Just remember, the camera is only a tool which helps you express yourself through photography.
So what is the “best” camera? This question is meaningless IMHO, instead you should be asking yourself what is the best camera for YOU! There is no point in asking your photographer friend or anyone else for that matter what is the best camera, since everyone has their own preferences.
What are the most important “features” of a camera? Here is my list:
- The camera should be able do the job you want it to do. For that you need to know what are you actually willing to achieve with your camera. Are you a professional photographer who does studio work or you are an amateur trying to be creative or you simply want to preserve memories of your travels and family? Or maybe you just want to impress your friends with a big mean toy? Any reason can be a valid one. It really pays off if you know why you need a camera. If you don’t know why or feel the need to ask others to convince you to buy a camera, then you don’t need one and you can save money for something you really want/need.
- The camera should be convenient to use. It should be helping you take the pictures you want, not distracting you from the really important things. If the camera is too complex, it is a bad camera no matter how good it may be for someone else. If the camera is so heavy that you never bring it along, it is as good as a paper weight (if an expensive paper weight is exactly what you need, by all means get one). So, handling the camera before purchasing is very important.
- The camera should be enjoyable and fun to use.
- If things like the brand, number of megapixels or the color make the camera fun and enjoyable for you, don’t hesitate, go for those things even though I will say they are totally irrelevant for photography.
The above helps answering another important question. WHEN is the right time to buy your camera? Obviously the answer is – right when you need it. Ideally you’d buy a camera in advance of course, as it takes time to get used to any tool. Say if you want to buy a camera for your upcoming trip to Paris, it is a good idea to buy it a couple of months in advance. It takes time to master your camera. I had my current dSLR for 5 months already and I still have a lot to explore even though I’m not new to photography.
If you keep waiting for the next newest model to be released, I bet you don’t actually need a camera at all and can save lots of money by skipping it altogether. Of course “need” and “want” is not the same thing and it’s totally fine to “want” the newest model. Though in this case I can not see you ever buying a camera since there will be another newest model released every year or so, so you will end up waiting for the next newest model forever (as one friend of mine did). Or you are very reach, in that case you should buy every camera as soon as it is released and then the next model and so on. – Problem solved. It is important to understand though, the urge to have the newest model has nothing to do with photography. Any moment in time there is a number of people using current cameras for any thinkable and sometimes even unthinkable purpose and some of them are doing quite effectively too, so you can do it too.
To be continued …