I really want a "fancy" camera...but where do I even start?
I'm asked all the time what kind of gear I use and what I suggest for Moms who just want to capture their kids!
First of all, I must admit, I am a little biased and will be talking mostly about Nikon cameras in this post. I have been a Nikon shooter since starting my photography journey and absolutely love the way both of my Nikons have performed. (Though this needs updating...Check out my gear here!) I do not have anything negative to say about Canons or any of the other major brands. Many other blog posts out there will direct you on Canons, but I only know what I have experience with!
1) What are your photography goals?
As a “momtographer” what will you need the camera to do? Portraits of lazy days at home or vacations with the family? Sporting events and lots of action? Crisp tack sharp focus? Video functionality? Extra durability when those kiddos accidentally knock the camera off the table and on the floor?
2) What is your budget?
The range of camera available to consumers these days is impressive. Entry level dslr cameras are at a price point accessible to most families, but keep in mind that more functionality and more bells and whistles usually comes with a higher price tag. Also, buyer beware the too good to be true sale or wheeling and dealing that often happens online. I've seen many people buy their shiny new SLR on Ebay. Then soon they come to find out once it arrived that it was an overseas model and all of the menus were in Japanese and could not be changed to English. I personally found it VERY helpful to go to my local camera shop, try out a few different models, see which felt right, and purchase locally. The prices were comparable to online prices and I felt like I had really purchased the camera that was meant for me.
Now, as a mom I know there are a few top priorities on my list when it comes to having a nice camera.
I want it to be able to: be easy and quick to be able to change settings on the fly (kids move a lot!), handle a quick shutter speed (to avoid blurry images), and have low light sensitivity (so I can take good photos indoors with out my flash), and have video built in so I only need one device to tote around.
My current top Nikon performer is the Nikon d7200. Why? It's the newest technology. It gets glowing reviews for its ability to handle low light situations, it has a great video feature that has auto focus built in, it is durable and weather resistant, and it has many many many focus points (great for tracking moving targets!). However, this is also the top of the line consumer dslr. If you are looking to pinch some pennies than the Nikon d5300(this is equivalent to my very first dslr! It's wonderful!), or d3300(I used this one for my other business for a year, very light and easy to handle!) would be my next momtographer picks. My top Canon performers would be the Canon 80D (similar to the higher budget Nikon d7200), T6i or T5i (similar to the lower budget Nikon d5300 or d3300).
However, even more so than the camera are the lenses you will want to use after purchasing your new toy.
Lenses are really the star of the show. A lot of times it is the lens that determines what your camera can handle. The lens can zoom or not zoom(prime). The lens can tell the camera to be great in low light or not so great in low light. The lens is what allows the camera to create a tack sharp image or not. The lenses that come with these entry level SLRs are not always the most ideal for the momtographer. They have minimal zoom capabilities, they don’t produce the most sharp images, and their capabilities in low light stink.
My #1 must have momtographer purchase to go along with your new shiny camera is the 35mm or 50mm / f 1.8 lens. It produces GORGEOUS images. It shines in low light. It’s absolutely an amazing lens. And its a rather affordable top performing lens option. The one downfall is that it isn’t great for sports because it doesn’t zoom. If zoom is what you need then I recommend investing in a 70-300mm zoom lens. That’s the lens for you.
Are you a bargain hunter
and not turned off on the idea of purchasing second hand?
Here are some suggested sites for your hunt:
Facebook groups (NRDG Nikon Buy & Sell Group, Used Camera & Photography Gear)
*While I've had experience with several second hand pieces of camera equipment...always remember... if it's too good to be true, it's probably too good to be true. Only ever pay with Paypal with buyer protection. Do not purchase from overseas. Some websites include a limited time warranty, which offers enough time to take it to our local photography shop to be looked over.
Is your head spinning yet? I know there is a lot to think about when making this big investment. And don’t forget that once you’ve brought that camera home and you’ve started to play I’ll be here ready to teach you what you need to know to really use that baby to it’s fullest potential.
Roanoke Momtographers are welcome to join our fun group: Roanoke Moment Seeking Moms! DSLR & Phone Camera Moms welcome!