What Camera Should I Buy?

17 Jan 2017 07:21
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Friends and intrigued art or gadget enthusiasts often ask me to recommend a camera. So here is the standard response. Technology moves fast; this article was last updated January 2017 and shouldn't be considered reliable in its conclusions more than a year or so out.

  • Are you sure you need to buy a camera? Smartphones have nice cameras these days - great for Web use, and pretty good for prints up to 8x10 and video, and excellent connectivity for sharing the results. Get the most from your smartphone by learning how to back up its picture files and organize them on your computer, and making the most of the smartphone camera's capabilities by using it in good light (including bright interior or window - not "mood" - lighting), keeping harsh light sources behind you for a bright, eye-catching, primary subject with few harsh shadows on people (there's not much of a flash to fill them in), and getting close and experimenting with anglesthus backgrounds and perspectivefor their wide-angle lenses (keep people toward the middle; toward the edge, faces will seem stretched).
  • Canon SL1 (for most, especially women) / 70/80D / 7D ii

** Lenses: 18-55, 10-18 (super deal), 50 STM, 55-210

  • Versus Nikon: Nikons can be more ergonomic and have even better through-the-viewfinder face detection and dynamic range, but are much worse for video and consumer rights.
  • If you want a fancy camera, a few-hundred-dollars "amateur" or "enthusiast" DSLR is probably the best choice, not just for the money, but period.

** Full frame focus
** Flash

  • Versus full frame
  • Versus mirrorless

** con: durability, battery life (which makes coded batteries unwise.)
** pro: better pre-exposure feeback

  • Versus all-in-ones and compacts
  • Versus a film camera

** 35mm image quality is obsolete; try medium format
** the best exposure meter for a film camera is a digital camera (Ken Rockwell)
** View cameras are horribly slow but enable some unique capabilities. Press cameras add the possibility of a snapshot - or just pull out your digicam.
** Digital, as the training tool, should come first.

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