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Up for Discussion – How to Choose a Camera

A couple of weeks I was asked by someone about buying cameras.  They wanted to get a new camera but had no idea what to choose.  I told the person I had written a post on how to work out what camera is right for you, What you want in a Camera, and they said it was very helpful.  I wrote that post over a year ago and I know that people could contribute more to this discussion.  This is not a discussion on which is better, Nikon or Canon, the reality is they’re both good, end of that.  I don’t mind you talking about why you choose one over the other, I will do that too, but in the end it probably doesn’t matter what you choose.  I will go first.

747px-Pentax_K1000I started taking photos over 20 years ago, that is with a SLR.  I’ve spoken about this before, my husband asked me what I wanted one year for my birthday and that is what I said.  The Pentax K1000 was not something I choose, it was chosen for me.  It was a good choice, but as I started having children, well I only had two, I wanted a camera that could capture them, and the all manual K1000 wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I thought I could make it my black and white film camera.  So I started doing research on cameras.

I had joined a camera club and did their beginners photography course, I thought I was ready for a better camera.  I wanted something that could be totally automatic, or totally manual.  Of course most SLR’s were like that back then.  I knew it would be either a Canon or a Nikon.  Another woman who did the course had bought a good Canon, no idea what it was, but all I remember is that she had so much trouble working it out.  Trying to lc2_6689figure out how the aperture worked, I think, was the issue.  I wanted a camera that I could just pick up and use. So I went with Nikon, because to me, that is exactly what they were like, I could just pick it up and use it.  I knew how to change the aperture, and everything just fell into place.  I got the Nikon F90X.  I was so happy with it.  Also, at that time, I think Peter Eastway was also using Nikon, so how could I go wrong right?

I stopped taking photos for a while and the world of digital photography took over.  When I got back into it, I needed a new camera.  This time there were other considerations.  I had to have a camera that took lots of photos quickly.  I was doing sport, so I needed a camera that could take lots of frames a second.  That was really the only thing I needed the camera to have really.  I also knew that I went for a more expensive one my old Nikon lenses would fit onto it and would work. I thought the scsc0011autofocus may not, but I would still have those lenses, at least for a short time.  I bought the Nikon D300s, and to my surprise my old lenses worked exactly the same as digital lenses.  There was no issue with them at all.  So my new kit was made of old and new.

When it was time to upgrade my camera, I knew it would have to be another Nikon, as I had all the Nikon lenses.  This time, sport wasn’t a consideration.  I was no longer doing any sport, so how many frames a second wasn’t that much of a consideration.  I wanted full frame, a camera that could be knocked around a bit, I am a bit rough with my stuff, and good ISO.  The D300s higher ISO’s is horrible.  I have other lenses now as well, and I really like the kit I have.

Have I ever been disappointed with the Nikon, of course, there are things I don’t like.  Have I considered going to Canon?  Again, of course, but it would be such a major thing to do now, sell everything and buy a whole new kit.  I am sure if I had a Canon I would be saying the same things about it as well.

At the end of the day we all just want a camera we can use well, and easily, that will take images that we want and images we can be proud of.

When you were buying your first SLR or DSLR what were you looking for?  What made you decide to get what you have?  What advice would you give someone who wants to buy their first DSLR? If you have another brand would love to hear why you choose that and the camera?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.  I am out all day, so I won’t be able to respond to them.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Finally, don’t forget to get your images to me for the MMC tomorrow.

  1. Great post Leanne. I’d love to get a better camera than the Canon SX30 but it’s always about the money right? Dang house payment and bills!

    April 15, 2014
    • My first “serious” digital camera was a Canon SX130. I loved that camera so much I stuck with Canon. I am only at a Rebel and really don’t see making a bigger investment any time soon. There is, however a lens I have my eye on…

      April 15, 2014
      • I’m running a Canon rebel T3i and have used a friend’s L series lens. it worked wonders If you can only afford the rebel body go with it to start. finding a good used L series lens here (Washington Dc) is not easy, you have to be in the shop when someone trades it in almost. but the lens’ will make a huge difference with a rebel.

