What Camera Should I Buy? – Buying Guide 2017

If you are reading this, you are probably looking for a new camera. Nowadays there’s so much choice in different systems and brands that it might be hard to find the right camera. Let me explain you something about this topic and hopefully in the end you are able find your perfect match!

The best camera?!

“So tell me, what is the best camera?” Nice try, but that is not how it works. The camera that works best for me will most likely not be the best camera for you. And that is exactly why there are so many different cameras available in today’s shops. Let’s start with brands, most, not to say all brands are good, it really depends on your needs and preferences!

The first questions I’ll ask you is: Where do you need your camera for? What kind of photography do you do?

If you are a sport photographer you are probably looking for a different camera then a studio photographer that doesn’t need a high speed camera and many frames per second (fps). Same for the people who are curious about photography and just want to give it a try, I would not recommend to buy the most expensive full frame camera because they simply won’t need it. Starters are mostly using the Automatic and P setting and are shooting in JPG instead of RAW. So an entry-level camera would be a better fit.

For your type of photography, do you prefer a compact or bridge camera or an interchangeable lens camera like a mirrorless camera or a DSLR?

Let’s start with the compact camera.  A compact point-and-shoot camera is a great solution for Holidays and everyday use because the camera is super lightweight and will fit in your pocket easily.These cameras have permanently attached lenses that retracts back into the camera and generally cover a wide zoom range. They’re so small and easy to carry around that a lot of people choose for this camera. Another thing the customers like about this camera is that it is very easy to use. But of course the small sizes have their downsides too. The point-and-shoot cameras have the smallest sensors, meaning you can’t expect a high image quality comparing to other higher-level cameras.

I’ll skip the super-cheap compact camera’s, because I think when your reading blogs about photography, you are ready for the next level and you are completely right!

Sony:
Sony Cyber-shot RX100
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V

Canon:
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
Canon PowerShot G5 X
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Panasonic:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100

A little more budget friendly:
Panasonic DMC-TZ80
Sony Cyber-shot HX90V
Canon PowerShot SX730 HS
Nikon A900

Before we go to the mirrorless cameras, we will have a look at the Long Zoom Compact Cameras or also called Bridge Cameras.

These cameras are a slightly bigger than compact cameras but have a big zoom range. They let you capture wide-angle scenes and telephoto shots with just one lens, offering the perfect coverage for typical vacation-photo scenarios. For example the Nikon P900 with the 83x zoom lens, covering from 24mm wide-angle to 2000mm telephoto (35 mm format equivalent). Or the Panasonic FZ300 with an 25-600mm equivalent f/2.8 lens.

Also for this type of camera it’s worth the money if you have a bigger budget. Most of these high-end long zoom cameras have a 1-inch sensor, which is almost four times the area of those found on superzooms. This results in nicely detailed photos, especially in low light, and you are able to create a blur background and make your object stand out. These 1-inch sensor cameras are usually limited to have focal lengths of about 100/200 mm maximum. That is good enough for portraits, street photography and your vacation photos, but not enough to capture wildlife.

High-end:
Canon PowerShot G3 X
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III

Budget:
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
Nikon Coolpix P900
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V

INTERCHANGEABLE LENS CAMERAs

When you are more into photography, you probably prefer to work with different lenses. Let’s talk about the next level: Mirrorless Cameras.

The mirrorless camera is perfect for everyone who loves photography and prefers to work with different lenses, but who hates to walk around with a heavy camera bag all day long. Removing the mirror and the pentaprism (that are found in the DSLR camera) creates a lot of space. This means that mirrorless cameras are designed to be smaller, less bulky and lighter compared to DSLRs. With a shorter flange distance, the physical size of both the camera and the lens is reduced. In a mirrorless camera, light passes through the lens and right onto the image sensor, which captures a preview of the image to display on the rear screen, it will show you a preview of what the final image will look like before you actually take the picture. When you change the shutter speed or aperture, you will see the difference in the viewfinder (EVF) or screen. Other good things of this type of camera are: less noise (no mirror slap), more FPS (frames per second) are possible, superior autofocus for video and much more.

Olympus and Panasonic are both working with the same MFT (Mircro Four Thirds) sensor so you can exchange lenses. But I would recommend using Olympus lenses on an Olympus camera because the camera will recognise the lens and will adjust corrections to get the best results. Sony has APS-C sensor cameras and full frame cameras. Canon and Fujifilm have an APS-C sensor in their mirrorless camera. Nikon has a CX format sensor (1inch).

“Sensor size plays a large part in determining the image quality a camera is ultimately capable of and, in general, the larger a camera’s sensor, the better the image quality and the more control you have over depth-of-field. APS-C sensors are larger than Four Thirds chips, but the differences are rarely huge.” – DPreview.

Beginner:
Canon EOS M10
Fujifilm X-A3
Nikon 1 J5
Olympus PEN E-PL8
Sony Alpha a5100

Enthusiast:
Canon EOS M5
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85/G80
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
Sony Alpha a6300

Pro:
Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X-T2
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Olympus PEN-F
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
Sony Alpha a6500

Full Frame Sensor:
Sony Alpha a7 II
Sony Alpha a7R
Sony Alpha a9

Now we can have a look at the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras. The famous camera brands like Canon and Nikon make different sections like: DSLR for beginners, – for enthusiast and – for professionals.

How does it work? Well in short, the light is coming through the lens and reflects on the mirror that is located at a 45 degree angle inside the camera chamber, which then forwards the light vertically to the pentaprism and into the viewfinder so you can preview your shot. When you click the shutter, the mirror flips up and the shutter opens. The light will hit the sensor and this captures the final photo.

 DSLRs have a wider selection of lenses from different manufactures (Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, Samyang and more) and have better optical viewfinders. Some people even like the fact that these type of cameras are bigger because it will provide good grip.

DSLR for beginners:
Nikon D3400
Canon EOS 1300D
Canon EOS 800D
Nikon D5600

Photography enthusiasts and also good for video:
Nikon D7200
Nikon D7500
Canon EOS 77D
Canon EOS 80D

Best APS-C sensor:
Nikon D500
Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Entry-level Full Frame:
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Nikon D610

Full Frame Pro:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DSr
Nikon D750
Nikon D810

A new trend I noticed by photographer friends, customers and by myself: we all prefer to work with two types of cameras. One for the professional jobs where we are sure to get super sharp and high quality images with the best lenses, and one smaller camera for our daily shots, events and vacations. Of course we still want that high quality picture, but we don’t need our vacation photo to be printed of the size of a bill board, so a full frame 50 megapixel sensor is not necessary at all. Some photographers go for a mirrorless camera as a second camera, or others go for a better compact camera (like the Sony RX100 or RX10).

Oh and for the adventurous people here, maybe an Action Cam like the GoPro will work for you?

I hope this post will make it more easy for you to find your best camera! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Also read my post about The Best Lenses For Fashion Photography.