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Camera Buyer's Guide

Lesson 16 of 16

Recommended Cameras

John Greengo

Camera Buyer's Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

16. Recommended Cameras

Lesson Info

Recommended Cameras

All right, it is time to get into our specific recommendations of cameras. I have picked out a lot of cameras that I think are just best in the category and so let's dive in, starting with our All-round great cameras. And so, these are five cameras that are generally high in quality, they have lots of features, they're part of a large system, they're a safe place for somebody to go who says, I wanna get into photography and I want the world open to me. And so, all of these are name brand manufacturers, they have lots of lenses, they're gonna be easy to fill out with accessories, and so forth, and they've all done well. These are not first-generation cameras. These are all cameras that have been tweaked and improved, and tweaked and improved, it's not a first-generation product. And so, as I mentioned before, some of these cameras are not going to win any of the other categories because they're not specialist in one particular regard. So, let's get into the different categories. First u...

p is the Unofficial Family Photographer. And so, I'm thinking about a young family bringing up a couple of kids, maybe money is a little bit tight, and also there's only so much stuff that you wanna carry around with you. So, you're budget-minded, you want a small size camera, maybe mom, maybe dad is gonna be usin' it, who knows, maybe the kids are gonna be usin' it, you want somethin' nice and easy to use. First pick in here is the Canon T7I also known as the 800D. Canon has a very popular system. This is just recommended in the all-around great cameras. It's very easy to work with manual. So, if you kinda wanna think about using manual photography, this is a good choice. The Fuji X-T100 is a tiny little camera, which is really nice, I think. It's a very simple straightforward camera, it's got some traditional controls, and for those who really want the smallest size camera to fit in the smallest size bag, that's gonna be a great one. The Nikon D3500 is my favorite of these three, which are all great, and I think the manual controls I think are very simple, they have some very nice graphics on the back of the camera that show you what's going on with the aperture that helps make learning photography a little bit easier. It's very similar in that with the Canon it's a DSLR., there's lots of good lens options, it's pretty good at shootin' action. Fuji is the only one of the three that are a mirrorless camera, which is one of the reasons why it's the smallest of the three, and all of these are gonna sell for well under $1,000. Next up is the Budget Minded and this is just for somebody who says, I don't have a lot of money, I wanna get into photography, what's the best way to get in for spending the least amount of money? And so, all of the options I'm gonna show you hover around the five to $600-mark for a body and the lens. And so, five or $600 for a body and a lens? Yes, you could take very good photos with the aforementioned Nikon D3500, winner of the last category. So, it fits in here as well because the price is so low. Canon makes another camera called the SL-2, which is very small in size. And so, if you want the small camera, this is another one. These are all SLRs in this category. And the Canon T7 is a stripped down version of the T7I with a few less features but it comes in at an even lower price with lens around $550. And I think it's just very easy to use and a great way to get into photography for not much money. Next category is the Aspiring Student. So, this is somebody who really thinks they want growth potential, they wanna get set for the future and growing going forward. And so, maybe they're a little bit budget conscious and they just wanna get a lot of value for their dollar going forward. The Nikon D5600 is a step up model from the previous Nikons we've talked about and it's a very similar body style but they've packed in almost all the features of the next level camera that's up from this. And so, it is chock-filled with lots of features that a student photographer might enjoy. The Sony A7III, well, this is a little bit of wildcard here because this is gonna be the most expensive of the group here. This is gonna be almost $1,000 more than the D but it's one of the least affordable ways to get into a full frame mirrorless system, which in my mind is really the future of photography. Now, there is a part chance that you might be able to get a previous version of the A7III Mark II or the A7 original model at even less money. Some of those are selling for under $1,000 with the lens, and if you wanna get into that full frame mirrorless grouping, that's the best way to do it right now in my opinion. Another great option is the Canon 80D. And this is one of those cameras that doesn't win any particular category in photography of the fastest through the highest resolution, or the most or the smallest, or any of those categories, but as far as a general value camera, it's just a really good value and has a lot of the things. It shoots very high quality stills it shoots good videos, it's a good vlogging camera, it takes good sports photos, it can take good landscape photos. It's not the best in any one of those categories but stretching across all of them, it does a very good job and it gets you into the Canon system, which is the largest system out there, so that you can go roll up through their full frame, DSLRs, and all of their lenses that they have for that entire system which is huge. Our next category is the Urban Dweller. And I'm thinking about somebody who maybe takes the subway or the light rail into work. They go downtown, they carry their one small bag with them, they're walkin' the streets to work, and they see things from time to time that they wanna capture in photographs and so. The camera wants to be a smaller size camera but it's probably someone who can handle more features and