        April 16, 2014
  2. A few ideas: 1. It helps to use the brand your friends and family use. 2. It helps to use a camera which fits your hand, so you can easily reach the controls. 3. Do the options in camera and in lenses and accessories cover what you think you might like to photograph (unsure go with one of the big brands). 4.These days mirror-less is catching up on DSLRs, lighter weight gear etc., an investment in the future, not yet ready for some areas of photography. But worth considering. 5. Has the brand stuck to a form factor for its lenses? Leanne mentioned older lens work with new Nikons, an important point. Hope this helps.

    April 15, 2014
    • I totally support your first point! It not only helps you in a way that you can ask them if you can try their camera before you buy one but it also helps because they can show you some nice tricks in the beginning and you can probably also exchange lenses if you go out together. It was like that for me in the beginning. When I wanted to buy a camera I asked around my friends and two of them had a Canon camera, one a Nikon and I went out with one of the guys with a Canon for an hour or so and we just took some pictures together and he also showed me some basic stuff. After that I decided I want to have a Canon. So it was more of a gut decision then a really technical one.

      April 15, 2014
  3. I recently sold my Canon gear and moved to an Olympus mirrorless system….lighter and more compact…..the perfect balance between image quality, portability and affordability. Decide on your budget, do your research online and read reviews, narrow down your choices to three or four models and then go and handle them in a shop……then choose the one that feels the best to you.

    April 15, 2014
  4. My first DSLR, a Nikon D70, was given to me by a friend so not much thought went into it on my end. When I upgraded a few years later, it was a no-brainer to stick with Nikon since I already had several lenses. However, in deciding which Nikon to get, the main factors I considered were price (obviously), high ISO capability (I do a lot of astrophotography and Canon is generally regarded as top dog in that category but alas there’s no going back now…oh well :p ), and overall feel. There are few things more telling than actually getting to hold the camera in your hand before you buy it. There were several models I was considering that looked great on paper but felt cheap and plastic-y when I actually got my hands on them.

    April 15, 2014
  5. In the old film days, I owned Nikon gear. They make great stuff. When I finally bought a digital camera, I bought Canon. Not because it was better, but because I found a camera model at a very attractive price point. From there I built a lens system that works for me. I would have switch to a Nikon DF but the pricing is just wrong. Currently I have a canon 6D and a Canon M (which had horrible reviews). Both fit my style.

    April 15, 2014
  6. lensaddiction #

    Hey Leanne, good subject yet again. Like you I often get asked this question by people thinking about getting a new camera or upgrading so I wrote a post about it too with my thoughts on the subject

    Lots of people really don’t want a DSLR once you query them about what they do and don’t want and a lot of the point and shoots these days come very well featured and do a great job for what most people want.

    April 15, 2014
  7. I know this is not quite what you are talking about but as I read your post I thought “I know what really would sway me – Im left handed. I have adapted well as I have had to, to the right handed way cameras are but it would be less awkward if they made one my way. My guess it would be quite expensive and impractical for a number of reasons for any company to do so but I can dream….

    April 15, 2014
  8. I have just dipped back into the world of DSLR. We went for the canon 100d because the body is as small as a bridge, but the chip is as good as the 700d. As you say once you have the lenses it doesn’t make sense to swap manufacturer, so i’m stuck on the canon train from now onwards.

    April 15, 2014
  9. Agree with Victor here. I ended up with the Nikon D300s, because a good friend of mine recommended it and had a similar model so I got some very helpful lessons early on. Never really regretted it and I still use it evry time I go huntjng.

    Agree with you, Leanne, anything above ISO 800 is quite a challenge for postprocessing 🙂
    But, why I still stick to it – even though it is not full-frame – the handling is marvellous. I had a very, very early Pentax DSLR I started shooting as a hobby with and never got used to it. It confused me so much I lost the fun in Photography for a long while.

