Camera Buyer's Guide

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to Creative Live. My name is Kenna Costerman, and today we are here with John Greengo and we are doing a cameras buyers' guide. Now John is a travel and landscape photographer, he is the author of "The Enthusiast's Guide to Exposure." He leads photography tours all over the world and of course he is an educator extraordinaire especially with all of his classes right here on Creative Live. I don't think there's another person on the planet that knows as much as John does about gear so please help me welcome John back to the Creative Live stage. John, take it away. Well welcome everybody to the camera buyer's guide. My name is John Greengo, and this class is for anyone who wants to make a smart buying decision when it comes to one of the more advanced cameras that are available on the market. As you can see we've brought in pretty much the entire collection, almost. This is a lot of the main cameras that someone might be interested in if they are gonna go and...

get into the world of photography, and this could be whether it's just for your own family photography, you just wanna take better pictures of your kids, or you're getting more serious and you wanna start a business or really get into the world of photography. We're gonna be talking about all the SLRs the mirrorless cameras, a lot of the interchangeable lenses, everything you need to know to make a smart buying decision. Now before we get into this class we do need to talk, like we do in many classes, about who this is sponsored by, 'cause everything seems to be sponsored by somebody, and I'm happy to announce that this class is sponsored by nobody. That's right, it's a free class and I'm not sponsored. This class is completely free to you. And I think this is really important because I wanna let you know that I do not have an agenda here. I don't care if you buy a camera, I don't care what camera you buy. I just like to have good information and I know you do as well. Now I do these classes at Creative Live on fast-start cameras, and so I have all these in-depth camera classes and the reason that I'm doing this class for free is because a lot of people send me emails and they're asking for my advice on what camera to get and they'll give me a little bit of information about who they are and what they're gonna do and what cameras they're thinking of buying and I look at this email and I just scratch my head, going how can I possibly answer this person in two or three sentences? I wanna spend a couple hours writing an email back and I don't always have time to do that so I thought I would make one video that encompasses all that I know about buying camera's for today's modern cameras and so if you wanna learn about it, that's what we're gonna be doing in this class and hopefully this will answer most of your questions about what's the best camera for you. What we're gonna be doing in this class is we're gonna be looking at your needs. What does a photographer need in a camera and that depends on what you're going to be shooting so the more you know about what you're going to shoot, the better you'll be able to address those needs. We're gonna look at the options on the cameras. If you are new to the world of photography, we're gonna go through some of the most important features that you wanna look at when looking for new cameras. And then to end this all up with, I'm gonna be going through my recommendations and I'm not gonna simply say this is the best camera on the market because there really isn't a camera that fits the best camera. There's best cameras for particular types of photography so we're gonna be looking at a whole bunch of different categories and these are categories that I've invented that I think are very applicable to different people's needs and so we're gonna give you top three choices in each one of these categories. Now, I know some of you are really eager to just kinda get a quick view of what are some of the best cameras out there, so we're gonna start with another category that I call the can't go wrong cameras. These are cameras that are good for people who don't have anything truly specific but they just want a good general camera that is high in quality, has lots of features, and is part of a large system so that they can grow and add on to the system with interchangeable lenses, flashes, and many other accessories. So I will note, yes, this is dominated by Canon and Nikon, these are two of the big players in the photography world as they have been for 50, 60, 70 years or so. There's lots of lenses, there's lots of different models of cameras. We have cameras right here, the T7i, this is a relatively inexpensive camera. You can get into this camera for well under $1,000. It's a great beginner camera. Nikon D7500, a slightly more advanced camera with a little better controls, that's gonna be between $1,000 and $2, depending on what lens you get with it. The direct competitor to that is the 80D and you can go back and forth as to which one's better. They're both very nice. The Nikon D750 has been a hugely popular camera for the last couple of years. It's a full-frame sensor, it's gonna be a little bit more expensive camera, we're talking about $2,500 for that one. And then the Canon 5D Mark IV, which often does not win individual battles against other cameras in the best specs but when it comes to a good all-around professional level camera there's a lot of people who are shooting on that and absolutely loving that. And so these are just a few of the types of cameras that