separate camera bag all the time?! Not me).. after a while it becomes tedious and that usually means after a month or so it ends up being left at home unused, gathering dust. If your someone like me who enjoys taking pictures all the time of day-to-days things.. Eating out, travel, life, family, friends etc.. I would maybe consider a smaller camera that is not a DSLR. I am still in love with my Fuji X100T, I have written a couple of posts about it already here and here.. It is not a DSLR, so you can’t change the lens but the quality is amazing and it was the camera I used to photograph the New York Engagement Session I did earlier this year.
3. Will you make time to learn how to use it?
An expensive camera does not equal great pictures unless you take the time to work out how to get the camera to do what you want… there is only so much you can do with a camera in Auto Mode. A lot of people come to me frustrated with their DSLR cameras because they aren’t achieving amazing pictures just by pressing the button when it is in the automatic setting. They presume that the pictures they take using their phones will be easily achieved using a DSLR but it is not always the case. It takes a lot of practice and perseverance, but it is worth it if you make the time.
4. Invest in lenses
If you are anything like me, my first aim for taking pictures with my DSLR camera was to achieve the blurred out background like the ones in these pictures. However, I didn’t instantly achieve this with the kit lens that came with my Canon 550d, the camera I started with. I discovered that I needed to invest in better lenses. I go into more detail about this in my Camera and Lenses blog post. I’m mentioning this here because, it might be worth buying a cheaper/older camera body if it means you can then buy a better lens because the lens really makes a big difference if you are a fan of the blurred out background.
Special thanks to photographer, Rohail Amin for taking these pictures of me using his Canon 6D with a 50mm F1.4 and 85mm F2 prime lenses.
Photography: Rohail Amin
Location: Longford Park, Manchester, England.