A Camera (Or Phone) For Every Budget

It's the holiday season, and that means that many folks are considering a new camera. That doesn't mean you should run out and by the cheapest DSLR or mirrorless camera, and photographer and YouTuber Tony Northup explains why.

The majority of folks see a large, bulky camera with a detachable lens and assume that the image quality is going to be significantly higher than a phone. While it can be, depending on what camera and lens you buy and how you use it, a bargain basement EOS Canon Rebel T100 and 18-55mm kit lens won't really get you there. These types of cameras, Northrup explains, are often hamstrung by their kit lenses.

Instead, Northrup recommends ponying up for a better kit lens that opens up more options, such as a Canon EF 18-135 f/3.5-4.6 IS USM lens that can give you far more zoom and background blurring capability for nice portraits. There are also older, cheaper options and the used market as well.

The big thing to consider is what you'll use the camera for. For a good many folks, a phone camera can serve the function that most cameras would, and so, short of shooting a specifically challenging genre such as sports or wildlife, this is probably the best place to spend money, Northrup says.

The other group of folks that could benefit from a proper camera are hobbyists that love the feel of shooting with mechanical dials and buttons, and this is where DSLR cameras and mirrorless systems are unmatched. Tapping a screen on a phone doesn't have the same satisfying feeling as the "click" of the shutter.

But after all that, which system or camera is right for you? Northrup takes a look at a lot of good used and new options to fit almost every budget (spoiler alert, if you're not prepared to spend $1,000 or more, watch with caution). Any of these cameras would make an excellent choice, but watch the video above to hear Northrup's specific recommendations.

Do you have a camera you think should have made the list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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No Tony, it's not clumsy and frustrating to get the pics from my camera to my computer. Maybe if you're just used to taking pics with a smartphone, then MAYBE. I don't know why the Northrop's (and they are great professionals) try to make everything they don't like seem like it's an arduous task - it's not.

Perhaps Tony is speaking of Senior Citizens...oh wait, I'm a S.C., perhaps he means younger kids who aren't digital savvy...oh, wait....

Hum, there are a few people I know that transferring a file from one Folder to another Folder is a challenge, but alas, they don't have camera and the snapshots they take with their smartphone stay on their smartphone.

Well, I'm a "Pre-SC". LOL And if you do photography at all, it's simple enough to remove a card from your camera and place it in your computer. IJS. LOL

I've discovered that younger folks raised on iPhone and iPads have little idea about file and folder structures and the discipline needed to copy cards to such structures on a computer. Everything is just thrown onto the cloud and they tend to rely heavily on the search function to find things.

The Northrups would be the LAST people I would even vaguely consider to take ANY photography advice from, as they are consistently proven to be untrustworthy, click-bait-first BS'ers.

My main complaint: I don't see them on site shooting photos, but sitting on a set and talking about it. I've got limited interest in that type of format.

I've met Tony in person when I worked at Canon and he's pretty decent folks, folks.

These great recommendations. Definitely more trust worthy than some of the whiny sniveling disgruntled commenters on here probably because their camera of love got an unfavorable review.

Haha! Not quite so. I"m sure it's b/c we've watched several of their videos and when they don't like a product, they OVER dramatize how bad or difficult it is. My particular comment had nothing to do with my particular camera (Canon R5) b/c I don't really care what something thinks about the gear I use. My point was that it's not difficult to get pics from my camera to my computer as Tony suggests. And my point was not about his recommendations.

Nah, folks getting all triggered and hostile whenever a Northrup video comes up has nothing to do with because of their OVER dramatization of products they don't like. This is the first time I've seen someone bring that up, actually. if anything is over dramatized, it's usually from the commenters.

I couldn't care less what he recommends. Northrop is a slippery click-baiter and his error-filled hit piece on photographer Steve McCurry was absolutely irresponsible.

People still hung up on their Afghan girl story? I've never heard of McCurry 'til then. Apart from that story, I hear McCurry is no angel himself, so, whatever.

That was no story, just a smear because the camera reviewer didn't know the difference between a scarf and a burka. McCurry is only one of the most renowned photographers on the planet: Leica Hall of Fame Award, Hasselblad Master, Robert Capa Gold Medal, etc.

McCurry exploits brown folks to further his career. He's been caught removing unwanted elements from photos that purport to be journalism. Renowned isn't the word I'd use for him.

McCurry has made superb photographs of people and places worldwide. That's not "exploitation", and it's certainly not exploiting "brown folks". After a distinguished career in photojournalism, McCurry transitioned to art photography where Photoshop is permitted and 100% normal. Renowned is exactly the right word for a photographer distinguished with the Leica Hall of Fame Award, Hasselblad Master, Robert Capa Gold Medal, etc.
By the way, did you just start in photography today?

Let's take a look at who is giving out those awards.

Let's compare your photos to Steve McCurry's.

Let's ask the people I photographed how they felt afterwards vs. the people he photographs.

That's just empty innuendo, pretending you're somehow better. But you are not. Don't let that stop you, however. Go ahead and "ask people how they felt" and be sure to report the results. Meanwhile, for very obvious reasons, you don't want to compare your photography to McCurry's.

Technically Tony states "...transferring from a camera to a smartphone is clumsily and frustrating at best...." Then states the easiest way transferring is the SD, as a floppy disk, and physically transfer the files.

So, if you are a linear thinker, it is possibly an accurate statement. Where as a creative thinking can find many ways to accomplish the same task.

A boring video - the content may be right but it's so predictable its content gets lost with me.

Seems to be directed to those looking for a camera and those that believe a smartphone is, hands down, better than a DLSR or Mirrorless.