Hello everyone! This post is from Jake, and I am excited to be writing. I have decided to write a few posts to help in your decision for choosing which camera you should buy. I have really been the silent observer ever since Amy started Simply b four years ago. Being the silent observer has really given me some great insight into photography, and allowed me to learn a few things along the way. I hope that the insight that I have into how to choose the best camera is informative and helps you make a decision that you will be happy with.
Perhaps one of the most frequent questions that comes up from many of the people we meet is “which camera should I get?”. Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer, for many reasons. It really boils down to personal preference, which is difficult because everyone has their likes and dislikes. Fact is, most of us tend to be brand loyal in some form or another. Take Amy for example. The woman loves to go to Target. And by loves, I mean, her whole entire countenance changes walking through the doors there. I used to think it was really weird that her mood could change simply by being in that store. Needless to say, I got wise pretty quick, and if moods are getting sour on the big blue bus, it is in my bag of tricks to pull into a Target, and as a result, moods usually improve just from us being there.
Anyway, back to brand loyalty. There are dozens of manufactures to choose from, and all of them have their respective strengths and weaknesses. It really takes knowing what features you want prior to beginning your shopping trip to the camera store. Shopping can get frustrating, and what I hope to address and clarify is what to do if you don’t know enough about photography to even know what features you want. That is where I hope to be able to help out, if you can just bear with me…..
What really pays to remember is that cameras are simply a tool. It’s what is happening behind the camera that ultimately matters. I have seen amazing photos come from iPhones, Droids, point and shoots, digital and film cameras alike. What makes me really happy is to see A Day With Amy Alumni sharing photos that are capturing day to day moments with whatever camera they have on hand, and to have those photos record the moments and memories that otherwise would have been lost forever. With all that being said, I want you look at your camera as a tool, and to be comfortable enough with that tool that you can easily pick it up, shoot a photo and not be intimidated by your camera.
I learn best from stories, and I love to tell them, especially ones with a correlation in there, so here goes… I love flying, and always knew I wanted to be a pilot from a very young age. I had a large poster hanging in my bedroom of the flight deck of a very large airplane with dials, switches, knobs, handles, and gauges of all kinds that I thought fascinating, even though I didn’t have a clue as to what they were or what they could do. After I started to learn how to fly, I realized that airplanes were indeed very complex, especially the bigger and bigger they got. After years of flying small airplanes, each one a little more complex than the last, I eventually ended up flying an airplane exactly like the one that was on the poster in my room. Guess what, I can now point to every single knob, dial, gauge, and switch on that poster and have complete and total understanding of what the different things do and mean. It took me years and years of dedication, study, trial and even sometimes error to get to where I am with flying, but I am totally comfortable flying large, complex airplanes. Although large airplanes are more comfortable, faster, and safer to fly, there is a joy of stepping back into the simplicity of a small airplane and going for a joyride. I think you will find lots of similarities with my journey of learning to fly with your journey into photography.
I think the best place for someone to start their photography journey is with the very camera that you already have. For most, this will be the camera in their phone, for others, it may be the point and shoot that comes out of the junk drawer for birthdays and holidays. The point here is to find out if photography is a hobby you would like to pursue by experimenting with different subjects. Do you like to photograph people? pets? landscape? flowers? architecture? The list is endless, but the purpose is the same. You need to find out if you enjoy it through experimentation. Give it a fair chance, as I think that you will find that there is a place for everyone in photography.
The experience of looking at a DSLR camera for the first time can be a little overwhelming. They look menacing at first sight, but with a little patience, study, trial and error, you will know the function and purpose of every single dial, knob, switch and button on the camera. The cameras that I am choosing to review in my next post are all capable shooting in manual mode. As you can see from the prices associated with each, there is a wide variety of choice. I find it similar to purchasing a car. You can spend anywhere from $15,000 to $70,000 on a car, with the end purpose of that car of getting you from point A to point B. The more expensive the car, the more features and performance it will have. For some, the bells and whistles matter quite a lot, but for others, not so much. Some prefer to buy used as opposed to new, and on and on. The same is very much true for cameras as well, the end goal being that you really want to take a nice image with a camera that has just the right features, and keep it within your budget.
Check back soon for some direction and pointers for your upcoming purchase!