Which camera is the best digital camera?
Different people like different cameras, so how will you choose between a pocket camera that can easily slip into your pocket and take photos in a snap, and a professional digital camera that requires a big and heavy camera bag but can take photos fit for a nature magazine?
Even if you already know which type of camera you prefer, there is an abundance of cameras within each type. There are so many digital cameras on the market, but the best digital camera is the one the best fits your needs and this guide will walk you through the steps to choosing it.
Pocket or Professional?
The absolute first choice you have to make is what type of camera you want.
Pocket Digital Cameras
The most common type of camera is a pocket camera, i.e. a palm-sized camera that can easily fit into a small bag. The credit card shaped ones that are getting smaller and smaller these days are very popular. The biggest advantage of this camera type is their ease of use and reasonable pricing. Technological advances are allowing these tiny cameras to take very good photos. Be aware that if your pocket camera has a viewfinder, the actual photo might differ from what you see in the viewfinder, so if you’re not used to looking through the LCD screen you might be disappointed with the resulting photos.
Professional Digital Cameras
This type of camera, which is termed ‘SLR’ or ‘reflex’, is larger than pocket cameras and has interchangeable lenses. This means that you can install different kinds of lenses on it (wide angle, telephoto, etc.), which allows for a wider artistic palette. Their biggest advantage, beyond the ability to take higher quality photos, is that you can control to a much greater extent the factors that go into the making of a photo, e.g. the zoom, the aperture (the amount of light that’s let in), the shutter speed (the amount of time we let light into the camera, see shutter speed). Obviously, the main disadvantages of professional cameras are their weight and the costs involved in buying the camera body, lenses, and accessories. By the way, the common term for a digital reflex camera is DSLR.
Semi-professional Digital Cameras
There is a hybrid solution – a semi-professional digital camera – that offers a compromise between the SLR camera and the pocket camera. They look very much like professional cameras, that is, they resemble the SLR cameras, just smaller and lighter. They don’t have interchangeable lenses, but they do have a high-quality lens that can zoom in and deliver high-quality photos. These cameras’ main disadvantage is exactly the fact that they are a hybrid solution that’s neither here nor there. They don’t fit your shirt pocket and they don’t give you full control or professional-grade photos.
Which is the best digital camera for you?
To answer this question you need to answer the following:
- Is photography a hobby that you will dedicate most of your free time to, or are you just looking to capture important moments in your life?
- Can you afford hundreds and even thousands of dollars on photography gear right now?
- Do you see yourself taking a couple of hours every once in a while to walk around a neighborhood and take photographs of scenery and people, or will the camera be mainly used for photos of your family?
- How much of a burden would carrying a 3-5 lb. camera on a trip be?
The answers to these questions will guide your decision and help you find the best digital camera for you. It might make most sense for you to own two cameras – one for quick shots and one for your photography hobby and special occasions.
Read about why a tripod is a must if you’re buying a professional camera and why a $10 cleaning kit will save you $1000.
How do you choose a digital camera from all the kinds out there?
Canon or Nikon? Olympus or Sony? There are so many great brands to choose from. There’s no absolute answer to this question. Every once in a while one of these camera companies will come out with their latest, most advanced model, and soon after their competitors will launch a model that’s just as good or even better. Many people go for a camera that’s slightly older than the top-of-the-line model thinking that the newer features do not justify the extra money. They may also be thinking that the newest model out there is not the best digital camera for them because it will be old news pretty soon anyways.
It’s important to know that camera brands usually have a model that is considered better than the rest of their line-up. You should consult at the camera store or at online forums to figure out which model has less issues and better picture quality. Interestingly, the newer models can be riskier because their quality hasn’t been assessed for a long enough time.
If you’re planning on spending a lot of money on a professional reflex camera, you should read up on it in journals and magazines and choose a camera that received high marks. We think that buying this kind of camera is like choosing a spouse – you will spend many years together! You and the camera will be very close and you will probably buy all sorts of lenses, filters, flash, and other equipment. Even when you start thinking that your camera is getting old, you will still want to stay loyal to its brand – to fit all of the gear you accumulated along the years. In other words, the brand you choose now might be the brand you will have for your next 3-4 cameras!
If you’re interested in buying a camera or in photography, expand your knowledge and read up on photography lessons, on how to compose shots, and on exposure. Even better – sign up for a free email course and get a weekly email with a lesson and an assignment that will turn you into a great photographer: photography course.