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Good Camera: Sony a5000
Priced at under $400, 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 principal 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 if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7R below.
Better Camera: Sony a6000
Starting at below $600, which includes a 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 II
Starting at just over $3198
A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. I’m working on the Mark 2 review right now, but just know the main differences are that it is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. 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. Its 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!
Wildcard 2nd Camera: Sony DSC-RX100 IV
I LOVE this camera. It’s my quick one-camera camera! You can’t change lenses. It’s not full-frame. But it doesn’t matter. It’s an absolutely magical little camera. I love it so much that it was my main camera at Burning Man this year… it’s also one of my street-photography cameras. I don’t know the exact stats… but it’s like 16 photos per second. 20.1 megapixel. And it can even shoot 4K video, and slow motion 1080p at 960 FPS. What an amazing compact camera! If you have an extra $1,000 or so, just get it!!!
Sony a7 Series Cameras – First Three Lenses (A7r, A7s, A7rII etc etc)
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras!
- Sony FE 24-240 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. I hate changing lenses and this goes from fairly wide at 24mm to a great zoomy-zoom of 240mm. I keep this lens on my camera 70% of the time!
- 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 FE 16-35 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so excited about this lens! This is the first full-frame wide angle lens that fits the eMount on the Sony a7 line of cameras. Note this lens can be replaced with the cheaper, lighter Wildcard Lens below!
- WILDCARD – Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you MAXIMUM wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. Note that it’s actually made for the lesser Sony E-Mount system but still works on this camera, giving you the full range of 12-17mm instead of 10-18mm. The edges can occasionally get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges. This lens is small and supa-light to carry… and wide-angle stuff is so fun! Personally, I use this lens more than the FE 16-35 above.
Sony a7R – Other Goodies!
- 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. WARNING: Do not get the cheaper adapters. I tried them, thinking it was just a piece of metal, but it was not and many of my photos, especially at infinity, were out of focus. 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 A5000 / A6000 Camera – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of lenses, here they are. Oftentimes a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony 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. Note: This is also a great lens for the Sony a7R Mark 2, giving you the full range of 12-17mm. The edges get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges.
What’s in my photo bag?
Come check out my Camera Bag page for more details!
Over the past year few years, I’ve been partnering with Peak Design to build five incredible camera bags. And now you can see more! See our current Kickstarter here and/or check out our first Everyday Messenger here!
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 peaking 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.
More Lens Reviews
I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend. Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.
DJI Phantom and Inspire Quadcopters
I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives. I started with the DJI Phantom 2 with and GoPro.
I’ve recently switched tripods, then switched back, then switched again. I’m like the Caitlyn Jenner of tripods, and I’m not proud. But I’m ownin’ it girl.
- High End — The TQC-14 Tripod from RRS – I love this tripod. Again, I’ve switched around a lot… but this thing honestly fixes all the gripes I had with previous RRS tripods.
- Budget — Any 3-Legged Thing Tripod – These are also nice tripods. Yes, they are still pricey but with good quality. There are some very inexpensive tripods out there, but they are so flimsy and you should not waste your time.
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.
And here are a few of my favorite photos taken with the above equipment!