Tis the season, the camera Christmas shopping season!! Every year I’m asked for advice on cameras or related electronics that I think people should buy. This year I decided to make it one stop shopping and write a blog post about it!
Every suggested item has a link attached to it. This is an affiliate link and does not cost you any extra, but does give me some rewards for doing the homework for you. I want to be 100% honest about that up front, so there you have it.
First question, everyone asks is what camera I shoot with. I use Nikon and I have two D700s . This camera is not for everyone, but if you’re serious about photography and you have a few thousand dollars to spare, then I recommend it!
If you’re just starting out with a DSLR camera, you’re looking at about the $500 range. For Nikon I would suggest the D3100 and for Canon I would suggest the Rebel T2i. Both have video, which is a great bonus. Although I shoot with a Nikon camera, I would honestly recommend the T2i over the D3100. The reason is because of noise (the grain that comes in your pictures) and it can take slightly more pictures per second. When your child is swinging at bat at their very first t-ball game, that extra image counts! The Canon also has more megapixels, but at this point, that doesn’t mean much. In fact, it means so little that they both have more megapixels than my professional camera. Crazy, isn’t it?
Next up is a little bit higher end of a camera. These are in the $1000 range. First is the Nikon D7000. This is one of Nikon’s newest cameras and they are phenomenal! Great ISO production (less grain in your photographs), HD video capture, fast six photos per second, and duel SD card slots (which means no more extra carrying case for your second card). In the midrange DSLR market, I’d recommend this camera. Please note, this camera that I have linked does NOT come with a lens. It’s not worth the $300 to get the lens with the camera. I suggest you get one of the lenses listed below in the accesories area.
If you’re leaning more towards Canon, or looking to upgrade your Rebel, the 60D is for you. It’s very comparable to the D7000 in that it has decent ISO, and HD video. It can take about five photos per second. Again, this camera does not come with a lens and I recommend you purchase one of the ones listed below.
Finally, you’ll need the accessories to complete your gift, or perhaps this year’s gift to complement last year’s camera?!!
The number one lens I recommend is the Nifty Fifty. This is a 50mm lens, which means you’ll have to zoom with your feet, but it takes great portraits and I think you’ll be very happy with it. For Nikon you’ll be looking here and for Canon you’ll look here.
If you’d like a zoom lens (the one that comes with the camera is not a good lens at all) I would recommend the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 for Nikon or Canon. It’s $900 but it will produce very sharp images and focus quickly. It also performs very well indoors compared to other zoom lenses.
If you want a REALLY big zoom lens I would recommend the Tamron 70-200mm lens for Canon or Nikon. It’s $700 but like the one above, it will out perform almost all other zoom lenses (unless you’re looking to spend thousands, then just contact me and I’ll get you a list of what to buy) when it comes to low light photos.
Naturally you’ll need some memory cards for your camera. SanDisk is the brand that I know and trust. They work phenomenal and write very quickly (so you can get more photographs per second). If you get the D700 you’ll need a different kind of card, so contact me for that information, otherwise this SanDisk 16GB Extreme SDHC card should be perfect!
Not many think about bad things happening until they happen. I highly suggest you plan ahead and get a backup hard drive to store your pictures. It’s worth the cheap price now versus the expensive price of loosing your memories. Western Digital is the way to go. I’d recommend this 1TB model.
Tripods are fun. You can take great firework, skyline, and self timer family pictures with them. We use mine all the time, mostly just for personal use so I’d recommend getting one as well. The trick here is that it needs to be able to support the weight of a DSLR and it’s lens. I have a Manfrotto beast which is awesome and works amazing. Not everyone will need that much support though, so you could get away with something like this instead if you’d like (MK393-PD).
So that is what I recommend you put on your wish lists! If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call.
I also offer training on how to use your new gifts! $100 for a one hour, one on one, get to know your camera mentoring session.