We get asked all the time, "What kind of camera should I buy?" Having shot with different makes and models, we love helping moms and beginners decide what kind of entry-level camera is best for them! There are many different types of cameras, but here we will mainly focus on cameras with manual mode capabilities like the one you will bring with you to Kindred Photography Workshop.
What is manual mode?
Most people are familiar with automatic mode- it chooses the correct exposure for the user and can create some really nice images! However, manual mode gives the camera user the most creative control over the outcome of the images. Manual mode allows the user to manually adjust the three main components that make up exposure: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Shooting in manual mode allows the photographer to follow and explore any number of different styles or creative whims.
In selecting the right kind of camera for you, first you need to know that there are two main categories of digital cameras that have manual mode capabilities: DSLR (digital single lens reflex) and mirrorless (mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera).
Mirrorless cameras are often smaller and lighter than DSLR cameras, which make them an attractive option for a user that wants the creative control of manual mode and the convenience of a more totable camera. In recent years, mirrorless camera technology has developed enough to compete more with the DSLR in terms of autofocus and image quality. Because the mirrorless cameras are often lighter in weight, it's an attractive option for moms. Disadvantages to the mirrorless camera are that they have a slightly slower autofocus than DSLR cameras and a shorter battery life. Users of the mirrorless camera must work harder to achieve a crisp, clear image with the autofocus and usually invest in extra batteries.
Stephanie Rosenthal of Lavender and Fig Photography in Fresno, CA initially purchased a mirrorless camera to capture moments with her family. She says, "I bought a mirrorless vs. a DSLR because it's smaller, lighter, and more compact. I'm able to throw it in my purse and take it to the zoo or a family function pretty easily. The image quality also rivals that of a DSLR when using the right lens. In the preliminary stages of buying my camera I found that the mirrorless camera functions were much easier to find/use than the DSLR. I like to compare it to a MAC vs. PC. The MAC just "makes sense" in my head in locating all of my programs and file. Similarly, the mirrorless cameras just "make sense" to me in locating and using all the different camera settings."
Stephanie later developed her photography business with her mirrorless camera and recommends it as a great starter camera. "If looking into a reasonably priced mirrorless camera, I suggest looking into Sony A6000. It has everything a mommy-photographer needs to capture her little tots and create lasting memories."
We recommend a comparison search of Canon, Nikon, and Sony mirrorless cameras to compare price and features like weight, lenses, and wireless compatibility.
The DSLR's main advantage over other manual mode cameras is the autofocus speed (especially continuous). One disadvantage of the DSLR, especially the full frame models, is the ease with which they can be transported. Many DSLR cameras are ideal for professional photographers, but not for families simply wanting quality photographs of their everyday moments and adventures. Some DSLR cameras are relatively heavy and can seem to take up a lot of room, requiring a camera bag. Fortunately, there are also some great DSLR options that are smaller and lighter, too.
The two main DSLR manufacturers are Canon and Nikon. These manufacturers offer some great entry-level cameras for beginners, ideal for moms who are wanting a lighter weight camera with manual mode. The two "starter" DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon are our top recommendations for mamas wanting DSLR cameras to document their family's everyday lives.
The entry-level models are the "Canon Rebel" and the Nikon D 3000 series like the Nikon D3300. These models are the most affordable and offer great value because they come packaged with "kit lenses." By shopping around at places like Sam's, Costco, and other discount stores, you can often find really great deals. Furthermore, a quick search of both Canon and Nikon models will yield more entry-level options. The most attractive ones these days are those that have wireless or Smartphone connectivity like the Nikon D3400. Cameras with these capabilities are extremely attractive because they can be uploaded directly to your smartphone for easy sharing.
Kacey started shooting with a Canon Rebel years ago when photographing her kids until transitioning into a full-time photography business when she switched over to Nikon. "I loved my Canon Rebel. It was lightweight and I used it around the house all the time to capture the kids playing or sleeping in their cribs. I loved the quality of the images over my iPhone and point and shoot camera. It was perfect for that period of my life when I was wanting quality photos and curious about the manual mode aspects of the camera. Some of the best photos I've ever taken were with my Rebel."
Much like Kacey, Angela started shooting with a Canon Rebel years ago, which she received as a wedding gift. "I can't say enough good things about the Canon Rebel series. Much like Stephanie, the position of the buttons, the display screen, and the ease of interchanging lenses was very appealing to me. Initially, I thought I wanted a point-and-shoot camera. Something sleek and small I could toss in my bag. But the types of images I am now able to capture with my DSLR camera, with manual mode capability, far exceed what I could have imagined with a point-and-shoot. I'm forever grateful for that first Canon Rebel camera."
Another type of camera that we will briefly touch on is the point-and-shoot camera. Many people have a point-and-shoot and are familiar with these cameras because they operate on Auto Mode and choose the focus and exposure for you. While not giving you full reign of creative control, there are some benefits to having a point-and-shoot camera. The cameras are often more affordable and come in a range of sizes, allowing you to choose one that can be easily transported and used in any setting. If you are not interested in learning manual mode, a point-and-shoot camera may be the best option for you. Additionally, people these days often use their iPhone as a point and shoot camera.
If you're still unsure about what kind of camera is best for you, or if you're going back and forth about which model to buy, feel free to reach out to either one of us!! We highly recommend marching into the store and getting your hands on them too to see which one might be the best fit for you!
Feel free to email us anytime with camera questions!