Families love to share their memories, and what better way to do so than through digital photography? Your smartphone may be powerful, but nothing truly outshines a quality mirrorless or full-frame DSLR camera for portraits. The interchangeable lens cameras are faster, track subjects better, and take more pictures per second than any phone. If taking pictures outside, a DSLR is a better choice, as they have optical viewfinders. Mirrorless cameras use EVFs (electronic viewfinders), which are small LCD screens that can be difficult to see in the sunlight. This guide will help you decide on a camera that is great for family photos and one best for your budget.
Can I learn photography at home?
The best cameras for family photography are not challenging to learn. Any entry-level DSLR with a decent camera lens and high megapixel rating will give you flexible and creative options that go above and beyond any smartphone.
Camera Essential Settings
When looking at the quality of a camera, some of the most important features to consider are:
Image processor: The image processor is the brain of a camera. Without it, the device could not function to record or show images.
Auto Mode: Auto mode refers to an automated mode of all the settings, including aperture and exposure. As a beginner, there are two autofocus modes you must know. One is the autofocus single (AF S), as well as the other, is the autofocus continuous (AF C). The AF S allows you to focus on stationary subjects while AF C will enable you to concentrate on moving subjects.
ISO: This setting refers to the parameters that affect the sensitivity of your image sensor to light. While starting at a low of ISO hundred to as large as ISO 6400, you can set the ISO to determine the coverage on the images. Make sure to set it low to avoid much noise in the picture.
Other Modes: There are many modes outside of the automatic. The AV mode is a semi-automatic mode allowing you to set the aperture while the camera immediately sets the shutter speed. The TV mode is another semi-automatic mode allowing you to set the own shutter speed off as the camera automates the aperture. The P mode, also called the program mode means the camera maintains control over the exposure while you set the aperture as well as the shutter manually. The camera is going to change the aperture as you change the shutter speed to achieve the proper exposure. Last, there is M mode, providing you with complete control over the aperture and the shutter speed. As a result, you will also get to figure out the exposure. Some DSLRs will alert you if you overexpose the image. You can find this in the viewfinder or perhaps on the LCD screen.
Exposure compensation: Found near the shutter speed, the +/ exposure compensation button accounts for a scene’s brightness. The answer is usually to change to a good exposure that lets the camera know the scene is lighter than middle gray.
Aperture and Shutter Speed: Aperture is all about the light going through the lens into the image sensor, and it’s measured in’ f-stops’ to represent the opening in the lens. A wider opening has a smaller F-number while a smaller opening has a larger F-number. Aperture influences your image’s depth of field. A smaller aperture provides you a large depth of field while a larger aperture gives you a shallow depth of field. Setting the aperture to about f/13 is suitable for a large depth of field that keeps a sharp focus on the whole picture. On the other hand, a smaller aperture of about f/4.5 keeps the subject in focus while blurring the background.
Aperture works along with Shutter speed, particularly for moving subjects. Shutter speed is measured in seconds and represents the amount of time the shutter stays open while taking a photograph. To capture a fast-moving object, go with shorter shutter speed. Very long shutter speeds will blur out fast-moving objects, which you do not want.
White Balance: White balance is about adjusting the light colors to make them appear to be much more natural. Use white balance to alter the tone or perhaps impact of the pictures of yours. You can set it up to automatic on the camera of yours or probably tweak it based on the tone you would like to achieve.
Weatherproof cameras are sealed off from the elements but will not survive if submerged in water. If you want to take pictures in the rain, you will naturally want a weatherproof camera. It is difficult to find a lower-end interchangeable lens camera that is weather-sealed, and you also want to know if the lens is weatherproof. But to take pictures scuba diving, you’ll need a waterproof one. There are many quality weatherproof cameras for outdoor photography.
What is an excellent family photography camera?
There are many excellent choices available when looking for the perfect camera to record memories for your family, both with stills and video. Some lens are better than others for portrait photos. There are several different types of portrait styles to consider; full-body, 3/4 length (which is mid-thigh and hopefully including the subject’s head), an environmental portrait featuring one’s surroundings, or just a headshot. For a headshot, you will need to stand pretty close because of the shorter lens required; otherwise, you won’t get the cropping necessary for head and shoulders. You should not typically use a wide angle lens (20-36mm) because it will cause distortion of the subject. The only exception to that rule is environmental portraits. Electronic image stabilization (EIS) reduces blur but does so at the expense of image quality. Hence, a tripod is never a bad idea. An excellent built-in “blur” filter (also called a low-pass filter or anti-aliasing) helps with the problem of noise in the image. Also, if you are having trouble controlling highlight exposure, shooting in RAW format makes it easier to restore the detail to overexposed highlights. Most of the time, it is not a severe issue.
