I literally haven't used my digital SLR cameras in just over a month. Not even once. 

I mean, fuck... my insurance premium each month would be so much more chilled if i didn't have my digital kit.

I wanted to write this post as I get messaged twice a week by friends, at the very least, asking 'SUP.. Dan what do you think I should get.. i have about 400£/600£/£1000' .. and whereas I used to know... the answer is .. i really don't know any more... Everything on offer is pretty good. Everything on offer is actually now pretty expensive too. You're all expecting me to go into a rant about film cameras now and how badass and cheap...aren't you? Well.. 

Let's say you're buying a digital camera in 2017. In 2014, the price of a standard portrait lens, a 50mm 1.8, was £150. It's now £199. A Nikon Pro body was £2370. Now it's £2799.  

First caveat.. the lens is the most important purchase. If you want that background blur.. buy a prime lens with a 1.4/1.8 aperture and you're off. Ignore the kit lenses on offer.. ignore the 18-55's and the 55-200's.. they're terrible. Buy body only and buy a 35mm or a 50mm lens with a fast aperture.


The camera is only as good as the lens. People have said this for years and it will never not be the truth. Good lenses before expensive cameras. 

1. DSLR's

DSLR updates since about 2014 have not really given you much more camera. (and focus on the word camera with the following statements) - It has been little sales moments from the inclusion of WIFI, better movie slow-motion frame-rates, 4k with improving bit-rates, slightly better processors so you can take that extra 10 frames in a 100 shot burst and record clean 4K. This stuff is mostly bullshit if you're trying to just take a good photo. The sales companies make you think you want these features and whack £500 more on the product for it.

Salesman [It has 4k.. crosses arms all smug-like]. ..90% of the improvements they're charging you for now are on the moving image side. 

I've been talking about DSLR's so far which are different to:

2. Mirrorless cameras. Mirrorless cameras are smaller than DSLR's as they have electronic sensors , instead of periscope systems of mirrors, to help you compose the image.  DSLR's have optical viewfinders (That means a viewfinder you look through and can see real life not pixels). Mirrorless cameras replace these mirrors with an electronic sensor that recreate what the mirrors would do. This allows the cameras to be smaller and lighter.

i recommend a mirrorless camera for 95% of people, like the Sony A7S II's A7R ii's / FUJI XT2 or 1/XT20 or 10. You can pretty much adapt any amazing vintage lens onto them so you don't need to blitz 500£ a lens any more. They give you amazing help manual focusing with focus peaking and zebra modes that highlight the point of focus in the viewfinder. They're super light weight and have as many functions as the bigger cameras.

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Realistically, if a camera's lighter, you're more likely to take it out, therefore take better shots and likely to enjoy it more. The cameras i've recommended above are actually creeping up over 1-2K new BUT, you should buy used from wex.com / mpb.com / ebay / and facebook groups as you will get SO much more for your money.

3. Why don't I use mirrorless cameras? I love my film cameras. I love the process of film and the feeling like a camera is a tool to craft with. I also love them as they feel like cameras. Most mirrorless cameras feel more like customisable computers, to me, than tools for me to work with. If my last camera purchase is anything to go by (see below).. i'm not the one to be taking advice from. 

Big love xxx

My new camera - The Intrepid 4x5