My thoughts on buying a camera and gear for less than $1,000. Instead of recommending a brand (Chevy vs. Ford debate), let’s look at the pros and cons of the two basic styles of cameras. It really boils down to what kind of shots do you want to take.
It seems like everyone in Thailand has a smartphone of some sort. Luckily for us, our customers like to shoot pics of pizza and share with their friends. Surprisingly, many of these phones seem to take a great picture.
Point & Shoot
The pros are that they are easy to carry and take pretty decent photos. The cons are that they tend to take poor photos at night, zoom is fair and action shots are often blurred. Point and shoot cameras are not upgradable. You cannot change their lenses and the number of external accessories is limited to the brand and make of the camera. Think of a point and shoot like a golf cart. It’s not really a car, but it can still take you from Point A to Point B.
If you don’t mind lugging a camera around, then this style is your best bet. Canon, Nikon and Sony will simply take better photographs than any point and shoot. But ask yourself where are you going to be displaying your photos. If you want to post pics of roses and such on Facebook or any other social media sites, then a DSLR is not needed and most people couldn’t tell the difference between the two styles of cameras.
If you want the biggest bang for the buck, then I would look into used cameras. You could purchase a pretty decent camera body and probably two or three used lenses. Later on, you can always upgrade the body or buy different lens. Nikon and Canon tend to have the largest resell market. Why? Some people like to trade in their car every other year.
Keep in mind that you can’t put a Chevy carburetor on a Ford engine and cameras are no different. And just like buying a cheap car with a lot of miles, always look for the shutter count. A used camera can be expected to have about 10,000 shutter actuations per year for normal use. Again, going back to the car analogy, if your used camera has a shutter count of more than 100,000, you should probably pass on that camera.
Odds & Ends
One of the new trends is a mirrorless camera. Some people say they are great while others not so much. Keep in mind that even if you buy one like a Nikon, they will only accept mirrorless lens; the other Nikon lens don’t work.
You will need a camera bag. My advice is to buy one like a backpack. A lot easier to carry around.
Don’t use a neck strap. Instead spend a bit more and buy a shoulder strap.
I don’t even bother with filters anymore. Most everything can be fixed on whatever software editing program you decide on. Personally, I use acdsee.
Buy an extra battery. And keep it charged.
You will also need a few extra SD cards. Sometimes, they can fail for no reason.
I've gotten some great advice from Ken Rockwell.