- Full-body portraits: Standard lens, 35-50mm
- 3/4 pictures: Standard lens, 35-50mm
- Headshots: Short to medium telephoto lens, 85-135mm
- Environmental portraits: Standard lens, 35-50mm
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III $450
(16MP Four Thirds sensor, 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder, 5-axis image stabilization)
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 III is a 16MP Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera. It is designed for the novice and is a capable camera, perfect for both stills and video, with many options to learn and improve your camera skills. The E-M10 III’s image quality is generally rather good, especially in JPEG. Overall the camera is very responsive, especially in terms of responding to its touchscreen. It’s not the best when shooting bursts of images, but it can track subjects well. The camera’s noise reduction and sharpening feature are a bit much, as is noise reduction. But autofocus is great for single shots, focusing silently and quickly. RAW capability is not the best in class. Still, it offers the ability to boost shadows without a considerable increase in noise. The camera’s color profile is oversaturated and cannot be turned off, so you’ll want to avoid Auto mode. It features in-body image stabilization, which can be used while shooting 4K video.
The camera shoots rather good 4K footage if you want to record memories of your family in action, with the same great color response as in stills. The image stabilization gets good-looking results.
Battery life about 330 shots per charge, which is average for this class
Canon EOS M50 24MP (APS-C CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel AF, 4K video capture $524)
The Canon EOS M50 entry-level, mirrorless option. It is a perfect camera for taking stills. It is designed for beginners, as it has an easy-to-use interface, though only one control dial. It makes good use of Canon’s familiar 24MP APS-C sensor and excellent Dual Pixel AF system. The camera shoots at 7.4 fps with continuous AF, but be careful using the RAW format, because the buffer fills up quickly. It is designed for beginners, as it has an easy-to-use interface, though only one control dial. It makes good use of Canon’s familiar 24MP APS-C sensor and excellent Dual Pixel AF system. The Image quality is like that of many Canon cameras using the M50’s 24MP CMOS sensor, meaning great JPEG color, excellent capture of detail capture, and low noise levels. The 2.36-dot OLED viewfinder is perfect for shooting outdoors. Sharing photos is very easy using the built-in Bluetooth, allowing for instant photo transfer to your smartphone. Battery life is poor, only about 200 shots per charge, and USB charging is not supported at all. This camera has a compact body with a comfortable grip.
- Sony a6100 $700 (Mirrorless; 24 MP APS-C sensor, video 4K, battery life 420 shots).
The a6100 has a great autofocus system for photographing family members. It is a small camera, easy to carry. It’s not bad for video clips, and has a fast shutter speed, capturing people even if they move. The images are easy to transfer to your smartphone, and it comes with a 16-50mm power zoom lens. The lens is not the best out there. Still, there are others available that will work better in low-light conditions or enable you to do things like blurring the background for the perfect portrait.
- Canon M50 $650 (24MP, APS-C sensor, 4K video)
The Canon M50 has a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, good image quality, a long battery life, Wi-FI, and both Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. It has great image quality and an autofocus system that should suit your needs. It also captures 4K video at 24fps, 1080 at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps. The 4K recording is cropped, in addition to the 1.6X APS-C crop factor, which is a weakness. Canon introduced a new eye detection AF locking in on a subject’s eyes, but it cannot be used with Dual Pixel AF in the 4K mode. The kit zoom and user interface is not great, but once you get used to the settings, you can easily take excellent shots.
- Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II (20 MP, CMOS Sensor, 4K video) $675
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. $3300
The compact G5 X II is an engaging photographer’s camera with the image quality and handling to make it stand out. Although rated well for RAW performance and JPEGS with very pleasing color, the G5 X II’s autofocus cannot track subjects in burst mode, and it is responsive but is not as sensitive as depth-aware systems made by competitors. Although the video is lesser in terms of detail, it does have a handy digital+lens stabilization system, and you will appreciate the versatile zoom and fast aperture speeds. It is not too big, even with the pop-up viewfinder and versatile lens. This camera, like the others featured here, has good image quality, is weather-sealed, and handles well. The Lens mount uses a Micro 4 Thirds Mount, and it can shoot video at full HD at up to 60p. This is a great camera to use for shooting video without a tripod, thanks to its 5-axis VCM (voice coil motor) system for image stabilization. Battery life is a little low.
- Fujifilm X-A7 $700 (24.2MP, APS-C CMOS Image Sensor, 4K Video)
The X-A7 has great JPEG colors, like most Fujifilm cameras. It features a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, a huge fully articulating LCD, and can shoot video in uncropped 4K format. Battery life is very good. It has eye and face detection, great for family photos, but is not the best for action shooting at only 6 fps. The touchscreen is simple to use, and there is also an AF Joystick and twin command dials.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 20MP Four Thirds sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, 4K/UHD video capture $800
The Lumix DC-GX9 is a mirrorless camera and a capable device, balancing size, control, and usability with a great viewfinder tilting 90° upward. The autofocus is excellent, with fantastic image quality. It uses a 20MP Four Thirds sensor and has built-in 5-axis image stabilization. Noise reduction, sharpening, and color are much better than its model predecessors. Connectivity includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and while it does not have weather sealing, it is of robust construction.
