Buying a camera sounds like it should be an easy thing to do, but there are many things to consider. There are a multitude of cameras on the market, most of them offer similar features, so we have to look at those features and consider the questions below to make the best decision for ourselves.
What is your budget?
- How much money do you want to spend up front?
- How often will you update/upgrade?
- Consider buying something that will last at least a few years
- Consider open box or used cameras
What do you need the camera to do?
- Do you love to travel, but like to travel light? You will want a smaller camera.
- Are you capturing sports and need to freeze action? You will want something that captures in a higher fps.
- Are you creating editorial portraits for print? You will want something with more megapixels and a larger sensor.
- How well does the camera work for you?
- How does the camera feel in your hand?
- Are the buttons and dials in places that are intuitive and easy to access?
We suggest doing lots of research on all the cameras you are considering. From there, it’s best to go to your local camera shop try them out. This is the best way to help decide which camera is right for you.
You’ve had tons of fun taking images with your iPhone but you’re ready for a more traditional camera. You’ll want something lightweight and easy to use.
For travel, portrait and general day-to-day photographs...
Sony RX100 IV
This is a great little starter camera. The fourth in the RX100 line from Sony that boasts a 21MP camera, the ability to capture in RAW or JPEG and a fabulous built in zoom. Compact but powerful this little guy will fit nicely in your pocket and produce some big results.
The Fujifilm X-T10 is a superb option if you want a camera that has more accessible controls & interchangeable lenses. With the X-T10 you have lovely retro styling and weather seals, which makes it great for travel or just snaps around the house.
Canon EOS 100D or Nikon D3400
If you are seeking a more traditional DSLR styled camera, check out the Canon EOS 100D or Nikon D3400. The overall tech specs are quite similar with both of these cameras. They are both smaller cameras, with interchangeable lenses. They each pack a punch in megapixels, the Canon offering 18mp and the Nikon offering 24mp! And the price is right, not too hard on the old wallet.
For street photography...
Fujifilm x100T or Leica M
Both offering similar image quality, the deciding factor may just be your bank account. Small, compact, and ready for the street, these cameras are deceptively powerful. They can produce razor-sharp images even when the shutter speed drops below 1/50th of a second – and in street photography, that’s a big deal! Plus, they look as gorgeous as the photographs they produce.
Intermediate to Advanced
You’re ready for a camera with a solid build, and functions that are easy to access. Any of these cameras can be used for a variety of photographic genres, including portrait, travel, food, cityscapes, landscapes, Street Photography, Events and even Video!
Canon 7D Mark II
The Canon 7D Mark II is a great mid-size DSLR. It has a crop sensor but offers a fantastic 20MP sensor. HD video capabilities and a sturdy frame. Smaller than the Canon 5D Mark IV, this means it’s lighter but is quite capable of creating amazing images.
Fujifilm X-T2 or Fujifilm XPro-2
The Fujifilm X-T2 and XPro-2 have quite similar specifications between each body; from the 24-megapixel sensor to Fuji’s fantastic X-Processor and on to the Film emulations, these cameras are easy to use and workhorses. The differences come in the shape of the camera bodies, definitely something you’ll want to consider when making a decision.
Nikon D610 or Nikon D750
Both of these camera offers Full Frame Sensors at 24 megapixels. The Nikon D750 is about a year newer on the market, which means the sensor inside contains newer technology, including a higher ISO range and additional focus points.
This little Sony has an amazing full frame sensor, which means more data. More data means more image detail and larger prints! Boasting a 42-megapixel sensor, broad ISO range and HD Video, this little camera is worth a look. If you like to travel like, but want a ton of options and power, this could be the camera for you.
Advanced to Professional
You want a lot of power in a sturdy body, designed to withstand the elements, travel and always be reliable.
Canon 5D Mark IV
The Canon 5D Mark IV is brand new to the DSLR Market and the latest in the Canon 5D line up. The 5D Mark IV has a 30 megapixel, full frame sensor. With all those pixels you will also have a great ISO range, 61 focus points, and 7 fps when in burst mode; you can even capture 4K video with the 5D Mark IV.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II is Canon’s Flagship, large DSLR. This camera is not for the faint at heart, as the price tag is considerable, but this is a true powerhouse for digital imagery. Features include a full frame, 20-megapixel sensor, an ISO range that expands from 50 - 409600 (wow!), shutter speeds up to 1/8000 of a second and a burst mode that captures 17 frames per second.
The Nikon D810 remains one of Nikon’s most loved mid-size DSLR’s, with a 36-megapixel full frame sensor, you will have great detail in your images. One thing the Nikon DSLR’s have handled beautifully over the years is noise in images, Nikon has been a champion of creating sensors that let you push the limits of higher ISO’s.
If you are a fan of the Nikon cameras and want a beast of a camera then the D5 is for you. Nikon’s flagship, large DSLR features a full frame, 21 megapixel sensor; an ISO range from 50 - 3,280,000 (yes, you read that right, 3,280,000!), 153 focus points and 14 frames per second when in burst mode. There are a lot of wow factors on this camera without a doubt!
Remember a good camera is just part of the equation, stellar images have stellar cameras and lenses combined.
If you’re curious about the best lenses, read our Lens Buyer’s Guide here.
Selection by GPP Instuctor, Kate Hailey.