The best camera for a novice photographer
Today I would like to have a little word with all the novice photographers.
A few mornings ago I found myself wasting time. It’s not something I’m proud of. I’m one of those “why have fun when you could work” type of people, so I usually try to keep my hobbies to a minimum. But my mind tends to wander every now and then, and it’s not uncommon for it to wander to YouTube, B&H, or some other platform where I can indulge in window shopping hijacking before I return to my real job of making money using a camera rather than spending money on it. buy one.
As I was browsing, YouTube’s sadistic tendency to suggest videos I might like led it to place an option in front of me for a video that promised to show me the best camera for a novice photographer. I think that was the title. There are a lot of such videos on the platform, and I can’t remember them for sure. In fact, it was one of those times when the flirtation with the release was enough and I was, in fact, able to return my attention to work without ever really bothering to burn the five minutes to watch the video. in question.
Still, I found the question interesting. First of all, because I tend to appreciate questions without a correct answer. The perfect camera means different things to different people, so really any response the video might have given would be both good and bad depending on who was watching. But what I found most intriguing was the rapid pace of my own response to reading the title. I had barely finished reading the question that my mind blurted out that the perfect camera for a novice photographer would be a used camera. Fuji X-T2.
Now, I’m not saying that this article is a defense of that suggestion or a side-by-side comparison with other brands of cameras. If you read the previous paragraph, you will already know my feelings about whether a camera can definitely be called the best in a single scenario. My selection of the Fuji X-T2 is undoubtedly informed by the fact that I owned one myself, and although I had to sell it a few years ago to raise money for a project, I keep one. warm memory of that old man-like camera remembering his lost love from summer camp in 1972. To this day, every time someone new to beginners asks me which camera they should buy, I plug in a plug. for a used X-T2. But what makes me so quick to suggest this camera to those who are just starting out has less to do with this exact model and more to do with the user. So let me explain.
First of all, I need to define what I mean by a “beginner” photographer. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to refer to a photographer who is literally starting out. They are interested in photography and decided to buy their first camera. They are not professional photographers. At this point, they don’t even know if they have any interest in becoming professional photographers. They just saw a lot of cool photos and want to see what this photograph is all about. It is purely a potential new hobby to have fun with no other expectation than exploring creativity. This is where every photographer begins.
With that in mind, I’ll start with the first reason I suggest buying a used Fuji X-T2. At around $ 500- $ 650, that won’t break the bank. Unless photography is your profession or you have a significant disposable income, it’s good to keep equipment expenses in moderation. Take it from a seasoned spendthrift: Buying new camera gear can quickly get out of hand. And since you’re just starting out, I’m going to assume that you still want to have some money to spend on other things. Like food, for example.
This low price range is, of course, based on buying second-hand versus new. I am a huge fan of second-hand shopping. While I’m sure it’s always possible to find a new version somewhere, why spend more money than you need to until you’re sure it’s a hobby you’re going to stick with? My annual garage sale is a real journal of bad buys I spent way too much money on, convinced I was making a life changing investment. Of course, I wanted to learn to play the guitar. But did I really need to buy the most expensive Gibson? Any old thing with strings would have been enough for the two weeks it took me to learn that, despite my tendency to moan, I am not Bob Dylan.
The same goes for cameras. If you’ve watched or read any amount of camera-related content online, you’d be forgiven for thinking that taking a photo absolutely requires all the latest and most advanced technology and that if you dare to shoot with a camera photo without this technology, you can never truly be considered a photographer. In reality, the essentials needed to take a photo, some tools to control aperture, shutter speed, and film speed / ISO, haven’t really changed since the art form began. Of course, if it turns out that you’re destined to be the next Diane Arbus, you might eventually need a camera with better specs. But at this point, let’s not over complicate the process.
This brings me to point number two. While many non-Fuji users will write the physical dials above the X-series cameras as pure hipster nostalgia, the point is, they serve a purpose beyond just making the camera cool. For an experienced photographer, physical dials provide a more tactile approach to shooting. It really connects you to your settings and forces you to think about how you are approaching your topic. As a photographer who has to work quickly and efficiently all the time, one of the reasons I enjoyed the X-T2 was that it allowed me to slow down my personal work and really think about the things that I wanted. could just do instinctively with other cameras. While slowing down isn’t always a realistic option when I’m on a pro set, for a newbie without a client looking over your shoulder, there’s no better time to slow down than the present. Part of falling in love with photography is the joy of learning photography. At this point, as a beginner, you probably find yourself somewhat overwhelmed with all the technical knowledge required to get the image you want. You probably thought the photographers had just walked in, pressed a button, and the genie stepped out. You just learned things like lighting, depth of field, and lens choice.
Fear not, it really isn’t that complicated once you get the hang of it. But right now, you need all the help you can get to really understand how your camera works. This knowledge will improve your photos now. But, more importantly, truly understanding what’s going on under the hood of your camera will be the foundation you’ll need to accompany you on your photographic journey. These touch-sensitive dials are a great way to get real, demonstrable feedback on what’s going on when you adjust certain settings. Of course, you can adjust the settings with almost any camera. But having to go through the process of physically turning each dial is a great way to bring the basics home.
Now at this point in the article you’ve read all of this talk about the basics and cost savings and you’re probably wondering when you’ll be able to play around with all the cool features you see on new cameras in YouTube videos. Well, here’s the thing. Of course, you can spend several thousand dollars to get the latest and greatest. And, yes, objectively there are better cameras than the X-T2 right now on the market. Even Fuji is up to the task X-T4 That much. But, if you allow me to look into my crystal ball for a moment, I can predict with 100% accuracy that someday, in several years, after you’ve fallen in love with photography and met a little of success in the field, you too will realize that when it comes to art, it is not the tools that count. It is the artist.
Of course, there may come a time when you will need a 100 megapixel camera. Of course, there may come a time when anything that isn’t full screen just won’t do. You may eventually find yourself in a situation where shooting at 30 fps seems slow for your purposes. You might get the impression that a camera without face and eye detection will negatively impact your workflow. But, right now, as you’ve just entered the trade, your only job is to connect with your creativity. Your job is to explore as many types of photography as possible and find out what’s right. If it turns out that you are an outstanding sports photographer and eventually need to invest some new money in a car for a lens larger than your couch, so be it. But right now, your time and money is best spent expanding your knowledge and experience before you build your material collection.
I always suggest a used X-T2, but in reality there are a million and one camera that might be the appropriate answer to what is the best camera for a beginner. Right above my head, a used one Nikon d750 isn’t such a bad choice either. The point is not that you have to buy a specific camera model. The point is, you should buy the camera model that will give you the best bang for your buck at this point in your career. Whether it’s a high-end workhorse or a pawnshop junk with a missing card holder and dented frame, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make great art. Just find what works for your budget, find the time to learn how to use it, and eventually, most likely, find yourself a new passion.