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII (20MP 1″-type Stacked CMOS sensor, 24-200mm equiv. F2.8-4.5 lens, Hybrid AF system $1000)
This is probably the best, the most reliable pocket camera made, with an unrivaled autofocus implementation in terms of ease of use. Its lens is flexible in use, and the camera’s fast performance and powerful autofocus system make for the ultimate pocketable camera to take with you on family outings. While it is not great in low light, the lens retains sharpness through its zoom range. The RAW files are flexible, and the JPEGS have pleasing colors. The pop-up viewfinder works with a single-press, and the battery life is acceptable. Shooting with UHD 4K video is a breeze, too, with both digital and optical video stabilization, with impressive autofocus tracking.
Best Camera for Beginners
Not everybody can charge right of out the gate with one of the cameras best suited to portrait shots. However, luckily other, cheaper options will still serve as a great camera to use when taking pictures of your family in any event. If you’re going to Disney World and want to film your kids holding on for dear life on Kali’s River Rapids, you may want to get a GoPro Hero or GoPro hero black. For the rest of the time, one of the following budget cameras listed below will suit your needs.
- Nikon D3500 $299 (DSLR; 24.2MP APS-C sensor, video 1080p, battery life 1550 shots).
This DSLR is easy to use and perfect for the beginner. Available for under $500, the Nikon D3500 is our top choice for anybody looking for their first step into “proper” photography. It has an innovative Guide Mode, which explains all unfamiliar features, or you can leave it in Auto mode. Once you are comfortable with the camera and wish to expand your options, there is a wide variety of different lenses and accessories (like remote controls). Its battery life supports up to an average of 1550 shots, so it is excellent for trips. Note that the video is Full HD only. Bluetooth is included for sending your shots to your smartphone, but there’s no Wi-Fi, unfortunately.
- Canon EOS 200D $399 (Mirrorless; 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor, Full HD video, battery life 650 shots)
The 200D is a great choice for first-time buyers, with a good range of automatic and semi-automatic options. It is the smallest DSLR made that features a vari-angle screen. While there is no guide mode, there is a less robust guided interface that gives tips about each mode.
- Canon EOS 2000D $295 (DSLR 24.1 MP APS-C Sensor, 1080p video, battery life 500 shots)
The EOS 2000D is a great camera with which to learn the hobby. It has a good battery life, Wi-Fi connectivity, and is easier on the budget. It has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and all the most familiar shooting modes. Some sacrifices are made due to price, such as a fixed non-touch sensitive screen, but otherwise, it’s good for beginners.
- Panasonic Lumix GX80 $299 (16MP Four Thirds sensor, video 4K, battery life 290 shots).
This is a compact and lightweight camera great for first-timers. The Panasonic GX80 is about three years old, so it is often found discounted, but still has benefits over most smartphones. It is compact enough traveling and has a decent number of modes to help you get the best pictures. There are also more advanced options. Vloggers will like the 4K video recording.
- Sony A6000 $299 (24.2MP APS-C sensor, video 1080p, battery life 360 shots).
This is an older model but popular nonetheless. It is a great option for beginners and has a good number of shooting modes. Plus, Sony has a massive range of lenses and accessories for its compact system cameras. It comes with inbuilt Wi-Fi, NFC fast autofocusing, and a tilting LCD screen. However, it is restricted to full HD video.
- Fujifilm X-A10 $249 (16.3MP APS-C, video 1080p, battery life 410 shots).
The lightweight X-A10 makes for an ideal compact camera much less expensive than most Fujifilm that offers. Although made of cheaper construction, it has a vast range of modes for beginners, and Fujifilm has a good selection of lenses. The X-A10 is a great small and light travel camera. It includes a Selfie screen and Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there is no viewfinder and not much flexibility in attaching accessories.
In addition to those listed above, there are so-called bridge cameras, which are basically compact cameras with a small sensor. The sensors are much smaller than those found in most DSLR cameras and have non-interchangeable lenses. You can check out this link for more info on such cameras.
Kids and Cameras
Should I get a nice camera if I have kids
Some nervous parents may fear to buy an expensive camera when little kids might get their devious little hands on it, doing unspeakable damage to your prized possession. As every parent knows, this problem is not restricted to digital cameras. It applies to just about every tangible object in the known universe, so when asking if you should get a nice camera, you may want to be asking, should I get a nice anything at all? That is why companies like Squaretrade exists, quite frankly. Hence, the most important thing you can do if you worry about the destruction of nice things is to protect it with insurance or a replacement plan. Otherwise, this precisely is why we can’t have nice things. The only alternative is to send your toddler to boot camp or rely on prayer. Still, God is probably too busy to protect your valuables from children, so you should probably go with the more accessible options.
Can kids be hurt by a camera?
Few creatures on earth are more adept at finding ways to hurt themselves with everyday items than little kids, so if you hand them an expensive camera and give them carte blanche with whatever they’d like to do with it, you are tempting fate for sure. If you’re keeping the camera in your own hands, but you are worried about blinding your baby with a flash, rest assured that a bright camera will do no harm to a baby’s eyes. There are even benefits; a baby with redeye in the image is proof of eyes being correctly aligned! So flash away and take those pictures!