“Which camera and lens should I buy?” I get asked this question ALL THE TIME…
I usually tell them it’s not about the camera or lens. It’s about understanding how to use the equipment, taking manual control, and capturing the images as you intended.
It’s not the camera that makes a great photo. It’s the mind of the photographer.
I guarantee you that a seasoned photographer could be given any consumer-level DSLR camera that was made in the last 5 years, and we would take photos that could easily be featured on the cover of a magazine or on a billboard ad. Regardless of which camera was in our hands.
The reality is, any camera these days is simply amazing. Especially if it’s made by one of the leading brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and many others. The entry level DSLR and mirrorless cameras that are coming out nowadays put my first professional cameras to shame.
Long story short, you have it good with the amazing quality in today’s digital cameras.
That being said, I do have some recommendations for which cameras and lenses to buy when you are starting out.
WORD TO THE WISE: Don’t get bogged down in the camera tech details. I promise you it is more about the photographer than it is the camera. Start where you’re at and learn to master your craft first. The perfect gear can follow later.
Don’t go into a ton of debt to purchase gear. Get the equipment you can afford.
I’ve always bought my gear slowly, with cash and only when I could afford to upgrade or add to the quiver.
My first professional gigs were shot on the equivalent to what I’m about to suggest here… only the cameras were terrible back then and these camera’s are 1000 times better than the Nikon D70 that I shot my first 20 weddings on.
If you’re starting from scratch…
Buy a camera kit for about $500-$1000. If you can afford a second lens, buy the “nifty fifty”. Get a 50mm f1.8 lens.
The 50mm F1.8 lens will allow you to shoot in lower light situations and help you to take more clear and crisp shots. You can also shoot at a shallower depth of field which causes the background to be more blurry. This is great for portraits.
To learn more about lenses watch this excerpt video from my Master Your DSLR Camera eCourse:
I’m not going to lie, I shoot on Canon cameras. It’s the brand I recommend. I’m not paid to say that… yet. (Canon – do you want to sponsor me?)
I don’t think the other brands are bad at all but Canon is my preference and what I’m going to recommend.
FIRST CANON CAMERA AND LENS PURCHASES:
$399: Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II (Camera + Lens)
Or get the newer version with a few more bells and whistles. Either camera is amazing!
$750: Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR with EF-S 18-55 (Camera + Lens)
http://amzn.to/23ZQU7h (Best value)
$125: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens – Every new photographer should have this “Nifty Fifty” lens
I know you’re going to ask about shooting sports, but to be honest I can’t in good conscious recommend a cheap telephoto zoom lens to get great crisp action shots.
This is because I recommend L Series lenses with a large continuous maximum aperture of F2.8 or F4.0. (The lower the number the more light can come through and the faster you can shoot.) The L Series lenses are EXPENSIVE but worth it. Keep scrolling to see those recs.
PRO PHOTOGRAPHER CAMERAS + LENSES:
(When you’re actually making money or about to start making real money from photography)
Note: If you’re planning to invest in a camera to shoot professionally I suggest you purchase a full frame camera and “L SERIES” lenses.
$1999: Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera + 24-70 F4.0 Lens
$3,099: Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame + 24-105mm f4.0 Lens
TELEPHOTO LENSES FOR SHOOTING SPORTS OR PERFORMANCES:
$1,149: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
$1,999: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto
ADVANCED COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY:
$3,699: Canon EOS 5DS 50.6 Megapixel DSLR Camera (Bundle)
I hope this was helpful in deciding what you should purchase. This post was written more for the first time camera purchaser in mind. I’ll put some more advanced posts up soon.
NOTE: All links above are affiliate links and at not additional cost to you, I make a small commission IF your purchase.
What are your thoughts? What kind of camera do you have or would love to have?