best camera for new photographers

Best Camera for New Photographers and How to Find the Best Lenses

Filed in For Photographers — June 7, 2022

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With so many different options it can feel really overwhelming – and really expensive – to find the right camera gear for new photographers. The truth is that there’s no one best camera for new photographers. Similarly, there’s not one best lens! The gear you’ll need really depends on what kind of photography you do and your preferences. Your camera body and lens are going to be the most important pieces of gear you’ll need, so this guide will tell you how to find the best camera for new photographers… and a lens to go with it.

This guide is for photographers who are just beginning their professional photography career. If you’re just shooting for fun, you probably won’t need as hefty of a set up, and there may be less to consider.

Choosing the Best Camera for New Photographers

The camera body is probably the most important piece of gear in your bag. So when you’re looking for the best camera for new photographers, here are a few things to consider…

What Kind of Photography Are You Doing?

The most important question to ask yourself when you’re shopping for camera gear, is what are you using it for. Shooting weddings is often a little more complicated than doing family photos, because wedding days last a full day, while a portrait session may just be an hour or two. That means the lighting will change a lot during a wedding. You may go from dimly lit hotel rooms to bright outdoor spaces to dark reception halls. Some cameras are better than others when it comes to low light performance, so the lighting you’re shooting in is important to consider. 

A full frame camera is typically the best option for photographers who shoot in low light. This is because the full frame can collect more light. However, these cameras are, of course, going to be more expensive. If you’re a new photographer and this isn’t in the budget, you might want to invest in a less expensive body and an off-camera flash instead. Remember, you can always upgrade down the road when you do have the budget!

Best Camera Brands for New Photographers

There are three big camera brands that photographers typically use, especially in the beginning. These brands are Nikon, Canon and Sony.

While there are other options outside of these brands, these are typically the best balance of quality and affordability. The camera brand you choose really depends on personal preference as there are some slight variations when it comes to colors, how easy they are to use and general design. Canons and Nikons are really similar in size and capability, while Sony cameras are usually considered the best for mirrorless set ups. Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than a DSLR.

Camera With Dual Card Slots

This is probably the most important thing to consider when it comes to the best camera for new photographers. A camera body with dual card slots can take two memory cards at a time. Most often this is either one CF and one SD card or two SD cards. This allows you to record to two cards at the same time, which is absolutely essential if you are a professional photographer!

When you’re working for a client, a lot of the time these photos cannot be retaken. This is especially true when it comes to weddings or elopements, so it’s super important to keep the photos safe by backing them up immediately to two different cards. If you aren’t shooting weddings, and you do more portraits or shorter sessions, this may not be quite as important – because worst-case scenario, you can often offer to reshoot the photos. However, even if a reshoot is possible, it’s always better to give your clients the best possible experience and avoid any mishaps. So if it’s realistic for you and in your budget, a camera with dual card slots is a must! 

The Best Cameras for New Photographers

One piece of advice that I have if you are looking to balance quality with affordability, is to get an is to get a slightly older version of a professional camera. For example, Canon has come out with a Canon 5D Mark IV, but the Canon 5D Mark III is still an amazing DSLR. Because the newer version is out, it is now a little less expensive.

Here are a few of the best cameras for new photographers:

Choosing the Best Camera Lens for New Photographers

Once you’ve decided on a camera body, you’ll need to find a lens! Here are some tips for choosing the best camera lens for new photographers.

Zoom vs. Prime Lenses

Camera lenses can be broken down into two types – zoom, and prime lenses.

A zoom lens is one that, well, zooms! And a prime lens is one that is fixed to one focal length. Zoom lenses have the advantage of being more versatile, allowing you to get closer and farther away without having to move yourself or switch lenses. However, prime lenses usually have a bigger maximum aperture and have become a favorite of many wedding photographers.

best camera for new photographers

Camera Lens Focal Length

The focal length is how wide of a shot you can get. This means that a 35mm lens will capture more of the scene than an 85mm lens will. Keep in mind that if your camera isn’t a full frame, it will “zoom in” more, so a 35mm lens on a full frame camera will capture more than it would on a crop sensor (non full frame camera). Think about what kind of photos you usually shoot. If you find yourself in tight spaces often, you will likely need a wider focal length. 

Camera Lens Aperture

As a photographer, you know that aperture is one of the big three (along with shutter speed and ISO). Since prime lenses usually have a bigger aperture, they do better in low light and give you that sweet background bokeh. A wider maximum aperture is best for photographers who take photos or portraits of people, whether it’s graduation photos or wedding photos, because you will have more background blur which looks great!

The Best Camera Lenses for New Photographers

Here are some amazing starter lenses if you’re just starting to build your gear collection as a wedding photographer:

Adding to Your Camera Gear

While this guide gave you an overview of the best cameras and lenses for new photographers, remember that as you grow your business, you will also grow your gear collection! Start with what you can afford and what makes sense for you and add more along the way. Check out this post for more photography tools and gear recommendations!

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