I don’t believe that there is one camera on this planet that is the best camera for everyone. I think it largely depends on what you photograph and the experience you prefer that determines the gear that you use.  For instance, a portrait photographer will want a camera with the best auto focus tracking, whereas a landscape photographer doesn’t really concern themselves with that too much, as their subjects tend to not move.  Anyway…
If you’ve been following along on my journey, and as of recently on our podcast, you’ll know that I have just about tried them all.  I mean, probably. I don’t exactly remember each camera I’ve used over the years, but I know that I started out on a Kodak 110 camera, moved up to a cheap 35mm point & shoot, and from there went through a series of cheap 35mm cameras. I had a Minolta 35mm slr, and then in 2009ish I bought an Olympus digital point & shoot, followed up by a Sony digital point & shoot.
When I got the Sony digital P&S I started playing around with the features on it such as macro mode and the like, and even ventured into my first 365 project, of which I did not complete. Typical. But it made me want to learn more and move my photography from simply a passion to a passion I was actually knowledgeable about. Around this time Google+ opened its doors on an invite only bases, and I jumped on board.
Google+ in its infancy was amazing for photographers who were learning. The photo community there was open to questions and people were just so helpful. It didn’t take long for me to find my P&S to be inadequate and I was craving an upgrade, so I bought a cheap (see a pattern here?) dslr, the Sony a290. I learned a lot on that camera, for as long as I could, but you get what you pay for and that camera sucked! It was buggy and would shut down on me at the most inopportune times. Such as my first day on a beach vacation, where I had to send it in to Sony for repairs, from my hotel, and then had to solely rely on my Minolta 35mm for the rest of the trip. Gah! But I digress…
After the Sony I can’t quite remember the order in which I owned gear, but I think it went something like the Canon 5D Classic (bought cheap second hand from a photo friend), an Olympus E-420 (loved that little thing!), a Nikon d7000, the Nikon d750, a Fuji XT-1, an Olympus OM-D E-M5 mark something (was a beautiful camera but not so great low light performance), and my current Canon 5D mkiv.  I’ve also recently purchased and returned a Canon RP and a Sony a6400. Sheesh!  And these are just the cameras I owned to actually use. I did once upon a time have a collection of retro cameras as well.
So yeah… from this list you either gather that I’m flaky and can’t make up my mind, or that I am searching for the camera that is just right for me. Ok, maybe it’s a bit of both? Meh.
In all honesty, when you first start out in photography you shoot everything and experiment with every genre of photography. So along the way your gear needs change as well. I’m finally at a place where I know what genres of photography I’m really passionate about, as well as being more aware of my body’s limitations on how much gear it can pack around at any given time. So, I’m in a transition stage, thus the recent purchases and returns. Thankfully most camera shops give you about 15 days to try it and return it if it isn’t for you, so that I’m not stuck with gear I don’t love. Back in the day you didn’t get the option to return such things, so you were stuck with it until you sold it, and thus the reason I went through so much gear.
So that brings me to present day.
As I’ve mentioned on the podcast, I’m searching for a replacement for my Canon 5D mkiv setup because it’s just too much gear for me to carry on my back. Brandon has been carrying it around on our trips for me, but that’s not fair to him. The problem is, I’m not sure the camera I’m looking for exists yet.
The following are some of my criteria for a new setup:
1) Size matters! I want something that is lightweight both in the body and the available lenses. Years of lugging around heavy camera gear has taken its toll on my back, neck, and shoulders.
2) Suitable for Travel (city architecture, etc) & Landscape Photography!  Basically, that’s what I’m passionate about. The problem I’m finding is that a camera geared towards landscapes isn’t usually a camera you want to walk around Europe with. Also, when traveling you want to be inconspicuous, and a smaller setup helps.
3) The Megapixel Sweet Spot! I’m so not a fan of huge megapixels. I think the sweet spot is somewhere around 24 to 26 mp, in my opinion. I even find the 30 mp in the 5D to be a bit much, but doable. So I’m not looking to pick up a 45 mp beast of a camera anytime soon. That being said, I want there to be enough wiggle room for cropping and to give me great lowlight performance, because I despise noise in my photos.
