This is a frequent question asked both by new and experienced photographers.
So, to make things simple, I’ll start with a quote from the renowned commercial photographer Chase Jarvis:
“The best camera is the one that’s with you”
When all is said and done, you will use whatever equipment you have your hands on, work with it, and deliver the best results possible. So if all you have is a smartphone, you can still make great images. They won’t be the highest quality or magazine material, but who says you need them to be? Maybe you’re using them on your website, or sharing them on Facebook or Twitter. And that’s more than enough.
That being said, if you’re serious about getting a higher quality camera, I’d advise a DSLR. There are hundreds of them available on the market, and I won’t even discuss the relative merits of brands (the Canon vs Nikon debate is never-ending). You should look into the specifics of each, and see what you’re comfortable with. I’m a Canon shooter myself. Just saying.
The feature you should pay most attention to is whether the camera comes with Manual mode. There should be a round dial, where one of the options is ‘M’. You will also see ‘Av’ (aperture priority mode) and ‘Tv’ (shutter priority mode).
If the camera has these options, you will have the freedom to control the images you make, instead of having the camera decide for you.
If you’re just getting started, try a few images in “auto” mode. But just a few. Be sure to read a little about photography, and start venturing into Av and Tv. There will be posts about these soon.
Freedom lies in the Manual mode. Sure, you have to understand the exposure triangle, and how the different settings work together and affect each other. But, once you do, the possibilities are endless.
If you just like taking pictures and can’t be bothered with the technical aspects, get a point and shoot camera, and have fun.
My point is, there’s a solution for everyone, from newbie to advanced photographer. Chose the one you’re most comfortable with, and start making great images.
If you’d like to know more about your camera, there is an ebook that gets you there. “Photo Nuts and Bolts: Know Your Camera and Take Better Photos” guides you on to use your camera to it’s fullest potential. Click here to view more details.