Succinct camera buying advice

Many of my readers now that being asked for camera buying advice is a somewhat regular occurence for me. Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer summed it up about as well and succinctly as I have ever read in one in a series of recent posts:

“But seriously, here’s how to buy a camera: figure out what lenses you need first, and who has them; figure how big a camera you want to carry; figure out (from that and from the pricing and your budget) what level or tier you’re going to be looking in (and this level is a good one); then pick one and get on with it.”

My usual advice is to find the Canon camera that best fits your budget and desired features and then talk yourself into the next higher-priced model. If someone complains about not wanting to buy a Canon, I tell them that they asked the wrong person for advice. That’s not entirely true, though, since I do occasionally recommend Panasonics too.

Update: The day after writing the above, New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue offered this even-briefer bit of advice in response to the cocktail-party question, “What camera should I get?”:

“The Canon PowerShot SD880. Or, if you’re willing to carry around a bigger, heavier model (an S.L.R.), the Nikon D5000.”

I’ve recommended the first camera. The latter I’m not very familiar with, but I have long found Nikon’s user interface to be confusing.