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Choosing a Camera Format

Updated on April 21, 2014
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Camera formats

You should look into some camera buying suggestions through the web or at local shops before you embark into the wonderful world of photography.

There is nothing worse than discovering a different format which you now fell in love with from the one you just bough, so look and try different brands and formats before spending your hard earned dollars.

If you have read some of my previous posts, you know that I use Canon because of the wide availability of lenses and film-digital lens compatibility. There are some who claim that Nikon is the choice for professionals, that might be so, but Canon is not far behind as a professionals' choice.

Ever noticed how many long white lenses there are at sporting events? (hint: they are Canon). But if you are getting started into photography, almost any brand can serve your purpose. You should also seek some camera buying suggestions and become familiar with some of the various formats used in photography.

The most versatile format remains 35mm whether film or digital. However if you want to specialize in photography, for example only shooting scenes, there are other formats that you should consider.

Apart from 35mm, there is medium format or 120mm/220mm. This type of camera offers, like its name suggest, a larger film/digital size thus prints can be made that are larger than those from the 35mm format. They are more expensive than 35mm and are great for scenes or landscape photography.

Large format or 4X5 are ideal for those of you that only want to shoot scenes and landscapes or large events with excellent grain fineness, and off course, they offer the largest size prints that can be made. But you better be ready to spend a substantial amount of money if you want one of them.

All brands and sizes, with rare exceptions, offer interchangeable lenses, but medium and large formats mainly use one lens size and other sizes are rarely needed.

Which camera is best? is not what you should be asking, rather ask yourself how good or advanced are you in your photographic know-how. You can literary spend over $18,000 for a camera and still take "bad photos". The photographer makes the difference, not the camera.

I prefer Canon because of its range and availability of lenses and their compatibility with digital, I can use a film lens on a digital cameras and vice verse. With that in mind, once you have found your niche, and decided what camera best fits your style, research and then buy.

There is no need to buy new when there is a large selection of used cameras and most come with guarantees. But regardless of which format you end up choosing, no matter how expensive or advanced your system is, what matters most is the tool between your ears.

All of my cameras and lenses were used when I bought them and to date have never given me problems. I recently switched from film to digital (finally) as editor's demands for speed have mandated it. I love having the feeling of holding a 35mm slide in my hands and examining each slide in my light box, but if I want to make money, I needed to switch to digital. In case you're wondering, I'm not selling my film camera just yet.

Here is a list of camera formats,brands and prices. The list could go on for ever, but I have tried to give you suggestions on the most widely used brands based on popularity, availability and costs. Note the order: Brand ,Cost, Store and Dig for digital

Brands: Canon, Nikon,Sony,Kodak,Ricoh, Mamiya,Olympus,Leica,Pentax, Fujifilm, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex.

Canon Eos 60D $ 969.00 Amazon, Canon Rebel EDS 500D $749.00 Amazon,Canon Powershot 5x300 Dig, $369.00 Amazon,Canon EDS 50D $1449.00 the

Nikon D3100 Dig $549.00 Amazon,NikonD70S Dig $999.00 the

Olympus E-510 Dig $978.00 Amazon, Olympus E-3 $ 949.00 the, Olympus Sp-50D Dig $ 439.00 the

Fujifilm Finepix 53 $1100.00 the, Sony Alpha A550 Dig $679.00 the,Pentax 6X7 $484.00 the, Mamiya 645-AF-D $895.00 Amazon, Rolei TLRS $3000.00 the, Hasselblad 503CW $3460.00 Amazon

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    • profile image

      Oluwasegun 6 years ago

      Beautiful tutorials. Pls is there topic on musical instruments? If there is, pls kindly reply me where to login.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Thanks, Luis - I have two DSLRs (one is probably way more camera than I am a photographer). I like the 24-105 zoom, and the 70-200. I'm probably not steady or strong enough to go much longer on a zoom. I'd love to know what teleconverters you prefer. Haven't yet found one I like. I'm very much still learning. I confess I miss film, though. I still have my old Minolta 201, all manual & all metal. I'm not even sure you can get batteries for it anymore. Loved that camera!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Marcy Goodfleisch: Thank you. I sues a Canon EOS 3 film camera and a Canon DSLR. The lenses that I sue on my film camera work on my digital. My favorite combination is the DSLR, 80mm to 400mm zoom lens with a 2X teleconverter and a tilt flash.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      I'm a Canon user - I started out with it & after you sink $$$ into lenses, you tend to stick with it. I like the equipment, though. I'd be curious what your favorite kit lens is (and body).

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      My husband just bought me a beautiful digital Nikon camera thinking it would help with my writing. I am excited to learn how to use it better.

    • medor profile image

      medor 7 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I am comparing Canon with Nikon myself as I am about to make the leap from film to digital... I like the Nikon 500 and have a great little camera shop that I have been going to for over 40 years that has been trying to convince me to get a Canon instead... thanks for the article...