likes a lot of sophistication in a small device. Panasonic makes a GX9. It's a rangefinder style so you know it's straight along the top here. And so, it fits into bags nice and easily, they've got a lot of great video features and a lot of features in there in general. If you like a little bit more retro control, the Fuji X-E3, once again, it's rangefinder style so it's kind of the squared off top, has a number of nice features. Kind of a minimalist camera in some regards but very easy to use and if you do dig in to the menu system, it does have lots of features there. And maybe the best in the category is the Sony 6500. They have been building a very good A6000 series of cameras. This is the latest generation. It's got in-camera stabilization which is not something the others necessarily have. It's got a tilt screen so that you can shoot at different angles, which is nice to have, and it is loaded with features as well. But I think any one of these three would be really great for a compact sophisticated camera. Next up is for the Future Pro. This is for the person who knows they want to get serious. They don't wanna mess around with starter cameras, they wanna get right in to some pretty good stuff right away. First up is the Canon 6D Mark II, this is Canon's full frame camera but they're entry level into the full frame. It's got great image quality, it can focus under very low light, and is a good general camera. It's one of those cameras that you're not gonna find a lot of raving reviews on because it's not the best at any one particular thing. But for getting into full frame, it serves a very good value and gives you very good image quality. We'll see the Sony A7 III here again if you wanna get into a mirrorless world with Sony. The body is a little bit smaller than the Canon 6D Mark II but the lenses are gonna end up being about the same size. So the camera bag, by the time you're done, is gonna end up being about the same. The Sony is very good on video as well. And maybe the best in this category is the Nikon D750. This has been out for a couple of years now so you'll see some people saying it's getting older in age at this point, but it's still one of the best selling cameras out on the market because at that price point, it offers a lot of features for the price. All of these camera just, by the way, are in the $2,000 and slightly under price point. And you get into Nikon system and they've got a ton of lenses for this. It's pretty fast and offers a lot of good features in there so it's a very, very good camera that a lot of people are very satisfied by it. If you look up reviews on that, you're gonna see a lot of people that are very happy with that camera. All right, switching gears, filmmaker now. If you're into video, you're gonna be interested in video features on a camera. The video quality, what sort of things can you use to help record better quality video, and what sort of accessories can you put on this. And sort of the surprise showin' on this is Fuji made it into the Filmmaker category. The X-T3, shooting 4k videos, 60 frames a second, and all these other good stuff that video shooters want is in this camera and it's turning out really good quality video. So, it's something to consider. Fuji started off pretty weak in video and they have been getting faster, they've been getting better faster than anybody else. All right, one of the definite favorites out there is the Sony A7S II. The A7S series from Sony specializes or focuses, you might say, on shooting high quality video. And this is kind of an unusual camera 'cause it only has 12 megapixels, which is the lowest of any the cameras we've talked about today, but it uses those 12 megapixels beautifully when it comes to video and so it is one of the highest quality videos when you talk about image quality out of the camera. This is probably gonna deliver the highest quality image video of any of the cameras out there. But probably the most versatile is the Panasonic GH5s. S is their specialty video version. The GH5 is already a video specialty but the s is an even more highly focused product and so you get great image quality. The smaller size lenses allow you to put the camera in various rigs and holders a little bit more easy so it's been a very popular system and it's nice and compact in size with a versatile full flipped out screen so that's my pick for somebody who is pretty serious about filmmaker. Now, we're gonna be going to a new category but just before we go there, this category is for people who are pretty serious about shooting video, they're gonna take the video, they're gonna edit it down to the frame, they're very exacting about setting up in doing things. So, the next category is for the Vlogger or for more the person who's just wantin' to shoot simple video. In that case, I actually have a tie and that is the new Canon EOS-R or the 6D Mark II. These are both full frame cameras from Canon, they have full front flip screens so that you can vlog and see yourself on camera. You get that full frame sensors so you can shoot with shallow depth of field if you have the right lenses and it's got a pretty good autofocus capability so you can leave it in autofocus and it will track you moving back and forth. Another camera from Canon that is a little bit more affordable is the 80D. And so, this is another good system that uses a dual pixel autofocus system that can track subjects that are moving around. So, for a simple video, this works quite well for vlogging. And probably the best is the Panasonic GH5 here. Once again, full flip screen and we do have more of those scene-y features that the more serious scene-y shooter might enjoy here in a camera that's small and easy to use for the vlogger. With that smaller size sensor, the lenses are gonna be smaller, it's gonna be easier to handhold with a variety of lenses out there. All right, for the Landscape Pro, we're thinking about high resolution, we wanna have a lot of wide angle lens options, and we want it to be relatively durable 'cause we're packin' it and takin' it to all sorts of places. Now, these tend to be