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How to Choose a Camera

It’s that time of year again when you’re looking to stuff gifts in your stocking or underneath the tree!  And we’ve been asked on several occasions in the past couple of months what digital camera we would recommend.  There’s unfortunately not enough space for us to write everything out here and there are also an ocean of digital cameras of all different varieties from different manufacturers.  So what we’ll try to do is narrow it down to at least the category of camera that you may be interested in.

The most important question to ask yourself before you buy a camera is “What am I going to use it for?”  The obvious answer is to take photos, but photos of what, where of who and when?  The reason why cameras come in so many different shapes and sizes is because they serve a specific purpose and versatility isn’t always possible.  For example, if we’re going on vacation and plan to do hiking we try to pack as light as possible.  So even though our Nikon D4 and full complement of professional lenses will take the best photos in the world, we’re not going to take our 20+ lb bag of equipment with us or else we won’t get that far (or at least Andrew won’t since he’ll be carrying it).  We’ll slim down our camera gear and bring maybe one camera and lens instead. 

So here are a few other questions to ask yourself when choosing a camera:

Do I want the best quality photos possible? – In general most professional photographers use DSLRs because they give the best results due to their large sensor which will capture the most detail and information in an image.  A larger sensor does not mean more megapixels!  But unfortunately some are still drawn to the “bigger is better” syndrome.  In fact, unless you plan on doing any kind of simple photo editing to crop down to a smaller zoomed in image or a banner for the side of a sky scrapper, there really is no need for a camera that will produce more than 24+MP.  Your monitor won’t be able to display all of the megapixels, and print shops need substantially less for a high quality photo.

Is portability important for me? – As mentioned above, a DSLR may not be for everyone if you’re out on the ski slopes or need something that you can carry around in your pocket to take quick pics.  Of course with the emergence of camera phones, not as many people carry around a point and shoot camera.  But there are still reasons why these smaller cameras would be useful besides the simplicity of a single purpose device.  The “everything-proof” cameras like the water, dust, shock, and freeze proof cameras definitely fit into the portability category and are great to bring anywhere.  We bought ourselves the Nikon AW100 earlier this year for our own travels, but there are many other options on the market today.

Can I get great photos with a portable camera? – In the last few years, mirrorless cameras have been becoming much more popular because they can take high quality photos like DSLRs, yet they are much more portable because they don’t have as many moving parts and they have smaller sensors.  So these are ideal travel cameras as well and something we would personally love to get into.  However the major drawback with the infancy of this technology is their high price tag  as you can easily spend well over $1000 with some of these models!  So camera enthusiasts or DSLR owners are often the target of this segment (check out the Fuji X-series of cameras and their classic design).


How far away are my subjects? – This is where zoom lenses are concerned.  For the most part, the best cameras with the most cost effective and portable zoom capabilities are still on point-and-shoot cameras.  Any interchangeable lens camera (ILC) is limited to the focal range that the lens can deliver which means you may need to change your lens to zoom in further, or your lens may be ginormous that it really isn’t practical to carry around (do a search for the Sigma 200-500 lens!)  When our parents went on vacation to Europe, they wanted a camera that had an awesome zoom since they knew they wanted to take photos of buildings and scenery from their cruise ship in the distance, so we got them a Panasonic FZ-series camera since it had one of the best zooms and functionality in the industry at the time.

Am I going to shoot video? – Another neat feature that is on many cameras nowadays.  But whether or not this is your primary usage is really up to you.  The biggest thing again is to ask yourself what you’ll be doing with these videos.  If you plan to share them then file sizes and file formats are important.  Some companies like Panasonic have their own proprietary encoding format for video files so not everyone can see them easily.  And if you want to watch your videos on your HDTV, make sure your camera has the proper outputs so that you can enjoy it in full 1080p glory!


What is my budget? – This is always a tough one because cameras can vary greatly in price.  All we can really share is that you buy one within your budget and take into account any extras that you might need as well (i.e. extra lenses, filters, cases, memory cards, etc).  And then also check out one of our favourite websites so that you can do comparison prices against some of the major retailers for the best price!  Remember too that many retailers will also price match/beat so it might be worthwhile to take advantage of this.

