We often get this question from friends and clients who see our photographs. The implication is that just by buying whatever camera we are using they too can take photos like ours. My standard, and rather flippant, response is "Whatever camera I have with me." Cutting through the sarcasm, now that I think about it, that's pretty accurate.
I've just taken a quick count of all the cameras we currently have including cell phones, tablets, point & shoots, DSLRs, etc and quickly ran out of fingers and several toes before I couldn't think of anymore. Now add three computer photo processing software applications and Ansel Adams knows how many mobile photography apps to our hardware collection of two laptops and seven external hard drives and ... whew! It's a wonder we haven't taken out a second mortgage.
My point is: cameras help but that's all they can do.
Imagine asking a concert pianist what piano he uses then going off to buy one for yourself. Chances are, if you're like me and have never played the piano, getting that exact same instrument is not likely to help learning, let alone playing. Even if you are a pianist you won't be able to play that piano any better than your ability - it may sound better because it's a better piano - but if you're not proficient the instrument will not improve it.
The same is true of cameras. It doesn't matter if the camera is an iPhone or a Canon 5D Mark III, the image will reflect the photographer's technical skill and artistic sense because cameras are only tools and tools can't be any better than their operators ability to use them.
I'm not going to suggest a camera to you. Everyone has different requirements, budgets and preferences. You can find great camera reviews online. One of the best review sites is http://www.dpreview.com. Instead I suggest you take pictures, read photography books, take classes, and take pictures, take pictures and then take more pictures. In other words, practice, practice, practice. Join a camera club. If there isn't a group where you live there are loads of them on Facebook. If there isn't a class in your area, or there isn't one that fits your schedule you can find one online. lynda.com has video classes on photographic techniques and composition, software and even for using specific cameras. There's even a free tryout period.
The key to taking consistently good photographs, ones you'd be proud to turn into a calendar or make your own greeting cards from lies in developing your skills to use the camera - Whatever camera you have with you.
Disclaimer: I receive nothing from any of the sites mentioned in this blog post. I use and like them - that's all.