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 a5100
This Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you around the $500 level.
If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” or “HARDCORE” 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 a7Rii model below.
Better Camera: Sony a6300
Starting at below $999 for the body.
The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 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. The Mark 2 is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. I used this camera ll the time before getting the Hasselblad X1D below. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it even though I’m not using it any more. 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!
HARDCORE MODE: Hasselblad X1D
Starting at the low low bargain price of around $9,000.
- Check price of the Hasselblad X1D on B&H Photo
What a beast! You can read the full review over here which has loads of sample images. The key points are that it’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than the Sony and is not that much bigger in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware. Either way, the images it produces are phenominal.
Sony a7R – First Three Lenses
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! 🙂
- Sony FE 24-70 f/4 (Amazon | BH Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm review.
- Sony FE 24-240 f/3.5-6.3 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. What a range! It’s not super-fast, but that’s not a problem for me.
- 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.
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 A5100 / A6300 Camera – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of 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 a6300 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 Vision and Inspire 1 Quadcopters
I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives.
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 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!