more expensive cameras. These are in the three to $4,000 price range. These are the highest resolution cameras out on the market. The Sony A7R III, 42 Megapixels, built-in stabilization, you can use the Sony mirrorless cameras or you can use adapters to use Canon in Nikon lenses. The Canon 5DS and 5DSR cameras are fantastic because they have 50 Megapixels. They're very solid cameras in their own right. They've been downplayed by a lot of people because, I don't know, they don't have a couple of features that some people are looking for but they're generally very good cameras. They're just not real good at shooting high ISO and under low light conditions. And so, if you wanna shoot at higher than ISO 800, no, it's not the best camera, really, any of these, but DSR is probably the worst of these when shooting at higher ISOs. But when you have decent light, when you're on a tripod, and you want as much resolution as possible, this gets you the highest resolution possible in a full frame format of 50 Megapixels. The favored out there seems to be the Nikon D850. This combines high resolution and fast shooting. So, if you are looking to combine a one camera does everything as good as possible, this is probably the decathlete that is winning all the categories on the highest levels you might say. And so, landscape photographers would do well with any of these, in my mind. All right, if you're gonna be a Sports Shooter, you're thinking about fast focusing, fast shooting, and telephoto capabilities, the winners by default, and here, of course, the Nikon D and the 1DX Mark II from Canon, they're the professional sports cameras, which, of course, these are gonna be the best. But what are the best for people who don't wanna spend $6,000 on a camera? I think that might be the more interesting case. The 7D Mark II, it's a couple years old now but it's still one of the best cameras out on the market. If you wanna shoot fast, focus fast, and get good image quality, it has a fantastic focusing system, great manual control, and a ton of lenses that you can use for it. One of my favorite categories or cameras in this category is the Sony A9. Now, this could almost have been on the previous page with the flagship Canons and Nikons because it's more than twice the price of the 7D Mark II or the next one I'm gonna show here. And so, it is definitely more money, it is a full frame camera, it's the only one of these that is full frame but it's using some new technology in the sensor. It has a sensor that does not have the scanning problem that other sensors has and so they call it an anti-distortion shutter. You can shoot up to 20 frames a second of clean looking still shots, which is the fastest of any camera in the sports shooting category. The only knock against it is Sony doesn't have a lot of big lenses, they have two or three good sports lenses right now when you compare it to Canon and Nikon, which have about a dozen great lenses out there, and so I'm sure Sony will address this going forward with more and more sports lenses. Winner of this category is the Nikon D500. It's a crop frame camera. It's got focusing points that extend all the way to the edge of the frame which is really nice for tracking on subjects. It's got a lot of customization and just a very fast shooting combined with fast focusing system for shooting birds, sports in action. The D500 is a great, great choice. Next up is the World Traveler. So, if you like to travel, you're gonna be thinking about size and weight of the camera. You want something that's got a lot of features, you don't have to bring as much stuff with you so you can do a lot in one little category. One little package. So, the Sony A7 III, I think this might be its third appearance in here, another very good camera for travel photography. It is full frame so that's good for image quality, it's bad for lenses 'cause you're gonna need to bring larger lenses along the way. Another camera that I think does work very well for travel photographers in a much lower price category is the Olympus E-M5 Mark II. It's a small mirrorless camera, it uses the 4/3 system, and you can have a fantastic collection of two, three, four lenses in a very small camera bag in this case. And my favorite travel camera is the Fuji X-T3. And this is just that perfect balance as far as the size of the sensor, it's the 1.5 crop sensor, so we have a full frame on the left and 1.5 crop in the middle and a 4/3 on the right. It's got a great number of features, it's a mirrorless camera so it's small in size, it's got relatively small lenses. It's 26 megapixels so it's a little bit higher resolution than some of the other mainstream cameras out there and it's proven to be a very good travel camera. So, that's my favorite one in the travel category. Related to the travel category is the Adventure Trekker. And I'm thinking about somebody who maybe likes mountain climbing or hiking, or kayaking, somewhere in a little bit more rough environment so size might be even a little bit more important as well as weather sailing. So, once again, the Fuji X-T3 makes its appearance here, it's also a weatherproof camera, it can handle being worked in very inclement weather conditions so it works quite well. Panasonic makes a number of good cameras. The G9 is a very fast camera, fast autofocus, fast frame rate, as well as having some good weather ceiling on it as well. And probably the best camera in this category is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which is essentially their Pro camera for the 4/3 system. You have a lot of Pro weatherized lenses that are relatively small in size compared to competitors from Nikon and Canon, and Sony, and so forth. It's incredibly rugged when it comes to weather resistance as well when it gets to interchangeable lenses. I know there's some other cameras that you do not change lenses on that can go underwater that's kinda in a different category. But for those of you who want interchangeable lenses and you're gonna go on a wild trackin' adventure, I think these are three great choices in that regard. So, Kena, I think that takes