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What Camera Should I Buy?

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What Camera Should I Buy?

Hello Explorers! Today I have an exciting topic which is going to help you to make a wise decision regarding choosing the right camera for you! In this article, I am going to guide you with my step by step rational thinking when buying a camera and then will explain to you which are my go-to. So let’s go ahead and see “What camera should I buy?!”

As mentioned before, this article has two sections:

  1. The reasoning behind choosing a camera
  2. The go-to Cameras that I suggest to you.

By the way! Please remember to share this Pin ?

The reasoning behind choosing a camera:

There are many factors for you to consider, but whenever I think of what camera should I buy, I think it is safe to narrow it down to the following 3:

  • Will I use it professionally or amateur?
  • What is your budget?
  • Will you use it for video, photography… both?

Before we break down these questions, I’d like to demystify a common phrase:

“Don’t buy an expensive camera if you don’t know how to use it.”
Surely, old cameras are sexy AF, but would you take for holidays?

Listen, you can buy whatever camera you want. Not because you are new into photography, you won’t buy a flagship camera. If you are into photography, you will learn to use whatever camera you get. Moreover, if you practice it a lot, you will soon notice that an entry-level camera won’t satisfy your needs. If I’d have had the money, I’d have bought me a great camera right from the start.

I will keep going more into details about the problem above as we break down the topics.

I will be giving all camera suggestions after answering these three questions above.

Will I use it professionally or not?

For me, this is the main question. If you are planning to make money out of it, then you can consider your camera to be an investment.

If this is the situation, then I’d go for a full-frame camera as will give you better depth of field and better dynamic range. Both appreciated when working professionally.

Also, full-frame cameras have a better and more diverse range of lenses, allowing you to get what suits you the best for whatever kind of photography you are in. 

Be aware: buying a full-frame camera and professional lenses can quickly become a huge bill to pay. That’s why I want to encourage you to be realistic about how much you expect to earn in the next months as a photographer. More on this later (budget)

But there are some fields of photography when even though you want to use it professionally you won’t have an immediate return.

Full frame cameras are a must in fields like wildlife and sports photography

For example, wedding photography is great to make money. You can start by doing 1-2 free (or almost) weddings and then start making money.

But, if you want to be a travel photographer like me, then you also need to invest in travelling to create content and, as you are going, it will be hard on a first instance to get those clients. That’s why I started with an entry-level camera, then jumped to a high-end APS-C camera and now I have a full-frame

Finally, if you plan to use it for holidays, I’d just go for an entry-level camera and spend the money in excellent restaurants and hotels. After all, every camera takes pictures.

Your Budget: Don’t buy what you can’t afford, unless…

Let’s get a bit “financial” here… Let’s say you are into wedding photography and you plan on making one wedding the first month, two weddings the second month and the 3rd month you will have four weddings.

If each wedding pays you $1000 (remember you are new, don’t expect to be earning 5k per wedding)

1000+2000+4000= 7000 in the next 3 months. 

But if you bought a nice camera with proper lenses, will easily cost 8000k. If you paid in 6 months instalments, you would be monthly paying 1333 per month. Meaning the first month, you won’t have the liquidity to pay it. Not just that! You will also have to pay for your living costs so you will be negative.

But if you can pay in 12 months, then you’ll have an easier time. Not only you will be able to pay for the first month and have a bit extra, but each month will be better as you should starting to make more money.

That’s why you have to understand what you can afford and adjust to it.

Wedding Photography is profitable, a great way to invest in gear

If you are not thinking of being professional, the question is the same. Let’s say you are working in a company; your income is likely to be rather fixed for the next months. That’s why you have to understand the budget you can spend and buy according to it.

A final thought on this topic is that while you can get a great camera, if you don’t have money to use it later, then it will be nonsense. 

When I was getting into travel photography, I had 5k. I got an entry-level camera, and the rest of the money used it to travel. Totally worth it.

Will you use it for video, photography… both?

Now we are getting a bit more technical.

Some cameras are better at taking pictures. Others are better at filming, and others are in between (they are called hybrids).

Generally, entry-level cameras aren’t that good at video. This is a hint that if you want to film, you might have to invest in a mid-end camera.

If you are planning on taking sports photography, then you need something with great Auto Focus and lots of high frames per second.

If you want something for landscape/travel photography, you will preferably want a camera with good dynamic range.

My suggested cameras:

Please note, there isn’t such a thing as the perfect camera. Everyone will always have personal preferences. Out there are Canon fanboys, Sony fanboys, Nikon fanboys… etc. That is why I am sharing these cameras according to what I think is the best:

For entry-level: Nikon D3500

I started photography with a Nikon D5200, but being honest, in the entry-level segment there isn’t so much of a difference. That is why I’d suggest the nikon D3500, which is cheaper than D5000 line. 

