One of the questions I am asked most often is "Which camera should I buy?" The answer... it depends. What is your budget? What pictures do you want to take? How much time will you spend learning how to use the camera? Does size matter?
The first thing you have to decide is what type of camera you really need. Is your best choice a DSLR, a superzoom (bridge camera), compact point and shoot, or a mirrorless camera? It is easy to see the soccer mom on the sidelines with a fancy DSLR camera and feel like you're missing out on the best pictures. But the reality is most people who buy introductory level DSLRs don't buy the lenses they need or take time to learn how to use the settings. This results in a few awesome outdoor images and a bunch of blurry photos and frustration. Therefore, I generally recommend the bridge camera or superzoom point and shoot.
My personal favorite camera of all time is a Sony bridge camera (not pictured). After being dropped, I replaced it with the Panasonic Lumix pictured above which is still my "go to" camera for travel. That's right, my "Disney camera" is a point and shoot with a long zoom. Why? Because it is small enough that I can carry it around but versatile enough I can zoom without changing lenses. Most importantly, I get great shots with it. Granted the photos I take with my point and shoot are not always as stunning as those taken with my professional camera and a massive zoom lens, but they are perfectly fine for my facebook page, scrapbooking, and my refrigerator. If I could only have one camera it would be a superzoom.
Below are some general guidelines for choosing your camera type. Keep in mind these are based solely on my personal opinions and preferences. I have never owned a mirrorless camera, so I am not addressing that type here.
A DSLR May Be Right for You if
My DSLR Recommendations for Beginners: Canon T3i or Nikon D5100
A Superzoom Point and Shoot ("Bridge Camera") May Be Right for You if
My Superzoom Recommendations: Sony HX200V or HX100V or Panasonic Lumix FZ-150
A Compact Point and shoot may be right for you if
My Compact Recommendations: Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 or Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS
If all else fails, give me a call and I'll give you my two cents too! Happy shooting!
Rocky Mount, NC Photographer