What camera should I buy?

Walk into any store that sells cameras and there's a good chance you could easily overwhelm yourself with all the choices.  There are a ton of different brands, and each brand has a ton of different models, and each model might even have a few different versions, and only one of them is right for you, right?

Relax, this is actually easier than it seems.  Once we establish a few fundamental truths we can focus on what to look for in our first camera.

Some truths...  Better cameras don't take better pictures, better photographers do.  No camera brand is the "best".  You don't need as much camera as the internet says you do.  Any camera you buy will have limits to what it can do.

Now the easy part... How do I find the right camera for me?  You just need to go to a camera store with a budget in mind and find the camera you like best in your price range.

This seems overly simple, but it really is that simple.  Let me explain... Since just about any camera you buy is capable of taking amazing pictures, the most import thing at this point is do you like the camera.  Does it feel right in your hand?  Does the camera's operation make sense to you?  Are the menus and controls simple and easy to understand?  Does it make it easier to take the types of pictures you want?  Will the camera be a good fit as you start to develop more skills?

The perfect camera for you will feel good in your hand.  It will be easy to use, and with a little practice it should be easy to get it to do what you want it to.

What about megapixels?  All of today's modern digital cameras have enough and then some.  Your new 4k TV is only 8.3 megapixels.  You could print an 8x12 and look at it through a magnifying glass at 8.6 megapixels.  There are some advantages to more megapixels, but most cameras have way more than you need, so don't worry about that.  Heck, Nikon's most expensive pro camera has less megapixels than its cheapest consumer camera!  It ain't about the megapixels.

What about sensor size?  Larger sensors perform better in many areas, but today's digital cameras are so capable that the advantages may not justify the cost.  Yes, you can get a shallower depth of field (bokeh) with a larger sensor, and they perform better in low light, but I've seen what can be done with a micro four thirds camera in the hands of a capable pro.  I've shot everything from iPhone 4s to Nikon D810 and a ton of stuff in between, and every one of them has made both good and bad pictures in my hands.  It ain't about the sensor size.

Photography is not about any of the technical stuff, it's about the image you create.  The most important part of creating that image is not the camera, it's the person behind the camera.  As a photographer you want to show the world what you see in a way they've never seen it.  So when it comes to selecting a camera the most important thing about that camera is the photographer.  Does it have the features and feel that you were looking for?  Does it make you want to go take pictures?

Go to a camera store and play with a bunch of brands and styles and models and talk with the store clerk.  Try the DSLRs, try the mirrorless, try the full frame, try the micro four thirds, try the "crop sensor", try the Nikon, try the Canon, try the Pentax, try the Sony, try the Panasonic, try the Olympus, try them all! After you've done that, buy the one you like best that is in your price range.  Trust me, you're not going to go wrong.