we're gonna be talking about as we go through the rest of the class. The first thing we need to address is why should you upgrade, 'cause I'm guessing that a lot of you have point and shoot cameras or perhaps you're using your phone. A lot of people use their phone, I use my phone to take photos as well, and if you wanna make that jump to one of these big cameras, this costs a lot of money and it's a lot bigger than a phone so there usually needs to be a pretty good motivation as to why you wanna jump over to one of these. So let's take a look at why you might wanna upgrade from your phone or from your point and shoot camera to an interchangeable lens camera. It's gonna come down to image quality in a lot of things and so let's look at the pros and cons of using a simple camera like your phone. These are portable, I love that, mine's always with me. It has good quality, it's not great, but it's pretty good quality, definitely good enough for social media and most basic online uses. Super easy to use, there's not that many controls, there's just a couple of buttons and then being able to connect to the rest of the world, to be able to post something instantly, that's what is so great about using the phones for photography these days. The downside is that for most phones, you just have one lens and now they're starting to have two lenses and I'm thinking wow, I'm used to having four or five lenses and we get to have two lenses on here, so it's definitely limited in that regard. It's not easy to see the screen under bright light situations, especially if you're checking for critical focus. The limited physical controls can make it hard to make adjustments. If you wanted to make adjustments to various features, it's just not very easy compared to having a camera that has dedicated buttons for those things. The cameras do not do real well under low-light conditions as I'm gonna show you in just a moment. And there is little to no manual control at all so if you know what you're doing, then you have something specific you're trying to do, you're trying to shoot your friend's soccer game and you need a fast shutter speed, well most of those devices don't have those sorts of controls where you can really do that. And sometimes they do but they're very, very limited in the range of their manual controls that they can have so it's very tough for somebody who knows what they're doing to use one of these devices because it is so limiting in that way. And the overall image quality, as I say, is fine for social media and uses online and with the computer screen, but if you try to print these out, there are limitations as to how far and how much you can do with this. And there is just generally a lack of features or options that are available, whether it's accessories that you hook up or other things that you can do with it. And so I decided to do a little test between the latest, greatest smart phone and that is the iPhone 10 which has just been ranked to have the best camera quality on the market today, I'm sure this is gonna get superseded in months and years to come and I pitted it against one of the better but not even the best of the cameras out there. And what I have found is that the phones do a good job, in fact, they might even do a great job when it comes to easy situations. But once you start throwing a little bit of a hurdle for these devices, that's when they start tripping up and so the little hurdle that I've done in this case is I've decided to shoot when the light was really good and colorful and slightly low and so under slightly low light conditions let's go ahead and take a look at a magnification of the phone versus the camera. And so what you wanna look for in this is look for the detail in the buildings and car lights and if you don't have a good view of your screen I can tell you that the buildings you can clearly see on the right-hand side, the individual floors of the buildings and the lights of the buildings, and it has much, much greater detail if you are making those enlargements. And so under a low-light condition like this, an interchangeable lens camera with a larger-sized sensor, which is something we'll talk more about a little bit into this guide here, we're gonna talk more about that, that's one of the reasons why the interchangeable lens camera is gonna do a better job. This is just one of those slightly tricky situations. There's many other situations where an interchangeable lens camera will have a huge advantage, like if you go on safari and you wanna use a telephoto lens, you wanna photograph something that is not right next to you. If you kinda get into photography and you wanna play around with the controls like using a slow shutter speed and you're gonna need mounted on a tripod and dial in a specific shutter speed that you want. It's gonna do much better when you wanna shoot close-up subjects to show highly detailed elements that you find interesting. You can attach wide-angle and fisheye lenses very easily with very high quality on an interchangeable lens camera. We talked about the ability of shooting under low light, it's better quality, you'll be able to stop action 'cause you can use faster shutter speeds 'cause the sensors are better. When you have an object of really fine detail, you can make really large enlargements from it and it holds the detail 'cause it has the resolution, 'cause it has the amount of pixels on a large-size sensor that you need. So you can make fantastic enlargements for many of these cameras. And then there's sometimes special features you can have. For instance, during