    In the end, ask if you can borrow the camera and one or two lenses at a shop. Most of them will allow it if you are interested in the more expensive-than-average stuff. Try to get used to the modell. Do the knobs and switches make sense? Are you able to change settings without too many steps in a menu?

    Maybe, the biggest challenge is a bit different, though. Before choosing the brand and model, my suggestion would be to think about what you actually want to shoot. As you pointed out yourself, you were sure about it early on when you invested in a new camera, but maybe most photographers who start their hobby or their business don’t know, yet. Will you shoot landscapes? Concerts? Sport events or weddings, perhaps? Different setups and from what I have seen, different modells which are better for certain jobs than others.

    Most important, though, get out and shoot! 🙂 this is why I end here, and head back out into Dublin for some night-shots 😀


    April 15, 2014
  10. Reblogged this on Avial Blog.

    April 15, 2014
  11. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    You’ve been taking pictures a long time, no wonder you are good!

    April 15, 2014
  12. I think the question to be asked is what is the interest that motivates your photography. The answer to that question will dictate the camera and lens that you should consider. I found when my interest changed or broaden so did my lens acquisitions. God help your wallet if your broad range editorial writer, as you tend to lust for everything photographic.

    April 15, 2014
  13. Fun post! I asked two friends which DSLR they recommended. One said Nikon, one said Canon. The person who liked Canon took nothing except portrait, and the person who said Nikon loved landscape ohotography. I knew I had no interest in taking portraits, so I blindly went with a Nikon D3000, a very beginner DSLR. What a way to make a decision, lol. I since have upgraded to a Nikon D7100 and love it. I mainly stuck with Nikon because I already had lenses, familiar story, and I’ve not been dissatisfied. I hear it’s mostly the photographer and not the camera that makes a good image anyway. 😉

    April 15, 2014
  14. Jenny Overton #

    After having canon point and shoots I felt this was where I would start to look. Did a bit of research and joined a volunteers animal photographers group. So asked lots of questions and did some online research on a entry level camera. Not only did I want better quality photo’s but want to learn about photography. I like a bit of weight in the camera and the grip and buttons suit me. I’m happy with my 60D and building up a kit for myself. Still have a long way to go but enjoying the journey. Again another great post 🙂

    April 15, 2014
  15. kbarthphoto #

    I still shoot with my first SLR, a Nikon D40. It was my grandfathers camera. When he passed away I inherited it and I take it almost everywhere I go. I absolutely love the camera. As for the Nikon vs Canon. I have no preference honestly. I’ve used Canon cameras before and they were great.

    I would like to get a full frame camera though. The picture quality is better plus those cameras have more features such as auto bracketing and not to mention a better sensor.

    April 15, 2014
  16. The first thing I always ask when someone looks to me for advice about choosing a camera is…what do you want to do with it? Are you looking for something just to snap shots of your kids and take on family vacations, or are you looking for something to grow with in hopes of somewhere down the line using for business.

    I started out with a Canon Rebel Xsi, which I purchased used from a friend for $300. That was back in 2010, well before I thought of photography as anything other than..snapping shots of my brand new baby. When I started getting serious with my photography about 2 years ago, I pulled out the Rebel and used it for about a year and realized that I did need to upgrade. I outgrew it quicker than I expected. I wanted something faster, something I could sustain a business with down the road as I started portfolio building. I narrowed it down to the Canon 60D and the Canon 7D and ultimately chose a used 7D body from Adorama. There are days I want to chuck the 7D into the garbage and go for the coveted full frame. But I stop myself, because most of the time when I think the camera is crap, I go back and look and realize it’s me.

    Anyways, I have a few I usually reccommend. Depending on what people are looking for. I usually advise they go to a place like Best Buy or wherever and play with the displays, then try and find used on-line. Or rent what they think they might want for a week and see how it feels in the field. I shoot Canon and it’s what I that’s what I can offer up information on.

