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Photo Tip Thursday: A Camera Buyer’s Guide

Grace and I always get a lot of questions asking what kind of equipment we use.  I realized the other day that I did a lens buyer’s guide {here} a while back, but I’ve never done a guide on the most fundamental piece of equipment, the camera.  So this week’s photo tip will be a roundup of some of the best, and most affordable cameras out there that will serve you well for all of your fashion blogging needs.

I’m going to break this down into three categories: entry level/beginner cameras, hobbyist/semi-professional cameras, and high end/professional cameras. I’ll discuss some models from each of the main manufacturers and give some pros and cons on them as well.  The cameras I have listed in bold are my personal favorites.
1. Entry level/beginner cameras:
This class of cameras is by far the most affordable.  They can readily be used for fashion blogging, but they are slightly limited in some certain circumstances.  The are often made out of plastic and are in most cases, not weather sealed, making them sometimes feel cheap and fragile.  Secondly, they often suffer from poor low light performance and also, when it comes to autofocus accuracy, they aren’t the greatest. I don’t want you to think these aren’t any good by any means, but you’ll have to work a bit harder to get the shot you want. There are several great contenders though, here’s a few:
Canon Rebel T3i:  This is Canon’s entry level camera.  I owned one of these way back when and I can say that I really enjoyed it.  It has all of the manual mode features that you’ll need to take great outfit photos.  It’s only drawback is limited autofocus accuracy and poor low light performance.
Nikon D3300:  This camera is the price of the Canon Rebel T3i but also has the option to add a WiFi adapter for smartphone control capability.  It also has a 24MP sensor compared to the 18MP sensor on the Canon.
Canon T6i:  This is basically the step up from the T3i.  The main difference is that this has built in WiFi so that you can remotely shoot and download pictures with your phone.  If you have the extra cash laying around, I’d recommend this over the T3i.  Having the ability to download pictures straight to your phone is an amazing capability.  Also, the T6i has 19 cross-type AF points, giving it a leg up over the Nikon D5500.
Nikon D5500:  Similar in price and function to the T6i, the D5500 features built in WiFi.  However, due to the T6i having all cross-type AF sensors, I’d have the T6i over this.
2. Hobbyist/semi-professional cameras:
These cameras are much more sturdily built than the entry level cameras, they often have much better autofocus capabilities and low light performance than the entry level cameras.
Canon 60D:  This is the camera Grace and I started out with.  It was a good camera overall but it did suffer from some issues with autofocus accuracy, especially when using really large apertures.  Often times, I didn’t feel comfortable shooting at apertures larger than f/2.8 because the autofocus using the outer focus points was so inaccurate. It is nice that the screen pops out and swivels though.
Nikon D7000:  This is the Nikon equivalent of the 60D.  
Canon 70D:  This camera has built in WiFi and 19 cross-type {this means they’re super accurate} AF points.  If you have the extra cash, definitely get this over the 60D.
Nikon D610:  Boasting 39 selectable AF points, this camera is very well suited to fashion photography.  However it is significantly more expensive than the other cameras in this class, and at this price, it’s extremely disappointing that there isn’t any built in WiFi.  An adapter is available for purchase separately though. 
3. High end/professional cameras:
These cameras are incredibly sturdy, often being built with metal bodies and coated with very durable rubber compounds.  Many are weather sealed and meant to stand up to anything thrown at them.  These cameras have the highest megapixel count, are specialized to perform incredibly well even in very low light situations and have the most customizability.  The one drawback to the professional level cameras though is that they often don’t come with a built in flash which means that you’ll have to purchase an external one if you need extra light.
Canon 6D:  This is the camera that I own, and I absolutely love it.  It has built in WiFi meaning that you can control and remotely shoot from your mobile phone using an app, as well as download pictures from the camera straight from your phone.  Autofocus accuracy {even with the outer points} is excellent, although the only drawback is that it only has 11 of them.  For a higher end camera, you’d expect it to have more.  Despite this minor drawback, I highly recommend this camera, especially for it’s incredible low light capabilities.
Nikon D750:  For the price tag, I’d expect a lot more of this camera.  It’s much more expensive than the 6D, yet doesn’t have that many more megapixels {24MP to be exact}.  The D750 also pales in comparison to the low light capabilities of the 6D as well, boasting a maximum ISO of 52,000 ISO compared to the 6D’s 104,200 ISO.  The D750 does come with built in WiFi and a flip out LCD screen.
Canon 5DS:  This puppy is brand spankin’ new and it sounds incredible.  It’s got 52 focus points, a 50MP {no that’s not a typo} sensor and all kinds of other crazy features.  It’s also ridiculously expensive though, and sadly for its nearly $4000 price tag, it doesn’t even have WiFi which is a bit of a let down.  Still though, if you have the money and you want a serious camera that can take some amazing photos, this is the one that I’d recommend.  I’d literally {ok maybe not literally} kill for 52 focus points.
Nikon D810A:  This camera was specifically designed for astrophotography.  You’re probably asking yourself, “What the hell does that have to do with fashion blogging Andrew?” Well all cameras built for astrophotography have INCREDIBLE low light performance.  We’re talking you could shoot at 12,800 ISO and you’d still probably wouldn’t see too much noise in your photos.  Oh and the 36MP sensor is a pretty nice addition too.

I hope this guide has helped, thanks for reading!

Andrew

  1. This is such a great post! I've been using a T2i for the longest time and I think that it's time to upgrade! Thank you for the comprehensive post!

    x. Sabrina // Simply Sabrina

  2. Kimberly Ann says:

    I love this post! I didn't really want to make a huge splurge right yet so I went wih the Sony Detachable Lens to use with my phone and I enjoy it for the basics. It has manual modes for exposure, focus, etc so it works great for me! 🙂

    Kim
    http://trendkeeper.me .. Dip it low?!

  3. I've heard nothing but good things about the 6D, it's definitely time for an upgrade for myself.

    Best,
    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

  4. Thanks for share all these helpful info!

    lb-lc | IT fashion and lifestyle blog

  5. Jen L says:

    I love this post! Your pictures are unreal and all of Andrew's posts are inspiring. You guys are such a power couple!! I am now thinking about selling my nikon, my lenses,…and everything that's not tied down and upgrading to your 6d. Do you have any advice for buying used equipment?

    Jen
    http://www.glamglitzandgluesticks.blogspot.com

  6. Sarah says:

    Thank you! I've been waiting for this post 🙂 I was thinking of getting the 70D as my upgrade. And based off of what you just wrote I think it's a good choice. Thanks, always interesting.

  7. Sarah says:

    yes that is a good question bout the used equipment.

  8. Alexander says:

    A relatively new addition to the Canon lineup that I’ve used a lot and recommend for bloggers / writers / anybody but the most serious professional is the Canon SL1. It has so many of the great features that have made bodies like the 70D and T6i so popular amongst pros, yet has one of the smallest and lightest bodies of a digital SLR.

    Super affordable, has built-in HDR (though a post-processing solution will always work better) three-stage bracketing, and a host of other features. It’s also Canon’s most affordable camera, and comes bundled with a very usable 18-55mm lens. Worth a look!

    Great article with good summaries. Enjoyed reading!

    Alexander
    The Downtown Dweller – http://www.thedowntowndweller.com

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