I’m wanting to upgrade my camera from my little Nikon Coolpix point and shoot. What do you guys recommend?
This is a great question and there are many books written on the subject.
Where to start....
I think the most important question you have to answer is for what type of photography do you want to use the camera?
If your intent is taking pictures on occasion indoor, outdoor, action, portraits, landscape, vacations, etc. and you want to simply point the camera and shoot the picture, meaning you want the camera to be in auto mode and do everything for you, then you already have a good camera for that purpose. I use a point and shoot for lots of pictures, because I just want a quick picture and at that time for that situation I specifically don't want to take the time to shoot with my Sony A7 in a mode other than auto. My point and shoot is my iPhone 10
and frankly it takes great pictures. A modern mobile phone or a point and shoot camera like yours is much easier to carry when hiking, sightseeing, etc. I do carry my A7 on a pack strap adapter and after about an hour I can feel my shoulder getting a bit sore, after a couple hours my shoulder starts to hurt and I want to get the camera off my strap, so I end of carrying it or just using the neck strap. My iPhone in my pocket has never made my shoulder or any other part of my body sore no matter how long I carry it.
Let's say you want to do more advanced photography and be able to adjust your images in a program like Lightroom. What is advanced photography you ask? Well a short list of things that you might do; manual adjustment of the exposure triangle for almost infinite purposes, short depth of field, focus bracketing, exposure bracketing for HDRs and HDR panoramas, manual time-lapse creation, etc. The list of possibilities are only limited by your imagination and the time you have to learn and I'm talking LOTS of time. Oh and learning Lightroom and Photoshop is at least another hundred hours of your time just to get somewhat proficient in how to use them, which doesn't mean you are 'good' at using them.
If you were to decide to buy a 'good' camera that is more capable than a point and shoot, then I would suggest you spend months learning about what's good about the more advanced cameras and what's not so good about them. An example is the current rage with full frame mirrorless cameras. Full frame cameras aren't crop frame and they are smaller and lighter, so they must be better, right? Yes, in some aspects, but worse in others.
Let's not even get into the how many pixels topic, because for most photos having a zillion pixels vs. a fraction of a zillion pixels will never make a difference to how your end photo looks, it just doesn't. My A7 takes RAW images that are roughly a zillion X zillion pixels
and about 50MB in size compressed, but when I post photos online, I compress them down to 70 DPI jpgs that are about 250kb. Why, because the giant size photos don't look any better than the 70 DPI jpgs when they end up going through the plumbing of the internet and get displayed on your browser. Now if you are going to take a picture and blow it up to poster size and hang it on your wall, you'll want to start with a 50MB RAW image.
Lenses are another misunderstood topic that I believe most people don't understand when buying a full frame vs. a crop frame camera. When you buy the 'best' (of course I mean full frame
) camera you'll be spending a lot more on lenses vs. lenses for a crop frame camera. Why, because the full frame cameras have a physically larger sensor and require a physically longer lens, it's the physics of light and you can't get around physics. Physically larger lenses cost more money, sometimes lots more for exact same effective focal length of a shorter crop frame camera lens. An example would be to get an effective 300mm zoom with a full frame you'll need a 300mm lens, but to get an effective 300mm zoom with a crop frame camera you only need a 200mm lens. When you start chasing longer focal lengths you start emptying your wallet quickly. Oh, and remember the weight problem from above, yeah, my full frame A7 with a 24x240 lens gets really heavy, not because of the camera body, but because of the physically large lens. I wish I had understood this better before I bought my A7.
There are trade-offs for everything, knowledge is your best purchasing advisor.
I'll bet @T & R Willson
might have something to add or maybe we have other photographers lurking?