    April 15, 2014
  17. I really like my Nikon P7000. I wanted a camera that I could point and shoot but with the facilities to play with the settings when I wanted. My camera is perfect for this and I’m happy with the photos I use on my blogs.

    April 15, 2014
  18. As always good advice–a post filled with useful information. I’m definitely a Nikon devotee.

    April 15, 2014
  19. Great post. And like you my first “real” camera was a Nikon F90X. Absolutely loved this camera and had lots and lots of fun doing courses, shooting B&W, learning darkroom techniques etc. Now fast forward 2 kids later and I have also ventured into DSLR, Nikon for the same reasons of the comparable lenses. I have to say that I miss my old F90X. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. But I love the convenience of digital.

    April 15, 2014
  20. leecleland #

    Great post and replies. Adding my tuppence halfpenney to the discussion – I used Nikon SLR’s for 30 years (wore one body out), updated to Nikon D7000 three years ago because I could take my lenses with me. Do, do check that your lenses are still OK and not full of fungus as mine were, I had to buy new lenses, expensive 🙂

    Only this week I have changed to a Canon 5D Mk III and all new lenses and associated gear and a big learning curve. The reason I changed – my daughter has all Canon gear and is technically savie (which I’m not) and can help me with that side of things, plus I can borrow her lenses to try before I buy (she’s semi pro). I’m spending the kids inheritance here 🙂

    Sometimes it’s small things like extra pixels in a full frame to be able to crop tighter, or the range of colours a full frame picks up in a sunrise/sunset, or the extra sharpness. None of these things meant anything to me until I had had my Nikon DSLR for a year or two and found out what I really liked to capture and the limitations, not of Nikon, but of certain specifications in cameras in general.

    April 15, 2014
  21. Good post, Leanne. Both gear and functionality does, in my opinion, lock you in. I find my way without thinking with Canon and I’ve got some decent lenses and flashes. Surely there is ‘better’ gear – but I would, alas, not become a better photographer for spending yet another small fortune. The very best camera is the one you brought along and that was ready to shoot when you needed it. I should really upgrade my phone…

    April 15, 2014
  22. robert87004 #

    Hi Leanne, I’m sure we all have our cherished opinions.

    I think I have a somewhat different approach. Buy something that is not too expensive and has a great leans selection available in your price point, then go take lots of photos. (Canon, Nikon, Pentax come to mind)

    Eventually you will discover what functions you really want and then you can buy another body and whichever lenses. What you really want is usually not what you think you want, starting out.

    I chose Canon for it’s right hand controls, and now I have just enough lenses to make it worth staying, but I could shoot any major brand DSLR and be happy, as long as I could easily access the functions I wanted.

    I would go slow on EVF, mainly because viewed images are darker and lightweight, mirrorless cameras are harder to hold steady (inertia). That was a problem I found with slow shutter speeds, having been down that road (I live a NO TRIPOD life, too much to carry all the time)

    Having said that, I now have an SL1, a 6D and three lenses, but I seriously considered a Nikon D610 before I bought my full frame. Again, it was not having to buy lenses that kept me in the Canon camp. 🙂

    April 15, 2014
  23. Nelson #

    I bought a new cam last fall, a Nikon D5100. I have to say I was hesitant between a Canon and a Nikon. I read review on the Internet again and again to the point where I almost had indigestion of all the information. At the end of the day I bought a Nikon for the name, plain and simple. One of the pros for the Nikon is that you can retouch your photos on the cam instead of the computer, something where the Canon does not offer as many options as the Nikon. Now that I’ve tried it, I do not mind spending time on the computer working on my photos. So what I thought was an advantage when I purchased my cam, does not matter today. You can read review about all the options available, you really get a sense of the options just when you use it.

    Do I regret my Nikon over a Canon, no. Would I regret a Canon over a Nikon, probably not. But I know that my next one will have to be a Nikon or I will need to sell all my lenses and re-equip myself if I buy another brand.

