What camera do I need?

Tim Wells
3 min readJul 5, 2022

Many of us have been asked, or perhaps been the ones asking questions like “What camera do I need to take photos of some subject matter?”

Photo by Math on Unsplash

It a question that some might find frustrating, similar to that age old statement of “Wow, you have a big camera, it must take really nice photos.” Others won’t hesitate to recommend a certain model or brand with a whole lot of terms that person may or may not understand.

Almost always my own response is something like “Well, what camera do you have?”

To which invariably they will reply with something like, “Well I have my iPhone.”

“Great”

I will say.

“Use that.”

I know, I know. I can feel some people shaking their heads in disappointment, but for the most part it’s the simplest solution for both them, and more importantly, for me. For them it means there is no need to go buy something expensive that will spend most of it’s time in a bag in a cupboard. For me, it means they aren’t going to expect me to donate all my spare time teaching them to use some new camera they purchased because I recommended it.

Let’s be honest. For many people, they are going to be happier if the answer is that they can do it using the camera they have. For many subjects, the camera isn’t really going to make a huge difference and there isn’t much point suggesting someone get one, if it’s reasonably clear they won’t make good use of it.

I’d rather spend a bit of time giving them some pointers on how to get the best photo of the subject they mentioned using the camera they have, than deal with teaching them to use a completely new and unfamiliar camera system.

Unless they are genuinely going out to try and shoot the milky way, or they have a lighting setup they need to pair a camera with or some other more interesting situation then they can get by for now with their iPhone or whatever they have.

They would be better off learning some tips to help them make good compositions than worrying about buying a different camera.

That’s not to say I won’t help if someone genuinely wants to get into photography more seriously or if they have some knowledge already and want to improve. I’m all about helping people improve and grow. I’ve learnt a lot over the years from others and I enjoy paying that forward.

But perhaps rather than selling them a new camera, we should teach them how to make the most of their current camera.

Unless of course you’re a camera salesman… then what are you waiting for?!

If you’ve got any topics you would like help or suggestions on, or questions you would like my thoughts on, then please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Tim Wells

Self taught software developer and photographer.