Choosing a camera can be daunting...
...especially if you have no idea what you're doing. I often get asked by aspiring photographers which camera they should choose, what brand they should go with, or just generally what type of camera gear they need to start taking great photos. And I LOVE this question!
Obviously photography holds a special place in my heart so whenever others express this kind of interest, they automatically bump up a few points in my book =) I also understand the struggle. We live in a world of endless options and limitless possibilities so choosing the one camera for your particular needs is totally overwhelming. I want to make it easy...by suggesting something a bit unconventional.
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE CAMERA, IT'S ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
There's an extremely prevalent mindset right now (and I've fallen prey to it too!) that all you need to get better is better equipment. That a camera with more resolution, better ISO performance, or a better lens will make your photos turn out SO MUCH BETTER. And we use this as an excuse for why our work isn't improving. "Well, I'm just doing the best with what I have...if I just had [insert equipment name] then my work would be ten times better. If I just owned those presets...if I just could afford this one thing"...and it goes on. But this mindset is crippling to creativity.
I'm a runner and I absolutely love my North Face athletic wear. But it's not my clothing that make me a runner...it's the time I've spent at the gym logging the time, cranking out the miles. The same is true in photography.
A BETTER CAMERA WON'T MAKE YOU A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER, IT WILL ONLY ACCENTUATE THE SKILL YOU ALREADY HAVE.
At the end of the day it's not about the gear you hold in your hand, it's how hard you've worked to learn the limits of the gear you have and how to make that equipment work for the environment you're in.
Case in point...I was recently in San Francisco for some work and I shot a TON of photos on four different cameras (ranging from my iPhone all the way to my Nikon DSLR with stupidly-expensive lenses). I posted some of the photos on my website and guess what? You can't tell which camera is which. Why? Because I've spent years learning how to finesse my cameras to pull exactly what I want out of each of them. I've learned their strengths and weaknesses...and how to capitalize on both (here's that blog link if you want to check it out).
ultimately, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HUSTLE.
What's the point? If you're looking to better your skill in photography, don't look first at getting a new camera. Instead, learn the craft of photography inside and out. Put the time in to really grow and challenge yourself. There's a wealth of knowledge on YouTube that will help you grow, start there! Want to take it a step further? Attend some workshops (I'm teaching one actually!) and get some hands-on instruction. And by all means...take pictures like CRAZY. Be that friend who always has a camera and challenge yourself to shoot in hard environments even with less-than-adequate gear.
Here's the bottom line – if you're looking for a camera and don't know what to go with, find something in your price point that has good reviews online...and buy it. Don't worry if it's not the latest and greatest, don't freak out about what brand it is, don't be disappointed if it's not top of the line.
Just get something – and learn how to use it like a pro.