FAQ: What Camera Should I buy?

Ok, this question has become more and more frequent lately–thanks to friends who view me as a camera expert (boo~), and believe my recommendation for to-be their beloved companion.

I get it. For you who has not been really familiar with camera, it is now becoming more confusing to choose one. I was at this point once, only it was Canon vs. Nikon, and choosing the type that suits my needs and budget. Today, many brands offer good cameras with variety of prices and features. Some of the brands has so many types with slight difference, even myself can not catch up to know each every one.

So here’s to the most frequently asked question;

What camera should I buy?

I’m a noob, what would you recommend for good camera?

Which one is a good camera?

I can’t really decide for you if I don’t know you, your needs, and yadda yadda. And here’s to some questions you need to ask yourself for your own guidance before finally choosing one:

  1. What do you need?

Camera is personal, so first things first you need to know your own needs and how you are going to use your camera. Is it for work? If so, what kind of work? Are you gonna do some vlogs? Answering these typical questions will make you know your specific needs and narrow down the list of cameras.

For example, if your work requires camera that can capture high motion, you would need semi to professional camera. Canon and Nikon has the best of these types. But they’re no joke, the big ones.

But I’m a casual shooters, I like to shoot on the street, and hate big cameras. I have a back pain.

Well, choose more low-profiled camera then. Fuji, Sony, Leica and Lumix have many great mirrorless camera, and they’re small. I had bad experience shooting on the street outside my home country. When I was shooting on the street during Magnum Workshop in Bangkok, using Canon’s 6D and 5D Mark II, was really hard. I wished I had smaller cameras like mostly of my colleague use. People notice everytime and somehow feels threatened. And they’re heavy for small Asian girl like me. For shooting video, Sony still on top of my list.

Which one should I choose–mirrorless, DSLR, or point-and-shoot?

I will explain on the last questions.

2. What’s the difference between Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony and yadda yadda yadda? Which one is the best for me?

Welp, the hardest question ever. I can’t really say what are the differences, otherwise it’s gonna be a long long post-and please do some research yourself. But for me personally, some of the work that I do, has some standards for image quality therefore I keep using Canon. But back then when I buy my first camera, it was because I love Canon interface more than other brands. Canon also has a round of good lenses and it’s far cheaper than Nikon. Other than that, the hand grip for me is important. I have small hands, therefore I choose one that’s not too big for me. If you will holding your camera for hours, you would need a well-designed hand grip.

For choosing brands, it is subjective, really. You need to experience each brand to know which one you love more.

3. How much is your budget?

After making list of your needs, setting your budget would help to match your need with what you can afford.

4. How is your behavior with your camera? And where is your end-result for your pictures/videos?

Which one do you prefer? A small camera with interchangeable lens, or you don’t really bother except it can take a picture? How often are you going to use the camera? This will you help to determine to choose between DSLR, mirrorless or Point-and-Shoot (PnS). Mirrorless cameras have the advantage of usually being lighter, more compact, faster and better for video; but that comes at the cost of access to fewer lenses and accessories. DSLRs have the advantage in lens selection and an optical viewfinder that works better in low light, but they are more complex and bulkier.

So how are you going to do with the picture? Is it magazine, prints, social medias, or private consumption?

I have explained before that work that I do have standards on image quality therefore I have to use Canon. My type of works also needs different types of lenses, therefore I choose DSLR.

So why not mirrorless?

It’s the hand-grip and the view finder.

I used to use cameras that have real view finder, whether it’s digital or analogue. It made me feel close to what I photograph, as what I saw is what I would get. I’ve tried once mirrorles view finder, I don’t really use to it. It feels disconnected somehow because you see it on a little digital screen inside your view finder. But maybe it’s just me that didn’t get used to it.

If you’re going to just casually post your picture on Instagram or any other social medias, you might not need to jump into the bandwagon and buy really expensive cameras. Take it easy. iPhone camera might be enough for a casual shooters like you.

If your picture gonna be for private consumption, and you’re not really bother visual quality, Point and Shoot or Smartphone with good cameras might suit you.

Hope it helps!