4) Full Frame vs APS-C: Since my first full frame I’ve been hooked and I find the transition back to crop sensors to be somewhat lacklustre. The problem mostly being in DOF performance. I find shallow DOF so much more appealing on Full Frame cameras vs crop sensors. I also find the crop, when trying to shoot wide quite annoying. And I definitely like shooting wide for architecture shots. That being said, I’d consider switching back to APS-C with the right system and lenses. Micro 4/3 is a definite no go for me.
5) Color Science in the RAW! Here’s what makes it difficult for me to switch from Canon. I love Canon’s color science and I love that I don’t have to edit out any weird color casts like you do with Sony & Fuji. Honestly, the reason I returned the Sony a6400 is the blue/green color cast on all the photos. Had it not been for that, I loved shooting with that smaller setup. The fuji color cast is weird and vignette-ish and for a person like me who likes natural looking images, just not pleasing at all. I think Fuji serves a niche market of people who love the filmic look, such as Brandon, and that’s ok, it’s just not for me.  Nikon, which hasn’t even really been in my considerations as of late, has a decent color science. The difference between the Canon and the Nikon is simply that the Nikon is more punchy on its colours straight out of camera, and I prefer my RAWs to be more flat, so I can build up my photo from a much more even playing field. But Nikon colours are great. So in this section I guess Canon & Nikon would be the winners.
6) Mirrorless is King! I want to go mirrorless. There are pros & cons to this, but basically the dslr is becoming a dinosaur as technology evolves, and I’d like to make a switch before I become a dinosaur as well. If you’ve ever owned a true dslr you’ll know what I mean by the pain of doing macro adjustments on your focus with each new lens you get, and many times never getting it quite right. You don’t have this painful procedure to go through with mirrorless, and I love that. Also, mirrorless tend to run smaller and weigh less, which is my main reason for switching. Yes, I know that mirrorless lenses can be just as heavy as those for dslr cameras. That’s why I have my next criteria…
7) Lens Selection! I want to go with a system that has plenty of lenses to choose from. So far, Sony is the winner in this section. They’ve been doing this whole mirrorless game for much longer, and have amassed a large selection of lenses, as well as having a selection of third party lenses to choose from.  In this I’m talking native lenses… not using an adaptor to shot with your old lens from your dslr. I keep hearing rumors that Canon is opening up its mount to third party lens makers, but I haven’t seen any proof of this yet. And who knows where Nikon is on this, as I really pay no attention to Nikon. Perhaps I should?
8) The Price!  Most of us have a budget to keep to and spending $3200 on a camera body is mostly outside that budget unless you are making good money with your camera/photos. Or you are independently wealthy. This is my dilemma! I already own a quite expensive camera and accompanying lenses, and I’m currently not making much money with it. So, unless I can get an amazing price for my barely used gear, I’m looking to spend quite a lot out of pocket to switch to say the Canon R6 or the Sony A7IV.  The advantage of the Canon is that I can buy an adaptor and use my old lenses for a while. With the Sony I’d have to rebuild an entire kit straight away. If I went with the Nikon. Umm what is even the name of the Nikon? Let me go look it up… Ok well it seems Nikon has quite the line-up, and reasonably priced, but it would still be building a system from the ground up.
The Questions I have for you…
So yeah, that’s what I’m thinking about / looking for / wanting / pondering about.  Brandon recommended that I take my questions to you guys, so here I am.  I’m going to ask you questions that seem to upset most photographers these days because how dare someone ask that! It isn’t about the camera, its about the photographers eye! Yeah yeah, I get it. But here I am asking, one photographer to another, asking some simple questions, in my quest to find the perfect camera for me.
What camera do you use? What type of photos do you shoot with it? If you shoot landscapes and/or travel, what camera do you use? Would you recommend your camera to landscape photographers? Would you change cameras if you could? Given my list, what would you recommend? Please leave your answers/comments on the corresponding Twitter Post!
I’m just looking for some feedback from the wonderful photographers in my life. I’d appreciate any recommendations and will look into them. Thanks in advance and especially thanks to those of you who actually read this far into the post. You’re amazing! I would have fallen asleep by now. ;)