Quite often I get asked, “What kind of camera should I buy?”  As a photographer who offers beginner photography classes in the Central Valley, here are some suggestions and questions to think about before deciding what camera is right for you.

You love taking pictures, but would like something that’s better than your phone, right?  But there isn’t one perfect camera that is right for everyone.  So my reply is “it depends.”  It depends on what you are wanting out of your camera and how much you want to learn and how much you want to spend. (You’ll quickly realize that photography is an expensive hobby.)

It is important to know that no matter what camera you buy, none of them will give you a beautiful picture in every situation by just clicking one button.  If there was such a thing, then why would you need me? 🙂

So before you buy a camera, ask yourself “What do you want it for?”

  • Do you want better photos of your kids?
  • Do you want it for when you travel?
  • How much effort do you want to put into learning your camera?

Based on what you answer, here are my suggestions.

OPTION #1: “I want better photos of my kids and I’d like it to be small and compact.”

Often a cheap ($200 or less) point and shoot camera is going to give you worse photos than your phone.  With children, you need a faster shutter speed because they move… a lot.  So your cheapie point and shoot or even your phone can’t take photos fast enough.  

But you also want something to take with on trips to the zoo, park and playground.  So hauling around a big, bulky camera is often cumbersome.

My recommendation:  Canon G Series

They have several models and you don’t have to get the most recent model.  This camera is a great “all-around” camera and great for travel too.  It even can be set to manual mode if you want to get more technical with it.

You will still need to understand light, shadows and composition, etc (thing that make a good photo), but overall this will create better photos than your cell phone can.

OPTION #2: “I want to get a bit more technical and have a few more options with lenses, etc., but still carry a compact camera”

My recommendation:  Sony Alpha a6000

You can start with this and add a few lenses to your collection, but it’s slightly more affordable and it can grow with you as you learn more about photography.  If you want to get more technical, this will allow you to do so.  But it is limited if you want to go pro with photography.

OPTION #3: “I want to take better photos of my kids who are active in sports, drama, etc., where there is poor quality of light (Ex. gym, indoor stage)”

My recommendation:  Canon Rebel (with kit lenses or something better)

You can get the kit lenses but you will get frustrated with how they perform in low light situations.  So if you want something better then look at the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 or the Tamron 28-75mm 2.8.   These are much better in low light situations and a much nicer lens for all around photos if you want to really learn photography and have equipment that will grow with you.  The 50mm 1.8 prime lens is an affordable portrait lens that is also nice if you have the kit lenses but need something that will work better in low light situations for portraits.  

Basically the lenses often make the photo, so the more you spend on a good quality lens the better your photos (but, of course, you need to know how to work your camera and understand light as well).

So, I suggest that you think about how much you actually want to learn about photography and what you want to use your camera for.  This will help you decide what to get.  Feel free to message me questions about the above if you still aren’t sure what you are needing or what would be best.

The next step is to take a Beginner Photography Class.  I actually teach classes and hold them periodically throughout the year.  Sign up on my EMAIL LIST to get the details first when I send out the sign-up information.

By joining the RVP Family email list you’ll also get “Tips to Taking Better Photos with your Phone” guide for free!!  You’ll also get notified FIRST when the next class date is announced!  Class sizes are limited and I only offer these a few times throughout the year, so you want to GET ON THIS LIST!



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