The truth is that you whatever brand you get, it is going to be good. The only ones I wouldn’t recommend are the Sony a5000 series. Personally don’t like them as much as Canon and Nikon entry-level. (Though the a6000 series is brilliant)

As the name suggests, entry-level cameras are meant to get involved with “real cameras”. That being said, you are supposed to learn to use a camera, shoot in raw and edit pictures.

These are some images I shot with the Nikon

For Mid Range level Sony a6400:

A brilliant piece of technology with incredible autofocus, great sensor and image quality and outstanding video capabilities. These are some of the images I’ve shot with it.

Besides, this is a great camera if you want to take both, photography and filmmaking more seriously. The dynamic range of this camera is far better than the entry-level cameras. Allowing you to recover shadows in high contrast situations.

Finally, with this camera you can play with different video settings like S-Log and D-Cinelike, so you can easily use it for commercial purposes as it will allow you to color grade your videos.

If you get this camera, you just won’t go wrong. The only drawback is the price. For not too much more, you can go Full Frame.

Suggested: Editing Photography in Lightroom: Do’s and Don’ts

Overall Full-frame camera: Sony A7III.

There is a before and after once this camera was released. Sort of changed the market, including insane features for an “affordable” price. You also have a great diversity of lenses so you can choose accordingly to what you want to shoot.

Some fantastic features are the great low light performance, probably the best AF in the market and outstanding dynamic range. This is one is a workhorse that won’t fail you. If you want to have a nice camera for wedding, then take this one.

PS: Sorry explorers! I have used this camera a couple of times (that’s why I recommend it) but I don’t have images to share with you.

But, this is isn’t the camera I own. The reason why I recommend it is because it is just a fantastic camera no matter what you plan to use it for. But I have a better choice for my needs (I’m a travel photographer):

Nikon Z6: And here is why…

Image quality: In this camera is fantastic. The dynamic range is almost hard to believe, allowing you to push your edits in post. For me, this camera produces the best skin tones and colours and, as I shoot RAW+JPEG, getting those great looking jpgs straight out of the camera is just a real convenience. 

Video quality: This camera has excellent video features, being able to produce non-cropped 4k and 120fps in 1080p, this is just great for vlogging and doing my travel videos. Moreover, you can produce Raw video footage with an external monitor which is something that truly creates a new camera experience.

Ergonomics: This camera is to my hand like peanut butter to jelly. It just like an extension of my arm. It has excellent customizations buttons for you to adjust it however you want. When I am travelling, I can easily be out for 12-15 hours in the streets just shooting, and I am always carrying the camera in my hand. That’s why ergonomics is a fundamental feature for me as there is nothing worst than having a camera where you don’t know where your fingers should go.

Experience: I still don’t understand what is it but the experience of shooting with the Z6 is just the best that I’ve had with any camera. It is a fun camera to use. The menu is simple and smooth, the buttons are right where they should be, and the sound of the shutter is just great.

I feel like this is a camera that every morning says to me “I want you to use me all day long, Ian”

The main thing I can describe on the excellent experience of use is how easy it is to switch from photography to video. If you are in photography mode, pull down the trigger, and you have an entirely different customized video set up. Bring it the trigger up, and you are back to photography. 

The fast switching mode system is the main reason why I got this camera. When going hard-core filmmaking, I go into markets and streets where the action happens at every second. This feature allows me to be shooting video and the next second shooting photography. This camera is fast to use, allowing me to save up time with dials to shoot more.

The screen and the viewfinder are by far better than Sony’s and Canon. The best display I’ve used so far. 

Streets of Cusco, shot on the Z6

Autofocus: Nikon AF is good, but it is also true that’s not as good as Sony’s. Sony is by far the best manufacturer when it comes to AF. However, as I am not a sports photographer, having a super-fast AF isn’t a must for me. What Z6 offers completely satisfy my needs for vlogging and filmmaking.

Lenses: I genuinely think the Z lenses are one of the best ones in the industry. Nikon has always been famous for the lenses, but this Z line is superior even to Nikon FX lenses. But, there is one drawback here. The Z line isn’t so diverse, and Nikon is slowly adding more lense to the family. But can guarantee you, the existing lenses are just ridiculously good.

Final Thoughts

In nowadays world, the chances you buy a “bad” camera, are close to 0. Every camera out there is great, there are just some cameras that are better than others.

But you can see with the images I showed you above, that I was able to create fantastic pictures either it was with an entry-level camera like the Nikon D3500, a middle-range like the Sony a 6400 or, using a full-frame like the Nikon Z6.

That’s why, the first part of this article “the reasoning behind which camera should I buy” might be even more important than the camera itself.

Anyways! That’s it for me, let me know if you agree or not with my thoughts, and I’d really like to hear your opinion in the comment below about this topic!

Have a good one, you photographer explorer!

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