What entry level camera should I buy?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

What entry level camera should I buy?


Viewer JasonNevin asked what camera I recommend for an entry level photographer. In this video I give my reply.

Being shopping for a Fuji camera on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

For a written transcript, go to What is my entry level camera recommendation?

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com


On the Canon 77D unboxing video, JosephNevin asked the question about what DSLR I would recommend for an entry level beginning photographer.

I'm going to give my, perhaps surprising, answer today here at the House of Hacks.


Hi Makers, Builders and Photographers.

Before answering Joseph's question I want to, by way of full disclosure, kind of give a little bit of background about myself.

This is of course an opinion piece, opinion answer, and so in order for you to know how to weight my opinion, my answer, I want to give you a little bit of background about myself.

I grew up in the printing industry. My Dad was involved in the printing industry. My Grandfather had his own print shop.

And one of my earliest, earliest memories, when I was probably three or so... three or so years old... was of a camera. And so I've been around cameras my entire life.

When I was probably first or second grade I got this camera. It's a 35mm, kind of a point and shoot type deal as my first camera.

When I was in high school, probably as a freshman, I got my first SLR camera, right here.

So I've been around cameras my whole life.

I've been involved in the Canon ecosystem for the better part of a decade now. In our household we have four camera bodies, four Canon bodies and a whole bunch of different lenses and accessories for the Canon system.

I'm not a professional photographer but I am, I would consider myself a serious hobbyist.

I help out teaching classes a couple times a year with our local university extension course for beginning photographers and also people new to studio lighting and flash photography.

I have a significant background even though I'm not a professional.

Now having said that, with all the different cameras I come in contact with, I am partial to the Canon system.

I think it's probably the best system historically in terms of build quality, in terms of user interface, in terms of support and repair, it's just been second to none.

Nikon is probably a very, very close second and in terms of technology and feature sets, they historically have tended to leap frog each other.

So first Canon would be on top and then Nikon would come out with the next version and be slightly better and they'd just kind of leap frog.

Now having said all that, that's historical information.

In the last couple years the mirror-less systems have really taken the field by storm.

And in many ways I think that they have surpassed the Canon and Nikon system and Canon and Nikon simply haven't really kept up really very well, I don't think.

The latest releases from Canon have kind of been evolutionary improvements on what they had before but I don't think they're really keeping up with some of the innovations that are coming out in the mirror-less market from particularly Panasonic in their Lumix GH series cameras and Sony with their a7 something, I forget what it is, and the other A series cameras that Sony has been coming out with in the mirrorless systems.

Both Sony and Panosonic technically are I think vastly superior cameras to the current Canon/Nikon offerings.

Now having said that, I think both the Panasonic and the Sony systems don't measure up to Nikon and Canon in terms of service or in user interface.

I think Canon and Nikon both are better at positioning the buttons and how the menus are laid out, just kind of the overall user experience with their cameras.

Canon being just slightly better, in my opinion, than Nikon. Of course that could be more based on my own familiarity with the Canon system than anything really objective on that. It's purely a subjective opinion.

Now having said that, the Panasonic and Sonys technically, the image quality coming out of them, is far better than the Canon/Nikons I think.

So, what would be my recommendation?

If you're invested in the Canon system, if you're invested in a system, I would continue staying in that system. If you've got a bunch of Nikon glass or a bunch of Canon glass, just stay with that. Both systems are, have very solid offerings.

But if you're going in new, if I was going in new, didn't have any pre-existing conditions, I would be getting a Fuji system.

Fuji uses the Sony sensors, so they've got incredible, incredible images coming off those cameras.

But Fuji has the best user interface. It even surpasses Canon's, in my opinion.

A couple things that make it noteworthy is they have separate controls for the exposure triangle.

You have a separate knob for ISO, and for shutter speed and the f/stop is a ring on the lenses just like the old film cameras were. So everything you need for exposure is right there with a haptic feedback in a manual knob.

And I think this just puts it ahead of all its competition, across the board.

Also, Fuji has a great menu system. The menus are laid out in a way that's easy to access the things that you commonly access and the things that are custom that are more detailed are layered in a way that is easy to get to, that makes sense, and the options are comprehensible.

Sometimes the other systems, particularly Sony, Sony is awful at the user interface. The menus are terrible. And finding things and configuring a Sony camera is a very, very frustrating experience.

So, I was going in new, I would go with a mirror-less system, with the Fuji. Their build quality is excellent. The user interface is excellent and their images that they generate are fantastic.

So that's it for today. Until next time, go make something. Perfection's not required. Fun is!