    There are two things I regret, the lens that came with my camera, a 18-55 mm 3.5 – 5.6, something that I rarely use now a few months after. The second thing I regret, I should have bought a better Nikon. Now that I love photography so much, I am finding the limits of my cam.

    April 15, 2014
    • I didn’t realise with nikon you can edit shots in camera. I know my canon has a raw editor that I can use on the go and it is not so bad for soft proofing (
      I can understand why you don’t want to move to a new camera system thats why I may not go back to Nikon.

      April 15, 2014
      • Nelson #

        After using the editing software on the cam, I bought one for my computer and find it much easier to make the changes I want on my computer, larger screen, more options

        April 16, 2014
      • I usually edit on my computer because of a larger screen and more control in editing. If someone asks to see an image I don’t really like to show my raw images, so then i quickly edit to proof an image which is then saved as a jpeg.

        April 16, 2014
  24. Weight is really important to me as I have fibromyalgia and a heavy camera is difficult for me to hold (and hold steadily) for very long before I have lots of pain in my fingers, hands and wrists. I LOVE the Nikon lens 55-300 mm because it is fairly light and I can get good quality photos, hand-held.

    Leanne, how about TCs? Can you offer advice about a TC for Nikon bodies? I have the D40, kind of old now I guess. But I love it. I’d love to get a TC between the body and the 300 lens – again, for purposes of max image/minimal weight.

    I used to do a lot of nature photography so didn’t want a tripod hindering me. Many of my shots were done while tracking birds. I’m not doing as much of that now, so I plan on getting an easy to carry tripod (any suggestions?) for city shots; studies in architecture, etc.

    Also, has anyone tried the Nikon D3200? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

    Thanks for a great discussion, Leanne! And the light-bursts photo in this post is fantastic!

    April 15, 2014
  25. My first camera was a Nikon F2 fully manual film camera. Why did I choose it? I was starting photography at college (high school) and was told to buy a fully manual SLR, this camera got superseded by the F4 when my F2 had a malfunction that couldn’t be fixed. I got the F4 because it had some auto settings and would fit my Nikon Lenses. When I got to Uni the school only had nikon digital cameras and I hated them, I really couldn’t get them to work. I went and bought the Canon 20D after trying it out and started buying lenses and a few years later I bought a 300d as a second shooter. Although with their low pixel count these cameras still perform. When it came to upgrading I went to the 60d.

    Why no 5d or 1dx? Money.

    If you are buying a camera ask yourself what you need and why you want it as well as your budget. Next I would ask yourself which camera system you have invested in. Cameras are an investment and to move systems will mean sacrificing all the lenses you bought which you won’t be able to sell for market price to replace them like for like.

    In the end you are the one creating the picture not the camera, brands don’t matter, system types (eg mirrorless, micro 4/3 ect) don’t matter. Do research, read reviews and try out the camera before your buy (rent one for a week).

    April 15, 2014
  26. I started with an Olympus OM1 35mm film because it was small; then jumped to Pentax 645 and 4×5 camera as I was into darkroom bw landscapes and hand-colored bw; Leica rangefinder 35mm film; Canon 20D my first DSLR with long lenses for birds (I liked the “look” of Canon vs Nikon images) Never had any problems, loved my Canon equipment; multiple compact cameras in-between. Now I found my perfect camera in the Sony A7r, full frame, 36mp, manual control, fixed lenses, small size, easy to carry on adventures, with the quality of medium format and I’m back to landscapes…. but, I also like my Sony RX100 always in my pack. I consider myself an avid photographer, a passion not a profession.

    Thank you Leanne for having the discussion. Fun to hear thoughts, everyone has a perfect camera.

