By far the #1 question I get from people is “What camera should I buy?” My answer is often “It depends.” And it really does. It depends on the type of photography you plan on doing, it depends on how much money you have and it depends on where you see your photography going in the future.
If you need a camera for sports/action photography rather than something more suitable for portraits and landscapes, my answer will be different. For the latter, more Megapixels makes more sense. You’ll often be shooting a lower ISOs for higher quality so that’ll result in slower shutter speeds and using a tripod will be helpful. For fast action you want and need speed, higher ISO capabilities and other useful features.
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For the pro and those who need a workhorse for sports/action, etc.
Nikon D4s ($5,996.95)
It’s a huge chunk of change, but if you’re looking for reliability, durability and the best Nikon has to offer, this is it! 16.2 Megapixels, EXPEED 4 processor, 51-point AF system and 3D Color Matrix metering III with a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor, ISO 100 to 25,600, 11 fps burst and full 1080p video capabilities…oh heck yeah! In September 2014 I switched to the Nikon D750 from the D4s is my main body and the D4s got shelved. Read why here. I owned this great camera until May 2015 when I sold it and my Nikon D750 to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (my buddy heads their photo/imaging team).
Canon EOS-1D X ($5,299)
If I switched to Canon and needed a flagship body, this would be it of course. I’ve put the competition through its paces and I have to say that it made me doubt my brand loyalty toward Nikon. Hey, they’re tools! This incredible workhorse boasts 16.1 Megapixels, Dual DIGIC 5+ Image Processors, 12 fps burst, an ISO range of 100 – 51200, a 61-Point High-Density Reticular AF that uses a dedicated DIGIC 4 Image Processor, awesome video capabilities and so much more.
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V ($1,998)
The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but for Sony shooters, it’s the top body. Commonly known as the “A99”, it’s a lot of camera at a fraction of the cost of the big two and extremely capable. Truth be told…I considered switching to this before settling on the Nikon D4s. It features a great 24 Megapixel sensor, 6 fps burst, uncompressed full 1080p video, and the world’s first Dual Phase Detect AF system. It’s by far not the speed king for sports/action shooting, but if you’re a seasoned pro this is not a deal breaker. This body is quite a performer and at a fraction of the cost of the big two camera manufacturers. If you’re not married to Canon or Nikon…have a serious look at Sony.
For the serious enthusiast/prosumer:
Nikon D750 ($1,996.95)
I can’t say enough great things about this camera. Having shot the Nikon D700 and the D4s, I can say conclusively that while this is certainly not a direct update to the D700, it IS a very capable camera borrowing technology from other cameras in Nikon’s line around it. It features a full frame 24.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor with a powerful EXPEED 4 processor. It’ll do Full HD 60/50/30/25/24p video which looks stunning and allow you to change your aperture on the fly, it shoots up to 6.5 fps, has built-in WiFi so you can send photos directly from the camera through your phone or WiFi connection to social media, news outlets, etc., and has an articulating screen making it easier for you to frame low and high angle shots while seeing what you’re going to get. I owned this great camera until May 2015 when I sold it and my Nikon D4s to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (my buddy heads their photo/imaging team).
For Wedding, Portait and Landscape photographers
Nikon D810 ($2,996.95)
For the Nikon shooter, this is an amazing body with incredible detail. You really do have to see the photos on your screen to appreciate just how outstanding the quality is. You just can’t go wrong with an amazing 36.3 Megapixels. The resolution is insane! If this camera is in your future, make sure you have and incredibly fast computer with a ton of memory (aka RAM) and massive hard drive space as these files are HUGE!
Canon EOS 5D Mark III ($2,499)
Canon shooters have long-known the incredible image quality in the 5D franchise. If you’re shooting wedding, portraits and/or landscapes, you just can’t go wrong with this camera. The original 5D made news with it launched the DSLR video revolution, but like most, video isn’t going to be the primary reason to buy this great body. With 22.3 Megapixels, you’ve got resolution for days.
If you’re a little unsure if a particular camera is right for you or not and can’t get your hands on one locally to try out, consider renting from a rental house like BorrowLenses.com.