If I went through my messages, some variation of this question is probably the most common in there
For the past several years (even before I really knew what I was doing) I have been copying and pasteing the same response. So today I am updating that message here.
For the purpose of this blog I am assuming for the most part people who ask me about cameras are looking into a DSLR.
First of all, this is a broad question and we want to narrow it down. So my first response is always “What do you want to use it for?”
Do you want to be able to take nicer pictures of your friends, family, pets?
Are you considering a career as a photographer?
If you answered yes to the first question, I don’t know if getting a “nice camera,” will necessarily be the answer. I see people using their cameras in Auto all the time and honestly, the auto function of you camera is not far off from the one on your phone (the phone on your camera is infinitely better than my family’s first digital camera that was $600, CRAZY). If you’re going to commit the money and arm strength to a camera, I highly recommend learning how to use it in manual. This will be the key to getting the most out of your DSLR. Also if you ask me how to shoot in manual I will do what my boss did to me, put it manual and send you on your way. It saves everyone time, I promise.
If you are thinking you might actually enjoy photography enough to take it farther than just a hobby, one of the biggest things is, don’t get hung up on what camera you are using. You will hear some strong opinions on Canon verses Nikon but don’t let them stress you out. In fact don’t let it be a block for you at all. A camera is a camera. I can shoot both and it has only benefitted me when it comes to working with other photographers. All a camera is, is a tool. I compare it to working a car. You don’t sit there a consciously think about which way you need to the click the blinker, over time it’s muscle memory. That is what the controls on your camera will become.
So now that I haven’t actually answered the question at all…
I usually just recommend to people to go to the top of their budget and get the best camera they can. Photography equipment is usually, sadly, you get what you pay for. If you spend $300 on a new camera in a year you will wish you had spent $600. I have been using this website since middle school. There are plenty of similar websites, I’ve just gotten used to this one.
If you can find a good deal on Craigslist or know someone who is selling and upgrading, definitely do that (once you find out the condition of the camera and be safe about Craigslist people). Also like cars, cameras do not retain value well, even when they work perfectly so you can get some great deals that way.
Some other websites that are great are KEH and B&H. I have bought a refurbished lens with a great experience but others have said they had faulty equipment that way, so thats a at your own risk situation.
So my answer is vague… I am sorry but I stand behind the statement, a camera is just a tool. There will always be nicer newer tools available, so pick one, purchase it and then try not to upgrade every year, thats an expensive game to play.
NEXT! A conversation I find much more interesting… What Lens to get!
I completely agree about shooting in manual! Learn to use the camera even if you never plan took into business! Otherwise, you have spent a lot of money for a camera that shoots like an iPhone in auto. Can’t wait to see what you say about lenses. I definitely think that is a more important decision! I also recommend buying the body only with a prime lens and not the kit lens.
I am so glad you said that because I was just telling someone today, if I could start over from the beginning, I would have just had a camera body and a 50mm (which you’ll find out in my next few post is not my favorite lens but still an important one) and focus learning on just that for a few years.
And I am glad you agree about manual, it’s a game changer 🙂
Tell me what you think