    April 15, 2014
  27. For most of my adult photographic life (about 40 years) I have been tied to Canon because of the investment in lenses. I use different bodies for different purposes. If I were starting from scratch today and I didn’t shoot fast action and / or need long telephotos then I would go mirrorless or micro 4/3. I like Fuji but frankly Sony, Olympus and Fuji all produce excellent bodies. Normally my choice is governed by lenses not body. There are some excellent P&S cameras – I have an old Lumix that is still good at ISOs below 400. I have a Fui X100s but my travel camera of choice is now the Fuji X- T1. I still use Canon (5D3 and 1Dx) for macro and wildlife and I also keep a rangefinder or two (M3 and M9) for street photography – not all of the time but as an occasional ‘change is as good as a rest’. I probably have more cameras than most people – maybe 14 or 15 – but its my only vice. I have no interest in fast cars, fancy clothes or luxury watches. I honestly think the days of the DSLR for everyday use are numbered. The bodies are heavy and the lenses even worse if you buy fast primes. I also think Canon has lost its way in quality control – too many problems for my liking – but if you want to shoot birds or sport the 1Dx is superb for IQ, high ISO and AF. For the average hobby photographer a mirrorless or micro 4/3 is a great way to go. Oh I also look at wether the body / lenses are weather sealed.

    April 15, 2014
  28. Oh Leanne! Why did you start this thread ?
    If I had one pound (GBP) for every time someone has asked me “what camera do you think I should buy ?”, I could give up photography and live on my yacht.
    Thing is I don’t know. Not a clue what camera suits another persons requirements.
    And it matters so little.
    Do you think carpenters get together at parties and compare the merits of their saws ?
    Choosing the most expensive saw won’t make you a better carpenter.
    Simple advice: find something you enjoy using and use it until you find a reason to move on.

    April 15, 2014
  29. Reblogged this on Pensieve and commented:
    Very Helpful Post!!! Thanks a bunch Leanne 🙂

    April 15, 2014
  30. Ed #

    Excellent post and topic, as for me I’m Nikon for the body but in my opinion its all about the glass, my choice is Sigma. It really does not matter about the camera, I have both DSLRS and a Canon G12 point and shoot and they all take great pics, Its really all about the eye of the photographer and the way they see things. 🙂

    April 15, 2014
  31. Great post. I use a Canon Rebel Xti because that’s what Costco sold when I looked for a DSLR. Now they sell the Nikon. The first zoom lens froze on me after the warranty expired, so I bought a refurbished one that I didn’t like quite as well. I tripped and it hit pavement, so I bought a Tameron 18-70 mm zoom lens, and I like it. It took me ages to figure out the Canon, and I still forget to change the ISO when I go outside, so I end up with tons of blue shots. By and large, I think the camera has worked well for me, but it’s not a point and shoot easy camera to use, even after using it constantly for two years.

    April 15, 2014
  32. My first few cameras were hand me downs from my dad – my very first SLR was a Mamiya-Sekor DTL500 which I shot so much film through it wore out. I moved on to Nikon and have never looked back.
    The important things to consider is what are you going to shoot? After that you need to be in sync with the camera – how it is laid out and does it feel like an extension of you or does it seem to be fighting you?
    As Laura Macky said above – it is the photographer and not the gear that makes the shot.

    April 15, 2014
  33. Do your research. Talk to other photographers and ask why they made the choices they did. Do some more research. Go to a camera store and hold several different makes and models. It is important that the camera fits you. Do even more research. Don’t get caught up in brands. Do some more research. I would stay away from the bleeding edge of technology – likely even the cutting age. I stick with the tried and true. The megapixel count is mostly hype for the most part. My experience has been that my Nikon D700’s (12.1 mp) produce better high ISO images than the new 5DmIII (22.3 mp). I starter with a crop sensor camera and moved to full frame in year. Wish I would have just started with full frame. Each have their place. Know not only what you want to accomplish now, but also what you may want to accomplish in the future. Doing so may save you a ton of money. Buying gently used equipment is quite affordable as well; this speaks to staying away from the bleeding/cutting edge of technology. Gear is only one part of the equation. Remember, the best camera to have is the one that you have with you. My first DSLR was a Nikon D60 – and it is the one camera in the fleet that gets used the most – in fact, it gets used daily.

    April 15, 2014
  34. Reblogged this on dunjav.