us about to the end of the class. All right, John, that was the exciting part. I love that you think about the use case for all of these cameras and at the beginning of the class when we said I'm a Nikon shooter, should I be a Canon shooter? There's so many variables and you've just broken it down brilliantly with your recommendations. So, let me check and see if we wanna take any questions before we round it up. Let's see. You guys have been having awesome conversations in the chat rooms. I guess there are some things of looking forward, if you don't mind Sure. taking a couple of those. Prognosticating? Yes, yes. This if from Frank. Nikon just came out with a new lens mount for the mirrorless camera and any thoughts on what that would mean for the F-mount, will it continue to be developed? I'm gonna grab a couple of items up here and let's grab the new Z-mount. I'll put that on your left and your Nikon DA and so Nikon's lens mount has been around since 1959. And looking back, one of the problems with Nikon is they design too small of lens mount and so when it came time to deal a whole new lens system, they decided to go in with a much larger mount. And the advantage with mirrorless is that the sensors is much closer to the lens mount and that frees up the optical designers to design all sorts of new higher quality, wider ranging, faster lenses. And so, this new large lens mount is gonna be fantastic for people who want higher resolution and it's not gonna be so good for people who want really small cameras in some regards. They have packed up a pretty small camera around that large lens mount. I am wondering though, are they gonna come out with a cropped version of this because that's gonna be a really big lens mount and they're not gonna be able to make a small camera that competes with say, Sony's and Fuji's in the cropped frame market, but they're currently missing a feeder system to get into this. And so, that's a few of my thoughts and the other thing is, as I mentioned before, if they're making 20 new lenses for that mount, that means the old F-mount is not gonna get as much lovin' as it used to. I think it's clear that Nikon is pivoting their whole company right now to the mirrorless system. All right, thank you. And this one came from Sunny. What makes the EM-1 so much better than the EM- or what are those differences? EM-1, EM-5, actually, let me grab that camera, do a little more show and tell here. 'Cause I do have, I think, an EM-1. I don't have the EM-5 here but, once again, its controls and operation, and so when you hold this camera, we have two dedicated dials right here. We have a lot of levers that we can press and this allows us to access features with the fewest number of button presses or actions from our finger. One of the ways you could do a test on a camera is say, I wanna change these five features, how few of button presses can I do to get to that? So, they put on a bigger grip so you can see here that you got some grip on there, they've weather-sealed it better. And so, the EM-5 Mark II is a great camera. It's kind of a junior version, less weather-sealed, less controls on it. But they've just beefed everything up on this one to make it that much better. Great, thank you. Earlier, John, I had seen some questions come in about lens choices and we don't have time for all of the questions about specifics like that, but I do wanna make sure everybody knows that you have so many other classes out there Right. including classes that are absolutely dedicated to lenses, too. So, what more do you have for us, John? So, if you wanna navigate my classes, here's the deal. I have a class called the Photography Starter Kit for Beginners and if you just want, you know, the quickest four-hour class that gets you going, that's a great start. If you know that you wanna get in more than that, I have a class we spent five days recording. It's, I don't know, 25 hours of information. And so, that's the Fundamentals of Photography and I think that's the baseline information that all photographers should know no matter which direction they're going. I have a newly updated Travel Photography class which has a lot of specific information to dealing with unknown situations as you come upon them. And so, that can be a great intermediate level class for people. Same thing is true with the Nature and Landscape dealing more with a specific topic. When it comes to choosing the right lens, I do have a class called Choosing the Right Lens. And this is a good general class for anybody looking to really learn about the lens world itself. I do have two dedicated classes, one for Canon and one for Nikon, on their particular lens systems where we look at each and every lens that they have in the system. We go into in-depth talks about fish eyes and tilt shifts, and every nook and cranny of the focal length world, and those are very, very in-depth classes. And then I have the Fast Start Camera Classes which are dedicated to individual cameras. And so, if you wanna know how did these buttons, how do I do stuff in the menu system, how do I make the most out of the camera that I have, that's gettin' in to the Fast Starts. And they are a really good value in my mind 'cause instead of that horrible thick instruction manual, which I have to read, (Kena chuckles) it is written in English but it's not English, if you know what I mean. I translate that into easy-to-understand visuals and graphics that just walks you through the entire class. And so, that's the layout on the different classes there. I will just kinda throw in here that if you do wanna connect with me, you can come to my website, pretty easy, I'm on Facebook, posting there regularly and I'm posting on Instagram regularly. I do answer questions and feedback here. I hope I've answered your camera buying questions in this class but if you do have further questions, I'm available there and love to connect up with you in one way or the other. I do have a blog, for instance, on my website, I have a whole article about this class and the mirrorless tipping point, you may wanna check that out at my website,

