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What Camera Should I Buy? | Ask A Professional

Updated: Apr 23

Ask A Professional is an ongoing series taking a look into the most frequently asked questions to professional photographer Rodrigo Gaya.

 

"Which camera should I buy?" may be the most often asked question Ive received since I began making photographs.


I generally answer this same way every time. Any new, modern camera will be the best camera to purchase. But if it were that simple, you wouldn't be asking. Hopefully this post will provide some clarity to begin your search, not the final answer.


Always start with qualifying questions: Why do you want a camera? What purpose will it serve you? A small one, easy for travel & family time pics? Or producing high-quality images for clients and collectors? Sports photos or street photos? Need a little video too?


Here are some factors to consider when buying a digital camera in 2023:


A large black camera with lens sitting on a dark backdrop.
Fujifilm XH2 - Equipped with the new 40.2MP “X-Trans™ CMOS 5 HR” sensor to deliver the highest image quality in the history of the X Series. Image courtesy Fujifilm USA

Variables:

  • Budget: How much are you looking to spend? Cash or debt?

  • Use: What is the intended subject matter of your photography? Any plans for the images you make?

  • Camera System: Do you have any preferences, or cameras you've used in the past and are comfortable with? Are you expecting to upgrade gear in the future?

Skill Level:

  • Beginners should budget consciously the many peripherals needed to fill out their kit: bags, batteries, memory cards, tripods, flashes, archival hard drives etc.

  • Hobbyists should entertain the idea of expanding their lens choices, and eventually upgrading their camera bodies. Committing to a camera system you enjoy is key.

  • Professionals should understand the use of their images and value they'll be able to provide to clients. Keeping debt down, and budget tight is key. Don't forget about new peripherals such as an immense amount of hard-drives for double archive back-ups, cloud services for client selects, software and web hosting costs.


LENS > BODY


First, consider the best lens you can purchase. Lenses hold their value are are critical for quality. while eventually upgrading camera bodies. Camera bodies take all the beating and should be ran into the ground. I see the camera as a tool to be used, not babied, therefore, I never keep the boxes.


In Depth:


Begin by creating a budget of how much you can afford to spend. Save up as much cash as you can. Ideally, you aren't going into debt to payoff the purchase, especially if you're beginning your career. Don't expect to make all your money back initially. It takes time.


Understand the focus of your work, this will help you decide whether to get an interchangeable lens camera, or a pocket camera that may only have a single focal length. Im always conscious of having just enough equipment I need, and renting essential gear before purchase (and checking out r/photomarket subreddit for any good deals.)


Camera systems provide different benefits. Canon & Nikon are legacy powerhouses. They have a spectacular service record and their new mirror-less cameras have taken a bit to arrive, but provide insane build and image quality. Sony, masters of auto focus and a go-to for modern creators. Ideally, you enjoy using the camera everyday, and wont have to switch systems until you've reached a critical point where you must.


I fell in love with the ergonomics and color of Fujifilm ever since Tyler placed an XT1 in my hand in 2015. Ive stuck with this system and watched the quality grow in both camera and image quality.


As of this writing, Im currently shooting on the XH2, XT4, XT2, and occasionally XT1 (with water housing). For client work, photography and video, my XH2 takes the lead with the 16-55mm f2.8 WR (24-70mm equivalent) and when shooting street work and family life, the 23mm sits on the xt4.


With so many options its hard to go wrong with anything modern that fits your budget, but for me Fujifilm works best when thinking of long-term systems, photo & video quality, and value.


-Rodrigo




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