you wanna know wednesday: camera recommendations

Since becoming a photographer, the MOST common question I get asked is ‘Casey, what kind of camera should I get?’

And unfortunately, it’s not a quick answer.  Unless you just want me to just say ‘my camera’.  If that’s the case, it’s the 5D Mark iii.  [I’ll warn you that the price tag may be a big deterrent.]


DSLR Recommendation:  I’m a Canon girl all the way.  I started with the Canon Rebel xs.  It’s a solid camera and until this month, I kept it around as my backup because I simply couldn’t part with it.  [Too many memories!! But I’ve now found it a very nice home… don’t worry!]  If you want a step up, go with the Canon T3i which has HD video.

  • PROS:  Fantastic quality.  If you’re willing to learn how to use it outside of ‘auto’ mode, you’ll see a big improvement in your images.  Allows you room to grow & purchase additional lenses.
  • CONS:  If you’re upgrading from a small purse camera (called a point & shoot), you may find this clunky.  Not the type of camera you can throw into a clutch.  May be too large for certain travel t3i

Point & Shoot recommendation:  For my birthday last year, I got the Canon S95 and I LOVE IT!  I wanted a nice point & shoot that I could keep in my purse for those everyday moments, without having to deal with the weight of my DSLR.

  • PROS:  Size.  It’s small & extremely light weight.  It turns on in a second so I’m ready for the quick, fleeting moments.  Image quality is impressive.  [I’ll admit that during our trip to Seattle last fall, I snapped a quick photo with my S95 and it’s now a 20×30 canvas in my office!]  And for a point & shoot camera it’s surprisingly well behaved in low light situations.
  • CONS:  You’re going to be limited in ‘room to grow’ because you can’t switch out or upgrade the lens.

canon s95

Before making a decision, ask yourself is… what do I want to DO with this camera?  Travel?  Take nice portraits of my dog?  Keep it in my purse for photos at the club?  If your goal is to have this camera for a long time… take classes… learn new techniques… then the DSLR will afford you those opportunities.  If not, it’ll be a giant waste of money.

You see… when I first got my Canon Rebel xs, the images I took looked exactly like a point & shoot camera’s image.  I was devastated. [What’s all the hype about?  This camera isn’t any better than what I had!]  But a camera in ‘auto’ mode, is a camera in auto mode, regardless of the camera.  Once I took classes and started practicing, I was able to break into Aperture Priority & Manual mode and I REALLY noticed an improvement in image quality.  Then I fell in love with the camera!

So, regardless of the camera you decide to purchase.  My BIGGEST piece of advice is… please, learn to use the camera.  Study it.  Read the manual.  Take a class.  Whether it be online, a community ed class, or a groupon you found.  Just do it.  By far the biggest improvement will come from your heightened skill than the physical camera body you are using.  [I’m sorry if that’s not exactly what you wanted to hear…]

Happy shopping!!


Have a question you’d like to submit for ‘You Wanna Know’ Wednesday?  Email me and I’ll answer it in an upcoming post!


Emily - April 4, 2012 - 8:18 am

This is a really useful post – thanks!!

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