the recent eclipse, I used a multiple exposure mode in my camera so that I could shoot seven photos in camera with a telephoto lens and this is absolutely impossible with a phone and so having that sort of capability is just a lot of fun 'cause there's so many different things that you can do with it. The phones have gotten better with shooting shallow depth of field, but it's still no comparison to shooting with an interchangeable lens camera and a nice, short, telephoto lens that has shallow depth of field capability so that you can draw attention to your subject's eyes because they're crisp and sharp and focused and the background is a nice, smooth background out of focus. Now the phones are doing this in some cases with software afterwards and they're doing a pretty good job but it's just not the same thing. So if you do wanna jump up to an interchangeable lens camera, the pros and cons of this is that you're gonna get great image quality, that's a given on pretty much all of the cameras these days, you got a lot of lenses and I love lenses and I love the choice and options that they bring you. You have a good viewfinder, and this is something that a lot of people who are not into photography don't understand how important it is. A photographer utilizes a great viewfinder much the same way that a race car driver would use the steering of their car. It helps them direct where their car is going and at first you're just thinking, if I want a fast car I just get a fast car. But control of it is very important, in this case the control comes through a good viewfinder. There are so many features in these cameras, in my fast-start classes, we go through the menu systems which have sometimes two, three, 400 different control options, features that you can turn on and off and customization so that you can get the camera exactly to work the way that you want it to. And they have really good physical controls, they feel comfortable in the hand, and when you need to make a quick change, there's a button right there to change it. You don't have to dive into a menu and go through a bunch of button presses to make that happens, it happens very, very quickly and easily on these cameras. And you have full manual control. You get to choose the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focusing, you're in control of the artwork that you're creating. And there's just so many options with different lenses, different flashes, accessories, microphones, shooting video, so many different things that you can do with an SLR, it's just limitless in many, many ways. Now there are some things that we need to look at on the cons side, it is a little bit larger, it is a little bit heavier. Now I do say this, thinking in my mind back to Ansel Adams and he had to carry like a pack mule just filled with stuff to go take photos and now, when we come over and we say oh, this camera is so heavy, it's so big, I can't bring this around, it's a matter of perspective because this really isn't that big, but yes, it is bigger and it is heavier than your smart phone, but it's not that big, you can still pack quite a powerful punch in a fairly small pack. Okay, some more cons, it does have a higher cost. I know some of those phones are getting upwards of $1,000, you can buy a full-fledged camera with interchangeable lenses for the same amount so in general it's gonna be more but it's not that much more. It's more complicated. That is true. I think for many people the camera is one of the most complicated devices you will ever purchase. I think probably your computer is the most complicated. Luckily cars have gotten pretty simple, they're complicated but they're pretty simple for the end user, but if you really wanna get into cameras, it's gonna require a little bit of a time investment on your part learning how that camera works. One of the most important things is you can't just buy a good camera and think you're gonna start taking great photos. It's kinda like buying a violin thinking that you're gonna be able to learn how to play the violin better because it's a better violin. No, you have to put in the time and the work to learn what you're doing.

Buyer's guide will be your guide to figuring out the best digital camera for your needs.

Gear expert John Greengo dives into the major brands and lenses that are currently on the market.

John breaks down some of the more confusing aspects of mirrorless and DSLR's from focusing systems to sensor size; you'll get a better understanding of what the gear does so you can make an informed decision.

At the end of the class, John gives his recommendations for different types of photographers from the aspiring student to the filmmaker and everyone in between.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • John is a great teacher, and I've learned allot in this lesson. I already had an idea what camera I want to buy next but happy to know it was also what he recommended (for my field). Really love his free classes by the way where he talks with other photographers and discusses photos of viewers. Awesome!
  • John has a very good way of explaining things to make them both simple and complete. His makes great use of visual graphics in his explanations. I highly recommend any of his courses, the material presented is well thought out and flows very well.
  • Amazing course. So much education provided in these free classes. I will definately be taking more. I am so glad I watched these before jumping in and buying a camera. This is a much watch for all people who are new to photography and are looking to buy a camera.