Especially when you are about to go on a photographic trip, the 1000 point question everyone asks themselves is: how to choose a camera? If you too are at this crossroads, don't worry, I've been there too, I even chose the wrong camera at the beginning, a mistake that cost me a lot in the long run.
But this article is dedicated to this, it is a mini guide to make sure that you can choose the right camera for you without making the same mistakes. So we will see how to choose a camera by making 6 simple considerations that will guide you to the purchase of the solution that is right for you. Let's start with the first question to ask yourself before buying any camera: Are you a professional (or do you intend to become one) ?
Are you a professional photographer or an amateur ?
This question is very important for your portfolio, because if you want to have one of the best travel blogs, then we are talking about professional equipment that has a certain value, while if your use is purely amateur, then surely you will not need to buy an expensive camera dedicated to the professional market. That said, if your use is not professional, then you can also think about buying a used camera to start your career as a photographer.
On the contrary, if I have to be honest, I bought my first used camera because I absolutely could not afford to spend money on cameras (poor me, I didn't know that in a few years I would have left a good part of my earnings in camera equipment). But now let's move on to the most important question that will surely help us to understand how to choose a camera that fits our needs:
What kind of photos do you want to take and under what circumstances?
It is true that today's cameras are very versatile, but it is important to understand beforehand what you will want to do with your camera and in what contexts you will use it. For example, if like me you take a lot of pictures on the road, then you will need a small and light camera that can adapt to all situations.
But if, for example, you want to take mainly nature photography, i.e. moving animals, then you'll need a camera that takes a lot of photos per second to make sure you always capture the right moment. Not only that, maybe you will shoot in situations of rain or snow so it is good to have a tropicalized camera (i.e. splash resistant), which can accompany you during your safari photography.
Here, understanding what our needs are will help us to understand what camera we need.
And if you don't know what kind of photos you like to take, then surely to start you just need to orient yourself on a medium level camera without spending money on cameras with a lot of ultra cool features but that you don't go to use for your kind of photography. For example, it's useless to have a camera that takes 15 pictures per second if you go to take portraits because a portrait photographer takes a picture every few seconds on average, so it would be useless to have an expensive camera that takes a lot of shots if you don't go to use this feature.
Another thing about megapixels, you always think the more we have the better. In theory this is true, but have you ever asked yourself the question: "What should I do with 60 megapixels?" If you don't know the answer, a 12 or 24 megapixel camera is enough. For the record I use a 24mp camera and although photography is my job, I would not know what to do with a 60mp camera, indeed for the kind of photos I take would be wasted.
That's why I don't invest money in a 60mp camera. And in case you don't know, usually having a camera with a lot of megapixels is very convenient when you have to print some gigantographies, or when you have to go and cut the photo in a heavy way. Here are generally the cases where it is good to have many megapixels in addition to other occasions that surely do not interest you if you are a beginner. So going back to the initial speech, it is important to understand what kind of photo you want to go and take because it will help you understand what kind of camera you need and what features it must have.
And since in this blog we deal with travel photography, a good travel camera must have the following features: compact, easy to handle, high ISO resistant for night photography, lightweight and have a very good battery life.
Are you interested in making videos as well?
Speaking of videos, I created one on our Youtube channel that includes what you find written in this article with other interesting concepts: This little question to ask yourself could be decisive on the purchase of a camera, yes because there are many cameras (even professional ones) that are great from a photographic point of view but they are really bad from a video point of view.
That's why it is essential to ask yourself this question before buying a camera. If you are interested in the world of video, then your camera should possibly have built-in 5 axis stabilization and record video in at least 1080p at 60 frames per second. Having built-in 5-axis stabilization will help you record stabilized and less blurred video, while having 60 frames per second will be useful when we want to go for basic slow motion.
What kind of machine to compare: Mirrorless, Reflex, Bridge or Compact
Also here, the choice varies a lot from the needs, if you want to take you on a machine already semi-professional, then a Mirrorless or a Reflex are the best choice because they usually offer excellent performance with the possibility to use interchangeable lenses. A compact one can be suitable when you want to take with you a machine with a very small footprint that can simply fit in your pocket.
It must be said that in recent years the mirrorless are making great strides and are gaining more and more popularity. This is because they do not have the glass that reflects, they are more compact and can for example have 5-axis stabilization directly on the sensor, very useful to have videos and photos little moved.
In general, the advice I can give you is, if you can, orient yourself towards the mirrorless world given the explosion it is having. If you are curious to know what is the difference between these machines, we talked about it in this article.
Are you thinking of buying a more advanced machine in the future?
This is a very important question because it could save you a lot of money. I make you understand the importance of this question with an example: imagine buying a Nikon entry level camera to start taking pictures, over the years you start to invest a few thousand euros in lenses for your camera.
The problem is that after a few years you decide to move to something more professional and maybe you don't want to stay at Nikon but you decide to move to Sony, what happens in this case? What happens is that you have to sell all the lenses you bought and then buy everything back for your new Sony camera, which translated means a lot of money wasted.
This is to tell you to try to choose a camera that has lenses that will be compatible with the camera you will make in the future. This way when you change your camera, you can still use all the lenses you have purchased up to that point.
I made this mistake at the beginning and just like in the example above I switched from Sony to Nikon and had to sell all my lenses. With hindsight I should have made a Sony camera directly so that I could buy the lenses only once and once I changed the camera, I could use the same lenses on the new camera body.
So if you're thinking of buying a professional camera in the future, think carefully at this moment about what the ideal camera you're going to buy later so you don't make the same mistake I did.
Which brand do I choose?
The brand itself doesn't really matter, but the thing you might want to pay attention to is to check if the camera you want to buy has a lot of compatible accessories from third parties. To give you an example, Sony, Nikon and Canon have a lot of external cases that produce flash, accessories, and lenses.
While brands such as Fuji for example certainly have fewer external accessories produced by other compatible houses. Having external accessories helps your wallet a lot, in fact an official Nikon flash can be very expensive, while a Chinese counterpart will surely be much cheaper. Currently, therefore, I recommend you to orient yourself on Nikon, Canon or Sony because of the huge amount of third party accessories available.