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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What camera should I buy?


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The following is a list of cameras that I personally use and recommend, have used in the past or newer versions of these. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you purchase through my link I may receive a commission that is used to support the blog, and I sincerely appreciate your support keeping it going! I have no affiliation with Canon. Canon has no idea who I am. Canon has never even sent me a birthday card or baked my family a casserole when I was sick. Neither has Amazon.
But I wish they did!

I recently noticed that a lot of my free photography tutorials are getting dated. I'll be going through them and updating them over the next several months. At this point I've had over 1,000 students from all over the world, and if you have been in one of my classes you know how much I love passing on what I know and guiding photographers to take the photos they've always wanted. So stay tuned for some great photography advice!

That being said, Christmas is right around the corner. If you're anything like me, you've long ago given up trying to get your well-intentioned husband to read your gift-giving ESP. No longer do I drop hints or leave clues laying around about what I'd like to get for Christmas, my birthday, Mother's Day... (insert any gift-giving occasion of your choice here.) After over 25 years of marriage, I've learned to just tell him what I want. Better yet, I include specifics about size, color and style, and write it down. And even better yet, I send him an email or a text with a link to the order form page already filled out. Not romantic, I know, but so what works for us! And honestly, ladies, we are both much happier with it this way. In his busy days of providing for us, he is quite happy to know what gift he can get me that I really want, and get it done efficiently. It's a win win for us!

First, there are some things you need to think about before you ask for a DSLR from Santa. Or perhaps you're thinking about just going out and buying one for yourself. It's a lot of money either way and something you should carefully consider either way. I don't necessarily recommend a DSLR for everyone, and the first thing I'm going to try and do is talk you out of it so you don't waste your money! In order for a DSLR to function better than a good point-n-shoot, there definitely is a learning curve, and you'll need to invest your time learning how to use it. (I recommend the both Manual Mode and Beyond Manual classes for just this reason!) Many folks get a fancy new DSLT camera only to pull it out of the box, see all the buttons and numbers and quickly discover that learning how to use it beyond its auto mode is not as easy as they thought is would be. DSLRs are heavy and might not fit in your purse. And even worse they're kinda fragile and not something you want to let little Bobby play with. Not to mention that cell phones photos are getting better all the time. So it's worth figuring out for sure if a DSLR is going to do what you want it to do. I also recommend purchasing at least 1 lens, (a 35mm or 50mm) some editing software (I recommend Adobe's Lighroom) and expenses can keep going up from there. Photography can become an expensive hobby. And without this extra stuff, you might be limited with what types of photos you can create. But if you're willing to invest a little more money and time, then you will likely find it a rewarding investment that preserves your family's memories!

So did I talk you out of a DSLR? No? I hope not, 'cause really with a this camera you capture those amazing pictures of your children and family that you've been dreaming of! So let's get down to brass tacks and give you some specifics, complete with links 'cause I know how busy you are. By the way, this is not a professional review of any product. It's just my personal preferences based on my experiences. If you were my girlfriend and we were sitting here having coffee together, first we'd talk about our kids and cry a little. Then I'd tell you why I died my hair pink and how I'm considering botox. You'd tell me why ketogenic diets don't work for you 'cause you like carbs too much, and then you'd say Hey, sister girlfriend, what kind of camera should I get? And this is just what I'd tell you. So take it for what it's worth. And by the way, I'll take a grande, skinny. vanilla, iced latte made with unsweetened almond milk and a splash of heavy cream, please. I'll buy next week.
One of the very first photos I took with my Rebel of sweet Tess, 21 months old.
I was so excited to use it that I was still in bed and taking photos even before I got up1
For first-time DSLR users, I'd recommend the Canon Rebel T7i. It has 24.2mp and 45 cross-type focal points and starts at $749. (Don't give up on me yet. I'm going to show you how to save some money below, so keep reading.) My fist DSLR was an older model of this Rebel and opened up the world of digital photography for me! Canon's Rebel line is their entry-level DSLR. DSLRs usually come with a lens, but you'll notice that the models I linked didn't come with a lens. It may surprise you to hear that despite what that cute young guy at Best Buy is telling you, the kit lens that usually comes with this camera is not one that you're likely to continue to use if you continue your journey with photography. It's one that you're probably going to outgrow quickly if you're committed to developing your photography skills. And to me that's wasted money so I can't recommend it to my friend. If I could do it again, I'd buy a camera body and a separate lens that would grow with me, like this Canon 50mm f/1.8 and if I had a little extra money to spend this Canon 50mm f/1.4. (More coming on lenses soon.)

But I want you to have options, and I know that the price of this hobby is adding up. If the price point of the T7i is too much, and you're willing to sacrifice a few improvements, I think it's okay to go back a model or 2 to save some money. The T6i also have 24.2 mp but only 19 cross-type focal points. Go back one more model to the T5i, and you'll sacrifice resolution down to 18mp and only 9 cross-type focal points. And that's as far back as I recommend going. (And really I'm not done yet. There a way to save even more money below.) On the other end of the spectrum, if you're pretty sure that photography is going to be your thing and you can spend a little more, I'd recommend considering the Canon 6D Mark II.

And PS - Click HERE to be taken to a great web site where you can plug in 2 camera models and compare their features side by side.

And here's some really good news 'cause it get it. That's still expensive! You can usually find everything I mentioned above as a warranted refurbished item directly through Canon. If you're okay investing in refurbished equipment I definitely recommend looking into purchasing it directly from Canon HERE. For example that t7i I mentioned above is $150 less as a refurb, and the 2 lenses I linked are 25-30% less as refurbs. Canon's refurbished equipment comes with a 1-year limited warranty, and with the money you save you can save for another lens. Or invest in a photography class. Or a nifty strap... Almost every single item of photography equipment that I've bought, I've purchased refurbished, and I've never ever had an issue with even one single thing I've bought from Canon.

So there you have it. My very personal take on what camera you should buy just in case you're looking. And just so you know, I have nothing against Nikon. I'm a Canon gal only because the first big-girl SLR camera I bought in 1989, circa the stone age, was a Canon because the store was having a sale on Canons. Nikon is also a wonderful brand, but because I'm a Canon gal, I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no Nikon babies. Except that Canon and Nikon are both great brands and worthy of your investment. In that light I also recommend that you look into Nikon's line of photography equipment.

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