While my status as professional is only just beginning, I have been a hobby enthusiast of photography for quite some time. Over the years I have been asked by friends, colleagues or passers by “what camera do you recommend”. And to be honest, this question is never easy to answer.
If you are in the market for a camera, whether it be a first time buy or an upgrade, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first.
What are my needs? When buying my first camera, I was moving to Australia and wanted to capture all those great moments ahead, so I had my sights set on a nice mid range Nikon D60. I was ready to fork over the $500 or more that it cost, but I decided to mull it over a bit first. I realized that I didn’t need all those bells and whistles. This was my first camera, also, considering I would be moving near to a beach and planned to go there with my camera, being inexperienced, it was likely going to get a little wet. So I opted for a nice Olympus point and click due to the water resistance.
Before you jump in and buy that Canon EOS 70D, think it over. What are you planning to shoot? Do you plan on photographing your kids playing soccer and get those amazing focus effects? Or do you just need it to capture memories of your family outings? What you expect out of your camera can sway your decision drastically, but will also lead you to the next question.
What is my experience? What camera you decide to buy is dependent upon what you expect your camera to do. A mistake that some people make is buying a camera that is well beyond their knowledge of the device itself. Identifying your needs helps you decide what camera you may need, but buying a camera you would not know how to use is a waste of your time and money, unless you are willing to learn.
A point and click camera has a much lower knowledge requirement than that of an SLR, much like a phone is far easier to use than that of a point and click. While you can capture some fantastic photos with your fancy iPhone 7 Plus, you will never have the same quality of image that you would with an SLR, but you will need to know how to use the manual functions of that SLR in order to get it, which can be a very daunting task, and can demoralize you if you have a hard time.
What is my budget? When you determine what your needs are, and you determine that you can handle the challenges an SLR will throw at you, then you need to decide what you are willing to spend. An SLR does not come cheap, a low end SLR will run you around the $400 mark at the least, and sometimes that does not even include a lens; and can end up costing upwards of $1,500. Believe me when I say this cost is nothing compared to a top notch professional camera.
In the end, if you can afford to buy an SLR with the bells and whistles, then I strongly recommend it, but always do your research on your options within a price range, and then shop around for a good deal. There is no right answer to what camera is a good camera, because that entirely depends on your needs and expectations.
If you want to take those sporting shots of your kids and expect it to look fantastic, then be prepared to spend over $1,000, but if you are okay with just a photo to share with the family, then I think a nice point and click camera for about $200 is more than sufficient.