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Whenever I ask a question about a camera recommendations I get blocked because it's off-topic or too broad. Isn't the purpose of Stackexchange to ask a question where an expert can answer?

I'm confused

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StackExchange isn't meant to be a discussion forum. Questions that tend to result in opinionated debate are generally to be avoided. The more specific the question (higher quality questions) then the more specific the answer (you get higher quality answers).

So a "what camera is best" is a bit like asking if Coca-Cola is better than Pepsi-Cola or if Ford is better than Chevy. It can lead to highly subjective answers that aren't necessarily high quality (or objectively correct).

The other thing to keep in mind is that a recommendation needs to be suited for how you want to use it. The needs for a camera that might be used for portraiture or landscape are not the same as cameras that are used for fast-action photography such as wildlife or sports.

The answers to these types of questions (how will the camera be used) lead more to responses regarding specific qualities a camera (or any gear) should have.

I once asked a mentor how they select their ideas when they write articles. His answer was to ask two things: (1) What questions do people ask you over and over? And (2) What questions are people not asking you over and over, but based on your expertise ... you realize they should be asking those questions?

It's the 2nd point that I often like to bring up. If someone is inexperienced then they don't necessarily know what they should be asking ... but will instead ask the more obvious questions.

So when I hear "what camera" should I get... I translate that in my head to mean "how can I take better photographs?" Sometimes the best path forward isn't necessarily a new camera (although it might be depending on what equipment you have today). As such, I often (a) try to answer the specific question that was asked and then (b) mention other considerations that may not have been asked.

A way to improve your question would be to include information in the question:

  1. What equipment do you own today (not just cameras... any photography gear)?
  2. What level of experience do you have (Have you taken classes? Have you read books? Are you mostly self-taught by experimenting on your own?)
  3. What specific type of photography interests you?
  4. Is there something you are not able to achieve with your current gear, but think new gear might help you achieve those results?

Some things to keep in mind...

  • These days just about every vendor makes a selection of very good cameras. I tend to be skeptical of claims that one brand is the best.
  • But within any given brand, there are usually quite a few models. Those models have different features and it's the features that satisfy your needs that you should be looking for.
  • Many vendors use the same sensor in several different camera models... a more expensive camera might not necessarily have a better sensor. Often a more expensive camera may have other features to differentiate it and justify its higher price point (then again... it might have a better imaging sensor.)
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If you have a specific, answerable question about photography as defined in our Help Center, then this Photography is the site to ask it on. However:

  1. Anybody can post a question on Stack Exchange, and anybody can answer - nobody has to be an "expert".
  2. The questions you've asked about camera recommendations are something which we have found with lots of experience over many years as to not be good questions for the Stack Exchange format. This is specifically called out in the "What topics can I ask about here?" page in the Help Center, with a link to this excellent summary of the issues these sort of questions cause; I won't try and summarise it here.

It is also very worth reading the wider Stack Exchange network blog post Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping!.

So what equipment recommendation questions can you ask? We very much support questions that are about how to make a decision, not what decision you should make for your own personal circumstances right now. For an example of this, see What should I look for when shopping for my first DSLR? or any of the other highly voted questions with the tag (sorted by votes here).

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A camera retailer is the primary source for information about buying cameras. An established camera store will have the decades of experience on hand to ask the right questions to match your ambitions and budget with the options available in the market and mention things you might not think of. If nothing else, an established camera store is a good place to perform research.

Even the large online stores offer “chat with an expert” features if you don’t have comfortable access to a physical shop. And established camera shops are likely to have used equipment that big box stores don’t.

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