What camera should I get?

September 29th, 2007 by Chris

My friends and family know that I’m a bit of a shutterbug. Usually this is because when we visit I spend more time taking pictures of their kids than talking with them. Ever since we bought our Canon G2 back in fall of 2001 (prior to our trip to the Salt Lake Olympics), I’ve been taking pictures of everything. We stayed loyal to the Canon line (partially because I already knew the symbology in the controls/menus, and partially because we could reuse batteries and media) when we made our leap into digital SLRs with the Canon 20D in the end of 2004.
Since then I’ve been extremely pleased with the 20D and there’s always some other filter or lens that would be great to have/play with/spend money on… so I think I’m hooked.
In any case, several friends have told me that they’re looking for a camera, and what do I recommend. This is a tough question for a number of reasons, but starting with the most important questions, here are my top 5:

  1. How much do you want to spend? [Price]
  2. What do you most want to take pictures of? [Lighting, Subject]
  3. What do you want to do with your pictures after you’ve taken them? [Resolution, Images]
  4. How much control do you want over what the camera’s doing? [Control]
  5. Do you have a camera now? And if so, what do you like/dislike about it? [Loyalty]

[Last Thoughts]

Although I don’t plan to turn myself into a one-man Consumer Reports, I’m going to spend some time doing a few posts on how the answers to these questions (and others) should inform your new camera purchase. To start though, take a look at the questions that CR thinks you should be thinking about*.

In the end, the most important feature of a new camera is not being afraid to use it. 100% recycled electrons is what I like to say. The carbon footprint of a single JPG image on your media card is negligible, so the more shots you take, the more you’ll learn and the happier you’ll be.

* Although I am a subscriber to Consumer Reports, you may not be. That’s ok, most of the buying guides are available to non-subscribers. You just won’t be able to look at specific camera test results and ratings.
You may note that the links for the cameras above are to Digital Photography Review (www.dpreview.com)rather than to Canon. Although I’m sure Canon‘s website is great for selling cameras, it’s not the best for researching them (particularly older models)
Edit 7 November: Added quick links to each later posting from the questions above.

2 Responses to “What camera should I get?”

  1. Camera Brands from Consumer Reports by Schierer Space Says:

    […] Looks like Consumer Reports has similar feelings to my camera review. […]

  2. So you decided to get a D-SLR… by Schierer Space Says:

    […] Some friends of mine have recently taken the plunge into the world of digital SLR cameras. For those who aren’t sure if they really want to go there, please take a look at my dated but still relevant series on choosing a digital camera. […]