Photography: How To Choose A Camera

Photography Class How To Choose A Camera

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


photography | 24 October 2016

One question I get asked about a lot is what camera I use and if I have any recommendations for equipment. I’ve been answering these questions by email or in the comment section individually, but I figured it would make for a nice series on the blog as well. I will be writing about the basics of photography, my experience as a photographer, what products I like to use and how you can improve your photography game. If there are any questions you may have, feel free to drop me a line and I will include the topic in my series!

Before we get into the techniques, I wanted to start off with the first question you’re going to be asking yourself: how to choose a camera? Some of you may already have cameras but perhaps you’re looking to expand your gear.

When choosing a camera, you’re going to have to consider your budget, experience level, what you will use your camera for and if you want video (but almost all cameras nowadays have a video option).

Point-and-shoot camera: Unless you’re a total photography noob, chances are you have a point-and-shoot camera or at least have an old one lying around somewhere at home. Point-and-shoot cameras are basically cameras that are small, easy to carry with you and lightweight. Point-and-shoot cameras are a big sell because of the affordable prices, its compact size and the idea that you don’t need to do much for a decent photo. The quality is better than your phone camera but not as great as any of the more professional models below. Prices start at as little as EUR100 but can go up to EUR1,000 (these are higher range point-and-shoots where you have more ‘freedom’ to adjust lighting values). If you are looking for a camera that you can take with you on your vacation or for every-day photos, without the hassle of manual shooting, this is the camera for you. You won’t be troubled with looking into lenses either because the lens on a point-and-shoot is as easy as they come (decent zoom, quite wide angled).

DSLR: If you want to step up your photography game, consider buying a DSLR. DSLR’s range from affordable consumer-based models (EUR 500) to highly expensive ones that the professionals carry. DSLR’s are bigger and heavier than point-and-shoots and it does require some experimenting before you will understand the full extent of the camera’s capabilities. If you want to learn more about photography and take better photos than you’re currently doing with your point-and-shoot, you may not need more than a consumer-based model. However, if you’re planning on working yourself up to a more professional level of photography in the future, I would advice to look into a professional or semi-professional model. Starting with a lower class may teach you the basics of photography but it will not yield you the results that you’re looking for and you’ll eventually start looking for higher class models anyway. Do keep in mind that a camera isn’t all you’re going to be spending on if you’re going with DSLR’s – you’ll also have to invest in lenses. And they don’t come cheap, especially the good ones. I myself shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II – after shooting a while with my Canon 400D, I decided to purchase the (semi-)professional model back in 2009 when it came out. I still consider it the best investment I have done.

Mirrorless camera: Hugely popular nowadays are mirrorless cameras. The draw of the mirrorless camera is that is has the compact size and weight of a point-and-shoot and the quality comparable to DSLR’s, but not quite. While manufacturers have found a way to extend the market of mirrorless cameras offering a variety of options and lenses, it does not compare to the images shot with a DSLR, the many lenses available for DSLR’s and the durability of a DSLR. If you’re looking to shoot more professional photos but you don’t like the bulky models of the DSLR and the many lenses a DSLR comes with, a mirrorless camera is going to be perfect for you. I bet almost every professional photography has looked into it and owns one as well – but it does not replace the DSLR. Prices start at EUR 500. I myself own a Samsung NX300m – I bought it with the idea to not always carry around my DSLR but I’ve had the mirrorless camera for 1,5 year now and I have used it less than ten times I reckon. The quality just makes me want to reach for my DSLR more, even if that means a heavier bag.

Action camera: Action cameras are typically small and lightweight and are perfect for those who want to capture on-the-go photos or action videos. The advantage is that action cameras are usually extremely wide-angled, making it possible to capture a lot. We bought a GoPro action camera back in 2014 and shot some amazing footage when we were in Norway and some underwater videos as well. The quality is actually quite good for such a small camera (it even shoots in 4k).

Drone camera: Drones are all the rage nowadays. Drone cameras are great for aerial shots and videos. It’s unfortunate that we’re not allowed to fly one in Amsterdam (you’re only allowed with a drone flying certificate), otherwise I would have bought one already.

Lastly, always check reviews! There’s no better way to learn about a camera than through reviews!

Good luck – I hope this was a valuable read and see you guys in the next photography session!