What Camera Should I Buy?

The number one question I get asked the most by aspiring photographer is, what camera should I buy? A lot of people get bogged down when it comes to selecting a camera to buy. So much so, that it delays the process of learning photography.

So what camera should you buy?

The answer is, I don’t know! I don’t know what brand or model you should go for. I don’t know if Canon > Nikon or vice versa. I don’t know any more than a quick google search on what camera should I buy in 2018/2019. But here’s my advice to you;

  • Don’t buy a camera. Use the one you already own. These days, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between a photograph taken by our phone and a photograph taken by a dslr

  • Buy the camera you can afford, right now. You can always sell and upgrade your gear in the future, once you’ve figured out your style and needs.

  • Buy a used camera if you’re on a budget. Its easier to re-sell a used camera for near the same price you bought it for when it’s time to upgrade.

  • Rent or borrow a camera from a friend/store. If you’re not sure that photography is for you. Its best not to fully invest in it. There’s nothing worse than an expensive camera collecting dust on your shelf.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t spend more time and energy researching gear than you do researching/working on new ideas.

Ideas, perspective and execution makes a good photographer. It’s never the gear.

Here are all the cameras I’ve owned in the past 10 yrs with a short description of why I bought them:

  • Casio Exilim EX-Z1000

  • Nikon D90

  • Nikon D610

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

  • Sony A7–3

Casio Exilim EX-Z1000

About ten years ago, I bought my first point and shoot camera; The Casio Exilim EX-Z1000.

All I knew about the camera before purchase, was that it offers a whooping 10 mega-pixels in resolution. Mega-pixels was all I cared about! I thought that the higher the mega-pixels, the better the camera. I don’t remember how much the camera cost, but I do remember that it was the most mega-pixels my budget could buy.

I loved my Casio Exilim. I had no reason to upgrade other than wanting a professional look. Somehow I thought, the bigger the camera, the more the respect. I wanted people to put some respec’ on my name (#birdmanvoice).

Nikon D90

Two years later, I bought my first DSLR; Nikon D90.

All I knew about the camera before purchase, was that Jarry Jartan used it for his photography. I admired his work. I thought that my work would be as good as his, if only I had a similar camera.

I had no experience operating a dslr. The first two photoshoots I did, produced blurry and grainy photographs. I chose not to learn how to use my new camera and reverted back to the point and shoot camera I was more comfortable with. It was not until a year passed, that I decided to finally read the dslr manual and give it another shot.

Nikon D610

Five years later, I bought my second DSLR; Nikon D610.

The reason I made this purchase was because it had a high ISO performance (Performs well in low light conditions). I had noticed that I did a lot of indoor photography in poor lighting conditions, and wanted a camera that would produce quality images making use of natural light only.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Two years later, I bought a used black magic pocket cinema camera (video camera).

The reason I made this purchase was because I needed an entry level professional video camera, it was small enough to fit in my pocket, and that it took amazing video. I was inspired by the likes of Sam Kolder, Jordan Taylor and Matt Komo and the stories they told using video format and thought it was a good idea to start learning video.

The lack of autofocus on the black magic made it very hard for me to produce in focus video whenever I added movements to my shots. I then decided to sell the camera for an extra 10 dollars than what I bought it for(call me the flip king) and continued to use my Nikon D610 for video.

Sony A7 III

A year later, I bought my first mirrorless camera; Sony A7 III.

The reason for this upgrade was strictly because I needed a camera with better video capabilities (including autofocus) and wanted to switch to mirrorless. It was a challenge selling all my Nikon lenses to make the switch, but I managed.

I was still happy with the image quality produced by my Nikon D610 and so I made sure that didn’t give up on resolution (same resolution) and high ISO performance (slightly higher than Nikon D610).

I’ve seen so many photographers spend too much of their time researching gear, and making excuses about how their work isn’t as great because of lack thereof. I hope that you’re inspired to make quicker decisions on what gear to buy and to focus more on your craft than researching for the next latest and greatest.

As a reminder, don’t spend more time and energy researching gear than you do researching/working on new ideas.

Ideas, perspective and execution makes a good photographer. It’s never the gear.