It never fails this time of year, and on a regular basis I will get a message from a client or a friend, asking for recommendations on purchasing a camera for a family member. Buying a camera is stressful and confusing if it isn't your "thing". So in an effort to help you in your 2017 Christmas gift giving here are some suggestion for the photographer or soon to be photographer in your life!
****Disclaimer***** I love Canon's & Fuji cameras so that is what you will hear most out of me. I do not keep up with every single new type of camera or technology out there. However, I do teach a lot of photography classes that allow me the time with cameras and I get to see which ones are easy to learn/use and which ones I want throw out the window even when I am a trained professional. So all that to say, I am not a tech guru and if you want to pour over specifics, check out a google search.
I think what you might be excited to learn is that I really only recommend two pieces of equipment that you will need. After you wipe the shock off your face, read on for the only two main pieces of equipment that I find to be truly necessary.
1. Buy Used
I know what you are thinking, "BUT Holly!!! I don't know if it is safe to purchase a used camera! And what if..." Let me tell you I have only bought used cameras for my entire 21 year career. Yes, really! I regularly purchase used equipment on Amazon.com, KEH.com and B&H Photo. All of these places are reputable brokers and I have never had a problem purchasing from them in the least. Buying a pre-owned camera is like purchasing a pre-owned car, let the first owner take the high dollar hit and then you can take advantage of the good price. Almost always I can find like new models on nearly brand new. Pick up a smart looking camera bag and put the camera in and your loved one will never tell the difference!
2. Purchase Your Camera Body Separate From The Lens
So many people are simply looking for a great deal on a nice camera but have no idea what they are purchasing. Today you can pick up what looks like a heck of a camera with LOTS of "gear" for $499. That's pretty cheap in camera terms. But what they don't know is that the lenses and gear that they are getting with the camera is just a bunch of junk and the lenses are not great at all. So that is why I like to buy my camera body seperate from the lenses, and more often than not when you purchase a "barely used" and body only, you will end up saving money and giving a gift that will work well for the photographer.
Here are a few bodies I recommend looking at for all levels of photographers:
Budget of $300-$800 for camera bodies
The Canon Bodies are one of the best, beginning level DSLR cameras on the market. It will work great for anyone from the beginning photographer to the hobbiest looking to become professional.
The Fuji is a remarkable camera that can grow with the owner. What I love about this camera is the fact that what you see is what you get when you look through the viewfinder. It is SUPER easy to use with some helpful instruction. It is a bit vintage in the look but super user friendly. I have fallen absoutely in love with this camera.
All three of these cameras have built in wifi which is amazing technology which will allow you to transfer images from your camera directly to your wireless device in seconds without any cords!
I have a few more cameras I recommend here and there if you are needing to stick to a budget that is a bit less than that, so feel free to contact me to ask for some recommendations in your price range!
3. You Only Need One, Small, Lens To Start!
Gift buyers often think they need to buy big, long, and pricy lenses because somehow they think the bigger the lens, the better and more magical the image will look! Well not so! Most camera kits come with lenses 18-55mm, and while that sounds like it might be a cool zoom lens, it is actually a pretty inadequate lens for most people. And it is quite possibly the worst lens for a new photographer with lessons to successfully learn how to photograph well. And if it isn't the kit lens, then I often hear about the gifter who decides to get at huge, zoom lens that is not necessarily any better!
Let me introduce you to the most amazing, little powerhouse. This lens is the best you can buy for any beginner or active hobby photographer! I shot with this lens for several years in my professional career and still love it today! It is called the nifty fifty, 50mm 1.8 that will in the simplest of terms help the photographer learn about great light and give the images those beautiful, blurry backgrounds! The great news is that this lens runs about $125 brand new! The equivalent of this lens in Fuji terms is the 35mm 1.4, however this one is the highest of quality and great glass optics, so it's cost is around $500.
4. How to Use the Camera
All the greatest gear in the world is meaningless if the person using it is clueless on how to use the camera. It is more often than not that my students will tell me that someone purchased their camera for them several years back but then they ended up frustrated and lost on how to use this gadget with a million buttons. It then found it's way to the back of their closet and has gathered dust for the last few years until they made their way to my class. The number one thing I hear from them is that they wished they had been given lessons when they got the camera! Check out the different offerings in classes, one on one tutoring, High School 16 week curriculum and even an Online Photography class for adults! I even have gift certificates available for you to wrap and place under the tree or inside the camera bag! For your photography friends who already own a camera but are looking to jump into photo editing, I offer a beginning level online class on Lightroom, a photography editing program.
My gift certificates are on discount through Tuesday, November 28th, get your shopping done today!
If you have specific questions about purchasing a camera, feel free to contact me via email here!