I usually get asked (not in exact wording, but you get the point):
- What is the best camera brand out there, Canon or Nikon or XYZ?
- I am looking for a camera, what do you recommend?
Let's take the first question: "What is the best brand out there, Canon or Nikon or XYZ"?
- For me personally, I feel that both Canon and Nikon are equally good. They are both exceptional brand and strong in the industry at what they do. Canon vs Nikon will forever be questions on who is the best. That is no different than Pepsi vs Coke or Lakers vs Celtics. One year Canon will release some really cool and will up Nikon. Nikon will then follow up with some totally rad the next year to up Canon. The cycle continues. Technology will forever allow competition to occur and hard to deem a champion, unless one decided to take a wrong turn somewhere and end up in bankruptcy.
- When I hear that question from people, my initial response is to go down to Samy's or Fry's Electronic or Best Buy and pick up both Canon and Nikon. Use it, play with it, come back a week later and try it again. It is all about which one best fit your hand and you are being comfortable with where all the controls are located. If it fits, that's the one! Who cares if you get Canon or Nikon. You can't go wrong with either.
- As for alternative brand such as Sony or Panasonic, they are new comers to the arena. Both off strong competition to the market and pricing very competitive. My opinion on them is, unless you plan on spending cheap money and really don't care on what it is, why not. Sony after buying out Minolta and partner up with Carl Zeiss, they have a good starting line up of brand name lens. Panasonic, on the other hand uses Lieca, another strong brand in the lens industry. But at the end of the day, they both lack the quality, brand, and lens lineup built by both Canon and Nikon over the years. Nikon has a bit more advantage as they kept the original F mount they've been using for many years during the film days over to digital. This allows them to have a huge collection of possible lens to use. Great for professional photographers who built their collection over time.
- Most people auto respond would be, go for Nikon or go for Canon. This topic leads me back to the first question. I usually respond with, how much do you want to spend? If budget is not unlimited, like most of us, I would rather they focus getting a middle grade camera and save the money on getting a good quality lens.
- For middle grade, I would recommend something like Nikon D90 / Nikon 7000 or Canon 60D / Canon Rebel T3i. With the current megapixel, auto focus engine, and features, they can go a long way. At least allow you to keep the camera for at least 3-5 years. With that, save the money and focus it on buy quality lens. I usually say, once you go 2.8, there is no going back. Look at getting a fast lens, they usually would give you great optics, nice creamy bokeh, and will last you very long time. As a starting lens to couple with the camera, a good walk around lens such as Nikon 16-85mm VR / Nikon 18-200mm VR would do the trick. The kit lens 18-105mm ain't that bad either. They give you both the wide and zoom depth in one lens. As you understand photography and equipment, you can upgrade to something like Nikon 17-55mm F2.8 or Tamron 28-70mm F2.8. Both very good quality lens and fast.
- Similar to the first question, why don't you first go out to Samy's / B&H Photo or any good local authorized camera dealer and play with the equipment. Don't buy it immediately. Take a few trips and sleep on it. Photography is a lifetime investment, once you start building the inventory, you are pretty much dedicated down that brand, unless you willing to sell it and start over.