Get yourself a camera
Letâ€™s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start. When you read you begin with ABC, when you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi (Do-Re-Mi), when you take photos, you begin with a camera.
For the convenience of your wallet, snap-happy impulses and the modern digital world, Iâ€™m just talking digital. Film is a whole other thing and will get its own post. Iâ€™m also generally referring to DSLRs; compact cameras and I are not like peas and carrots. And theyâ€™re just not as good. Â Unless you get that one that has detachable lenses. I LOVE LENSES.
Soâ€¦ What camera? What brand!? The main argument is between Nikon and Canon. Its like Mac or PC? Tom-ay-to or Tom-ar-to? Well let me just say: Mac reigns supreme and itâ€™s Tom-ar-to. But when it comes to camerasâ€¦ I honestly donâ€™t think thereâ€™s a clear winner. It comes down to personal preference and what you want out of the camera.
I am a Canon girl, but thatâ€™s because I suck at decisions, used to know absolutely nothing about cameras and someone told me to buy a Canon. I had a look at it. It sounded fancy. I bought it. Now I have a Canon. Itâ€™s pretty great. Sometimes I suffer from â€œI want what sheâ€™s gotâ€ and get Nikon-pangs but my camera serves me well and I really donâ€™t feel I have regrets about the road not taken. It would be the same if I had bought Nikon. I have used Nikons and both are great. At the end of the day, itâ€™s not the size of the ship, itâ€™s the motion in the ocean; itâ€™s not the camera, itâ€™s the person behind it.
People often say â€œWow, thatâ€™s a really good photo, you must have a nice cameraâ€ which would be like someone saying â€œwow, you look so pretty today, you must have really good makeupâ€, itâ€™s soul crushing when itâ€™s what youâ€™re all about. A good photo is the final result of more things than good equipment. That being said; a good camera doesnâ€™t hurt!
Why do you want a camera? Do you want to be an amateur? Do you want to be a professional? Or are you a hobbyist with a butt load of money? Do you just want to take happy snaps of your BFFs? Do you want to photograph landscapes, events, live music, portraits? Think about all of this first!
For professional standard images, the most important thing is lenses. LENSES, LENSES, LENSES! Itâ€™s like if you need optical glasses and have awesome frames
but no prescription lenses, youâ€™ll look cool but wonâ€™t see anything clearly â€“ a camera without a good lens is going to be the same! You donâ€™t have to buy the most expensive body (something like a Canon 5d Mk III or a Nikon D800) if you have a crappy kit lens on it. You want to put the most of your money into a lens with a nice big aperture; the lower the number, the better. Lenses with an aperture of 1.4 or 2.8 are an absolute beauty!! Aperture refers to the size of the lens opening; the BIGGER the aperture, the SMALLER the number. When the lens is set to the highest aperture, the most light is let in. This is good for low light situations ieâ€¦ night or helps to create a blurry background. However, if youâ€™re just happy snapping in the day time, you go crazy with your kit lens (usually the kind you can get for cheap when you buy the camera), they are fine in that situation.
But, you do need to put your lens on somethingâ€¦
Think about the crop sensor. Do you want a â€œfull-frameâ€ or a â€œsub-frameâ€? Â Iâ€™m not going to get too technical but full-frame gets the whole image, sub-frame is a little bit closer cropped. It makes the tiniest difference to quality, but if you have a good lens, it ainâ€™t even a thang! Until I start charging my clients more than $1/hour, I have a sub-frame. Iâ€™m used to it and it is fine! Full-frame also chucks on at least $1000 to the camera body alone. So if you are not looking at going professional, full-frame is not at all important and Iâ€™d tell you to buy a sub-frame, save the money and get a nice lens.
Megapixels were always a selling point for me; the higher the number, the better. Not necessarily the case. If you donâ€™t want to blow your images up to billboard sizes, the highest megapixel count isnâ€™t the most important. You still want a decent amount to preserve quality, in the teens at least, otherwise you may as well continue using your crappy iPhone camera, put on a filter, upload it to Instagram and call yourself a photographer.
Another important factor is the cameraâ€™s ability to shoot in low light situations. Ask your friendly camera shop man about this. If you are likely to shoot in low light, this is very important. Some cameras donâ€™t deal too well with grain (I LOVE grain, but weâ€™re all different) and canâ€™t render sharp images in low light. So if you want to shoot live music, for example, this is something you need to really be serious aboutâ€¦ as well as using a good lens. <3 Lenses <3
So there are just some tips at what to look for. As a Canon user, if you donâ€™t want to spend too much, look at one of the lower EOS models; they are still great and if you know how to use it and have a good eye, you will do great things. There is a Nikon version of each, also allowing great things! One selling point of Nikon is that the lenses can be used on their digital and film SLRs, whereas Canon changed mounts. Poo, poo, poo!
I hope Iâ€™ve helped or at least led you in a direction, thereâ€™s so many models out there I canâ€™t list them. Donâ€™t hesitate to contact me if you want my opinion or advice!
Now that weâ€™ve talked cameras, we can talk about other cameras and the action of actually taking a photo. I am excited for all of us!