Advice for Buying a New Camera

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The holidays are approaching and many of us might have a new camera on our wish list. Whether you are asking Santa for a new camera or planning on giving one as a gift, I thought I would share some advice. My friends and coworkers know that I am into photography so It is not uncommon for them to ask me for recommendations when they are shopping around for a new camera. They want to know which brands are the best, which to stay away from, which lenses they need and so on. My advice is always the same. Right now, in the digital age, if you are looking to purchase an entry level DLSR or mirrorless camera, it is almost impossible to buy a bad one. Any brand you buy will give you amazing photos. Nikon isn’t better than Canon, Canon isn’t better than Sony or Olympus. Any brand you buy will give you one hell of a camera.

What I always tell people that ask for my advice is to think about what you want a camera for and how do you plan to use it. There are so many overwhelming options out there that it is easy to buy more than you need or worse, less than you need. So here is my advice, here is the secret, it is not about the camera. All cameras work pretty much the same and will produce roughly the same quality images. Its all about the lenses. The lens is the most important thing in determining how your photos look. When you go out to purchase a new camera you want to pay more attention to what lens options you have.

Most cameras come packed with what is called a kit lens. These are basic lenses that generally come with a zoom of 18-55mm or something around there. Kit lenses are capable of producing wonderful images and are perfect for everyday photography such as family photos, parties, vacations, and things of that nature. If that is all you are interested in taking photos of than an entry level DLSR or mirror less camera with a kit lens is perfect for you.

As nice as kit lenses are, there are some disadvantages to using them. The largest aperture opening is usually a 3.5 which means they are not ideal for portrait shots or shooting in low light. Their autofocus is decent but not the fastest you will find, so other lenses might fit you better if you are interested in street photography. And while 18-55mm gives you  little bit of zoom, they won’t really help you to capture photos from far away. For example, if you are on the bleachers of your child’s sporting event you won’t get those great close up action shots of your child on the field with these lenses.

If you are buying a camera and a kit lens is not for you you still have options. Many new camera buyers don’t realize but you can purchase any camera body without a lens. This will usually save you a few hundred dollars and allow you to purchase a separate lens of your choosing to best fit your photography needs. If you want the kit lens but feel you still need more, most brands will sell different packages of their cameras that include the kit lens as well as a zoom lens, usually around 70-200mm. Buying the two together will save you around $100-$200 compared to buying the zoom lens separately.

So there you go, thats the best advice I can give you on buying a new camera. Don’t worry about the brand so much, any camera today will be amazing. Remember, its all about the lenses.

If you have any questions about any of this stuff, send me an email and I would be happy to help out.