What you should know before investing in your first camera


What’s important to me...

When looking for a camera to buy there are several different things that are important to considering. These are things I look for since I like shooting video. The 2 biggest things I look at when considering a camera to buy is the image quality and frames per second.


Image Quality

Is it capable of high definition quality? 720p and 1080p are considered high definition. Many cameras can now even shoot in 4k which is really good! However, 4k is rarely ever needed and 1080p is sufficient (in my opinion) unless you plan on blowing your video up and showing it on the big screen.


Frames per second

I also like to look at slow mo capabilities which is done in the camera’s frames per second. So, most DSLR and mirrorless cameras can shoot up to 30 frames per second, which will give your videos a good normal cinematic look. However, if you want your videos to have more of a soap opera dramatic emotional feel then you would want to look at cameras that go up to 60 to 120 frames per second. If you want to do slow mo get a camera that will shoot up to at least 60 frames per second.


Tip* You always want your shutter speed to be at least twice your frames per second. Example, if your shutter speed is at 60 you will want your frames per second to be at 30. This makes just keeps your image looking nice and smooth.


On a budget?

First off, I am a total believer that you don't need the most fancy gear to take excellent photos and videos. I’ve been able to use my Canon Rebel for years before I upgraded to my Sony a7s and it’s been able to pump out some great quality photo and video.


Okay, so there are a lot of different options for cameras. I personally love Canon cameras for their coloring and picture/video quality. However, there are lots of different cameras that have their own unique qualities. I have been using a Canon Rebel and a Sony a7s. I really like the Sony  for video but not so much for pictures. I use a Commlite adapter to connect my lenses to my Sony body and its annoyingly delayed when I’m taking pictures. Sony has really great low-light performance which means it's great for night and sunset photo and video. The Sony a7s camera, that I have, also can shoot 120 frames per second which is super awesome. It can shoot 60 frames per second at 1080p and 120 frames per second at 720p (which is considered the lowest of high definition). The Sony a7s2 can even shoot 120 frames per second at 1080p.  This means I can shoot crazy slow motion videos with excellent quality!  Now, the Canon Rebel is not as great for video or slow motion but I like it better 4 all around image quality.


Soon I will be upgrading my camera to the Canon 5D Mark IV which has the same capabilities as my Sony a7s camera for slow motion and amazing picture quality. I am so excited for this camera and will definitely be doing an updated blog post about it!




Lens Over Body

If you are on a budget I would totally recommend buy high-quality lenses before upgrading your camera body. This is so important and makes a big difference in the quality of your videos and photos. The two lenses I have right now are the Tamron 24 to 70, 2.8 zoom lens. This zoom lens is awesome because I can get wide-angle shots and great portrait shots/up-close shots without getting into people's faces. A lot of people are really gung-ho about L-series lenses and good quality glass however I think my Tamron lens is super amazing. This lens even has vibration control so I can shoot video while holding my camera and it comes out pretty dang stable for a handheld shot with no stabilizer. I also have a Canon 50 millimeter 1.8, which is great bang for your buck, I think I paid $100 for it. Great lens and awesome for low-light and for portraits, it is also really lightweight for traveling.

Crop Sensor or Full Frame?

One other thing to consider that a lot of people don't mention when they're looking for a lenses is that it's really important to know if you have a crop sensor or full frame camera. For example, Canon Rebels and the Canon 7D, 70D and 80D are all crop sensor cameras. The Canon 5D, 6D and 1Dx all full frame cameras. I personally Love full frame cameras. Higher quality cameras are mostly full frame so it's awesome to have full frame so you don't have to upgrade your lens collection later. Note, most lenses will work on both full frame and crop sensor cameras but the image will be cropped (or zoomed in looking) on crop sensor cameras. Basically, a 50 millimeter lens on a crop sensor camera is really like 80 millimeter and a 35 millimeter is more like a 50 millimeter. So, if I have a Canon Rebel or any crop sensor camera and wanted to get a similar look to the 50 millimeter and 24 to 70 lenses then I would get a 35 millimeter lens and a 17 to 55 millimeter lens.


What is a wide angle lens?

Okay, so wide angle lenses are great for nature and Landscapes. The the lower the number, the wider the photo or video will be. For example, if you are shooting with a 16 to 35 millimeter or a 20 millimeter lens, this will be great for landscape and nature shots. If you want to get a great portrait shot I would recommend a 50 millimeter or 80 millimeter lens. The higher the number the more zoomed in the image will be. A 35 millimeter lens is more versatile for both landscape and portrait shots! Also, if you want to go really zoomed for surf photography I’d recommend a Canon 70 to 300 F4 to 5.6 L Series lens or a 70 to 200 F 2.8 lens. Many people are all about prime lenses which are fixed lenses you can’t zoom in and out. The benefit of prime lenses is that you can get really awesome boca or depth of field space (which is basically the crisp image with a blurry background look). These lenses are great for low light because the F stop is really low. However, I also really like a zoom lens because it gives me that versatility that I love!