Last Updated on 05/05/2023
When I lived in Italy, I had a 2002 Fiat Panda. It was lime green and the AC didn’t work. On longer road trips to Tuscany, I was always a little surprised the car actually made it. I never really thought about upgrading or investing in the latest fancy car. I was just happy to have one.
I was the same way with my camera. From 2015 until about two weeks ago, I have been using the same old entry level Canon.
“What camera do you use?” is the question I get asked the most. However, keep in mind choosing what camera to buy is a very personal decision. How often will you use it? What is your budget? Are you considering starting a blog or making your Instagram a business? Do you want to use it once a year for nice photos on your family vacation?
*Before we get into it, please note this post contains affiliate links that help me keep this site running at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!*
Cameras and Lenses
For the everyday user, the latest iPhones take great photos. I typically just use my iPhone for stories on Instagram and will even occasionally post an iPhone photo on my feed. There are plenty of #iphoneonly Instagrammers who have more followers than I ever will.
However, if you are truly looking to learn the technical aspects of photography, you’ll want a standalone camera.
Most of the photos on this blog before 2021 were taken with the $400 Canon Rebel T5 my mom bought me in 2015 (Thanks, mom!). The latest version is the Rebel T7. I paired it with the 24mm prime lens and have overall been happy with the images. The Rebel series is a great entry level, crop frame DSLR if you are on a budget and just starting out (or have been running a blog for years ha! Who knows?!).
This is one of my most liked photo on Instagram. Reposted countless times, but most notably by Travel+Leisure and Beautiful Destinations. Taken on a Canon Rebel.
After days of research and years of procrastination, I finally decided I needed an upgrade and purchased the Canon RP. The Canon RP is the entry level model for Canon’s full frame, mirrorless lineup (Canon RP, R, R6, R5). To stick with the car analogy, I feel like I just got a Ferrari.
Taken on Canon RP.
I had no idea what I was missing. My new Canon took its maiden voyage with me on my latest trip to Southwest France and it was a joy to use. I won’t go into the weeds with all the specs, but you can get all the details on this product page.
For maximum versatility, I chose to pair it with the RF 24-105mm f/4 zoom lens. I won’t lie to you, this lens is very heavy. The images are amazing though. I have noticed a little distortion in smaller focal lengths, but it’s nothing I can’t correct in Lightroom. Overall, the images are sharp, it produces a nice bokeh, works great in low light and does what I need it to do.
Taken on Canon RP.
I’ve also got my eye on the RF 35mm prime lens for a more compact option. The 35mm lens on a full frame is almost the same as the 24mm I’ve been using on my old crop sensor camera. This would be a good option if you are looking to be out the door with lens and camera for around $1500 USD.
2022 Update: I did purchase the RF35mm prime lens and I now use it far more than the heavier zoom lens. It fits in my purse and I love the image quality. Having the ability to go to f/1.8 is really useful too.
I swear by Lightroom. I really mulled over the purchase and my husband finally got it for me for Christmas several years ago. My only regret is not buying it sooner. It’s truly one of the most powerful tools to transform your photos. It can take a lot of practice to master the many settings and get your own unique style, but it’s worth it.
Lightroom is now under the subscription model for about $10 per month for Lightroom Classic for desktop and full access to the app. You can also use the free version of the mobile app to get a feel for it before purchasing desktop.
For desktop, I recommend watching a few YouTube videos on how to stay organized with your imports/exports and catalogs. This was my biggest struggle when first getting started with it.
Taken on Canon RP.
I don’t have a huge collection of lenses, but I store the few I have in these padded drawstrings bags. More not so glamorous but necessary items include my SD cards, Seagate hard drives and hard drive cases.
“The best camera is the one that’s with you”- Chase Jarvis
I truly believe, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” You don’t need to spend $5000 to take nice photos. So, if you’re just starting out with photography, don’t get muddled down with all the details. Just choose a decent entry level camera that makes sense for your needs and budget, then practice.
Feel free to ask me a question in the comments or DM me on Instagram!