As a graphic designer, you undoubtedly encounter moments when it would be handy to have a high-quality digital camera on-hand. Some clients are willing to pay you, but not professional photographers, for example. Other times, the perfect shot is right in front of you, if only you had the camera to shoot it. In an industry that features cameras ranging in price from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars, it begs the question: what is the best digital camera for graphic designers?
First, allow me to make a few assumptions. I will assume you’re either a freelance designer or own a small design firm. That is to say, you don’t have an enormous budget and would like to keep your investment under $1,000. I’ll also assume you don’t shoot photos on a daily basis. Finally, let me assume that your camera might even pull double-duty as your work camera and your home camera, capturing everything from client mug shots to baby’s first Christmas.
DSLR is the way to go
Next, let’s consider the plethora of cameras available. Many have compared digital cameras and posted their opinions of which are the best; for our purposes, we’ll narrow your digital camera purchase down to one type: DSLR. DSLR cameras are widely regarded as some of the highest-quality cameras you can buy. They offer quick shutters, a plethora of automatic and manually adjustable options, and snap high megapixel shots. They also allow you to swap lenses for different types of shots. Thus, DSLR technology affords you a responsive, adaptable camera that yields large, high-quality images.
The only drawback: DSLR technology is more expensive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a good DSLR camera for your graphic design business for under $1,000. Moreover, if you’re going to make an investment, it’s a good idea to choose quality.
Get better prices with kits
Another consideration to take when selecting a digital camera is the lens. Some cameras are sold without lenses, others are sold as kits. When you buy kits, you’ll often realize savings over purchasing cameras and lenses separately.
Two of the most popular DSLR cameras today are the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Nikon D5200. Both are highly-regarded DSLR camera brands, and both models are available as kits with 18-55mm lenses, which are perfect for most shots you’ll need to take. The Canon comes in at right around $600, while the Nikon costs around $800. Look for online deals, and you might find them at even better prices.
Megapixels and personal preference
The primary difference between the two cameras are their megapixels. The Canon takes 18MP photos while the Nikon takes 24MP photos. If you design exclusively for the web and smaller print materials, the difference is negligible. If you’re snapping shots for larger formats, more megapixels is desirable.
Another factor to consider is personal preference. Years ago, when I was a beat reporter at a small-town paper, we were responsible for shooting our own photos. We had both Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, and though our Canons were regarded as better-quality (they were newer models), I always preferred the response and feel of the Nikons. My recommendation would be to go to a local camera shop and try out both models to see which you like best.
Ultimately, there are many good DSLR cameras that would suit your needs as a graphic designer. It’s up to you to conduct research to find the best brand and model for your budget. For my money, I’d pick the Canon EOS Rebel T3i or the Nikon D5200.
What do you think is the best digital camera for graphic designers?