    April 15, 2014
  35. Hi all
    I am a amatuer photograpeer from Himalaya… is it ok with question in this blog..

    April 16, 2014
    • Depends on the question I guess.

      April 16, 2014
  36. hutchphotography2020 #

    Thanks, Leanne for this post. Whatever camera you choose I recommend reading the manual before you buy it. I would also suggest asking the dealer if they have a demo or rental of the same model you are considering. There are also good deals on previously owned cameras and their manuals are usually available online.

    April 16, 2014
  37. gtonthenet #

    For someone starting out with their first DSLR, my advice would be ‘don’t spend big’. There is a thriving second hand market in both cameras and lenses – pick up a bargain entry level camera (your choice – whatever manufacturer you’re comfortable with) and learn how to use it to do the basics right. Once you’ve done that and you think you’ve outgrown that camera – trade up. Again, you don’t have to spend big – you can get very reasonable deals on cameras that were considered pro models only a few years ago. Most of all – just enjoy taking photographs with what you have – that’s what it’s all about, after all.

    April 16, 2014
    • I totally agree with this! I always start used and cheap, then upgrade when I find something I bought for cheap that I use a lot.

      April 17, 2014
  38. The Editor #

    Good piece, Leanne.

    In my opinion there are two main factors, in this order: 1) the availability of high quality FX format lenses for a given camera brand and 2) feeling with a camera of the same brand.

    I, like you, had a great feeling about an old Nikon F80 which I bought to replace an equally old – or even older – Canon EOS 5. I can’t remember exactly but I think the Canon had higher specs than the Nikon, however holding the Nikon felt much better and I found the F80 much easier to use – don’t ask me why, I know that they did pretty much the same job but that’s how it felt at the time.

    As per the optics, they are the real investment and in digital photography they can be considered as ‘the equipment’. Cameras come and go, but lenses outlive cameras generation after generation. Adding to this, if you are not a sport photographer with particular speed and autofocus requirements, chances are that you will score higher by buying top notch lenses and making a compromise with the camera, rather than the other way around.

    All in all choice should depend on what one really wants to do with the camera and whatever the use, good optics are necessary for superior results (this obviously excludes those instagram-style images, which may be artistically interesting but very often qualitatively poor).

    April 16, 2014
  39. I have just discovered your blog Leanne – an interesting read. I get asked the ‘what camera’ question quite a lot and it’s always a tricky one to answer simply. There are very few poor digital cameras around these days. I have an assortment of cameras but more often than not it’s my Fuji x-series cameras that I choose. Love the size and quality and have just started a blog titled ‘Living and working with the Fuji x-series’. That’s what led me to you…keep up the good work!

    April 16, 2014
  40. I’ll add my two cents to this one Leanne … for what it’s worth. Although I have been a dedicated Nikon owner since I was a teen I don’t really believe there’s much of a difference between high-end brand A and high-end brand B. Sure, no one can deny that a camera of brand A might have a few nice features not offered by brand B (and visa versa) but I don’t really believe that can be the basis for the conclusion that one brand is better or worse than another. I think what really makes the camera is the quality of the glass in front of that sensor. Period. Good lenses makes for good images. Having said that, I should point out that what’s even more important than both the glass and the camera put together is … the eye behind the viewfinder. D

    April 16, 2014
  41. The system I would recommend would be the micro four thirds, the lenses available are superb they have improved the system so much from the early models and for the majority of folk they are more than able to produce results which would suffice.

    It is common knowledge that most folk won’t print their images, they get uploaded to the raft of sites out there at very small dimensions so even mft would be overkill for this application.

    One of the bigger advantages is weight the system is so portable and what’s more you don’t sacrifice quality because the kit it’s so petite. The results I have obtained and others out there paying to various blogs and sites show the potential of this system.

    I have shot on film and digital for more years than I care to mention, I’ve used 35mm, medium format, and digital. The quality I obtain from my Panasonic lx7 could blow 35mm away. I have often said it compares extremely well against 35mm and moreover it fits into a jacket pocket with ease so it’s a constant companion.

