Finding the right camera is tough even for experienced photographers. Prices range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars, so making the wrong decision can cost you a pretty penny. Do you need an expensive model, or an affordable camera will do? This quick guide will answer some of your questions and point you in the right direction!
Find your type
These cameras can be quite different: from pocket-sized and suitable for people who don’t want to get the hang of too many technical features – to advanced models with long zooms. But they all have this one thing in common: a lens that can’t be removed.
The popularity of these cameras is in decline now due to smartphones: now you can make a pretty photo just using your iPhone. That’s why manufacturers have shifted their efforts into advanced models with lots of features.
Entry-level cameras are quite affordable (about $100) and don’t offer the image quality that is significantly better than your smartphone’s camera. But they have some features smartphones don’t have (yet…) – for example, zoom lenses.
Their name comes from the fact that these cameras don’t have an optical viewfinder and, obviously, the mirror. This camera category offers superior image quality, more options, and faster performance than compact cameras – and some entry-level models can even be more affordable than premium point-and-shoots.
Prices for this category start from about $500 but professional cameras may cost up to $10,000 (for example, Fujifilm GFX 100 which uses a 100-megapixel sensor). Models with large sensors are usually more expensive.
This category covers the same price range as mirrorless cameras and can suit both professionals and amateurs. Due to its larger sensor, an entry-level camera from this category can create images with higher quality than a point-and-shoot, but of course, newbie-friendly DSLRs won’t offer the speed and extra features of a professional camera.
So, are DSLRs better than mirrorless cameras? Yes and no. They can’t usually offer you a better image quality but beat mirrorless models when it comes to many other features: for example, many professionals prefer DSLRs due to their lag-free optical viewfinder. And another thing: a DSLR’s battery life is hugely superior which is an important factor for many photo-lovers.
Surely DSLRs have their flaws, too. Some find their live view mode too slow but probably the biggest issue of theirs is the size. Compared to mirrorless cameras, DSLRs are massive.
Find your price
If you’re not planning to pursue photography as a profession, spending a fortune on a new camera is not the wisest decision. It’s important to think about what you truly need: many priced models have tons of features that you won’t probably ever use.
On the other hand, buying an affordable camera may leave you disappointed – why even bother with entry-level models when smartphones exist? If you’re looking for better quality, plan to spend at least $500. If you just need something a bit more versatile than your smartphone, grab a newbie-friendly point-and-shoot.
Remember: a professional camera won’t make you a professional!
Find your size
Choosing a camera, you shouldn’t underestimate this element. Try it before you buy if it’s possible because buying a $1,000 camera just to find out that you don’t feel comfortable with it in your hands can be quite frustrating. Make sure that it’s not so heavy that you will hate to hold it in your hands.
Ergonomics is important. A poorly organized menu and chaotic design may leave you annoyed or even alienate you from photography. Menus should be smartly structured, easy-to-grasp, and logical.
Finding a camera can be tough but it’s doable. Follow these simple rules: try before you buy and think before you buy and you’ll find the camera that suits you!