Inspired via photofocus
What camera should I buy? This is one of those questions; one that will undoubtedly get photogs making strong arguments for certain types and brands of equipment. One of those questions that solicit extremely subjective responses and expose loyalty more so than practicality.
When I first sought out to upgrade from my Canon point and shoot to an intermediate camera, all I had ever heard of was DSLR’s. That was inevitably my next step, right? Wrong. Despite what all of my friends kept telling me, I stepped back and analyzed my own wants and needs to arrive at my decision of which camera to purchase. This meant researching products, user reviews, specs and sample images. It is a large investment and a decision that you will most likely be married to for more than a few years. It is definitely not a decision that should be made impulsively. Had I listened only to my friends, I would have foregone 3 months of research and ended up with a Nikon or Canon DSLR, the industry standards. But I thought to myself, for what I am interested in (landscapes), and the level I am looking to shoot at (hobbyist/enthusiast) do I really want the weight of a DSLR hanging around my neck as I hike up hillsides and waterfalls for the next great shot? That question got me making comparisons between DSLR’s and ILC’s (Interchangeable Lens Cameras). Do I need all of the features a DSLR has to offer? Will I use them all?
At the time, the Sony NEX was just released and it seemed too good to be true. Looking at specs, sample images & reviews it seemed to offer many of the same great features that a more advanced DSLR had to offer. The sensor was the same size as many entry level DSLR’s and the low light performance was fantastic. All the necessary controls were available such as manual, shutter priority, aperture priority, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance etc.. It also felt familiar given the use of its LCD screen as the main means of previewing and reviewing images. There was a long list I had compiled that made a strong argument for the NEX system. One of the most weighted factors was the extreme difference in size; the NEX’s body was as small as a point and shoot, yet packed the punch of a DSLR. I went against the grain, against all advice, and purchased a camera that worked best for me, the Sony NEX-3. Most all of the images in my portfolio have been shot with the system and since my purchase I have never looked back. I actually find my NEX to be quite powerful and fully capable of capturing the art I wish to produce. Thirteen months later, I am fully invested in the system with lots of great glass and accessories. I am happier with my choice than I could have ever imagined.
The point of this rambling is to say this: buying a camera is quite like buying a car. Despite all of the advice others can give you, whether good or bad, only you can truly know what is right for you. If you fail to answer a few simple questions and rely only on others, subjective, opinions you will no doubt be disappointed with your purchase. Will that purchase still get you to work? Of course it will; it’s still a car. Just not perhaps the right fit for you as you would have liked.
In his article, Scott Bourne he attempts to demystify the process, yet remains hyper aware that the answer is not an easy one. Scott goes on to say
No matter how hard I try to tell people that there’s no perfect answer, they keep asking. So since I can’t convince anyone otherwise, at least know the answers to THESE questions before you ask me YOUR question.
1 ) What subject(s) will you photograph most often? Weddings, portraits, wildlife, sports, landscapes, still lifes, food, fashion, etc.
2 ) What gear (if any) do you now own?
3 ) If you had to choose between ease of use and power, which would you select?
4 ) Do you want a compact pocket-sized camera (point and shoot) or a DSLR?
5 ) On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a working pro and 1 being someone who usually shoots with a disposable camera) how would you rate your skill?
6 ) What is the MOST money you’d be willing to spend on a camera?
7 ) How long do you think you might keep the camera?
8 ) What do your friends use?
9 ) Do you have a local camera store that can offer you support?
Read the rest of his extremely informative post, if you are ‘sitting on the fence’ with your next purchase, over at photofocus