Due to an incident on Christmas Eve involving my car door, camera, a patch of ice and a carseat in arms, I found myself in need of a new camera. As the mother of a three year old and an infant, I view a camera as a necessity and one I didn’t want to go long without. And I want the best option which professional headshots in Naples FL photographers and other experts use for quality shots.

I asked a co-worker with a vast amount of experience and knowledge for a little help. I also talked to a friend with a photography business and a friend who has three children and my aunt who might as well have a tripod instead of a second arm at family functions. It was like asking Niagara Falls for a drink of water. I had a lot of information to sift through, but I knew in the end, I’d walk away with a great camera that fit my needs.

Camera Systems

There are three general camera systems to choose from: Point and Shoots, Compact Mirrorless cameras and Digital SLR cameras. Each are detailed below.

Point and Shoot

This camera is what most of us think about when we hear the words digital camera. It is small in size and in price (relatively). You can purchase this camera for anywhere from $100-$400. My co-worker recommended the Olympus XZ-1 or the Panasonic Lumix LX5 as very capable models. This is the type of camera I smashed in my car door and it worked just fine, but I was looking for a little more this next time around.

Compact Mirrorless Cameras

“The next step up is the fastest growing segment of cameras because they are “pocketable/purseable” but yet perform much better than the point and shoot cameras due to faster focusing abilities and better performance in low light.” – Luke B. They are still pretty light and have interchangeable lenses. Cameras of this style run about $275-$675 and two great models are the Panasonic GF3 or GF5.

Digital SLR Cameras

Finally, the top of the line cameras fall into the Digital SLR category. If you have $350-$1,200 to spend and time to learn how to use it, not to mention a beyond average interest in photography, then this is the camera group for you. They have the fastest focus, interchangeable lenses, and do better in low light situations (although no camera can totally make you forget you are inside a dark gym). A couple of recommendations from this category are: the Pentax Kx and the Canon Rebel T3i.

General Advice

“The best camera is the one you have with you.” – Luke B. If you aren’t willing to haul it or want something that easily stashes in your purseā€¦ keep that in mind as you shop.

“If you buy on Amazon.com you can get a lot more for your money because of the bundles they offer.” – Angie P. I definitely experienced this. For the same price as another retailer, I got my camera, lens, bag, instructional DVD, tripod, cords to showcase my pictures via the TV, an extra battery and an extra memory card. Nothing like a bargain to sweeten the entire experience!

“Before you buy it, especially if you are buying it online, go to a store and actually hold the camera. Does it feel good in your hands? Is it too heavy? Do you like the way it looks? Make sure it is actually what you want.” – Sue Z. This is advice I definitely followed. Even though I didn’t purchase my camera from Wal-Mart, I went there and held it, let it hang around my neck and pretended to take pictures.

My Choice

I decided on a Canon Rebel T3. After saving birthday money and a few other dollars here and there, I didn’t feel guilty about the $475 I spent, especially considering that I would be using it to document the lives of my adorable and active sons and possibly enliven my writing pieces with high quality images. I haven’t learned all the tricks of the trade yet, but I figure having the right equipment is a good first step. I look forward to discovering the world through my new lens.