What kind of camera should I buy?

I get this question frequently since I wrote this post.

It’s nice to see fellow enthusiasts wanting to push their photography skills farther along their journey.

Right now, there are so many fine cameras it is hard to go wrong. But since I’ve written this down for a number of friends lately, I thought I would just share it on my Tumblr.

(note: this post isn’t meant to cover point and shoot style cameras. It’s likely true the best point and shoot is the iPhone 5s).


I think there are less and less reasons to buy a DSLR these days thanks to high quality, compact mirrorless cameras. But there are a few reasons to still buy one, namely:

-If you are a professional photographer
-if you want to make large prints
-if you seek highest quality images and don’t mind carrying around a big camera and big lenses
-if you want (very) fast autofocus
-if you want telephoto lenses

If you want something that is more compact and still high quality, here are my recommendations at this time.

1. Olympus OMD EM-5. This camera came out last year. The image stablization is sick. I’ve been able to handhold photos at 1/15th of a second. Some of the lenses for this camera are simply stunning like the Olympus 17mm f/2, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4. Autofocus is very fast with any of these lenses. The camera is small, lightweight and responsive. It’s a great system. Olympus is shipping a new model next month called the EM-1. It’s bigger and more expensive than the EM-5 and the image quality is significantly better.

2. Fuji X-E2. The X-E2 is coming out next month. It replaces the Fuji X-E1 which has amazing image quality. The image quality is better than the Olympus but the autofocus is slower. The X-E2 promises faster autofocus speed than it’s predecessor but still a slower camera than the OMD EM-5. Fuji makes a gorgeous 35mm lens for their X systems.

3. Sony RX1R. This is a full frame, autofocus compact camera. The image quality is the best of this bunch and rivals full frame pro DSLRs. The build quality is extraordinary. The UI isn’t my favorite but that’s a personal preference. There are two drawbacks with this camera in my mind. First, it doesn’t come with a built in viewfinder. So you need to either attach a clunky external one or just shoot using the LCD on the back. The other drawback is the lens is fixed and attached. You can’t switch it. But that built in lens is a beauty. Absolutely gorgeous.

* * *

4. Leica M. This is my favorite of the group but it really is a different type of experience all together. It’s a full frame rangefinder system and requires manual focusing. Leica lenses are the best in the world. It’s not for everyone but I had to mention it. It also costs significantly more than the other camera systems mentioned above. A Leica M body is about $7,000 and lenses range from $2k-$10k. I am in love with this quirky, camera that feels like nothing else I’ve ever held.

I hope this helps some of you.

Sony RX100 review

Yesterday we took the kids to the Justin Bieber concert. 

My kids are big fans and they had an absolute blast. 

I usually have either my Leica M9P at my side but it has one achilles heel which is low light. Also, I didn’t think I would be able to follow the action with a manual focus camera. And I didn’t want to carry my heavy DSLR either. 

So I ended up borrowing my brother @aminsabet’s Sony RX100 .

I took about 100 photos during the night and got a feel for the camera. Here’s my quick review.

• It’s very small. I don’t wear skinny jeans or baggy jeans. just normal cut jeans and the camera fit easily in my front pocket. made it very convenient.

• Concerts are typically pretty hard because you are either dealing with darkness and shadows or intense lighting which can blow out photos. The Sony RX100 took much better photos than the iPhone5 I also had with me. Wide open is f/1.8 which made low light possible and it was nice having a zoom as well and w.  

I’m sure I could have taken better photos with my Nikon or Olympus em5. But both of those are substantially bigger than the Sony. 

• The RX100 serves as both a basic point & shoot camera as well as offering full manual controls. It was quick & simple to change the aperture and exposure compensation during the night. 

• The shutter is very fast & deadly quiet. The latter didn’t matter much in a concert setting but in a different environment it would make a positive difference. 

• I like that you can charge the battery by just plugging into a standard mini USB cable. Much easier than yet another proprietary camera charger pack. 

I’ll end this post with a few photos of the evening. I’m a big fan of this camera as a DSLR companion or if your primary camera is a mobile phone and you want something more capable.