TOPICS IN THIS CAMERA BUYING GUIDE

Several times in our lives, there are moments when we want to capture special memories, but without the right camera or no camera at all, it becomes quite a bore. After you’ve decided to get a camera, the next problem becomes getting a suitable camera, one that’ll best suit your needs. The buying guide below will give you a detailed insight into the world of cameras where you’ll be able to find which camera will suit your needs, its features and how you can adequately utilize them.

Topics In This Camera Buying Guide

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY A CAMERA

Now sometimes, the use of our phones may seem to satisfy all our picture and video needs, but when you finally use a camera to shoot the most beautiful and clear images and create high quality videos, you will wish you had bought a camera sooner. With a camera, you are well assured of a higher level of image clarity and output of professional pictures and videos through the use of excellent features in a camera such as interchangeable lens, image stabilization, viewfinder, high megapixels, face detection and other amazing features you can utilize only if you buy a camera. With a camera, you have a greater control over your device such as adjusting the manual controls – shutter speed, aperture, ISO – something you cannot do on your ordinary phone. Also, there are several types of cameras you can pick which will suit your needs – and each of these varieties of cameras have their own unique features just waiting for you to explore. You have the option of buying a simple point and shoot camera, or a DSLR camera or a mirrorless camera or other types of cameras.

CHOOSING A CAMERA TYPE

Point and shoot cameras

Also referred to as compact digital cameras, these types of cameras are extremely portable and often small enough to fit into a pocket. They are the most basic digital cameras, very few controls, few accessory options and are designed for taking basic snapshots. All you have to do to capture your special moments is to point the camera at your subject and click the shutter. These types of cameras are best suited for the average photographer who wishes to capture shots and moments for the sake of his or her own memories and ideal for those who are just getting the hand of digital photography. A point and shoot camera gives you the speed and simplicity to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to capture that special moment. Point and shoot cameras of 5 to 6 megapixels produce clearer and sharper photos. A major advantage of a point and shoot camera is that it is very lightweight and small in size which makes it easy to carry around and take more photos at any time than you otherwise would if you had to carry a bigger DSLR or mirrorless camera around. Modern point and shoot cameras are made with some of the best features of the digital camera world for an image quality that just a few years ago was only available to those with a DSLR camera. They come with a wide variety of settings such as editing features, built-in-image stabilizers, attached lenses, optical zoom lenses, panorama modes and other features designed to you take superb pictures.

Action Cameras

Action cameras allows you the benefit of capturing every adventure and thrills. They are mostly geared towards sports and adventure photography. They are sturdy cameras you can take to the beach or throw in a backpack whenever you want to go mountain climbing, hiking or travelling overseas. These cameras are specially designed to capture fast action shots, withstand elements and advanced enough to provide stunning high resolution photos and videos. They capture every twist, turn, jump and climb you want. Action cameras have protected features so they can be taken into most situations without fear of dropping or exposure to heat, cold, moisture and sand. They are built for durability and when combined with the accessories to mount the camera to pretty much anything that can be used in ways a regular camera can’t. More amazing is the fact that the Wi-Fi connectivity allows you share and transfer your photos and videos directly to your smartphone or tablet. In recent times, these cameras have become smaller and more powerful than ever and are capable of taking video good enough for professional movies and TV. Action cameras are designed to be strapped anywhere; on your bike, helmet, surfboard etc. They are also water resistant and weatherproof, and have a great battery life. So, if you need a camera to capture your adventures, an action camera is the best bet for you.

Bridge Cameras

Just as the name suggests, bridge cameras sit between beginner-friendly cameras and more complicated professional models. The term “bridge camera” was originally used to refer to film cameras which bridged the gap between point and shoot cameras and single lens reflex cameras (SLRs). These types of cameras are most suitable for camera users who have some knowledge of photography, need for a standard camera, but cannot afford a professional grade camera. There are two groups of bridge cameras. The first group known as the advanced models are small cameras with grown-up features such as large image sensors, very high-quality lenses and top performing image processors. The second group of bridge cameras is known as long-zoom cameras also known as ultrazooms give you the extreme close up photos you would get from DSLRs. When purchasing a bridge camera, it is advisable you search for a bridge camera with large image sensors which gives you a huge quality boost, especially when you’re shooting in dim light. You should also look out for a bridge camera with great lens, marked by a large maximum aperture of about f/1.8, or at least f/2.2. Bridge cameras are typically distinguished by their built-in-optical “superzoom” lenses of up to 50x magnification which gives you the ability to shoot between wide-angle and telephoto, close-up shots without having to change lenses. With the amazing superzoom lenses, you can photograph everything from wide landscapes to close-ups of you making your super jump down the mountain. Compared to the lens of a SLRs, the lenses of a bridge camera are smaller and cannot be removed or exchanged.

