One of the most often asked questions I hear is what kind of camera should I buy? Canon or Nikon? Fixed lens or interchangeable? Manual capability or fully automatic? And that's just questions about the camera body. What kind of lens? Well, that's a whole other round of questions! So let's calm down and be one with nature. Find our photography zen shall we? Ok... so here are some basic tips for picking out the right camera for you.
Canon or Nikon? I shoot with Canon. I started shooting with Canon because my mom had an old Canon camera from back in the day and it was a great reliable camera. Some people like to say that one feels better in their hands than the other. Others will point out specific technical flaws between the two and choose one over the other. Honestly, I believe the choice between Canon or Nikon is solely a personal preference. I love my Canon camera and it works for me. You might like Nikon, or even another brand.
Fixed Lens or Interchangeable Lenses?
A fixed lens is just like it sounds: the lens is fixed. You can't change the lens and it's the one you have for life. All point and shoot cameras are fixed lens cameras. That being said, a fixed lens camera has major limitations. If you ever want to learn how to use your camera creatively to the fullest extent or start a photography business, you will eventually need a camera with different lenses.
Interchangeable lenses are changeable depending on your creative needs. For this reason I recommend getting a camera with the ability to change lenses. You can start out with one lens but you will want the option to add more lenses later down the road.
Fully Automatic or Manual Capability?
All point and shoot cameras are fully automatic. A few higher end point and shoots also have manual capability (but still have a fixed lens.) The obvious benefit of a fully automatic camera is the camera does everything for you. You get to point and shoot. The camera decides all the settings to capture the image. The downside to this is you have no creative control over the image. The camera will never understand when you want to capture a silhouette photo or if you'd like to capture ambient light and not use flash. The only thing you can truly control is composition.
Manual capability gives you full creative control of your camera. Learning to shoot in manual at first seems overwhelming, but with practice it will soon feel like riding a bike and become second nature. With manual capability you are able to choose the different outcomes of your images and control all aspects of the camera. I always recommend choosing a camera with manual capability. I shoot in manual 100% of the time unless I'm shooting with my iPhone or point and shoot camera.