Class Description

Our Camera 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. If you're looking to purchase a camera or gift one to a budding photographer in your life- this free course will be your guide in making the best purchase.

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Denise Watson

Another outstanding class by John Greengo, my favorite Creative Live instructor. John's delivery is entertaining and his info clear and very easy to understand. If you need more explanation, well, don't worry - he's got a slide or PDF for that! I'm a working photographer and I learn something new with each of John's classes. Don't hesitate to buy any of his classes - you won't regret it.

David Reichel

Yes - there is such a thing as a free lunch - this class is it! I enjoy landscape, seascape, architecture, portrait and travel photography. I've been a Canon user for decades (film and then digital full frame with the 5D Mark II then 5D Mark IV). Recently I got a Fujifilm mirrorless medium format GFX 50R and discovered some Fujifilm features (e.g., film simulation, menu system) that resonate with me. I now have over-kill on full frame format and because I like the Fujifilm so much, I've been thinking about moving from my Canon 5D Mark IV to a Fujifilm X-T3 as my walk-around camera. This class helped me better understand the trade-offs and alleviated my concerns about a crop format sensor in the X-T3. On top of that, this is a great refresher course on camera fundamentals.

Sherry Throughmyeyes Prater

There a thousands of reviews/guides/ floating around the internet, but this one is by far the best by far. I usually watch a portion and then move on because I simply lose interest, but I watched every single lesson. John gives a very unbiased explanation of cameras, functions for every type of shooter. Not only would I recommend it, but I am going to recommend. I am a member of multiple photography groups on FB and one of the most asked questions is camera buying advice. This is excellent!