What Camera Should I Get?

Photo | Jaree Donnely

Photo | Jaree Donnely

One of my primary art mediums is photography and as a result, I am often asked the question, “What is the best digital camera?”

And my answer usually is, “The one you will use.” I don’t mean for this initial response to be flippant, but rather it is meant to  be straightforward. What are you going to use the camera for? How into photography are you or do you want to be? Are you technically inclined? How much are you willing to carry? The best camera for you will depend on how you answer these questions.

For some, the best camera will be their smartphone; it is easy to use, lightweight and with us all the time. It is an inexpensive choice, as it is already part of our phone. And the cameras in our phones are actually pretty good and getting better all the time, with additional apps just making them more powerful. Many stunning images are being taken with smartphones.

For others, nothing less than a digital medium format will do. The lenses are incredibly sharp and the digital image files are huge, allowing an image to be printed beautifully even at billboard size. But they are large, very expensive and technically challenging to master. If you make your living at studio photography, it may be a worthwhile investment, but if you are a more casual photographer, it is more than you need.

In-between are point-and-shoots, DSLRs and mirrorless, with each type having multiple levels, making them ideal for different photographers. Cameras are tools, just like paintbrushes, and you will want to take the time to find the one that fits YOU best … and that will be the best camera. And once you have it in hand, be sure to read the manual so you understand all the features it has to offer. Lastly, use it regularly … through practice, your skill and your imagery will get better and better. Ideas for images this month include back to school, favorite sport, autumn, DIY, books, in my bag, apple and orange.

We would love to see what images you create; please feel free to share them with us on Facebook @artsonthegreen. While the Arts Barn will still be closed to the public during September, we will be back in October and happy to help with your camera, photography or any art questions in more detail. In the meantime, feel free to email us at artsbarn@gaithersburgmd.gov.