Which Camera Should I Buy?

8개월 전

Which Camera Should I Buy?

Spoiler alert, this isn't really a guide at all.

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As a professional photographer, one of the questions I get most frequently from friends and family is ‘Which camera should I buy?’. In fairness it’s probably not so much that I take photos for a living as it is the fact that I geek out about camera tech at any given opportunity. The problem is the answer is more complicated than most people think. Even those that understand there are different types of camera often fail to see why I would recommend two different cameras to people looking to photograph the exact same subject matter.

With that in mind I’ll start out by saying that this isn’t intended to be a guide telling you to buy any individual camera or even manufacturer. It’s more a starting point, to get you asking the questions you need to ask yourself if you’re in the market for a new bit of kit. They are the kind of questions that so many people – professionals and amateurs alike – fail to ask themselves, instead ending up buying a camera because it’s the ‘latest and greatest’, or the one all of their peers are using.

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I remember a few years back when the Nikon d750 was released to a furore of excitement within the photography community. In particular the wedding photography industry began to widely adopt the d750 as the camera of the moment. The huge leap in dynamic range was the pull for wedding photographers worldwide with numerous peers making the switch from their brands of choice to Nikon. As it transpired, the d750 turned out to be plagued with issues – which of course Nikon rectified through recalls and updates. For many photographers reliability wouldn’t be as much but for wedding photographers reliability trumps just about everything else – even the dynamic range those that bought the Nikon had so coveted.

Now I’m not saying any of the early d750 adopters had any reason to suspect the camera would have issues down the line – nor that prospective buyers should avoid new models for fear of issues. The reality is that a string of issues like the ones that plagued Nikon are pretty rare! However, whenever I see a new camera getting mass attention and an influx of photographers switching brands I can almost smell the buyers remorse that follows for so many.

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The reality is that modern cameras – especially DSLRs – really are pretty friggin awesome. You’d be hard pushed to find a camera made in the last 5 years (or even 10) that isn’t a fantastic bit of kit. For amateurs the simple truth is this – hundreds, if not thousands, of professional photographers around the world have launched successful careers using gear that isn’t as good as the most basic interchangeable lens cameras currently on the market. And they probably paid a heck of a lot more for it too. The market has been driven to the point that the price barrier for entry is at it’s lowest ever level, and the quality that the ‘entry level’ now represents would have been unbelievable just a decade ago.

As a side note – I personally believe that the downtrend in the market globally is due in part to this point of diminishing returns that we seem to have reached. Essentially the jumps in innovation that we were seeing ten years ago just aren’t possible anymore, so getting buyers to part with their hard earned cash to upgrade is a much tougher task than it used to be! In many ways we’re moving back towards the days of analogue when the only real reason to upgrade was your shutter wearing out.

Enough Preamble

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So, the point of this article – Which camera should you buy?

First of all: Are you a professional?

Are you selling your photographs or photography as a service? If not, then don’t even worry about looking at the ‘best’ cameras. If you really have the cash to blow then look at the entry level full frame market – although in all honesty, if your photography isn’t paying for the camera then there’s really no need. The simple fact is that the entry level gear will do everything you need and more. Entry level DSLRs and mirrorless cameras WILL deliver images plenty good enough to sell to individual clients, stock agencies and magazines. It’s pretty hard to justify spending more right?

Instead think about what you want to be carrying around with you, and what it is you want to shoot. For @vtravels and myself the idea of carrying our full frame gear around on days out is a hassle to say the least. We’ll gear up for landscape shoots where we’re driving to locations, but for just about everything else we use our Olympus micro four thirds cameras. The difference in quality between these and our full frame ‘professional’ cameras is negligible and could mostly be attributed to the lens quality rather than the image sensor performance.

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’The best camera you own is the one you have with you’

I’ve heard this saying so many times, and it’s one that rings true more as the years go by. If you’re a professional then you’ll be doing your own research, you’ll be invested in a manufacturers ecosystem and so the decision to buy a new camera is a little more complex than just looking at the DXO scores for the latest sensor ratings. For just about everyone else just get something that you like the look of, or the most affordable option, or just something you see a great deal on. You can’t really go wrong – but you really don’t need to break the bank to break into the industry. All you need for that is to keep taking photos!

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Lol....... Such an amazing write up you have in there. And yes which camera should you buy?
Our needs for something as humans seems to vary a lot, while some look for beauty, others look for awesomeness... Many people go for things because of its beauty while others look for what really they can do with the thing they buy. That's the change they can cause the world with what they buy.
In your cases, you already know what you are going for since in the world of technology specifications are the very things that determines how best something is. So just go with the one you feel easy to be with.
Also yes..... The best camera is what one owes and to make something special, you the one with it should make it feel special first and others will have no choice than to go with it.
I really enjoyed every second I spent on your blog And your pictures on the other hand are so so awesome.
Great work and keep the photography spirit up.

