What Camera Should I Buy?

‘Tis the season for holiday deals, and this is a friendly neighborhood warning that a good deal is one way for manufacturers to get you hooked into their ecosystem (so do some research).

Good grief! How many of you photographers are also asked this question? I get it all the time.

If you are an experienced photographer, I doubt you would be asking me this question. You’ve done your research and have justifications for your decisions. (But seriously consider an X-T1, X-T10 or X-E2.)

x-t1 vs x-t10 vs x-e2.jpg

For less experienced photographers, here is my 2 cents:

What do you want to do?

That’s the first thing that I ask. Many times the camera that they already have can do this, but what they need is:

  • a better understanding of photography
  • better technique including where and when to shoot
  • a better understanding of their gear
  • and more experience.

This is when I give them advice on what they can do to better their photography. However, if hardware is the issue, here are some recommendations. But first:

Disclaimer: I’m a mostly Fuji guy, but I did start out in Nikon and Canon and Sony cameras, so I’m not afraid of recommending something out of the box that people did not consider. I could point out the problems with each model (and Fuji is not immune – they have cons, too), but to keep this post short, let’s stay positive. The reason why Fuji is listed below so frequently will be explained later in the post (it has to do with programming). 

If you are bound and determined to buy a certain camera, buy knowing that the four items above will determine if you get great pictures and not the hardware alone.

Preface: I use to tell people to go to a store and feel the controls on the camera, shoot some pictures and see if the camera feels right with you. Unfortunately, not all the best cameras are available at local brick-and-mortar stores anymore, and even my old favorite photo-store-for-photographers doesn’t carry Fuji. 😦

Also, cameras now have multiple options for modifying their handling like hand grips, thumb rests, soft release buttons, etc. It use to be that if you wanted a different grip, you had to buy a different body. Not the case now, but, unfortunately, there are few stores where you can try out all the options which is why I rely on blogs like mine to share their experiences.

x-t10 vs x-e2 vs x-e1.jpg

For serious student photographers and those who want to learn photography

  • Fuji X-T10
  • or Fuji X-E2 if you are on a budget
  • or used Fuji X-E1 for slower photography and are on a very tight budget

These are not as expensive as an X-T1 but are seriously good, flexible cameras and will give you years of service. And the Fuji ecosystem will give you excellent growing options without draining your bank by nickel-and-diming you.


x-e2 vs x-e1 vs x-m1.jpg

Less serious student photographers and family photographers

  • Fuji X-E2 or used X-E1 if you need a viewfinder (fixed screen)
  • or Fuji X-M1 if you don’t need a viewfinder (has a tilting screen)


xq2 vs x30.jpg

Just want a camera that shoots well and is small (my wife fits this category)

  • Fuji XQ2 (or used XQ1)
  • or Fuji X30 (or used X20 or X10) – larger but more options

Why NOT Fuji?

I still have a Canon 7D with battery grip and 70-200mm f/4L IS for sports. This is a specialized kit that I find easier to shoot sports due to the optical viewfinder and very easy to turn zoom, but this is only a small portion of what I shoot. It’s heavy, huge and loud, so not great at being low key.

Just to make it abundantly clear: I am NOT saying that you can’t get great photos with Canon/Nikon/Sony — Only that it takes far more effort than you should.

Why Fuji?

Incredible ISO performance (for crop sensor) and programming — specifically the “tiny” option to change minimum shutter speed so the camera can be a people shooter. I will describe this in a later post.

What is the other camera manufacturer’s doing wrong? (followup post)



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