I am asked a lot about what camera to buy, what not to buy and what is a "good camera" suggestion or best deal. There is no true answer to that question, it depends on a lot of factors. I am not making a commission or trying to increase holiday sales, so I can answer some things honestly for you while most people are making money making a sale.....I am going to try to answer and clear somethings / myths / ideas up. Remember this is only my humble opinion and I am giving it not because I know it all because believe me I do not and don't claim to, but because I am asked.
I was a film person and worked with large format film, darkroom, studio's , labs and then 35mm person in my day and I had to relearn a lot of things (and still am learning daily) when it came / comes to digital and the world of "software." I worked with many filters and shutter releases, film and other tools ...
SO READ THIS FIRST "You have a nice camera! , Do you need to Spend A lot of Money to get good photos"
AFTER you read the above link which explains most of what I want to say then come back here and finish reading this post.
Do you want something you don't have to adjust the settings everytime the lighting changes....shade to sun to inside to outside to facing the sun to facing opposite the sun etc.... not to mention a child walking to running to standing still? .....
Are you willing to invest a year to two years of learning the fundamentals of a camera/its parts/how they work / softwear etc ?
Do you want to have up to 50x the normal eyesight or do you want to take "what you see is what you get" type photos.?
Do you want to take "fast action" shots?
What price range are you looking in for EVERYTHING you will need to take a great photo, including battery, memory cards, flash, tripod, lenses, lense filters, covers, bag etc?
Do you want to have a piece of equipment that you can replace easily with the changes in technology or do you want to be able to go buy the latest and greatest?
Are you wanting to take snapshots or portraits or fine art?
Do you want to be able to grab the market for the "future" and get a jump on the millions of now pro photographers in the wold? or do you only care about your own personal journey right now and the future is not in a career?
that is a lot of factors to consider when buying a camera but a camera is an investment for people like me. Just the the "computer itself" we have a couple of generations of people that are operating computers that really just know how to turn it on and jump on the internet and use it for no other reason.....its the same thing.....do you want it for "getting on the internet" or are you using it to "run a business, books, marketing, graphic design" there is a big difference between the personal needs of each individual and what they are asking a camera to do. Just because a computer or a camera if you will "looks fancy on the outside" doesn't mean it can produce results unless the operator knows how to achieve them correctly with consistent results.
There is a way to learn FRUGALLY and then there is a FAST TRACK to the learning curves in the process..... but the answer is not "just buy a nice camera"
OPTIONS TODAY FOR THE FUTURE INCLUDE: Mirrorless SLRS , Full Format, Digital Video Stills, 3D imaging...... I know nothing about these items that are the future, if you are young and want to go into the business, learn those things...take that path....my stuff...will worth what the film cameras are worth.... to most.....
Personally, I still have a lot of film cameras and even want to make a pin hole to play with...but that go pro..... wow.....look what it can do! There are also kits to convert your phone with lenses and filters and all kinds of accessories but first you have to learn to use your settings in your telephone to adjust for lighting / movement / white balance / zoom etc..... they are in there..... check them out and use them...see how you like having to adjust all of those buttons and work from there up...as you learn one step the next will be easier! :)
NOW with all of that said , jump over here and read about why I do what I do.....
its not to make money ....really....
my next question was ....what is the best camera to buy for $500 or less for mostly macro and wilderness photography and maybe some landscapes/waterscapes......
here is my answer for those that want a NO LEARNING CURVE DO IT ALL CAMERA
with GREAT SPECS ......
IF YOU ARE WILLING TO INVEST the money for lenses and other necessary items and about a year or two of time to learning the camera and the software here is what I suggest for a BODY ONLY UNDER $500 Camera (best that $500 can buy in my mind)
this one ALREADY comes with a lens but a little tiny step below the one above it
OR buy a GREAT USED CAMERA SLR ......and learn it before investing so you know what is and what isn't what you REALLY WANT TO DO at a fraction of the cost and buy a few books / turn on youtube and get started .....
ADVENTURER!!! START LEARNING THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE..... you can but don't have to have many accessories
PS......here is my camera (D800)....since you wanted to know , my back up is a nikon d90 for now
MY WISH LIST ....really this sony will be old news in february so that is subject to change LOL