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I'm teetering on the edge of dishing out some serious money for a Sony A7 RIII at the moment to replace my ageing Canon D60. It's not that my images aren't good, I'm pretty happy with most of them, but I do feel that I miss some due to slower focus and inadequate low light performance which are two of the things that seem to have improved massively in the last few years in all camera ranges. Just need to find the money to take the plunge.

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Definitely a great camera if you have the spare cash to splurge! Personally I've found it difficult to beat the Canon 6D (Mark 1) for low light AF, even the MK2 couldn't match it! The mk2 had slightly better high ISO performance, but only marginal really. I've not used the A7 RIII specifically but I have tried other Sony's an as yet, I've always found mirrorless to lag slightly compared to DSLRs. That said the future is definitely looking very Sony at the moment!


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Hey, @skiesandsports.

I really enjoyed reading this. Very practical and sound advice, and it's good to hear from someone who has the experience and expertise to know.

I'm not a professional photographer (and I'm only an amateur one now and then), but I did publish weekly newspapers for several years, and we actually used the Olympus DSLRs from the moment we were able to switch from film. That was over 15 years ago, closer to 17 or so.

The last one I bought was the E-3. I think I actually liked the E-1 better, because of that point of diminishing returns you speak of. I found that we ended up spending money in trying to get good lenses more than necessarily worrying about the camera body.

Low light indoors, like in a gymnasium was hard to get action shots without a blur, and outdoor shots under the lights could be too depending on where the action was on the field. The rest of the time, things turned out great.

Thanks for providing this 'non-guide' advice. And congratulations on the curie. :)

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Thanks for the kind words! It's always great to know that people really do take the time to read these things!

It's certainly amazing how far we've come since those early days of DSLRs, I think that's the main reason it's so easy to lose track of just how fortunate we are in terms of technology nowadays! Heck, my smartphone has 40 megapixels!

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I agree. There are so many amazing advances just in my lifetime. I think those of us who were born in the late 50s to early 70s range are pretty well placed to observe the major leaps forward that have occurred during that period and still appreciate them. Not that younger folks can't—but there needs to be something to contrast against, so if parents have been going oldschool with something, like film, or actual books, or something else, then their children tend to appreciate and recognize the miracles that they're holding in their hands. Otherwise, it seems to be, "Meh." :)

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Hey there @skiesandsports!

I feel you there brother!! I am also into photography myself. Though at the moment I dont have a high end camera.

But since you are asking, I would want to buy the FUJIFILM XA3! Basically because its handy and palm sized. I do not wnat to keep bringing along a heavy duty DSLR everytime I go out and take my photography on spot.

I guess the camera to have depends on the necessity of usage. True, dont buy one if you are not even going to use it most often.

Thanks for the informative post!

Cheers! ❤

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Thanks! There's definitely no need for a super high end camera anymore, although I do still love them! Fuji is another brand that have really excelled at offering more affordable cameras that are just so easy and convenient to use! But absolutely, there is no point spending hundreds or even thousands on a camera if you're not going to use it. Most people have good enough camera phones now!

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You are precisely correct! It is just a waste of money for spending too much just for a camera, not unless it is part of your business or for any income generating activities.

I for one had been dreaming of having a DSLR of my own. But it got me to thinking, for sure I will get tire of taking pictures as it is only my hobby. Soon I will resort back to my phone camera.. hahahaha..

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Hi @skiesandsports,
pretty funny actually. Yesterday I was discussing with my brother which camera I should buy. I am far away from professional but I want to use it to help my mum to get some attention for her shop on social media.

It feels to me with a camera you can do a lot of creative things. I do not believe that I want to do it proffessional but I think every entrepreneur should have a basic one in our modern world :)

Thank you very much for your post I really appreciate it.
Keep on doing awesome shots and maybe one day we will see eachother on a contest fighting for the best shot.

Cheers,
Max

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Thanks! You're right, there's no excuse for poor photography if you have a website/social media to promote a business!

Interesting point of view you have shared in this post.
As non professional I will choice the camera that is suitable to the type of tasks I often complete.
Thank you for sharing
Peace

Congratulations for the article and not because of the curie vote, that as well but most important is your message. Someone needed to write this and I'm glad you did.
Let me tell you from the beginning that I'm not a professional photographer and my camera is far from being the best. I see a lot of hype around new cameras, just as you said. People (amateur photographers) are buying expensive cameras just to show off and half of them don't even know how to use it. What's the point? Just to show off, to have a better one than your friends or neighbors. I don't approve that behavior, never will.
I'd say it's not the camera that is important but what you can do with it. Of course it's easier if you have a good one but I don't see why spending a lot if you're not a professional photographer who's income depends on it.
Excellent point, well done!