Here are a few of our personal favourite consumer cameras for each of the categories discussed above:

Fav for Best Quality Photos: Nikon D600
Fav for Everyday Portability: Canon PowerShot G15
Fav for “Everything-Proof”: Nikon AW100
Fav Mirrorless: Sony NEX-7
Fav for Super Zoom: Canon PowerShot SX50 (50x zoom!)
Fav for Video: Canon EOS Rebel T4i
Fav crazy priced camera: Leica M-Series (~$7,000)

We hope that this long article has helped you out a bit!  If you’d like our opinion about a camera that you’re looking at or you’d just like some more help choosing then drop us a line at! ~ Andrew & Ada


The Vanneste-Paine Family ~ Christmas Family Photography

The Vanneste-Paine family tried to setup a photo shoot with us in the fall but because of everyone's busy schedule, the next opportunity we had was this past weekend in December. This session just goes to show that you can keep the same background and change of clothing like in any of the department store picture studios, but you can get more than your 8 photos in just an hour! With two adults, two kids and a dog, we managed to get so many combinations and just over 150 photos! ~ Ada & Andrew

Christmas Family Photography


Baby Jamie ~ Baby photography

This the season to have Christmas Family Photos!  Especially for families that have new members like Carrie and Aidan.  Having taken photos for their wedding in 2011 it was wonderful to see them again and their newborn baby Jamie.  We were really impressed that baby Jamie was only a few weeks old yet he was already so strong and had tremendous head control for his age!  And we also got some good baby advice from them since we’re expecting our own baby boy this month! ~ Andrew & Ada

Waterloo Family Photo Session


The Pulleyblank Family ~ Baby twins photos

Leah really wanted to take photos of her twins quickly because she realized they were growing so fast!  With three kids now in the house, she and her husband definitely had their hands full!  Luckily big brother Jack helped out and was our prop master during the photo shoot.  He was able to go up and down the stairs to get us props for his younger brother and sister.  His parents secretly told me that this was a great way for him to spend his energy!  Unfortunately, Jack fell down the day before the photo shoot and bumped his nose.  But Leah still wanted to go ahead with the photo shoot since at least they would have something to remember that moment when they look back at the photos.  Such a lovely carefree family and I hope to take photos with them again in the future!  ~ Ada

Elora Family Photo Session


Stephanie, Jesse and Leila ~ Guelph Photographer

We've had plenty of requests for photo shoots in the fall as usual, but with things being colder and wet early this year it's definitely been difficult.  I had to reschedule this photo shoot several times because of the weather!  Luckily, there were still plenty of leaves on the ground and even some still on the trees.  Great job to my subjects for sticking up with the cold weather for an hour!  Of course, baby Leila ended up calling it a day when she was probably getting too cold to take anymore photos!  ~ Andrew

Guelph Family Photo Session

Melody & Michael Engagement Shoot - Guelph Photographer

We had the honour of taking engagement photos for Melody & Michael, who will be getting married in China soon.  The temperature had already dropped drastically and most of the leaves were on the ground.  But we still were able to get some beautiful photos with the couple around the University of Guelph campus.  This should be our last engagement shoot for the fall, and now we’ll see who is brave enough for their engagement shoot to be in the winter!  Good luck for your wedding guys!
~ Ada & Andrew

Guelph Engagement Session


Newsha & Mehrzad's Wedding ~ Paradise Banquet Hall Photographer

This was the very last wedding of 2012 for us, and it was especially exciting to be taking photos for Newsha & Merhzad.  We had taken photos for Newsha’s sister Betsy earlier in the year for her wedding, so we were honoured to be asked to take photos for their family again.  Newsha & Merhzad make such a beautiful happy couple.  Merhzad was visibly nervous in the morning, but by the time the ceremony came around he was all smiles after seeing Newsha!  And although it was near freezing with the wind chill outdoors, these two were troopers to get some beautiful wedding photos together.  Stay tuned for the rest of the photos to come up online!  But for now, you can check out our teasers over on our Facebook page! ~ Ada & Andrew

