New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Gear & Apps

Guest Editorial: What is the Best Camera in the World?

By Simon Ellingworth on March 23rd 2013

Our friend over at Lightism, Simon Ellingworth, wanted to start a series of guest posts on our site. Sometimes controversial and always interesting and unique, here is the first in the installment.

As a professional photographer I’m frequently asked “what is the best camera in the world?”
Drawing on my extensive experience and research, I’ll reveal the surprising answer…

But first, some myth busting on how many people measure how good a camera is:  Since my photography educational site Lightism’s motto is “Buying a better camera won’t make you a better photographer” let me educate you about a very popular myth: that the more mega pixels a camera has the better the camera.

Think of it this way: megapixels are coffee and your computer’s screen is a coffee mug, there is only so much coffee you can fit into your mug no matter how many gallons of coffee you have!

The reality is that the number of megapixels relates to the size of the image the camera produces not the actual quality of the image….so, the question is how many mega pixels do you need?

Revealed: Best camera in the world @

[Graphic borrowed from this interesting article from one of my favorite web sites: SLR Lounge]

So, now we have considered and hopefully dispelled the way you measure how good a camera is, let’s take a look at some very sexy cameras (without the merest mention of megapixels):

Leica M9:

Revealed: Best camera in the world @

The Leica is a beautiful camera with a range of amazing quality lens…it’s a classic camera and is 100% manual focus.

My Leica and one fixed lens cost me £6,800…second hand!!

It produces images with a wonderful aesthetic you can’t mistake and this was the first ever image I took on mine:


That said, the amazing pictures were punctuated by a series of not so good ones, clients laughed at it when I used it commercially as it looked like an old retro camera hot out of the 1970’s. Unfortunately it also let me down on one occasion (jammed on a shoot (early firmware))…is it the best camera in the world?…probably not, but I did sell it on and made a profit.

Canon 50D:
Bear with me, I owned this entry level camera for a while that sells for about £500 second hand.
It produced images like these and took the picture of the Leica above.

Sandstorm No.2  (Iceland)

Cheesy Mouse

It was consistent, but it came with a disappointing lens, so I moved up to its professional brother, the Canon 5D Mark II which was circa £3,500 at the time. So great, but clearly not the best in the world.

iPhone 5:
Stay with me now; it knocks out images like these if you use my blueprint to master iPhoneography:

Mobile Photography Awards 2013 - Shot using LED lighting & Camer

A simple blue print will enable anyone to master iPhonography -

It’s small, easy to use and fits in your pocket. Best camera in the world? …Its compact and easy to use, but maybe not.

Canon 5D Mark II:
Commercially, this is my main camera and the L series of lens (red stripe on them) are worth the investment. It’s super consistent, easy to use and bullet proof reliable. I love it!

However, it’s already been superseded; it can’t focus in low light and it’s a bit heavy. My chiropractor thinks it’s the best camera in the world, because when I’m not being paid to use it, it spends most of its time in my bag giving me a bad ache!

Clearly no camera  is 100% perfect for every situation.
So, in the same way that the answer to the question “what is the fastest car?” is “a hire car”.
The best camera in the world is: the one that you have with you.

More specifically, the one in your hand, turned on ready to use, because if you’re out shooting and your camera is in your bag….you’re not out shooting, you’re talking your camera for a walk!

Do try my 10 FREE simple lessons, experiment and let me know how you get on!

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Simon Ellingworth is a Professional Photographer and author of Lightism; an educational blog and forthcoming book based upon the premise “buying a better camera won’t make you a better photographer”

His work was featured in ‘Mobile Photography Awards’, last year he was runner up in ‘Professional Photographer of the Year’ & ‘Sony World Photography Awards’.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Joseph Prusa

    Nice article.

    | |
  2. kolsuma

    hey. I was wondered if anyone can help me, I want to get in to photography, for instance mainly wedding photography. is there any specific cameras that I can use for that, my budget is approximately £500+. I live in the West Midlands area, is their any photography courses which I can utilise ?

    thank you very much

    | |
  3. Rowe Lee

    Totally agree! Sometimes I find it funny that folks lug around a lotta gear. Half the time it becomes more about the gear than the experience (DSLR on a date? Definite no-no.) The output may be undeniable that pro cams still have superiority pixel-per-pixel (Nikon D40 > Oly E-PL2, for example), them expensive DSLR’s are just too heavy and end up getting left behind when one wants to travel light. I found some balance in M4/3 (PEN)cameras. Indeed they’re inferior compared to DSLR’s but I find myself preferring it rather than carrying the bulk. The pictures end up just as good unless you’re scrutinizing them pixel-per-pixel anyway.

    | |
  4. Michael O’Flaherty

    Almost totally depends on what type of photography you are doing — period.

    I have had Leica, Rollie, Contax, Linhof, Nikon, and now Canon; None can “cover” all the bases.

    | |
  5. Chris Renton

    Interesting article – I didn’t realise how poor the focus on the 5D mkii is until I upgraded to the mkiii – improved focusing, additional card slot, great image quality at high iso and the brill ‘silent shutter’ mode. Too big to carry around all the time though, so yes, smartphones are handy too.

    | |
  6. Photoz

    Best camera in the world? Or just best camera that YOU happen to chose for the blog. I see absolutely no real world examination of image quality here in this limited expose.

    | |
  7. Justin D

    I stumbled across your blog from SLR Lounge. I just wanted to stop by and say, your work is phenomenal! You have inspired me like none other and left me nearly speechless. Thank you for sharing your tips and techniques. Justin D

    | |
  8. JMG

    When I saw the title of this post, I said to myself “Please don’t say the best camera is the one you have with you”. Thank you for being predictable.

    | |
    • Simon Ellingworth

      It’s a cliché, because it’s true. I wasn’t trying to be clever, just wanted to inspire people who cannot afford the lasts gear and show them that they can still produce great results. Sorry it wasn’t to your tastes. Si

      | |
  9. FreezeFrame

    Canon puts the D after the number. There is no D5 MKII, it’s the 5D MKII. No D50 either. 50D is the model you’re looking for. Great Article though!

    | |
    • Simon Ellingworth

      There goes the sponsorship deal with Canon! Thanks will change that. Pleased you enjoyed it. Si

      | |