I get approached ALL THE TIME when people are buying a camera and want advice on what to buy SO I figured I’d outline it here and also give a little review of some other gear to go along with said cameras.
When buying a camera it really comes down to how you’re going to use it and what you want to spend. Without getting into high end, medium format digital cameras that retail for $40K+ (excluding the new pentax 645Z digital for $8K) here are what I consider your top choices when buying a camera for professional or personal use.
Here are few things to consider. Cameras come with different sensor sizes and types. Also, mirrorless vs DSLR, micro 4/3 and more.
Full Frame vs Crop Frame
Full Frame – A full frame sensor is exactly what it says, what you see is what you get. Shooting through a 50mm lens? Your image will be captured in full at a 50mm focal length. Other full frame DSLRs include the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 6D, Nikon D600, Nikon D700, Nikon D800 just to name a few. Both Canon and Nikon have high end versions in the Canon 1DX and Nikon D4s – among others
Crop Frame – Crop frame has many variations and actually crops your image based on the lens you are using. A crop from will usually add a magnification factor to your lens. So you’re nice, expensive 50mm lens just became a 70mm which may work for you if you are wanting to get closer to the action.
When it comes to DSLRs, pros are shooting full frame cameras for photography – this may change if they are using DSLRs for video purposes in which case they are shooting the Canon60D, Canon70D or the full frame canon 6D. There are a lot of new video cameras on the market from other brands but we’re going to stay focused here.
Mirrorless camera systems are the new rage and in my opinion FUJI FILM is the front runner. They’re being compared to the experience from Leica for a FRACTION of the price. I think every photographer needs a Leica in his/her bag but for the price you can produce stunning images with the new models from FUJI FILM. For a camera body with an interchangeable lens check out the Fuji x-t1 ($1299 body only/$1699 w/kit lens). For a fixed lens system check out the Fuji X100s. ($1299) At the time of this writing the FujiFilm x200 is rumored to be dropping in 2014 and also rumored to be full frame. Sony, Olympus and many other brands are also putting out great gear but FUJI is what I’ve shot and I’ll stick with.
Shooting film is fun and has so many options. You can get into 35mm shooting by picking up a camera at a yard sale, antique store, thrift shop or a family members closet. Film can be ordered from Amazon and depending on the type most drug stores will still develop it for you. There is a definite resurgence in film among high end wedding photographers. Most of these photographers are shooting the Contax 645, Hasselblad, Pentax and other medium format systems. These systems have escalated in price recently and the film/processing can get pricy. Shooting film will ALWAYS make you a better photographer.
A man I greatly admire by the name of Chase Jarvis made the statement, “The best camera is the one you have with you”. iPhones have revolutionized the photography industry and are quickly blurring the lines of professional photography and what’s possible.
Determine what you want to spend and what you want to shoot and make it happen.
We don’t need better cameras, we need to tell better stories – get out and shoot with what you have.