One of the first things you need to start your journey as a photographer is a good camera. There are a lot of factors to consider when making a choice. You might ask what camera brand is best? Or which brand makes the best lenses? Or which camera has the most features?
I’ll answer those questions and more as I break things down for you so you can make an objective and informed decision before investing a lot of money in camera system.
Define your type of photography
The first thing you need to understand is what type of photography you intend to do. There are many genres of photography with their own specific requirements. Whether it’s fashion, wedding, portrait, travel, or sports photography, each has its own specific set of needs that a camera needs to meet in order for you to be successful.
You may even come to find that a traditional camera might not be the best tool for your work, instead you might find that a drone or a gopro is the best camera for you.
The point is, before doing any research on cameras you need to decide what your goals are, what features you need to meet those goals, then go out and find a camera that meets those needs.
Determine what camera will achieve your goals
Once you figure out what your camera needs to do in order for you to succeed, whether it’s being lightweight, or having a high frame rate, you can start to compare different models and brands with those requirements in hand.
Sensor size affects camera size and performance
Step one on this journey is to choose a format. The format refers to the size of the sensor. There are 4 main formats in the camera world that you need to concern yourself with. From smallest to largest those formats are; “Micro Four Thirds”, “APS-C”, “Full Frame”, and “Medium Format”.
As a general rule image quality increases as the sensor size increases. However cost goes up as the sensor gets larger as well. The reduced cost and weight of smaller formats is what makes them competitive against the larger formats. Also true is that the overall quality of the sensors has reached a very high level even at the smaller sensor sizes.
Try to think about the different requirements of different types of shooting. If your goal as a photographer is to do event photography you might want a different camera than someone who is doing landscape photography or studio photography.
Choosing a camera brand
After you choose a format step two is to choose a brand. There are a lot of brands out there making quality cameras these days. Such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji, Pentax, Hasselblad, Phase One, Leica, and more.
Just because you buy a brand now doesn’t mean you have stick with it for the rest of your life of course. But making a prudent decision from the start is important if you don’t want to waste a lot of money owning different systems.
The only brands that really have a full photographic system are Canon and Nikon. Everybody else sells great cameras and lenses but they don’t have the full lineup of telephotos, zooms, and primes that those two brands have. It’s also important to note here that lens companies like Tamron and Sigma tend to only make their full lineup available on Canon or Nikon. For the time being it looks like Sigma at least is also supporting Sony natively. Sony has done well to produce excellent camera’s and lenses that suit their user base, but they don’t offer a full lens lineup just yet. Which may or may not matter to you for your style of photography.
In terms of image quality there isn’t a huge difference between the brands. I personally like what I get from my Canon camera!
Hopefully this article helped you learn a bit about cameras so you can make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy new gear!