We are approaching all the holiday hustle and bustle and many people are thinking they may want a camera this year. Whether it be for Christmas, your birthday, or a random Wednesday that you thought you deserved something special, here is how to choose the best camera for you.

How to choose a camera

You will basically find two options for each situation and a lot will depend on the 1. the convenience of quick snapping and 2. the price tag. 

If you’re a brand name person, then you’ll have to compare the brands to see what suits you best. This post will be based off of Nikon products, because that’s what I shoot with and know best. 


Determine Your Need 

You have to know what you plan to use the camera for before hitting up Amazon or walking into a camera store. Should you buy a camera or just upgrade to the newest phone? Do you want something equally portable? Do you want something with wifi capabilities? Will you be shooting sporting events or do you like to wander around and photograph still life? Are you satisfied with just and upgrade from your phone to a great point and shoot, or would you like to enter the world of exchangeable lenses? 

Are you feeling a bit twitchy with all the questions that you may not have considered yet? It made me feel that way just typing it. Deep breath, I’m going to help you.

I Want to Take Better Pictures of my Kids

This is a great place to start. If you know that’s pretty much why you want a new camera, you’ve named your purpose. Now, consider if you just need something with a fast shutter speed (takes pictures quickly one after another for great action shots) because kids move a lot and quickly, or if you need something that has an excellent zoom capability because your child is way down on the field and looks like a speck from where you’re sitting. Check out this post about how to instantly take better pictures of your kids with what you already have!

Take Better Pictures of your Kids

I Don’t Want to Carry a Ton of Stuff:

Check out these options from Nikon and these waterproof point and shoots. It’s important to read through the options and consider the price tag. The biggest thing to think about with your point-and-shoot is what you’re willing to carry. If you’re looking for something not much bigger than your phone that is easy to grab out of your purse for general pictures of your family, you won’t need the highest end unless you love gadgets and feel you may be limited down the line. If you want the highest capability point-and-shoot, then it comes with a hefty price tag and a larger size. 

Why Would I Need Exchangeable Lenses?

A DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex, which is just a fancy way of saying, you can change your lenses to suit your needs. Why would you want to do that?

I’m going to try to explain this without getting too technical and wordy. Point and Shoot cameras generally have a smaller image sensor, which means they are generally not going to be able to capture the same quality photo in different lighting situations as well as a camera with a larger sensor and lenses that can be used specifically for those different situations. 

A DSLR with exchangeable lenses opens up so many possibilities, but it can be overwhelming for a beginner. Some perks of a DSLR include:

  • Larger ISO Range – which means you have more control over the light the camera takes in, allowing for less grainy pictures
  • Speed – when it comes to shooting moving objects (kids, sports, animals, etc.)
  • Depth of Field – this is a huge one for people. Depth of Field is basically what gives your images that blurry background look or allows everything in your image to remain super sharp and crisp. This is available on some point-and-shoots and even on some phones now with Portrait Mode. The difference is that in Portrait Mode, you still are limited to what the camera will allow at that one setting. You don’t get to adjust it the way you want an image to look in your mind’s eye.
  • Manual Controls – Using the manual controls on a camera gives you complete power over it. It allows you to choose the shutter speed, the ISO (how much light you allow in), and the depth of field you want for your image. Some point and shoots have this capability, but it will be of a greater quality on a DSLR
  • So Much More – You have control over so much more and the ability to add fabulous lenses to your collection. Each lens has its own perks, but can be extremely expensive. The best lenses are a large investment. 

Choosing the Right Camera for You

Which DSLR Should I Choose? 

If you’re ready to take the leap into the DSLR world, than I would recommend choosing their entry level camera if you’re just wanting to get your toes wet and don’t see yourself really spending a ton of time learning all the settings or even manual mode. If you just want a pretty decent lens, but plan to keep it mostly on Auto mode or the preset modes, than the entry level will be more than enough, but still provide great quality. I had my entry level camera for 3 years before I felt like it had reached its capabilities and I needed more. Nikon has great entry level cameras ranging in price, but the entry-level and advanced entry-level cameras are quite reasonable.

The next step will be choosing your lenses, which I will go into in another post. For now you’ll be set with the kit lens that comes with your camera. 

Good luck in finding the camera that is right for you and if you have questions, feel free to drop me a message here or contact me here!