A question I receive often is what cameras I use and why. I have been passionate about photography since I can remember, anxiously awaiting my Kodak disposable film to be developed after an elementary school birthday party, making all my siblings line up for photos on vacations and taking selfies well before there was a term. I am certainly no professional but you will rarely find me without a camera on hand. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and save this post for when you have a bit of free time to relax. This post has no shortage of words plus lots (and lots) of photos!
After using a beautiful Canon point-and shoot for a few years, I decided it was time to learn to shoot on a DSLR. I started out with the Canon EOS 70D Christmas day of 2011. I learned SO much with that camera and would still highly recommend it. I’d go to Barnes and Noble for an afternoon, pull all the digital photography books off the shelves and sit down to learn as much as possible. I bookmarked blog post after blog post detailing photography tips and tricks. My senior year of college, I finally decided to take a photoshop course just to learn some basics. I was so thirsty to become a better photographer!
I continued to learn the craft but mostly just continued taking photos. I cant tell you how many times I’d “miss a moment” trying to figure out lighting and aperture. I’d end a day so frustrated because I didn’t capture it the way I wanted to. Once I had kids, my goal was to not have to feel like I needed to hire a photographer to capture beautiful moments. I wanted to trust myself as the keeper of these beautiful memories. It’s still my motivation to this day because I have so much learning to do still!
Last spring, after much research and anticipation, I upgraded my camera body to the big boy, the dreamboat, my Canon 5D Mark IV. It is an investment, for sure. One you absolutely don’t need to make to step up your photography. But I’ll never, ever get rid of it and I wont be upgrading again. The majority of professional photographers I’ve researched call this camera their favorite. This is the camera I shoot with most often and after I switched to this camera coupled with my new lens, requests for this blog post started pouring in. Here are some of my favorite things about it-
1. I love that it has Wi-fi so I can quickly send photos to my phone.
2. I also love the touch screen which makes focusing super easy with one tap. This is especially helpful on the rare occasion O has the camera because friends, I don’t have an ‘Instagram husband.’ These are photos I’ve been able to set up for O and hand off the camera for him to take without any guesswork because of the touch-screen focus feature:
Not bad, right!?
3.The camera is equipped with the best sensors available and its ability to track subjects jumping in and out of frame is uncanny. This feature + busy toddlers is absolute magic.
4. The 4K video is stunning. I can shoot in the lowest light possible and the quality is still stunning. There are 61High Density Reticular AF points which makes focusing a breeze. My favorite thing to do is lay on the grounds while the kids are in their own worlds playing and record the moments I know I’ll want to look back on most. Filming at 1.8 or 2.0 aperture makes for movie-like quality that will take your breath away.
5. Its unprecedented lowlight capabilities are another feature I really appreciate. All the jumping, throwing, running and crazy flailing arms are caught so effortlessly. If you’re super techy and you want to dig into all the other magical features of this camera, read on right here.
My second favorite camera is another Canon which I’ve shared my thoughts on in this post– the Canon Powershot G7 Mark II. (that’s the exact link I purchased mine through a couple years ago. Prime, baby.) It’s a big fancy name for a little, not super fancy camera. MAN is this a gem!! This camera has Wi-fi, a touch screen, an incredible Zoom, stunning video quality, a tilting LCD touch screen for selfies and filming yourself, and phenomenal aperture range for a point and shoot. All for under $700! It is constantly described by tech reviewers as a “no brainer.” I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve recommended this camera to many friends and everyone has raved about it since. If you’re looking for a great camera without having to learn too much about photography, this is for you. You can shoot your kids playing sports without having to mess around with ISO and Shutter Speed-what could be better than that? If you’re not familiar with aperture, it’s what controls that beautiful ‘bokeh’ of background blur that makes portraits so dreamy. All of these photos were taken on this camera:
It’s the camera I carry in my purse everywhere during travel to film videos and snap photos of the kids on an adventure without the bulk of my Mark IV. These videos are all filmed with this bad boy right here.
My two favorite lenses I’ve used in the past 7 years are my 1.EF 50mm f/1.4 lens and my 2. EF 24-700 f/2.8 lens. The first is definitely a lens I use most for portaits, food and detail shots. It’s a fixed lens so you can’t zoom in and the depth of field is so narrow that you don’t want to use it for things like buildings, landscapes, big family shoots or anything like that. Now that all that is out of the way, let it be known that this is my favorite lens. It’s not always a no brainer to work with-I have to make sure the entire face is in focus a few times rather than just snapping away. But the photos I’ve taken with this lens are always the ones I want to print and share because they’re so special.
[If you want a similar effect of this lens without the investment, I shot with the 3. EF 50mm f/1.8 lens for YEARS and took the most beautiful photos with it. It’s a super famous lens perfect for everyone because you get the bokeh-background blur-at the best possible bang for your buck. It’s $125 and the best photography investment you can make in a lens! Every blogger I know started out with this very lens.]
Now, here are my examples of the beautiful bokeh you can achieve with the EF 50mm f/1.4 lens :
the EF 24-700 f/2.8 lens. is the workhorse lens. It’s a zoom lens so I can get a wide shot and a tight shot if need be, making it my go-to travel lens. I typically only bring this lens out to shoot on trips and any time we’re exploring because its just so easy to shoot with. With a maximum aperture of 2.7, I can still achieve the bokeh I love so much while still being able to take detail shots of cathedrals, group portraits and hillside scenery shots all with the same lens. Here are a few shots over the past 6 years with this lens:
I hope you find this helpful! Again, am no professional whatsoever (I leave that up to my sister) but this is a lifelong passion of mine I wont ever stop pursuing. I always love getting a peek into what’s in someone’s camera bag. Mine is based off of so much research, most of which began with researching the lenses my favorite bloggers said they use on the regular and putting them to the test. Cameras can be a huge investment so I would recommend starting with the Canon Powershot G7 Mark II and studying the basics of photography in the mean time. If you’re ready to jump in with both feet and learn as you go, the Canon Rebel T6i is a wonderful (and wallet-friendly) place to start After all my research and all my testing out, I can say in my opinion, the Canon 5D Mark IV is the best digital camera of all time. For a self-taught photographer, the features are unbeatable and so user friendly but is used by some of the best professional photographers in the world. I cannot recommend it enough.