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It’s time for a new digital camera, yes? Yes!
Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lens I use for my photography.
Good Camera: Sony NEX-3N
Priced at about $499, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at around 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 NEX-7 below.
Better Camera: Sony NEX-6
Starting at around $750 which includes an 16-50mm lens.
See my full Sony NEX-7 Review (which is not that different than the NEX-6). The only significant difference is that the NEX-7 has a few more megapixels. The NEX-6, on the other hand, counteracts that with much faster autofocus for better performance in low light. I use it to take photos of everything, from kids to landscapes to architecture to objects.
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
- 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 NEX series of camera, 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.
- 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 NEX – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first three 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 NEX-7 comes with a 18-55mm 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.
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.
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.
What I carry
- 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.
And last, here is a collection of photos I’ve shot with my equipment over the years. There are many more examples if you’d like to surf around the site!
Many of my photos use a special process you can find out more about in my HDR Tutorial. If you’d like to know more about HDR or HDR Photography, click on those links to discover something new and fun!