The Best Cameras To Buy A Photographer

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It’s time for my yearly camera recommendations, to help those buying a camera for someone this Christmas.

Generally speaking systems are pretty similar and you won’t go wrong with Nikon, Canon or Sony.  For someone who wants to take photography seriously you should be looking at a system with interchangeable lenses, either a DSLR or mirrorless system.

I prefer Nikon for images and Canon for video. Entry level users usually avoid Sony due to the high cost of their mirrorless system, but the quality is excellent.

You’ll want a quality camera body, but a large chunk of your available money should be spent on the lens. The lens is what differentiates the pictures and gives them that professional look.

Recommendations: Nikon

Camera Body

If buying a Nikon Camera body you should be focused on one of their three DX systems.   The lowest level model I’d look at is the D5600. It is a quality camera and you could shoot professionally with it if you had the right lenses.  The next level up is the D7500, which offers overall better performance. It also offers Auto Focus fine tune, which means you can dial in the focus of each individual lens to be sharp.  For this reason if you are building a system of multiple lenses it is wise to go with a camera with this feature.  The D500 is their professional body and the camera that I use.  It also has AF Fine Tune and also adds dual memory card slots, better auto focus and faster shooting.

You should buy the best camera you can afford and still be able to add one of the lenses below.


Nikon 50mm/1.4   The best bang for your buck portrait lens. You’ll get sharp pictures and smooth out of focus backgrounds.

Nikon 40mm/2.8 Macro  High quality lens for closeup macro photography. I use this lens often for portraits in a studio, but it will not blur the background if shooting outside.

Tamron 10-24mm Wide Angle  My current wide angle lens with VR

Nikon 10-20mm Wide Angle  Great low cost wide angle landscape lens with VR.

Recommendations: Canon

The same premise applies to the Canon cameras. Buy the best one you can, but leave money to buy one of the recommended lenses.

The Canon T7i is the entry level model and if paired with a quality lens will give great results. Much like the Nikon cameras, the higher priced Canon cameras offer similar image quality to the entry level model, but offer professional features like weather sealing, faster auto focus, faster shooting etc… The next camera up would be the 80D followed by the 6D Mark ii, which is a full frame camera.


Canon 50mm/1.4   Portrait lens that will give you blurred backgrounds

Canon 60mm/2.8 Macro   Closeup lens for small macro objects.  Not for portraits.

Canon 10-18mm Wide Angle   For wide angle landscape photography


What’s In My Bag? Currently I’m shooting with the following:

Nikon D500

Nikon 40mm/2.8

Nikon 105mm/1.4

Tamron 10-24mm

Nikon SB 5000 Flash

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  • Reply Lisha Vines December 1, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for the great info Rob! Just what I’ve been looking for.

    • Reply Allie December 5, 2018 at 7:50 am

      You’re welcome!

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