It seems like lately I’ve been asked if I could recommend a good “all-around” camera. Now, it’s tough to know exactly what all around means and there are lots of cameras for lots of scenarios, but normally I think I understand what is being said (without being said). What is being asked is if there is a simple camera that takes high quality images for someone who is a photo novice and who doesn’t want to buy a bunch of complicated, expensive equipment? And my answer to that question is “yes!” As a professional photographer, I know a little more than average about cameras and the photo industry. If you visit your local book store or a large store that carries a magazine section you’ll find a whole group of photo magazines that are raving about the latest offerings from Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Kodak, etc. Now I’m not one to criticize technology; I love my digital photography gear, but I can honestly say that there is an unbelievable amount of hype behind the sale of new camera equipment. And the bottom line is that the average “Jane” or “Joe” doesn’t need to run down to Precision Camera and buy the newest, most expensive model of camera available.
So what camera do I recommend to a person who is a beginner photographer? I recommend the Canon G12, available on Amazon.com for around $500. Why? Well first of all, based on what I’ve read and talking to others, it takes great photos, which should be pretty high on the priority list. But what I really like about it is that it’s small and much more simple than a digital SLR. When I prepare to head off to photograph a bride and groom at a wedding, I pack 2 containers full of photo gear, including 2 large cameras, flashes, batteries, 4 lenses and lots of ancillary photo equipment. When I arrive, I unpack the two cameras, and attach 2 of the heaviest medium-sized zoom lenses in the industry and attach them to the cameras. By the end of the day, my hands, wrists, neck, shoulders and back are exhausted from lugging around these two monster. If I could get away with shooting weddings with the Canon G12 I would, but I can’t – but you (the novice) can!
I’m not the only professional photographer here in Austin who makes honest recommendations about cameras. You can also check out Kirk Tuck’s blog for his favorite point and shoot cameras (he likes the Olympus EPL2 better).
Disclaimer: I don’t work for or receive any compensation from Canon.