Hey, how’s it going? I’m Andy Jones and this is episode 131 of the Photography Side Hustle podcast.
This week’s episode is “Choosing the Right Camera Body”, and the idea came from my daughter, Kenzie. She is looking to replace her old Canon 60D bodies and get something a little more cutting-edge.
I’m also going to talk about the news that Sony has announced the new A9 MK3. The technology in that camera is going to change the way cameras are made.
Okay, so let’s go over how to choose a camera body.
What are you going to shoot?
You might think that all cameras can be used for shooting sports, portraits, weddings, and landscapes, but that isn’t the case.
Different bodies have different strengths, so you need a body that will deliver what you want. It’s no good getting a Fujifilm GFX100 if you are going to shoot sports. It wasn’t designed to shoot sports, its specialty is landscapes and portraits.
Knowing exactly how much you can spend will narrow your choices quickly.
New camera bodies range from $500 to $7000 and even higher for Leica. For a mere $14,000 you can have the Leica SL2 and a 50mm f/1.2 lens. Supposedly they have a superior build quality, but I think it’s just good marketing.
The lower-priced bodies are entry-level. At $1500 the quality of the bodies is good enough to shoot professionally. An example of this is the Canon R8 which is an excellent body.
So, let’s say you can afford $2000, but the body you want is $3000. You can either wait until you have the $3000 or see what is available used. You can save a lot of money buying used equipment.
Another thing to think about is if you already have a camera would you be willing to change brands? If you do change you will be spending more money on new lenses.
This is the problem Kenzie has at the moment. She likes the look of the Fujifilm X-5T, but she would have to buy lenses too. I think she should get the Canon R8 and use her lenses with an adapter. The R8 is way better than the X-5T, I just need to convince her.
Next is …
What are your must-haves?
These are the things that have bugged you on your last camera, or a technology that you think will help you.
If you want to shoot sports you will need a camera with a fast burst rate of 10 images a second or faster. Years ago I shot sports with bodies that took 6 frames a second and I did fine, but when I moved up to 10 frames per second it was perfect.
Okay, let’s look at the options you might need …
The two types you will see are DSLR and Mirrorless bodies. DSLR bodies have a mirror system that reflects the image from the lens to the viewfinder.
Mirrorless bodies as you have probably guessed, don’t have a mirror system. Instead, the viewfinder shows a video feed of what the lens is seeing. Not having mirrors reduces weight and vibration as a photo is taken.
If you want to save yourself lots of money, buy a used DSLR. They are still excellent cameras.
So the three types of cameras you will be choosing from are bodies with Full-Frame, APS-C, or Micro Four Thirds sensors.
APS-C and Micro Four Thirds are also called crop sensors because they are smaller than the Full-Frame sensors. APS-C sensors are bigger than Micro Four Thirds.
Entry-level bodies generally have APS-C sensors and Olympus cameras are Micro Four Thirds. The majority of pro bodies have full-frame sensors.
The larger full-frame sensors give better image quality in low-light situations. You can still use a crop sensor body to make money, I don’t know anyone who can look at a finished photo and say whether it was from a crop or full-frame body. So don’t stress out about crop sensor bodies.
Next is …
Now, if you think you need the most megapixels available you don’t. There are some guys on YouTube using 100MP cameras for landscapes. Do they need 100MP? Probably not, one photographer said he never prints larger than 14×11.
Only a few years ago I read that 24MP was ideal and I think it still is. If you are looking to print 60×40 wall art then get a body with 61 MP, but for regular-sized prints, 24 MP will be fine.
Last year I bought a Canon R6 MK2, my first mirrorless body. I had been shooting with Canon DSLRs for years. My issue was that the new mirrorless bodies have a different lens mount. DSLR bodies are EF mounts, and mirrorless are RF mounts.
Luckily I just needed an adapter to use my old lenses on the new body. But, if I had bought a Sony body I would have had to buy new Sony lenses.
This is what Kenzie needs to decide, does she stay with Canon or switch to the Fujifilm platform and spend lots more money?
So before you pick a body make sure you know if your lenses will work with it.
This is a big one. Not all brands and models have the same quality Autofocus system. My first DSLR was a Nikon D70s and autofocus was hit and miss. Well to be honest it was more miss than hit.
My last DSLR was a Canon 1D MK4 and the autofocus was great, it hardly ever missed. But that is an older body and didn’t offer the eye detection autofocus that the latest bodies offer.
That is one of the reasons I bought the R6 MK2. Being able to keep the subject’s eye in focus, even if they are speeding by, is priceless.
If you shoot weddings or portraits this is a game changer. So read reviews and find out what experienced photographers have to say about the autofocus on a camera you are considering. It’ll save you a lot of frustration in the future.
Now I have never had a problem with any of my camera batteries. But if I had been shooting with Sony bodies I would have been very frustrated. Their batteries didn’t last long. I think they have the problem figured out now.
Mirrorless bodies use more battery power than DSLRs, due to the Electronic Viewfinder, or EVF.
Again, get on YouTube and see what pro photographers are saying about the model you want to buy.
I watched a photographer on YouTube who shot stills and videos at weddings. He needed a body that could switch from photo to video in one click. He would take photos, then switch to video for just 20 or 30 seconds, then switch back to photos. Not all bodies allowed him to do that quickly.
User Interface and Controls:
I think that Canon has a great menu system, it’s easy to find what you want. Sony on the other hand is chaotic, and I don’t know how people work through it.
So if you are checking a camera out in a camera store take a look at the menu system.
Size and Weight:
This is Kenzie’s biggest want, a light-weight setup. She used to look at me carrying a huge 1D MK4 with a heavy 24-70 2.8 lens and say she couldn’t do it. After a full day carrying it around I agreed with her.
Pro zoom lenses are heavy, and if you don’t want to carry that kind of weight you need to consider prime lenses. That is fixed focal length lenses, like 50mm, 35mm, 85mm.
The new mirrorless bodies are also smaller than DSLRs, so a mirrorless body and a few prime lenses are the way to go if you want to cut the weight down.
Reviews and Recommendations:
I’ve mentioned this a few times already, but read reviews and watch videos. It’ll save you a lot of frustration in the long run.
Okay, I think that covers choosing a camera body.
At the beginning I mentioned …
The Sony A9 MK3
The technology in this camera is incredible.
The first is that it can shoot 120 (fps) frames per second. When you would need this I don’t know, but it is crazy fast.
The second notable thing is there is no limit on flash sync speed. So you don’t need to mess around with high-speed sync to shoot faster than 1/200 of a second. You’ll be able to use a flash with any shutter speed up to 1/80,000, which is third on the list.
A top shutter speed of 1/80,000 of a second. The current top speed is 1/8,000 of a second. That is 10 times faster and can happen because of number four.
The Global Sensor with an Electronic Global Shutter.
Sensors that we use now collect the light gradually as the shutter passes in front of the sensor. The global sensor and shutter take all the information at once, there is no waiting as a shutter passes, it just happens instantly.
This is going to revolutionize the industry. It’s going to change the way cameras are made and how we use cameras to capture photos.
For me the thought of using a flash at any speed is wild. I can’t wait for the A9 MK3 release next year, just to see what it can do.
Right, that’s enough waffling from me. If you need any questions answered or a website review, you can find me in the Facebook group or through Messenger.
Okay, I’ll talk to you soon, bye for now.