Vaughan Wedding Photography


The Herron Family ~ Guelph Family Photography

The Herron Family are no strangers to us!  We’ve had the opportunity to take photos for Barb & Bruce as well as Mike & Amanda.  It was great seeing so many familiar faces and also in familiar surroundings.  I was over at Lakeside Church in Guelph where I had taken photos for Barb & Bruce’s wedding a couple years ago.  So while it was pouring rain outdoors (the rainiest day of the year I believe), we were sheltered inside with the 20+ family members for a great family gathering for photos.  I hope there are more in the Herron family planning to get married, as it would be definitely a treat for us to see them again!  ~ Andrew

Guelph Family Photographer


Andika & Noveria ~ Engagement Kitchener Cambridge

When Andika and Noveria contacted me about engagement photos, I was very excited because they had very specific criteria about what they wanted.  This was a bit different than what we had done in the past but something that I had always wanted to do.  As they will be married in the future back home in Indonesia, they wanted engagement photos that really captured the beautiful fall colours that they had seen from a couple of our favorite camping destinations: Algonquin Park and Tobermory.  Over in Asia, it is very common to take destination engagement photos in places such as Macau, China, France, etc.  So it was an honour to take photos in Canada for them here!  I hope that I’ll be able to unlock their album in the future!  ~ Andrew

Waterloo Engagement Photography


April’s Family ~ Guelph Family Photos

I was looking forward to taking photos for April and her two kids because they were all very excited for their photo session.  April had wanted to book this photo shoot for quite some time but after seeing some of the other photos in our gallery we finally confirmed a date together.  What an easy photo session for me because I didn’t have to do much directing at all.  They were a crazy fun bunch and their photos show so much love and fun in their facial expressions.  They were even crazy enough to go rolling downhill in the leaves, which looked pretty painful for me!  ~ Ada

St. Jacob Family Photographer


Arlene & Mark’s Wedding ~ Mississauga Grand Wedding Photographer

This was one of our most anticipated weddings of the year because Arlene & Mark had booked us so far in advanced!  Like so many of our brides, Arlene was great at planning so many things and kept her cool all day to enjoy it.  Mark was nervous at first in the morning but by the time he got to the church he was all smiles for his first look at Arlene down the aisle.  We were so blessed that we had the opportunity to shoot their wedding!  And likely one of the most memorable moments was the midnight buffet with an entire table full of seafood which we had never seen before!  ~ Ada & Andrew

Mississauga Wedding Photographer


The Good Family ~ St Jacob’s Photography

The Good family are one of our favorite yearly clients who have now taken photos with us for 4 years running!  This was my first opportunity to take photos with them as Ada normally has taken photos for them.  It’s been wonderful to see how the kids have been growing and how close their family is.  This year we went to the town of St. Jacob’s and we were able to stay out of the rain for the first half of the shoot.  But then the weather cleared up and things were beautiful outside!  They were so good at listening and posing for all the photos that I can’t wait to see them again next year! ~ Andrew

St. Jacob Family Photography


The Mohring Family ~ Kitchener Family Photographer

With the fall colours disappearing quickly and the rainy days becoming much more common, we’ve had to reschedule some of our photo shoots including the Mohring family.  When I finally got a chance to meet them, they had gathered together for the Thanksgiving weekend for a family photo shoot.  After a few casual photos indoors and around their house, we visited the historic Pioneer Tower in Kitchener and took some beautiful photos with the fall colours.  They were great to work with and game for everything even though it was so chilly! ~ Andrew

Kitchener Family Portraits


Alex ~ Guelph Portraits Photography

This is now the 3rd time that I’ve taken photos of Alex and he’s definitely growing quickly.  This time he brought his favorite toys for the photo shoot to the University of Guelph campus.  His mother has been learning to take photos, but the reason why she keeps on coming back is because the number of photos I can take within an hour can’t be compared!  Alex is so full of energy that it’s impossible for him to stay still for even a few seconds, but our cameras and experience helps get those creative fun facial expressions! ~ Ada

Guelph Family Portraits