It’s time for a new digital camera, yes? Yes!
Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lens I use for my photography.
Good Camera: Google Pixel 3
The Google Pixel mobile phones are AWESOME! My Pixel 3 XL is the best phone I’ve ever used. Read my review of the Pixel 2 XL while I finalize the Pixel 3 XL version. You can buy them unlocked direct from Google and there are two different models, they both have pretty much identical specs inside and out except for the size/screen and battery capacity. I recently did a Sony A7r Mark III Review where I sneaked in a Pixel 2 photo. Everyone had trouble finding it and seeing the difference between these two drastically different devices.
- Check price of the Pixel 3 XL (6.22 inches, 2960 x 1440 pixels, 64GB)
- Check price of the Pixel 3 (5.73 inches, 2160 x 1080 pixels, 64GB)
Also, I don’t follow scores from DxOMark but if that’s your sort of thing, you’ll see here that the last gen Pixel 2 tops even the iPhone X. But I can tell just by using it in a variety of conditions and comparing it to photos from friends using the latest iPhone or Samsung. They’re always blown away at the quality of the photos and you can see a bunch of examples in my review.
Better Camera: Sony a6300
Starting at below $999 for the body.
The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).
Best Camera: Sony a7R III
Starting at just over $3198
A full-on Sony a7R III Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems with comparible specifications at a lower price and smaller size/weight. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!
Best Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
A few years ago I got a quadcopter and I LOVED it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives.
Back then the tech was a bit complicated, flight times were not great and image quality was decent but still had a bit to go. After a bunch of updates DJI created two amazing products though. The Phantom 4 Pro which has the largest sensor on a consumer drone and the Mavic 2 Zoom quadacopter (that’s what my daughter Scarlett calls them!). Here is my Phantom 4 Pro review. It’s a great machine but I think I’m leaning towards the Mavic 2 Zoom as my go-to machine due to how compact it is and the really cool feature where it zooms in and takes 9 shots before creating a super high res image. Review coming soon!
Best 360 Camera: Insta360 One X
I’ve tested a bunch of 360 cameras and the Insta360 One range is definitely the best so far. I love the auto-stitching and removal of the selfie-stick. This is perhaps a very strange feature to mention, but I like how it makes all that nonsense disappear. The end result is that it has the equivalent feeling of a silent quadcopter floating a few feet away from your head all the time. They also have some cool software that lets you control what the viewer can see in post production and both the One and the new One X which I now use have awesome stabilization. Check out my review for video examples from the standard model.
Sony a7R – First Lenses
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! 🙂
- Sony FE 24-105 f/4 G Series (Amazon) | B&H Photo) – An excellent high end lens that covers a good range. Ideal as a single lens to travel with. See image examples on the Sony a7R III review. I keep this lens on my camera 70% of the time!
- Sony FE 24-240 f/3.5-6.3 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. I hate changing lenses and this goes from fairly wide at 24mm to a great zoomy-zoom of 240mm.
- Sony FE 16-35 f/2.8 G Master (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A versatile wide angle lens with a great wide apperture!
- Sony FE 12-24 f/4 G Series (Amazon | B&H Photo) – As wide as it gets on Sony FE lenses and a great, sharp lens too.
Sony a7R – Other Goodies!
- Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
- Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. WARNING: Do not get the cheaper adapters. I tried them, thinking it was just a piece of metal, but it was not and many of my photos, especially at infinity, were out of focus. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
- Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses
Sony A5100 / A6300 Camera – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a6300 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review. Note: This is also a great lens for the Sony A7r Mark 2, giving you the full range of 12-17mm. The edges get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges.
Leica Lens Buying Guide
I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peaking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.
More Lens Reviews
I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend. Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.
What is in my bag?
Here’s an all NEW What’s in Trey’s Bag video! I haven’t updated this in YEARS, so it’s time for some fun! I have all of this stuff listed at my personal Kit.co page or the Camera Bag page here on the site. You’ll see in there I have it separated into different sort of kits for beginners or experts. I also have other mini-kits in there for gadgets, books, and all other sorts of goodies. Enjoy!
The new Travel Backpack from Peak Design
I really love this new Travel bags from Peak Design. It expands to a whopping 45 liters or collapses down when out for short day excursions.
Come check out my Camera Bag page for more details!
Over the past year few years, I’ve been partnering with Peak Design to build five incredible camera bags. And now you can see more! See our current Kickstarter here and/or check out our first Everyday Messenger here!
That’s right, awesome people out there who also have an insatiable need for awesome gear, our friends at Peak Design have done it again! I fell in love with these guys even back before we made some camera bags together, and it’s so cool to see the company grow and grow. One of my NUMBER ONE requests has been for a new approach to tripods. And they did it! It took them over four years to create this unique tripod!
It’s more portable and packable than my other tripods… and it sets up in a snap. Maybe my favorite part is the way the tripod head works. These designers are so clever! It also has little touches like attachments for your mobile phone and stuff… this is handy for me because I often record videos on my phone when I’m out in the field too.
More Reviews and recommendations
I have many other reviews and recommendations you may find helpful!
- Photo Editing Software Reviews – reviews of five must-have software packages along with many others
- Other Reviews – various other software and hardware reviews
Looking for something compact and built to withstand the elements? Check out my Fuji X-T2 Review.
The Fuji products have always served me so well in crazy weather conditions. Well, in ANY condition, really. But there’s something about going out into the wild weather to take photos. You just end up getting very unique stuff. 2017 was my eighth year at Burning Man, and my 2nd to take FUJI equipment. Burning Man can be a Very Harsh environment with not just high temperatures, but frequent sandstorms. Those were always a major worry with my other cameras, but not this one. I didn’t have one single problem. It shot flawlessly and it has a great selection of weather resistant lenses too. On that note, why not take a look at my Burning Man Survival Guide here.
- Check price of the Hasselblad X1D on B&H Photo
What a beast! You can read the full review over here which has loads of sample images. The key points are that it’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than a full frame DSLR and is not that much different in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware. Either way, the images it produces are phenominal.
Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement.
And last, here is a collection of photos I’ve shot with my equipment over the years. There are many more examples if you’d like to surf around the site!
Many of my photos use a special process you can find out more about in my HDR Tutorial. If you’d like to know more about HDR or HDR Photography, click on those links to discover something new and fun!