Frequently throughout the year – and especially here around the Holidays – friends, business partners, family, and even complete strangers ask us over here at the studio what kind of cameras we recommend. Where I can discuss and debate the subtle nuances between the $5000 Nikon D3 and the $3000 Nikon D700 all day long – because we use those models every day – I really don’t have a clue what is going on with consumer-targeted [entry level] cameras!
The conversation usually goes something like this…
“I love the D700; it is the most portable of the cameras I use, has an amazing sensor for low-light shooting, fast autofocus, and uses FX lenses.”
“How much is it?”
“The body is $2500 and you can usually get it is a bundled kit for around $3000.”
*Gasp* + silence is generally what I hear the other end of the line… (don’t worry, it’s me not you 😉
After the silence breaks, there is a moment of sharing to follow, “My budget runs between $500 and $1000 for the camera, the memory card, and accessories.”
I reciprocate the sharing, “I am happy to help and certain there are some wonderful cameras in that category, but I don’t even know what the model numbers are…”
Once the sharing is complete and everybody knows my ignorance about their need, the conversation almost always shifts to the topic of whether I would recommend they purchase an entry-level DSLR (digital SLR camera with removable lenses) or a point-and-shoot (uh, point it and shoot).
The bad news: I travel with 150 pounds worth of gear at almost all times, so OF COURSE I am going to recommend top-of-the-line point-and-shoot!
The good news: it is totally a personal decision you have to make, and if you like the way it feels in your hand and you can see yourself toting it on vacation, you probably won’t regret your decision one way or the other.
The REALLY good news: most of the major manufacturers have just recently come out with a MILC; a hybrid type of ultrasmall point and shoot camera with an interchangeable lens system!
Technology… isn’t she beautiful?
In the spirit of being helpful on a subject I know nothing about, I thought I would share a couple of links that came my way just today. I am on the e-mail list for Adorama – camera and technology shop out of New York. They are a very reputable retailer online, and really do a good job of evaluating equipment when it comes out. They provided a great “buying guide” list in their recent e-mail blast, and I’m posting a few of those links here. Reading through all of their information you should gain a great understanding of the differences between the point-and-shoot, DSLR, and the new MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable-Len Compact) cameras and models. Using the DP Review link below, you can probably find more reviews than you could ever want!
Adorama’s Buying Guide Home Page – look about halfway down the page in the left margin for the buying guide links:
DP Review – a great resource for camera reviews from other users just like you:
Are you the kind of person who likes to buy your equipment in person from a brick and mortar store with real people? I am, and Showcase (in Atlanta) is a local photo store where I buy all of my gear:
I hope this helps the Santa in you!!