Canon Rebel T4i

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
18MP • 18-135mm Lens • The 18-135mm lens is a great lens to have and a perfect walk around lens for your first camera! The T4i is not the latest on the market, but has been proven to be a great camera if you’re looking at starting out with Canon.

Canon 70D

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
20MP • 18-135mm Lens • This 70D was recently announced by Canon has some nice upgrades. If you’re looking for something a little better than the T4i/T5i, this would be the camera for you! The 18-135mm is a great lens to have on the camera too for a kit lens.

Nikon D5200

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • 18-105mm Lens • This was an amazing camera compared to the late Canon T5i. There are a lot of nice features in this Nikon. To see a full review by Jim and Dustin – click here.

Nikon D7100

♥ ♥ ♥ Improve’s Review:
24MP • 18-105mm Lens • This is the update to the successful D7000. If you thought about moving up to the D7000, you might as well pick up this bad boy and enjoy the new features. To see full list of specs, click BUY NOW.


Canon 6D

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
20MP • 24-105mm Lens • Full Frame • For Canon’s entry level Full-Frame DSLR, you can’t go wrong with this camera. Apart from not having a flip-out touchscreen, this Canon comes feature packed with amazing shots! It’s a great way to get started in the full-frame segment.

Nikon D600

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • 24-85mm Lens • Full-Frame • This technology rich camera can satisfy nearly anyone who was considering the D800. Also full-frame and contending with the Canon 6D – you cannot go wrong with this Nikon if you’re looking to stay within the family.

Sony A77

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • 18-135mm Lens • Sony is working hard to keep enter the competive race of DSLRs. They have some great cameras with bleeding edge technology that is trying to get mainstream. Read below for our thoughts on Sony cameras.



Canon 5D Mark III

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
22MP • 24-105mm Lens • Full Frame • There have been a lot of great reviews on this camera and loved by Sports and Portrait photographers. The camera operates faster than the Nikon D800 when it comes to fast paced shoots.

Nikon D800

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
36MP • BODY-ONLY • Full-Frame • If you are looking for a high-quality imaging camera. This is the one for you! Tons of megapixels that you can see every little detail in your photo with clarity. Landscape photographers are simply in HEAVEN with this one.

Sony A99

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • BODY-ONLY • Full-Frame • This is Sony’s top of the line full-frame camera that they offer. It’s compariable to the Canon 5D Mark III as the D800 seems to be a little out of this world sometimes. For Sony Pro’s, here you go!



Which DSLR is better? Canon or Nikon?

There are many differences between Canon and Nikon.  Some of the differences are significant, but most are trivial.  Having the opportunity to shoot both brands on a regular basis, here are the major differences that I have found between Canon and Nikon cameras.

Benefits of Nikon DSLR Cameras

  • Nikon cameras almost always have more focus points.  This is a major advantage because it enables you to follow the rule of thirds where Canon cameras often don’t have focus points near the third lines–forcing the photographer to focus and recompose.
  • Nikon cameras are often slightly less expensive than comparable Canon cameras.
  • Slightly larger sensors.  Nikon uses a crop sensor that is slightly larger than the comparable Canons.  Obviously this isn’t true for full frame cameras, which are identical in size between the brands.
  • Megapixels.  Some photographers discount the benefit of having high megapixel cameras, but I personally find it immensely useful when cropping.  Also, working with a high megapixel image in Photoshop makes a big difference because the increased amount of data allows you to push tools further without showing a loss of detail.
  • Built-in features.  Nikon is often more willing to include features such as timelapse and bracketing into its cameras.

Benefits of Canon DSLR Cameras

  • Better color and contrast in RAW files.  Many photographers think that RAW files come straight off the sensor without processing, but that is not technically true.  Canon RAW photos look more polished when you first look at them on the computer, but please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying Nikon photos look any less colorful or contrasty when finished.  I’m only saying they look more polished straight out of the camera when shooting in RAW.  If you shoot in JPEG, you’ll notice a difference in the color styles, but the final photo will look just as good from one camera as the other.
  • More user-friendly UI.  The user interface and menu system on Canon cameras has always seemed more intuitive to me than the Nikon system.  However, Nikon is working to improve on this front with new GUI features on the D5200.
  • Focus motor.  There are very few lenses on the market that require the camera to have its own focus motor.  Usually the focus motor is found in the lens.  However, the popular Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens requires a focus motor and some of the entry-level Nikon DSLRs don’t have a focus motor.  This means that newer photographers are forced to spend an extra $120 for the 50mm f/1.8G lens to get a focus motor.  This is a very minor difference, but since most new photographers will eventually buy this lens, it is something to be aware of.  Advantage Canon.
  • Video.  Canon is currently winning the DSLR video race, but the difference is now only minor.  The last few announcements from Nikon in 2013 have brought their DSLR video functionality very close to what Canon has succeeded with in previous years.

When it really comes down to it, buy whichever brand has the best camera in your price range and then stick with that brand.

What about Sony and “the OTHER guys?”

Canon and Nikon currently dominate the DSLR camera market.  In fact, we recently did a survey of the Improve Photography community and found that over 95% of them shoot either Canon or Nikon.  Obviously, this number doesn’t mean that Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, or any other camera brand is inferior.

In fact, Pentax uses excellent camera sensors and Sony cameras have excellent frame rates and other drool-worthy features.  Olympus is changing the landscape of the camera industry with its excellent Micro 4/3 cameras.

HOWEVER (and this is a significant however), if you are going to buy a DSLR I still recommend sticking with Canon or Nikon for most photographers.  Why?  Because Canon and Nikon have dominated the market for so long that they have unmatched lens lineups, more compatible accessories, your friends are shooting them so you can borrow lenses, etc.

