Here is a link to the Canon Mirrorless camera website, it will give you an idea of prices direct from Canon. I suggest you check out the gear combinations I suggested.
Hi, and thanks for responding so comprehensively. One critical feature missing is still budget - we could recommend cameras that are out of your price range or not include cameras you can afford.
Dedicated cameras are far more powerful than good smart phone for a wide range of applications. Smartphones are great for social events and even some landscapes that generally favour wide angles, and they have the benefit of a wide ranger of apps that can work wonders with the image output from small sensors and optics.
Dedicated camera offer much bigger sensors with the potential to produce images with more dynamic range (i.e. range of tones between pure black and pure white), higher optical resolution, and optics that can directly bring subjects much close to you - for example birds or large animals, or insects. They also offer benefits to isolate subjects from their backgrounds, which are appropriate for portraiture, for example.
However, smart phones tend to do the work for the human, but dedicated cameras require much more investment from the user in terms of controlling the image. This means understanding some of the physics that govern photography, how exposure works and the three elements that control it: Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO. These three combine to control the amount of light captured, but the combinations of these render significant differences in the composition of the image. For example, shutter speed can be used to freeze a drop of water in mid air, or create a dreamy effect with a long exposure. My point here is that you need to be prepared to study this, take a lot of images and accept that your early efforts may not be as successful as you might expect with a cell phone - it's not the technology at this point, it's the user's skill that needs to be developed.
So, some suggestions for you to consider:
1. Join a local photographic society or camera club
2. Digest some videos on the basics of how cameras work and learn some of the terminology:
For example: If you go to your local library website, search for an item on LinkedIn Learning. If the library has the link in its catalogue, you will have free access to a wide range of high quality tutorials on a vast range of subjects, presented by qualified professional and educators. The range of topics on photography is vast.
Check out the following You Tube Video:
Overview by Chris Bray, National Geographic photographer:
Learn Photography - Simple, Practical - Free Photography Course 1/10 - YouTube
I would suggest that you hold back on aspirations for producing large, detailed prints for the time being, and concentrate on producing for digital display. There are two reasons for this: the gear is cheaper and large, detailed prints will be likely to show flaws in the images. Second, as I mentioned, the investment for large, detailed HIGH QUALITY prints is much greater, both for gear and the printing + mounting costs. It is something to aspire to, and that will come, but just be patient.
The Gear: As mentioned, without a budget this is hard to be too specific on.
There are two things to consider here:
a) The camera body which contains the sensor to capture the image, along with light metering and other technology that may stabilize the camera when shooting.
b) At least as important are the optics: the lenses that will offer you different focal length for a range of applications from capturing wide vistas to magnifying subjects. The lens arguably has a greater impact on the image than the camera body - something that those starting out often do not realize. Lenses often cost more than the camera body, and that is particularly true for aspirations to create larger, detailed prints.
Since you are starting out, I would recommend going for Canon R-series Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILCs). These are the latest technology and have significant benefits over the earlier DSLR cameras. At the beginner level there are two bodies that offer potential:
The Canon EOS R10 is a starter unit that has what is called a crop sensor - smaller than a 35mm film negative (which is considered a 'Full Frame' size). You can fit a wide range of Canon RF and RF-S lenses to it.
I would suggest starting out with a single, general purpose lens for the body, something like the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens. This will allow you to shoot some reasonably wide angle to moderate telephoto images, portraits and events - it's a good general purpose starting point.
An alternative to the crop sensor camera, is the Canon EOS R8, which has the same size sensor as a 35mm negative and is thus called a Full-Frame camera. This is a brilliant unit, and offers some features that the R10 does not. If you chose this unit, then I would suggest going with the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM lens. Again, a great general purpose, all-in-one unit.
At this point in your development you are seeking to learn about your camera and how to use its controls to create images that are well exposed and allow you to compose pleasing images. It is a learning curve and you are just starting!
As I don't live in the USA, I will not venture specific pricing, but I will suggest looking at the Canon Refurbished Camera site where one can get gently used cameras, restored to as new and come with a warranty at reduced prices.
@Tronhard: Thanks for the awesome comprehensive suggestions. I'll check out refurbished options for the body/lenses you suggested. One more question: What're your thoughts on compact cameras (no-lenses) for beginners? Does canon have any such options??
Hi again. 🙂
Canon does have a range of compact cameras. However, these have different size sensors depending on the type of camera you look at. To give you an idea of the range of sensors, check out this chart:
if you are serious about the range of subjects that you have identified, you would need a camera with interchangeable lenses to get the combination of quality and reach involved.
That said, Canon do make a range of superzoom cameras called Bridge Cameras - The PowerShot SX series. These look like miniature DSLR cameras, with most of the same controls, but with a single, built-in lens offering a massive zoom range, but a tiny 12/3" sensor no bigger than that one might find on a cell phone, and that conflicts with the image quality you want.
The current flagship in that range is the PowerShot SX70HS, which has a focal range equivalent to what one would get in a full-frame camera of 21-1365mm. I had the SX60HS camera, and that has essentially the same focal range as the SX70HS, and is arguably more attuned to still photography, while the later version is missing some features for stills in favour of video.
To give you an idea of the focal range of the SX60/70 here are a few photos.
While the focal range is massive, the sensor is so small that it will be severely challenged in anything but the best conditions, such as were present in these samples.
The next size up is the 1" sensor: found in the Canon PowerShot G#X series cameras. To get the wides possible focal range, you would be looking at the G3X, which has a focal range equivalent to 24-600mm on a full-frame camera. While the sensor is much bigger and will render cleaner images the focal range must be reduced. One drawback of this is the lack of a built-in viewfinder, which is necessary for stability when shooting at long focal lengths. Placing the camera to one's face and looking through the viewfinder, while holding the camera with both hands gives three points of stability (like a tripod) and will result in a much lower rate of spoiled images from camera movement. See the following video to demonstrate:
For a couple of images I took with this unit:
See the following review, that is typical of most reactions. It MIGHT be within your budget and if so, could well be the best all-round unit if you don't want to go for a MILC system.
While I am a very loyal Canon shooter, this is one niche product that, in the interests of full disclosure, I would be remiss in not addressing. Again, I recommend Canon MILC R-series cameras with RF lenses if you intend to study and expand your photography. No fixed lens cameras offer that capability for expansion.
@Tronhard: Thanks for the info, needed that. I'll have a look at the videos you sent and get back if I have further questions. But, in general, what's your take on compact cameras (no lenses) for beginners? Are they worth it or is it better to go with the interchangeable lens gears you initially suggested (EOS R10 or EOS R8)?
09/26/2023: New firmware updates are available.
08/18/2023: Canon EOS R5 C training series is released.
07/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/18/2023: New firmware updates are available.
03/30/2023: New firmware updates are available.