By far, this is the number one question that I frequently got asked. When people know what I do, almost everyone I know immediately asks me, “Andrew, what camera should I buy?”
Wherever I go, whether it’s online or offline, I always get the same question.
So, in this article, I will take some time to answer this GRAND question of life.
Now, I have a telepathy ability, so I’ll first tell you what does asking “What Camera Should I Buy?” say about you. Sounds fun? Don’t worry. I will really tell you what to buy at the end of this video after we have some fun.
Just kidding. I don’t really have the telepathy ability. But, I think you really can know a lot about a person’s conditions by the type of question they ask.
Whenever I hear the “What Camera Should I Buy” question, almost 95% of the time, I can safely assume 2 things about you:
- You’re a beginner in photography and…
- You believe that there exists a “best” camera that will take a great picture for you by you just simply pressing a button on it.
Sounds about right?
Don’t worry, and it’s not your fault.
Camera manufacturers and now even smartphone manufacturers have spent BILLIONS of dollars on camera advertising. They want to make you believe that they have the latest and greatest camera for you. All you have to do is buy their camera and press a button to get the result you always dreamed of.
And somehow, this works.
This kind of belief gets to a lot of people’s heads. When a beginner who didn’t know anything about photography gets this message, they’ll believe this to be true, and now they’re on a quest to find the “best camera.”
Going on this quest will actually hurt your progress in being a better photographer. I will tell you more about this in a separate article, but for now, I want you to stop thinking that the best camera exists.
How should you think about a camera then?
Think of it as your project partner. You get to choose to work with one to accomplish a project. If you’ve worked on a project before, you know that your partner has strengths and weaknesses. This is the same with the camera.
In this project, you are the leader. You want to produce something from your project, and so you have to choose a partner by considering its strengths and weaknesses.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to take a landscape picture. You want to be able to make big prints and someday display your work inside a gallery.
You don’t need to spend money on a camera with extremely fast autofocus speed when you shoot landscape. You need a camera with big megapixels and a sharp, wide-angle lens.
Now, your ability to choose the right camera will grow with your photography experience. When you are first starting, you might not have this ability yet.
Most people want to learn photography by exploring and shooting different kinds of subjects at first. I was one of them.
So, what do I recommend you to get if you want to do this?
The short answer is, whatever your budget allows for a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera.
A mirrorless camera will let you get familiar with the photography world because it allows you to access and control the important photography variables. I’m talking about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
You’ll be able to learn and experiment with composition because you’ll be able to change lenses. And finally, you’ll get a much better file quality that you can use to learn photo editing.
Now, What About Smartphone Camera?
Most people think they can use their smartphone camera to learn photography, but in my view, you’ll have just limited exposure to photography if you’re only using a smartphone camera.
This is because a smartphone camera:
- Doesn’t allow you to access the important variables easily.
- Is often not responsive enough, especially when you have too many apps open and…
- Usually produces poor quality results in dim light.
What About DSLR Camera?
If the mirrorless camera hadn’t been invented, this is the one that I would recommend you to get. I personally started learning photography with a DSLR camera. But I wouldn’t recommend you to do it because of 2 reasons.
First, a DSLR camera is bulkier and heavier than a mirrorless camera with the same sensor. Having a bulkier and heavier body can make you lazy to carry this camera around. When you don’t spend enough time shooting with it, you won’t progress in photography.
And the second reason is, DSLR camera is harder to operate because you have to look at the viewfinder. It makes it hard for you to get an accurate idea of what the picture looks like when you’re not getting any preview of the final picture.
On the other hand, a mirrorless camera will show you the preview of the final picture on the LCD before you take the photo and so it’s easier to learn with one. I always think of a mirrorless camera like a hybrid between a DSLR and a smartphone camera, and I highly recommend you start learning photography with one.
What Mirrorless Camera to Get?
If you’re on a tight budget, I recommend the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with the 16-50mm kit lens and the 35mm f1.8 lens combination.
This is a very budget-friendly combination that will give you the best value for money and lets you start learning photography. I’ve posted the product links, and you can see them on the video descriptions below.
I recommend the Sony a7iii mirrorless camera with the 24-105mm F4 G lens and the 55mm f1.8 lens if you can spend more money.
This is a great, feature-packed, all-around combination that lets you take virtually any photographs imaginable. This combination is a good companion for you that will help you learn photography for many years to come.
Whichever camera you get, please spend some time to learn it and master it.
Don’t go looking for another camera to buy before you can use one comfortably!
Buying another camera will not solve your problem. Use it to take pictures and learn the basics of photography.
If you’re a beginner and want a solid foundation on how you can get started on the right foot in photography, I’ve created a free course called the Beginner’s QuickStart Guide to Photography.
Make sure to check it out, and I’m sure it will help you greatly on your photography journey.