As a professional photographer, I frequently get asked for advice on what camera to buy, most particularly for every day use. We have come to the point in technological advancement where you don’t need to get expensive, big cameras in order to take beautiful photos. But I am a huge advocate for buying a separate camera and not using your smartphone because there is still a big difference between the two.
Why do I need a camera when I have a smartphone?
Smartphones have clever programming in them that make the photos look amazing on your phone screen. Your phone’s software enhances images to make them pleasing to the eye. But if you ever try to print the photos you’ve taken on your smartphone you will find that the quality is quite poor and you can only print them postcard size. I had to photoshop a couple of images quite extensively and even then still only print them small to avoid them looking blurry. This is fine for unimportant photos, but surely your kids, your loved ones and your holiday snaps are more valuable than that?
I’ve had quite a few people tell me that they’ve been disappointed to learn that they’ve never really taken proper photos of loved ones and when they’ve gone to create albums, gifts or collate images for a special occasion, the quality is not good enough.
If you want to be more creative with your photography then smartphones are very limiting. There’s a lot you can do with these fancy apps to make them look nicely processed and with special effects, but the above still applies and the quality remains poor when it comes to use beyond your phone.
I find smartphones practical for photographing things for bookmarking purposes, or if I’ve forgotten a camera. But otherwise I prefer to have my compact camera instead.
If you run a small business then you definitely need a camera. More about this another time.
What camera should I get?
RECOMMENDED: Canon Powershot G7X Mark 2
Rather than take you through lots of product comparisons, I am simply recommending this one camera – I bought this for myself and use it daily for both personal and professional use. I take a view that simplicity is best and I’ve been on the journey of finding out that you can take amazing photos with small cameras and bad photos with big ones. The difference lies in your ability and creativity. So it’s best to start simple. I have actually done the reverse by downsizing all my gear to the smallest possible because I learnt I didn’t need the big guns to produce professional quality work.
If you want to read really geeky technical reviews about this camera, then check out the Canon Website or Tech Radar. But just to reassure you, I spent ages researching what to get, this one consistently gets 5 star ratings and is one of the best reviewed consumer cameras on the market (as of January 2019). For now I just want to talk in practical everyday terms.
This is the camera for you if:
- You just want a camera to photograph your children/pets/holidays/loved ones.
- You don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on it.
- You’d like it to be small enough to slip into your handbag or pocket.
- You’d like it to be easy to use.
- You might be interested in learning more about photography and the more advanced functions of cameras.
This camera will tick all the above boxes for you. I bought it as a secondary personal camera for everyday use and have been super impressed by the quality of images so have started using it for professional use as well. I challenge you tell the difference between photos I’ve posted on my social media.
Easy to Use + Manual Functions :: The Canon G7X Mark 2 is very easy to use and it’s up to you if you want to use the automatic functions (let the camera do all the thinking) or if you want to be more creative and control the functions manually yourself. It’s therefore perfect for beginners who might want to learn more about photography.
Zoom lens :: It has a zoom lens and a macro capability, which means you can photograph things really, really close up or wide open like a big landscape shot. This is important and makes it stand apart from cheaper compact cameras, because a camera without the zoom lens has to rely on digital zoom (which is not really zoom, it just crops the picture to make it look closer and is terrible quality). As a photographer I want to sometimes photograph a landscape and sometimes I want to photograph up close. This camera allows you to do both, and in between.
Beautiful portraits :: It’s really important to me to be able to have a bit of creative control so I can take beautiful portraits. This camera gives you control of aperture (which is my secret to good portraits). So you can get that nice blurry background that looks really pro. This is the factor that makes me recommend it to you. Because this makes the camera stand out from smartphones.
Good in Low Light :: I don’t like using flash unless I need to. This camera has an inbuilt flash, but it is also performs well in low light without a flash. One of the reasons I’ve always used the big expensive SLRs is because they were the only ones that could handle low light. But this little camera can keep up now as well. I previously had a Canon 100D SLR which was meant to be my little SLR for personal use but it didn’t perform well in low-light at all, in fact it really struggled. The G7X Mark 2 totally rocks low light conditions and I’m really impressed.
In-built WIFI :: One of the nifty things this camera does is that it can very easily connect to your smartphone via WIFI (or bluetooth) so you can upload images to social media immediately. So no laptops needed if you’re on holiday. The colours of the photos are so great that I don’t even need to process the images with filters, but if you did want to, you can still do that on your phone.
HD Video :: You can also film HD video on it which is important for when you want to capture those special moments that require more than just a still image. Some people complain that it doesn’t have 4k, but I do professional work with HD and it’s just fine. It’s all you need for your personal use and it looks great on both your laptop and TV.
Good File Sizes :: The file size is also very impressive and you can print high quality prints with this camera, you could easily print something big to hang on your wall. It shoots in RAW if you want to get creative and process the files (which is what I need to do for my professional work), but you can also just shoot in JPEG (which means the old fashioned standard way – it will spit out a file you can share or print immediately).
Small & Lightweight :: It slips into your pocket and is so light. This is ideal for travel or social outings.
There are a lot of other geeky reasons to love this camera, but these are the key points that I find make it the best camera to recommend to everyone for all-round everyday use.
These images you see below are shrunk so that they appear on your screen quickly, so the detail is a little lost. If you click on them, you will be taken to a link of the original full sized image so you can see the real detail you get. Each of these images is straight out of the camera without any processing. I haven’t photoshopped a thing or touched anything up in Lightroom.
Christine Wehrmeier is a professional lifestyle, wedding & travel photographer. She is a contributor to Getty Images, Alamy & Unsplashed. Her work has been published in well known print & online publications such as Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Cosmpolitan, E! and more. She has shot for various high profile clients and TV celebrities and her wedding photography has featured in many wedding blogs such as Rock My Wedding, Rock’N’Roll Bride, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, Boho Weddings and London Bride.