Now the Sony question… My two major beefs with Sony cameras are (1) Their lens line up simply doesn’t compare to Nikon or Canon.  This is true even if you look at the Rokinon, Zeiss, and other third party lenses.   Don’t get me wrong.  There are HUNDREDS of lenses available in Sony mount, but if you get serious about your photography and go pro, you may find some missing holes in the lens lineup–particularly in the super telephoto range.  (2) Their accessories, particularly for flash photography, are nowhere near what you can get from the two main manufacturers.  Since Sony stuck with the Minolta hot shoe instead of using the same hotshoe as Canon and Nikon, you miss out on some flash photography accessories.

Sony makes fantastic cameras.  For many users, I think the Sony cameras will be their best option–particularly for those who need a fast frame rate and do not plan on buying expensive professional lenses.  I only mention these reservations as a point of note before you make the Sony leap.

Should I go full frame?

Good question… one which I have answered extensively in this post.


  1. Sasnkale

    I haven’t seen any Lumix Panasonic, does it mean they aren’t good enough? I would like to start photography and have been thinking of getting a Lumix.

    1. Adam Favre

      If you get a chance to listen to the podcast, you will notice Jim is not yet a big fan of mirrorrless cameras. It may happen down the road, but he is not there yet.

    2. Adam Favre

      Would also encourage you to look at the reviews and think about what YOU want to do. Some will argue that NOTHING but a $4000+ DSLR is good enough for professional work while others will tell you they do professional work with their sub $1000 mirrorrless cameras.

      I would encourage you to look at the LENS systems available and the PRICES of said lenses for the cameras you are considering.

      The LUMIX has a GREAT video reputation if you are wanting to shoot video. It also shares it’s lens system with OLYMPUS as they are Micro Four Thirds.

      Fujii makes some incredible cameras as does Sony in the mirrorless cameras.

      Ultimately, I would encourage you to do your homework, if you can, go to a camera store and HANDLE the cameras you are considering.

      Canon and Nikkon tend to hold their RESALE value and have been around. If you go outside those two brands, you will find the cameras to be smaller, lighter, more competitive in prices and loaded with MANY features that the DSLR’s likely won’t offer.

      I personally shoot with the OLYMPUS OMD-EM10 and have a bunch of lenses for it and would be happy to rave about it all day.

      By “do your homework” I would encourage you to look for prices and reviews. One site that may help is

      Once you start to narrow it down, look for images made with the camera and/or lenses. You can do this with a simple google search – (images taken with Olympus OMD EM10 for instance).

      Another option is to go to and do a search for camera and lens you like and it will show you a ton of images taken with that system.

      Be aware, if you are just getting into this, also consider the fact that there is SKILL involved in getting the best images out of ANY camera.

      Finally, if you are a pro or have been shooting for years already, disregard all my previous comments as you probably already know all these things!!!! :-)

  2. Lee Davenport

    Nikon and Canon provide greater options for accessories. But for the straight studio photographer the best option is a Sony A7R. Imagine a Nikon D810 Sensor (made by Sony) and the ability to use your choice of Sony, Nikon, Canon, and Leica lenses. A combo that can’t be beat.

    1. Neil

      Any Pentax camera is fine, the k5ll or k3 is all a person needs. they have features that no one else have for the price point.

  3. Janis Fensterer

    Any Thoughts on the Fugi X-T1? I had the X-E1 for 12 months and it changed my entire shooting style. I feel as though I got the missed shots I always wanted. I just purchased the X-T1 and am looking for an inexpensive off camera flash set-up with the recommended beauty dish.- Any comments appreciated.

  4. Aditya

    Hello Sir
    I have recently purchased Fujifilm finepx S6800. I am not a professional photographer but I love shooting photos. Is this camera is good ?

  5. Daniel Weingrad

    Confessions of a former Nikon fan. I sold all my Nikon gear and acquired Olympus and Panasonic micro four thirds cameras and lenses. I was shooting mostly landscapes, macros and operating room pictures. The Olympus OM-D EM-1 has a extensive selection of lenses. Great wide angles, macros, and the best close-up/macro system I have ever used (I did have the Nikon system and sold it). Most of my pictures are either on-line or printed no larger than 13 x 19. The reason for my selling off the Nikon was the weight and size. At my age (60’s) lugging a D7100, Induro tripod and ballhead and lenses was too much of a chore. A trip to Ireland with the Olympus and 12-50 mm high quality zoom convinced me. The pictures were collected in a photo book. I think this wonderful web site would do a service in making equipment recommendations for non-pro photographers if they asked the questions: (I think this might be quoting from a recent PODCAST) 1. What are you going to shoot? 2. What’s your budget? 3. How much experience to you have with photography: a you a casual shooter or serious? This might be a better place to start.

    I am now doing wildlife photography (birds). You have made the statement in your PODCASTS that you can’t get birds in flight with mirrorless cameras because they can’t track moving subjects well. The EM-1 focuses relatively fast and by tweaking settings ala other blogsters on various forums you can do respectably well with birds in flight.

    The Olympus OM-D EM-1 is pretty amazing!

  6. Amber Sehrt

    Just read your most recent behind the scenes photo, where you quoted that the Nikon D750 was WAAAAY better than the D800. Make sure you update this gear page, since I recently bought the D800 on your recommendation. Considered the D750 from the recommendation of another photog, but bought the D800 instead after reading your review. My decisions were my own, so not faulting you at all. But I wouldn’t want you to be contradictory on your site.

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