How to Choose a Camera
Let’s talk about how to choose a camera. So, you know your budget and what you are going to use your camera for and how much time you are going to invest in learning how to use it (if not, check out this post), now it is time to get down to the nitty gritty of choosing your camera.
I am a firm believer that you don’t need to start out with a huge expensive camera if you are not going to really learn how to use it. There aren’t any bad cameras. I started out with the very basic Canon Rebel. It was the cheapest option and I used it and used it until I grew out of it. I bought another one and my sister is using my 8-year-old Rebel still today. It still takes great pictures and it is all that she needs.
The following comparisons will be all about new cameras. I have bought used and refurbished camera equipment because it was what I could afford and have been happy with that. So, don’t feel like you have to buy new. Do a basic Craig’s List search and I bet you could find someone selling a cheap camera.
In the following comparison, I have compared a point and shoot camera,Canon PowerShot A1400 16.0 MP Digital Camera with 5x Digital Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens and 720p HD Video Recording (Black) (OLD MODEL)
the next level up Canon EOS Rebel T4iCanon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR with 18-55mm EF-S IS II Lens (OLD MODEL)
and the very best and newest Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Kit
There are other cameras but these are a good representation of what is out there. I used a website to compare the cameras and then created a diagram with only relevant information for you. These camera sites can get confusing and I wanted to keep it simple and helpful. Feel free to check out the whole list here.
Let’s break down the different areas:
- Price. Self explanatory.
- Body Type. A compact camera is a camera that has one lens and a DSLR means that you can change lenses. Why would you want to change lenses? Well, different lenses are good at doing different things. A zoom lens or telephoto lens is good at capturing sports or things far away. A prime lens is better for portraits.
- Image, ISO. A higher ISO capability just means that you can take better pictures with lower light. It is great to be able to increase your ISO. It is absolutely necessary as a photographer, but as a mom or dad, you can get by with a lower ISO capability. (Want to learn what ISO is and how to use it for your camera? Check out my course, A Girlfriend’s Guide to Photography Basics where I teach you, in plain terms, how to shoot manual.)
- Exposure Modes and Scenic Modes. Notice how the cameras on the left have more modes than the cameras on the right? Well, the ones on the right are made more for professionals. So, the camera does less things automatically. The cameras on the left, the camera does more of the work for you. So, if you are a mom, dad, blogger, whatever, the cameras on the left will be better for you. I would choose a camera on the left until you outgrow that camera and then you can move up to the more professional ones.
- Built in Flash. This is similar to the one above. The professional cameras on the right do not have a built-in flash because professional photographers buy specific flashes for their cameras and situation. If you aren’t a pro, go for the cameras on the left.
So, what is the answer? Which camera should you buy? Well, it definitely depends on what you want to do with it and what you can invest, but if I were just starting out, I would buy the Rebel T4i if I had the money or the Rebel SL1 if I wanted to save a little money.
Of course there are a lot more features we could compare, but these are the most important ones for the beginner. Let me know in the comments what you think and if you have any more questions. Next up, we will be talking about lenses!