As a photographer I get the question "What Camera Should I Buy?" ALL the time. It's a great question so I'm going to answer it here! But before I begin, let me start by stating the obvious; a camera does not take good pictures, the person behind the camera does. Well, maybe that's not so obvious. Good lenses help take good photos as well. Invest in good glass, it makes all the difference in the world. But more for that down below. Also, I'm a Canon guy, always have been, probably always will be. My mother was before me and I believe the colors are more rich with a Canon camera, and I love color, so win-win. Let's break it down to 3 different scenarios.
1.) You need a good camera to take photos of your friends and/or family to print or share online.
2.) You're interested in photography as a hobby and want to invest in a good camera.
3.) You want to become a professional photographer, or have a crap ton of cash - what camera/gear should I start with?
1.) If you are in need of a good camera to take snapshots of your friends and family, I would suggest any of the Canon Powershot series cameras. I've owned several of these and they take amazing snapshots. They work great for capturing shots of babies, concerts, friends and even great macro shots if that's your thing. You can find older versions, like the A1200 for only $79 over at Amazon! Or the one pictured above, the 12.1 megapixel S100 going for around $429 on Canon's website. The Make sure you buy an extra battery and a memory card that holds a lot of space. A lot of these point and shoots also shoot video, and that takes up a lot of space! A good 32 gigabyte SD card should hold the average user over.
2.) So you're interested in taking more than just snapshots, huh? Perhaps you have a big Europe trip planned, you just had a baby, or you're a nature buff and you want to impress that hot girl at school with your cool new toy... The new Canon T4i is perfect for you! While it may cost a pretty penny (starting at $1,200) it's worth every penny. Rockin' 18 megapixels and 720p HD video you won't be disappointed in this piece of machine and it will last you for years to come. Start out with the kit lens and make sure you invest in batteries and memory cards. After you've mastered the camera and you're a little more serious about the art of photographer it's time to invest in lenses. For now, the kit lens provided in the link below, a 18-135mm IS beauty will get you wide and close enough for most subjects. Don't wanna spend that much just yet? The Canon T2i, with a kit lens will only set you back $630 over on Amazon.
3.) You wanna run with the big dogs, huh? You think you got what it takes and are willing to invest in your future career as a photographer? Or you're loaded and want to buy the best, cuz you're awesome like that. Well look no further than the Canon 5d Mark III. This 22.3 megapixel camera god rocks stunning stills and amazing 1080p HD Video. Wanna get some lenses to go along with that? How bout the: 70-200mm 2.8 beast, the 50mm 1.2 and the 24mm 1.4. Don't wanna spend $3,500 on this just yet? I understand - we're still rockin' the Mark II ($2,200) and the 7d is a great "professional starter" camera for only $1,700. Don't forget those extra batteries and super duper big memory cards for lots of storage. And while you're blowing tons of cash, purchase a sick camera bag, a flash, get some harddrives, Photoshop, Lightroom, an iMac, MacBook Pro, and a memory card reader.
Remember, you can take awesome photos with your iPhone or smartphone. It's all about being in the right place at the right time with your camera. Chase Jarvis says it wisely, "the best camera you have is the one on you". While you're researching or purchasing don't let some Best Buy employee push you for extra megapixels. Think of the accessories you're going to need, like a bag, memory cards, memory card reader, batteries and lens cleaner.
Good luck! And as always, feel free to contact me for any questions regarding your next camera purchase. I'm kind of a geek regarding the subject so I'm more than happy to answer any ponderings you might have.
All Images Provided By Canon.com