Wondering how to choose a camera with so many options to choose from? To the mom who chases her kids around with her phone, or the fancy DSLR, or the point and shoot camera you’ve owned for years, thee mom who loves taking pictures of her kids, and is dying to get a new camera, but just isn’t sure where to start, I got your back!
You wouldn’t believe how many people came to me this year to ask me how to choose a camera. There isn’t really one hard and fast answer though. However, there are a few things you should definitely consider when purchasing a new camera.
***Wanna know what I am using to take pictures of my family? You can see everything I keep in my camera bag here!***
How to choose a camera
*for your convenience, there may be affiliate links throughout this post, so you can easily find the things i am showing you. by using these links, your pricing stays the same, but i earn a small commission. you can see my full disclosure here
- Do I have to get a DSLR to get good pictures? No, you absolutely do not, but you will have more control over your pictures if you do. Just be sure to think long and hard about what you are actually willing to carry around.You are not going to get any pictures if you don’t feel like carrying your new camera around.You’re also not going to enjoy your time if you’re worried about where your expensive camera is the entire time you’re out. I am obviously a camera junkie because it’s my job.I have a few cameras in my bag. Each one serves a different purpose, and each one is equally important to me.
That doesn’t mean everyone is going to have more than one camera, or that it’s normal to obsess over cameras. Ha!If the you’re ok with carrying a larger camera around, and you really want to take the time to learn how to use your camera, then a DSLR may be right for you.
If the answer is no, there’s no shame in that! There are plenty of point and shoot cameras worth checking out!I lugged my big camera around the park for this picture!
- Is there a better camera for taking pictures of my kids doing everyday things, or sports, or school functions? Cameras can be versatile, but different lenses are capable of different things, and what one camera is capable of, may not be the same in another.Decide what you are hoping to capture most.If you are hoping to shoot indoors, and outdoors, you may have a ton of light, but then again, you may not, you should definitely consider purchasing a camera that allows you to shoot at an aperture of 2.8 or less.
If you are hoping to shoot sports and may be far distances from your subject, you are going to most likely want a camera with a zoom lens.This below picture was taken with my DSLR and a 50mm 1.4 lens
- How many megapixels should it have? Most DSLRs that are selling now actually have higher megapixels than my professional grade camera. As long as you have 12mp you’re good to go! The picture below was taken with a GoPro Hero4 Silver– it’s 12mp
- If you think you’re really going to invest in this hobby, choose a Nikon or a Canon DSLR. My first camera was a Pentax because that’s what we could afford. I loved that camera, and it produced some beautiful images, but eventually, I traded it in for a Nikon.The choice between Nikon and Canon is really just personal preference. They are both the same basic quality (although I am sure there are those who would beg to differ). Both my point and shoot camera, and my DSLR are Nikons.Yes, I sure did take my big camera to the grocery store for this picture!
- I found a camera bundle with a kit lens AND a zoom lens! Should I get that? I would avoid purchasing the kit lens, if possible. When I purchased that first DSLR 8 years ago, I was devastated that even after I had taken the time to learn how to use it, it would not produce the images I had hoped for.After learning more, and doing some more researched, I realized it wasn’t anything I had any real control over. I wasn’t able to open up my lens wide enough to let in the light I needed, and I wasn’t able to open my lens wide enough to get that blurry background I was dreaming of.
In other words, I was working with a glorified, mediocre point and shoot (I say mediocre because I do have a point and shoot that allows me to do more than a typical kit lens).Instead, purchase a camera body, and a 50mm 1.8 lens. That is a terrific starter lens, and a fabulous lens to learn about how to use your camera.
It will not zoom though. It will require you to move your feet!! But the price point is right for someone just starting out, and the zoom lenses that are often bundled with a camera to entice you to purchase often just end up sitting in your camera bag, because they are not capable of letting enough light in for many situations.(disclaimer: that is just my opinion based on what I have seen from others, and my own point of view).
I took this next picture with a 35mm 1.4 lens on my Nikon D700. Yes, I am crazy enough to take my big camera to BK! 😉
- I think I just want a point and shoot, is that bad? Heck no! If you would prefer to go the point and shoot route, here is a list of point and shoot cameras worth checking out, and the reasons you might prefer one over another. This picture was taken with a point and shoot camera, and I love it!
- Oh, gosh?! I don’t know what to do! Tell me what to pick! If you have read through all of this, and you’re still not sure, I would say it sounds like you’re set on getting a DSLR.In all honesty, I think most people that have come to this post, are really wanting to get a DSLR.So, if you’re really not sure, and you want me to give my honest opinion on what to start with (remember, it’s just my opinion, and since I don’t sell cameras, I obviously can’t give you a money back guarantee), I would say you can’t go wrong with a consumer Nikon or Canon DSLR and a 50mm 1.8 prime lens.
Whatever camera you decide to get, the important thing is to capture those moments you know won’t last forever. And, sometimes (like it is for me), it’s a great creative outlet.
So, pick a camera, freeze those moments, and have some fun while you’re doing it. Plus, at the end of the day, when the house is quiet, and you’ve got a moment to breathe, you can go back and look at all those moments that make all the chaos of the day totally worthwhile.
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