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What camera and lens should I get? I am asked this question almost daily. My short and simple answer for the camera (if you’re on a budget, and who isn’t?) is a camera that has an interchangeable lens and is in your price range.
For the lens, this depends on the type of photography you plan on doing, we’ll talk about that later. Again, if you’re on a budget, go for vintage manual focus lenses. You can find them dirt cheap and they’re great for learning.
What Camera and Lens Should I Get?
I did a little experiment and bought a used camera and lens and limited myself to a budget of only $200. I found a nice used Canon Rebel t1i for $185 and an awesome Pentax 50mm 1.7 lens for $10. Yes, you read that right, $10!
Here are some of the photos with the camera and lens that I bought.
What Camera Should I Get?
Like I said earlier, you will want to get a camera that has an interchangeable lens. The reason for this is because you have a HUGE range of different lenses you can attach to your camera.
In my opinion, your choice of lenses is more important than your choice of cameras. That’s why I’m not going to go very deep about the different cameras.
I don’t care what brand of camera you get, or if it’s micro four thirds, crop sensor, full frame or medium format. Whatever you feel most comfortable with and you can swap out lenses. That’s what I believe is important.
What Lens Should I Get?
This of course (again) depends on the type of photography you will be doing. I think this decision paralyzes a lot of new photographers because there is such a huge amount of options out there.
Really it’s quite simple if you understand how lenses work. I’ll try to keep this as simple and easy to understand as possible.
There’s really only two things you need to think about with a lens, focal length, and aperture.
The focal length determines how wide or narrow your the lens will be. If you are planning on doing a lot of landscape photos, you’ll want a wide angle lens. Probably something around 25mm – 35mm.
If you are planning on doing portraits, you will probably want to use a more narrow focal length. Something like 50mm – 85mm
The aperture determines the depth of field in the photo. This is what is most important in a lens. The wider the aperture the more narrow your depth of field will be and the more light will be allowed to come through the lens.
This is very desirable for most photographers because you get that creamy blurred out background and foreground. And the extra light will give you more control and quality in your photos.
I always look for lenses with an aperture of less than F2. These are considered prime lenses. Now because these are prime lenses they’re also going to be very expensive. But I have a little secret to tell you to save you a TON of money.
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You can get prime ventage lenses for pretty cheap. The downside is you won’t have autofocus. You will have to focus manually. Which is not as bad as it might sound.
I actually love manually focusing my lenses, I feel like I am in full control and it’s a really great learning experience. Plus, this is a great way to get professional results early on if you’re on a budget. Like I said earlier, I got a Pentax 50mm f1.7 on eBay for $10. I got lucky, usually, they’re somewhere under $50.
To learn more about how I take my photos click HERE.
I hope this helped answer your question of what camera and lens you should get. If you would like to learn more about photography, take my free photography secrets course.