It’s #TravelTuesday again! Doesn’t it come around quick? It seems like only a week since the last one! Well, here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means the reigns are passed on to me, Dave Williams, to share something about Photoshop, photography, travel, and life. Today, I’m going to tackle a thing that us photographers are faced with over and over and over again. It’s “that question,” which comes at you constantly from all angles. You know the one:
“What camera shall I get?”
Well, basically, there is no right answer! There’s that old adage thrown around pretty much daily: the best camera you can have is the one in your pocket. If anyone asks you which camera to get, feel free to direct them right here!
The best advice, really, is this: buy the camera that you can afford!
Getting a new camera for yourself or as a gift for a loved one getting into photography is quite an overwhelming and potentially daunting experience. Every camera out there claims, in one way or another, to be the best one. Every shop wants you to buy from them. Every salesperson seems to know best and wants to upsell whatever they have in stock. It can all be a bit too much, particularly when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Well, here’s what you’re looking for!
- Manual mode – This allows you to take complete control of the camera. It isn’t something a beginner will necessarily want to do from the outset, but it absolutely is something to work up to. And, having that feature there will mean you won’t have to splash out on another camera when you get to it.
- ISO – The ISO is the sensitivity to light. Look for a camera that performs well at about ISO 1600 so that you can produce clean images in low light.
- Autofocus – A decent, fast autofocus system can make the difference between getting the shot or not, particulary in fast-paced situations.
- Megapixels – It’s not all about the megapixels, but the more the merrier, right? If you want to print your shots, which I suggest you do, the megapixels matter. The more megapixels, the bigger you can print.
- RAW – A camera that shoots in RAW format will make for a far better experience in editing the photos in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom because every bit of data that makes the image is stored in detail rather than being compressed in the JPEG format.
- Ergonomics – Obviously, this is an important factor. The look and feel of a camera can be just as important as your clothing style. If it doesn’t suit you, will you be encouraged to use it? Similarly, the size and weight will be a consideration for how often it gets used, too.
So, all that considered, how about brands? Well, if you ask a photographer which camera to buy, you’ll likely get a response encouraging you to buy their brand. #TeamNikon right here will push you towards a Nikon, whereas if you ask Scott you’ll probably be told all about #TeamCanon, or Glyn Dewis may persuade you to join #TeamSony. Photographers are aggressively true to their brand, on the whole. The reason is quite practical in that if you start off using a brand, you are stuck with that brand’s glass and accessories, which is a very expensive thing to switch from. It’s all masked by a fued of commitment and alliegance to the brand! Right now the top three brands are Canon, Nikon, and Sony.
So, what about the type of camera?
- DSLR – This means Digital Single Lens Reflex. Which translates to “it has moving parts and you can look through it.” The image from the lens is reflected on a mirror to the viewfinder, and when you hit the shutter release button, the mirror quickly flips out of the way and the shutter curtain shoots across the sensor to let the light create an image. They’re generally big, heavy, and pretty delicate. They are also the best option in terms of accessories and lenses because they’ve been around for so long and are essentially the grandchildren of film cameras.
- Mirrorless – These cameras are becoming very popular because they also have interchangeable lenses, but they’re smaller and have far fewer moving parts. They perform differently and they mostly have cropped sensors, meaning smaller images.
- Point and shoot – These are far smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more or less completely automatic. It might be what you need, though!
Where shall I buy it?
The best place is a proper camera store like B&H in New York or London Camera Exchange in London. You’ll find a good variety of kits, and some pretty sound advice because the people who work in camera stores tend to love photography and know what they’re talking about. Amazon comes in next, but mostly because there’s so much on offer at good prices.
Does that answer the question? Probably not, because there isn’t really an answer, but hopefully it’s enough to steer you in the right direction.