What Camera Should You Buy?

That’s probably the question I hear every year in January: What Camera Should I Buy? I’ll do my best to answer it here.

I guess it’s a common New Year resolution or a common belated Christmas present, but every January I hear this question and it’s not always easy to answer.

Ground Rules

Most of the people who ask this question have common characteristics and requirements, specifically:

  • They don’t shoot very frequently, probably twice per month
  • Thay are interested in Interchangeable Lens Systems, not bridge or super-zoom cameras
  • They mix automatic and manual modes
  • Their budget is limited to about US$650 for a camera body and a kit lens

With these constraints and after a bit a research, I came up with the following cameras. All of them are great to start as a novice/amateur photographer without breaking the bank, but they all allow you to grow in their respective systems as you improve.


Canon EOS Rebel SL2

EOS Rebel SL2. Even though it’s an entry-level camera and it’s very small, the SL2 has all the controls you need to start shooting manual and understand how an image is made. It only has 9 focus points but shoots at a respectable 5 frames per second (fps). It can be fitted with any and all lenses in the Canon lineup.


Nikon D3400

D3400. Just like Canon’s, it’s a very capable camera, except it has 11 focus points and shoot 1200 images per charge. It has a focus motor so you can use most of the Nikon lens lineup.


Sony a5100

a5100 or a6000. The a5100 doesn’t have a viewfinder, while a6000 does. Both can use any E-mount lens, the a5100 shoots at 6 fps vs 11 fps of the a6000.


Fujifilm X-A3

X-A3. At 6 fps, 24 Mpx and compatibility with all the excellent Fujifilm lens lineup, it’s a no brainer if you want to commit to a mirrorless system without breaking the bank. Notice it doesn’t have a viewfinder and it can shoot 410 images with a battery charge.

Micro Four Thirds

Panasonic Lumix GX85

The original mirrorless system. These sensors are smaller than APS-C, but still are great cameras. The two main manufacturers are Panasonic and Olympus, from which the ones that fit the $650 limit are Panasonic’s GX85  and the Olympus’ OM-D E-M10 Mark II. Frame rate is great on both cameras at 8 fps, but consider you’re shooting 16 Mpx, compared to 24 Mpx from all other cameras in this category.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Of course, reading specs is not enough. The best way for you to choose a camera is to get it in your hands, play with it for a short while and make sure you’re comfortable using it. I seriously hope you can now answer the question What Camera Should I Buy?

Did you like this post? Share it with friends! Do you think I missed something or want to add options to the list? Leave a comment!

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