FAQ: What Camera Should I Buy?

Thinking about buying a camera is like wondering who your one true soul mate is. You can dream of all the adventures you two will have one day, and image the memories you’ll capture together but just like romance, the fantasy can blind you into making the wrong choice.

Trying to figure out the right camera to buy can be challenging. The endless research can be overwhelming. So I offer you my love story with my cameras.

The first question I’d ask you is why do you want a camera? Once you share your passion and excitement then’ll I’ll crush it by asking how much money do you have to buy it?

The point is to get the soul purpose of your desire. You might be selling yourself short if you answer about your budget first. I saved up for my DSLR for 6 months and paid for it cash. I had learn having debt for equipment can be dangerous if not done with careful planning to pay for it. You can start telling yourself “I need this” when you don’t really.

You can skip to your answer if you’ll like – Why do you want a camera? 

Answer: I wanna have fun taking photos.

I think the most fun I had with a camera was my Diana 35mm film camera I got at Urban Outfitters. It was first stressful learning how it worked because its suppose to be “easy”, which can be very complicated. Once I figured out how to put the film in and get it out, taking the photos added to the memories captured.

Look out: Do some test shots before you get your hopes up, and read some articles on how to better use the camera settings.

Cost: $100

Answer: I wanna start learning photography.

I love my camera

You won’t like this answer – I know you wanna run out and buy an expensive camera. I recommend buying a 35mm camera with a detachable lens to teach you the fundamentals. Test the shutter to see if it works before you buy. You will bond with this camera and people will call you strange. Little kids will ask to look behind the camera wondering where their photo is. But you will learn how to frame up, expose, and capture a moment. Every exposer will cost you – $2 for each shot (development and film.) You will feel the mistakes in your wallet but you’ll also learn how to use the camera without a computer thinking for you. The photos you take will surprise you, and show you what kind of photographer you wanna be. Because those will be the picture you take most.

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Lie: Only as great as your equipment. Not true.

Cost: $30-$100 or ask around to see if someone no longer uses theirs.

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Answer #2: I want a camera to take with me while I travel. 

We all have this romantic image in our head of walking down the streets of Italy pointing and shooting our camera capturing people in the market place, beautiful architecture and of course our self in front of landmarks. But the reality is, you will leave your heavy camera in the hotel and settle for your camera phone – this my friend, you will regret. Sure you got 50 likes on FB but the day will come when you want to print the photo and there you will see the truth of how bad camera phone pictures are- they suck. The good news, because of iPhone technology advancing, they are getting better but until then, I recommend a point and shoot that cost more than $200, anything cheaper will have low pixels. I found the Nikon CoolPic 300 produces great photos! I bought it for the manual settings. Although I hardly use it because it takes too much time to set, instead I use the auto settings.

When traveling you are going place to place so fast, you only have time to frame up. Plus this camera is easy for other people to use when you ask a stranger to snap a photo of you. Its very rich in color, wide in frame and great at night.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Look out: A digital zoom is different than a lens zooming in. Don’t fall for the extra cost of a “digital” zoom. Its basically cropping and zooming in to the pixel of the same photo, giving it what feels like a closer shot and adjusting the quality.

Cost: $350

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Answer: I wanna capture video

When I was younger, all I wanted for Christmas was a video camera. Back in the early 90’s, they were REALLY expensive. This Christmas, my wish camera true. I was fed up with capturing video on my phone or even my nikon, it seemed to kill the battery and took up a lot of space. I first had the sony camcorder but traded it in for the canon camcorder. The sony compressed the files to very low mp4’s, while the canon gave rich color mp4. It was more expensive than the sony, but I didn’t want to watch 10 years from now kick myself for being so cheap. This camera capture hours of footage (depending on your memory card – 16gb) and the battery lasted me all day at Disneyland. You can also snap photos which aren’t the best but very particle.

Look out: Don’t bother with cameras with software that only allows you to access your files, be sure you can grab files straight from the memory card. Software cameras create strange file types.

Cost: $250

Answer: I want to start filming/shooting professionally. 

If you are starting a photography and video production business or if you are hired to film, the poplar DSLRs is what you are looking for. The quality is great without having to spend so much on a camera. The audio is bad which you’ll need a secondary recorder for that. But if you are getting B-roll type footage or plan on creating wedding montages that don’t need audio, then this camera is best to use. You will have to invest stabilizers but they aren’t too much. You do have the choice of buying a cheaper DSLR for $700 which is great for filming because they have the flip screens or go pro $2000 which would be ideal for photography. Look up tech details to see what best fits for you. I would recommend if you are starting out to start with the cheaper camera until business kicks in. The last thing you want to do is put all your money into something that you later find out you don’t really enjoy or find that the area you live in doesn’t have a market for it. Keep in mind its the LENS that really affects the quality, that is where you will need to invites your money in.

Look out: Don’t bother with camera packages, the lens those packages come with are usually crappy plastic lens and high adapter. The photos come out cheap looking. First starter lens: 50mm that goes for $100.

Cost: $700 to $2000

Answer: I wanna start a filming production.

Since you will be making money, investing in a pro-camera will pay off. Here there are so many cameras to choose from with price range from affordable to expensive. This type of investment requires research with tech details to follow. The easy answer is be sure it can record audio an input for XLR cables and manual exposer. Don’t bother with DV models anymore, digital files are best for quality and work flow. I’ve used Sony and Canon in the past, both great to work with. 

Cost: $1000+

Feel free to leave a comment with questions.

Author: Moniemuse

Video Editor & Media Department Director

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