    I think that the quality of all the systems now is such that you would be overjoyed with any of them. However don’t dismiss the mft’s out of hand it really it’s worth a closer look.

    April 16, 2014
  42. I believe in starting cheap then seeing towards what sort of photography you are drawn, then research cameras that are good for that sort of photography. Also, I went on Flickr and looked at the EXIF data of photos that I liked to see what cameras and lenses those photographers were using, and that helped me out a LOT.

    April 17, 2014
  43. Great post, Leanne! We need more of these. I agree with why you stick with Nikon. I’m with Canon for the same reason. Yes you can get converters, but it compromises quality.
    I cover adventure/extreme sport, and use my cameras for photojournalism too. Started with a Canon 500D, lately also doing video.
    Started with a 50D &18-135mm lens. Then went 7D, added a sigma 150-500lens. Next a gopro, then a quad. Also added a 50mm prime along the way.

    I believe before buying a camera, you must consider what you want it for.
    Want to show off? buy the most expensive, most flashy thing you can find. Being able to use it is secondary.
    Want to take family pics? Studio? Action shots far away? Shooting in the rain / near water? Think well about your goal. Then your budget.

    The way technology is going I am now considering a rugged mirrorless camera. Easy to carry around, can take abuse, light, and technology makes the photos still great (except if you want to make billboard size prints).


    April 17, 2014
  44. For my DSLR, I spent a lot of time pondering, wondering, and reading online. I had an inclination towards Canon, as I had Canon compact cameras ever since I was little. So they felt familiar. But I was open to trying out Nikon. Both the models I had in sight for either brand were really equivalent. So the decided factor ended up being the “spouse seal of approval” combined with how it felt in my hand. She wanted something light, that pleased her aesthetically speaking, and that she could easily handle herself. So in the end, Canon won. With a lighter body, that felt better in my hand than the Nikon that I had set my sights on.

    May 5, 2014
    • We do have to think about such things, and in the end make choices. I am a Nikon person and have been for many years, I like them and understand them. It also comes down to do you understand how they work and can you work out how to use them. When I first choose Nikon, I found them instinctual, then again it was a film camera, digital cameras these days are so different. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      May 6, 2014
      • Yeah, that’s also why whenever somebody asks me which brand they should go for, I usually ask them all their criteria, and then I’ll mainly tell them “go to a store and try both your main contenders out”. I could be a die hard Canon fan, if I look at a camera that feels like I am holding a brick in my hand and that I won’t be able to hold it for long, then I’ll just look at something else 😀

        May 6, 2014
      • Something you have to be careful about, the reason they feel like a brick is because they have more metal than plastic and are a much tougher camera. You get used to the weight, you don’t get used to breaking your camera. My camera is very heavy, but I know it can be knocked around a bit, so I don’t mind that. I don’t even notice the weight anymore, it is normal.

        May 6, 2014
      • When I mean “feels like a brick” I am not talking about the weight (although in my case, weight was a criterion for the spouse’s “seal of approval”), but more about the design. How the grip fits with the photographer’s hand. Bad grip design, on the long run, can range from annoying to painful. some grips are better suited for bigger hands, some for smaller hands. That’s why I think people should always try to hold them, see how the cameras feel, without having a definitive brand in mind (at least for a first DSLR)

        May 6, 2014
      • That makes sense too, I usually ask people what they want or need in a camera and then go from there. I must admit I didn’t care how my camera felt in my hand, I had very specific needs and the one I got had what I needed.

        May 6, 2014
  45. Walter Hampson #

    Great post Leanne, I did a similar post re my journey through the brands I’ve learnt that is is not the camera, make or model that counts, it is the brain behind the camera and of course good lens – You need good lenses to capture the light and a brain to see the photograph in front.

    August 19, 2014
    • I couldn’t agree more Walter, thank you.

      August 19, 2014

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