K, you guys asked for this so be prepared! I have a lot of camera “stuff”! As I started laying it all out I realized that this can become overwhelming REALLY fast but I’ve laid it out below so that hopefully you can decide what might be best for you and where you’re at in your photography journey!
These are the cameras we currently have and use on all of our vacations and really anytime we want to capture some memories (outside of my trusty iPhone).
The Canon G7X is the smaller camera and is my choice if I don’t want to lug around the Sony. Both of these cameras make even the least talented photographer or vlogger/videographer look like they know what they’re doing. The Canon is one of the best cameras in the $500 – $1,000 price range. In my opinion, it is one of the most versatile cameras and is perfectly adequate for the budding photographer. Plus, it’s fun flip screen allows me to take better selfies than my iPhone and it is PERFECT for vlogging! It lets you shoot in RAW which is really great when it comes to editing/post production too.
The Sony A9 is one of my favorite things. This camera is sooooo good. It always gives me the best images and with the option of different lenses, this camera makes me feel like Annie Leibovitz. There are 3 things I really love about this camera. The first is the recall custom setting buttons. There are four of them on the back of the camera that when pressed and held, will apply settings that you’ve programmed them to recall so you don’t have to flip through the menu when you’re in the middle of shooting! The next is the lowlight shooting capabilities – it’s insane! The photo below was taken when it was almost PITCH BLACK out and that’s how well lit it was WITHOUT EDITS. I just bumped up my ISO (this camera’s ISO goes up to 102400!) The after shows my lightroom edits!
A9 NORMAL LOWLIGHT SETTING AFTER LIGHTROOM EDITS
How funny is Goldie’s foam collar of shame? Haha, oh man. Poor girl, this was taken right after we got her fixed. But I LOVE taking pictures of her and the third thing I love about this camera is that it’s way faster than any other camera I’ve had.
With a camera this fast, I’m able to take up to 20 frames per second with full continuous autofocus. Translation? I get Goldie in all of her wet, wiggly glory!
Let’s talk about the cost though. OUCH (but I will say, it has been so worth it for me!) I really wanted to go mirrorless (they are smaller cameras than your run of the mill DSLR) and I truly believe it is the way that photography is going. I have talked to both budding newbies and seasoned professionals and they all seem to agree with me on that too. My friend Annie has a great instagram highlight on it if you want to check it out too! She goes more in depth and is great at explaining the differences. Anyway, I started out with a Sony A7Rii. A little after I got it, the A9 came out and I really wanted that touch screen focus so I called the shop that I got it from and they agreed to swap it out for the new one! I did really love the Sony A7Rii though and if you want to go a little more budget friendly, that is an awesome option. They just came out with the Sony A7Riii too that looks incredible. The built in wifi on cameras now is a GAME CHANGER! I love being able to send myself pictures on the go & edit them from my phone if I need to!
The GoPro is probably the most rugged-travel-friendly cameras. It can go a lot of places and was made for those on the go but I don’t recommend using it as your point-and-shoot camera. You have to be really close up to your subject or you get a strange fish-eye lense look to your photos. BUT this is the camera we take when we want to shoot video of all of our adventures. There are a million and one mounting options for the GoPro because it’s the camera you take zip-lining, repelling, surfing, mountain biking…basically any fun activity-heavy adventure!
SHOP GOPRO ACCESSORIES
Truth? I know nothing, scratch that, less than nothing about drones! But, this is the one we have. You know all those sweeping videos taken of beaches and ocean, over exotic places, the ones that basically feel like you’re missing out on the most epic vacation ever? Those are taken with a drone. There is a smaller one than this one that is more compact and easier to travel with but this is a great option for those really wanting to get into using a drone! I got it for Braun for Christmas and he LOVES it.
Let’s talk lenses! These get confusing fast so I’m going to break it down for you the simplest way I can. There are two types of lenses: Prime and Zoom. If the lens has a focal length range with two numbers (say 24-70 mm like my last one above) this means it’s a zoom lens and is capable of zooming and being used at any point across that range. However, if there is a single focal length number (28 mm or 50 mm like the first two above) it’s a prime lens, so taking in more or less of the view will require you to get closer or further away from your subject. Basically your “legs” are its “zoom.”
Next, you need to understand mm. The higher the mm on the lens, the greater the zoom. The lower the mm on the lens the wider the shot or the more scenery you can fit in.
28MM: This prime lens is small, lightweight, and super sharp. I love my more expensive lenses, but I use this one a lot due to its small size and wide aperture. It is also my favorite focal length for lifestyle photography. And can we talk about the backgrounds for a minute? So creamy and smooth while your subject stays tack sharp!
50MM: The pictures that I take with this prime lens are very sharp, it’s great for video, super quiet focusing, de-click switch, manual focus switch, auto/manual aperture ring, native e-mount, and a really beautiful bokeh, which is how the photography world describes how the background or out-of-focus part of the picture blurs.
24-70mm: I love this lens. It’s silent, accurate and has a really fast autofocus. You’re still going to get sharp photos even wide open at F2.8 that allows for really beautiful coloring. If you have good natural light, these are the types of photos that require little to no adjustments for color and lighting! This is the go to lens I took to Paris. I love the size (it is a bit heavy) but the focal length is pretty perfect for almost all situations.
You definitely don’t need to start with all 3! You can start with the lens that comes in your kit or I would start with the zoom lens above so you have a little variation in your shots!
These two bags are just some of the many bags I carry my camera equipment in. You can read more about my bags HERE. And this little divider helps customize any purse I put it into and creates the perfect spaces! Check it out below:
If your goal is to vlog/record video memories… I would begin with the Canon G7X Mark II. If the goal is photography (and great videos too!) I would go with either the Sony A7Rii or the Sony A9, the 24-70mm lens, these SD cards for memory (your camera should come with at least 1), this tripod, and this waterproof camera organizer. And for everything else, check out the gallery below to see all the goodies I have to keep my photography game strong! If you’ve got any questions, let me know in the comments below!