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Camera Buyer's Guide

Lesson 4 of 16

What Are Your Camera Needs?

John Greengo

Camera Buyer's Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

4. What Are Your Camera Needs?

Lesson Info

What Are Your Camera Needs?

Finding the camera that fits your needs requires you understanding what your needs actually are. How are you going to be using the camera? Some of you are probably pretty knowledgeable about knowing what you're gonna be doing. You might be planning a big trip, that you're gonna be gone for a couple of months, traveling through Europe or something, and you know exactly what you're gonna be doing. Other people might be just interested in photography as an art form, and they wanna explore it, and they wanna get into it, and just see where it takes them. So if you can think about what your interests are in photography, and what types of things that you might wanna shoot, that'll help direct you towards a better camera. And so there's a lot of different genres of photography. Here are some of the most popular ones that people tend to get into, but if you wanna do it a little bit more from an abstract standpoint, you might wanna think about what size is your subject? How close is your subjec...

t? Is your subject moving around? And what sort of lighting do you have on your subject? Because these are different types of challenges to photographers. So for instance, if you're gonna photograph something really small, you need special lenses for it. You might need special lighting for it. If the subject is far away, there's different techniques and tools. If things move very quickly, there are certain attributes to a camera that'll make capturing those subjects more easily. The same with very dark subjects. For instance, with a small subject, you can use a telephoto lens, you can use a macro lens, or you can use extension tubes and a number of macro accessories so that you can get your camera very close to that subject. If your subject is really far away, there's big telephoto lenses and then there's just putting in more effort to get close to your subject, and there's many different ways of doing that. If your subject is moving very fast, you're gonna need an autofocus system that can respond to that. It needs to cover a large area and be very quick. You're gonna need the right type of lenses. Not all lenses are equal in how fast they can autofocus, and you're gonna need a good viewfinder. One of the hallmarks of a good camera is a great viewfinder. And so that'll be very important so that you can keep track of your subject. If you're photographing in low light situations, you might need a tripod that might help out, or you might need a fast lens to let in a lot of light in that dark reception hall. A large sensor will also help you out, as well a flash. And so there's a number of tools that will help you out, and you wanna be able to have those tools available for you, if you need that. You need to think a little bit about how you are going to use your images. Where are you gonna post them? How are you going to print them? And so if we can split this world up into two different categories, on-screen, so phones, computers, slideshows, projectors, all of that is relatively easy when it comes to resolution. There are, every camera in the market can produce a fantastic image on Instagram, or any other online resource, or with a screen. Things get a little bit more tricky on paper, but only when you get to the larger size. Any of these cameras that are available today would produce fantastic images. If you were gonna print your own book, a coffee table book, of photographs, you could use any camera on the market. They are of good enough quality for producing that sort of image quality. The only area where it gets a little dicey is if you start making enlargements, large, poster-size enlargements. Some cameras that have more resolution will be doing a little bit better in that category. Think about your needs, and how much manual control you want over the camera. How much do you wanna learn about photography is what this really comes down to, because the more you know, the more you wanna control, the more things that you're gonna wanna take under your control, and manually use yourself. In some cases, it's nice to have everything in automatic so that it's quick, and fast, and you can change from one subject to the other, but having that manual control will guarantee quality, consistent results. How important is size and weight? So think about the size and weight of the camera, and I'm gonna grab a couple of cameras, 'cause I wanna show you some of the trade-offs between using a larger camera and a smaller camera. And so I wanna show you one of the smaller ones and one of the larger ones. And so here, on your right, I have the Sony camera, and the Sony a63-, 6500 is a very small camera. This is one of the most popular cameras on the market. I think it's a 6000 that is officially the most popular interchangeable lens ever. And it's a very small size camera, as we turn this around. Now the Canon 5D Mark IV is probably one of the most commonly used professional cameras on the market today. So wedding photographers, newspaper photojournalists, all sorts of photographers are using this camera. It's a much larger camera, but one of the things you'll notice is that the buttons and dials are much larger. Just take this one little click dial on the back of the camera. This has been a favorite feature on Canon cameras for awhile, and that's because it's just really easy and tactile for the thumb to get to. As people use the little Sony camera, it's got this dinky little dial that doesn't have as near of definitive clicks, and it's what we would call fidgety, because you kinda have to fidget with it because it's not as decisive and easy as this. But they can't put the big dial on the small camera 'cause it's a small camera. And so when it comes to the rest of the buttons on the camera, a larger camera will have more space for those buttons, the buttons will be larger in size, they'll have a little bit more wiggle room on how they can be used, the grips on the camera will be better, and when you're out there, shooting, this Canon camera feels a lot better in most people's hands than the little Sony camera. But when you're traveling around, and you just wanna carry a lightweight camera, it's obvious why so many people choose the Sony 6000 series cameras, is because they're very small, they're very lightweight. And so it depends on how much you are carrying it around versus how much you are using it, and how you are using it. There are reasons for both of these cameras. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but when you get to a particular use case, then most people start choosing one over the other. I have joked about this in the past, but I am pretty serious, and I'm gonna grab some more items here. The bag is really important to a photographer 'cause a lot of photographers end up putting all their gear in a camera bag. And I think one of the best ways of finding out the best camera for you is to figure out what size camera bag you might like to carry, and then think about what will fit inside of it? And so that is really how I think you may want to figure out, what do I wanna get? Is think about, what size camera bag would you like to carry around? Do you wanna carry just a small size camera? Is it more medium size? Or is it more of a larger size, to fit that higher-quality camera with all the lenses, and so forth? And so think about that for a moment because this is what we end up walking around with, is one of these bags. And you wanna find a bag that you can live with, day in, day out, and that you're happy to take with you, because when you look at that in the morning, that's the thing you're gonna be deciding. Do I want to take that with me today? And so you wanna get yourself into a system that you can live with for a long period of time. There is a bag rule that, no matter what bag you get, you will fill it, and you do not want to overfill camera bags. You want there to be a little bit of room so that you can change one lens to the other. If you try to stick too much in there, stuff is gonna start falling out, and you don't want camera stuff to really fall out. All right, how much can you afford? This is an answer for you to say. Keep your answers quiet. You don't have to tell anybody else. Some people have a dream camera, and it's way beyond the budget of the camera that they can afford. So be realistic about what you can afford. What about new cameras versus used cameras? Well, I don't mind used cameras, as long as they have a clean sensor on 'em. You can get a lot of good buys, because new cameras are at a premium. Cameras are like cars. As soon as you drive them off the lot, they have lost about 20% of their value, as soon as they become used, even if they've not even had any pictures taken. When you're doing your budgeting, remember that you're gonna need lenses and accessories. How many different lenses do you need to accomplish what you want, what other special accessories? Flashes can be very expensive. Camera bags can cost 100, 200, or more dollars, depending on what you're doing. And so budget in the entire package when you are figuring out how much you wanna spend, and how much you can afford. Obviously, if you have existing gear, it can be really important. There is a large changeover that we will continue to talk about in this class. Right now, with Canon, they have four different lens mounts and groups of lenses that you can buy into these days. Nikon has three different, and Sony has four different systems. If you are embedded into one of these systems, you have lots of lenses, you're probably gonna wanna look at cameras that fit those lenses, and so you have to make a very wise choice as to which ecosystem you're being a part of, because it's likely a place that you are going to be for quite some time.

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.

Class Materials

Free Bonus Material

Camera Buyer's Guide Download

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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!