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Good Camera: Sony a5000
Priced at under $500, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at below the $500 level.
If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7R below.
Better Camera: Sony a6000
Starting at below $800 which includes an 16-50mm lens.
Read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the replacement for the Sony NEX-7 which I loved. The a6000 has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, 2x higher screen resolution, 7x the number of focal points, 24MP compared to 19MP, and more than 3x faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 3.5 fps).
Best Camera: Sony a7R
Starting at just over $2000
A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. This is currently my main camera. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. It’s Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!
First Three Lenses for the Sony a7R
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras!
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm Review.
- Sony 10-18 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. Even though this lens is made for the small Alpha line, it works fine on the A7 series of cameras and is still full frame. Instead of 10-18mm, you’ll get full coverage from 12mm to 17mm. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.
- Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 Prime (Amazon | B&H Photo) – In short, a great for portraits and objects of things
Other Goodies for the Sony a7R
- Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
- Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
- Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses
Sony Alpha – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first few lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a5000 and a6000 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.
Leica Lens Buying Guide
I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peeking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.
Nikon – First Three Lenses
Following are the first three lenses I would recommend getting if you bought a professional Nikon camera.
- Nikon 14-24 Review – A great wide-angle lens for landscapes and architecture
- Nikon 28-300 Review – Perfect walk-around lens mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Nikon 50mm Review – Ideal for cute children, family and close-up objects where you like a blurry background
I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend. Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.
DJI Phantom Vision Quadcopter
I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives. I have the DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H3-3d 3-axis Gimbal and Gopro Hero 3+ Black Edition.
I set mine up so it records HD video and also takes a photo every five seconds. Check out my full review of the DJI Phantom 2 with a behind the scenes bonus video.
What’s in my photo bag?
Tripod and Head
My best advice for tripods is to visit your local camera store and try them out! Find one that you find easy to use… I’ve tried many, and my recommendations are below. A tripod is composed of two parts – the Legs and the Head. The head simply attaches to the legs, and these have universal connections.
- RRS Tripod (link) – And here is the tripod.
- RRS Head (Small) (link) – This is the Really Right Stuff tripod head I use. It doesn’t have to be too big because the camera is small.
- RRS Head (Big) (link) – This is the ballhead I used with my much bigger DSLR systems. It’s highly recommended if you use hefty DSLRs!
- L-Plates for your camera (link) – These allow your camera to attach to the tripod head. These “L” plates are of the variety that enables you to easily adjust it from landscape to portrait orientation.
Entry Level Tripod and Head
- Manfrotto 190XB 3 Section Aluminum Tripod – An excellent set of legs for most small to medium-sized cameras such as the Sony mentioned above. It supports 11 pounds, so you have room to grow.
- Giottos MH-1000 Large Ball Head w/ Built-in Quick Release – A simple and easy to use quick-release head that you will enjoy.
More Reviews and recommendations
I have many other reviews and recommendations you may find helpful!
- Photo Editing Software Reviews – reviews of five must-have software packages along with many others
- Other Reviews – various other software and hardware reviews
Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement.