I have travelled quite a bit but have only used a very bad digital camera and my iPhone camera. The digital camera has broken and I would like to get another but of better quality. My question is.. what would a nice simple camera be for a beginner taking pictures of people and landscapes? I've heard that Interchangeable Lens Cameras are easy to use but maybe a DSLR would be better? A Point and shoot would be nice but since I want better quality I am thinking of a DSLR.
Thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.
As it turns out, a nice simple camera (also, good!) for a beginner would be what you already have - the iPhone.
Need validation or inspiration? Then check out Flickr, where 4 of the top 5 cameras are iPhones:
Too many beginners get engrossed in technicalities and theory. While being a photographer means that one should be well-versed in both, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as the first thing to concentrate on.
Instead, I'd say get the 'arty' bits right. Most importantly, composition. That is where most photographers (myself included) have faltered in the beginning.
The way it usually goes is this: beginner photographer looks at a beautiful vista in front of him/her, and is a little overwhelmed by it's resplendence. He/she picks up his camera, points at the vista and trips the shutter release at whatever catches his/her eye as interesting.
Alas, when looking at the LCD to review, he/she meets with disappointment.
The way it should go is thus: photographer looks at a vista, considers the entire scene, and forms a finished image in his/her mind. From what will occupy the frame, to the exposure, to the mood that you want to capture, the emotions you would like to evoke amongst your viewers- everything.
Visualising what the finished frame will look like in 2 dimensions takes a lot of practice and experience, and that too only once it's made into a habit. Try and think of what your finished images look way before you actually capture anything. Read more about composition. Not just photographic composition, but perhaps even paintings by the Dutch Masters.
Remember that it isn't the camera that creates photos, it's the photographer
that creates photos. The camera is merely the tool. Buying a DSLR won't ensure better quality. Yes, it will mean less noise, better low-light capability, better dynamic range, better control over depth of field (among other expanded functions) , but you'll only learn how to extract those out of the camera once you're a little more proficient yourself. You might think of creating photos as a craft, much like, say, carpentry. In the wrong hands, the best chisel and sandpaper will only result in terrible furniture. In the right ones they'll be works of art.
I'm going to stop lecturing you now before you die of boredom. :)
If you're adamant about getting a better quality camera, I'd say yes- go for the DSLR.
The compact interchangeable lens cameras out there are getting better every day, but they're still not quite there yet, in my opinion, to justify their prices. They're as expensive as DSLRs (if anything, the good ones are more expensive than consumer DSLRs) and are a little 'clunky' to use. As in, you have to hold most of them about a foot away from your face to watch the LCD, which doesn't always make for the best ergonomics.
Having said that, they're gaining popularity everyday and their compact size does make them easier to tote about than their bulkier DSLR cousins.
Here's are some picks from 2014 if you're interested:
You'll find other comparisons on the web as well.
If you're looking for a DSLR, any consumer-grade offering from Nikon, Canon, Sony would do. The only thing you should bear in mind is sales and service centres around your area. I suppose sales doesn't matter so much with so many ecommerce portals these days, but it would suck to discover that there's no service centre in your city for your camera's manufacturer.
I hope that helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.