DSLR Cameras

For photography enthusiasts and lovers of high level pictures, the Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (DSLR) is a sure bet. Digital SLRs are the most advanced type of digital camera available; they offer faster performance, more control over settings and better image quality than other types of cameras. They are also more expensive than other cameras. A DSLR camera has the ability to utilize a very fast lens such as f/2.8 or faster, allowing you further enhance the DSLR’s ability to give you great shots even in extremely low light. Unlike the lenses of a bridge camera, users can interchange lenses to fit their specific project needs. One great benefit of a DSLR camera is its versatility. Whether you want to capture your kid’s graduation, take a picture of nature or capture a fast action-autofocus image, a DSLR camera sure can satisfy all these needs and more. The key features you will find in the DSLR camera include; fully automatic or fully manual controls, interchangeable lens options, burst shooting modes for taking multiple shots in quick succession, optical viewfinder for framing your subject in bright light. The DSLR optical viewfinder allows you see exactly what you’re about to shoot through the lens. Another important feature which makes a DSLR a go-getter is its autofocus system. DSLRs use a phase-detection method for acquiring focus that employs a number of fixed autofocus points to acquire focus, based on detected objects throughout the scene. The greater the number of autofocus points, the more precision with which the autofocus system can function quickly, since the points will be covering a larger and more dense area of the scene. Also, when purchasing a DSLR camera, it is pivotal you take into consideration what type of sensor you want. An image sensor a light-sensitive component that digitally records the image once the shutter is pressed. You have the choice of selection a DSLR with an APS-C image sensor or a full frame sensor. A DSLR camera has much more megapixels than megapixels found in other types of cameras; the more megapixels, the better the resolution and the better the image. Furthermore, the image processor in a DSLR camera is typically more advanced than those found in other cameras, and recently, some DSLR cameras have begun utilizing multiple processors, giving them the obvious advantage of further enhancing speed and performance. Other amazing features of a DSLR includes a burst mode (rapid succession of photos by holding the shutter button which is measures in frames per second), multipoint autofocus and scene-recognition models, video continuous autofocus, high dynamic range, built-in-flash, video mode, shutter speed, Wi-Fi enabled cameras, ultrasonic sensor cleaning and live view function.

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras also known as Compact System Cameras are small and lightweight cameras that feature interchangeable lenses without the components of a single lens reflex camera. It is a hybrid camera between full-function DSLR cameras and point-and-shoot cameras. Just like both the image quality and interchangeable a DSLR camera, a mirrorless camera provides its users with interchangeable lenses. With a mirrorless camera, you’ll get both the image quality and interchangeable lens of a DSLR and also get the compact body of a point and shoot camera. Mirrorless cameras have larger sensors that ensure that images have less noise as compared to the images captured by point and shoot cameras. They have larger sensors which provides larger sized pixels resulting in enhanced light collection and significant reduction in image noise – the result- great quality and detailed images. Also, mirrorless cameras have been designed specifically to use the main imaging sensor to provide autofocus information and the preview of what the camera is about to shoot, just as is the case with compact camera, rather than having this option added on later. An amazing thing about a mirrorless camera is that because there is no mirror inside the camera in front of the sensor, their design allows for a very short focal flange distance, or the distance between the lens mount and the plane of the sensor. Mirrorless cameras make use of contrast detection to focus on a subject. The contrast detection measures the contrast between pixels on the sensor until it detects enough contrast to find that the image is in focus. If you are considering picking up a mirrorless camera, the great news now is that many new mirrorless cameras now use a hybrid focusing method that combines phase and contrast detection methods. If fast focus pictures are important to you, especially in low light, then a hybrid autofocus mirrorless camera is what you should go for. Also, if image size and quality is paramount to you, a mirrorless camera with either an APS or full-frame sensor is your best bet. Other amazing features of a mirrorless camera include; wireless functionality, full manual control, video recording, viewfinder, autofocus performance, form factor, and face recognition.

Security Cameras

When purchasing a security camera, you could go for a CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) camera or an IP (Internet Protocol) security camera. A CCTV camera uses video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place on a limited set of monitors distributed and closely monitored primarily for surveillance and security purposes. It is one of the most commonly utilized security camera used by individual and organizations. An IP security camera is a technology that is used for transmitting digital data network packets over an existing computer network and the internet. An IP camera plugs directly into your network router and transmits data through the network. The motion detection feature of an IP security camera picks up and records any movement within the monitored space when enabled. An IP camera requires a high-speed internet connection, router, ethernet cable and IP address to function, and it connects to the network just like a printer and other network devices. Also ensure that it has a sufficient IP weather rating to withstand natural elements. Security cameras are commonly used for maintaining perimeter security, monitoring traffic and obtaining a visual record of human activity. Before buying any type of security camera, you have to take into consideration whether you want an indoor or outdoor camera. If you want an outdoor camera, then you should go for a security camera with a weatherproof and waterproof enclosure. When purchasing a security camera, it is pertinent that you look out for the camera resolution, field of view, lens selection and device compatibility. Also take into consideration how many security cameras you will need. If you want to monitor a large property, then you should purchase sufficient security cameras to cover the chosen entrances and exits.

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SPECIAL FEATURES

Lens Quality:

The lens of a camera is the most important feature of a camera and the first thing you should take into consideration when purchasing a camera. The type of lens attached to your camera is what allows you to capture a wide variety of creative images, including detailed photos of subjects as tiny as an ant or wide-angle shots of a sweeping landscape. If you want to ability to switch lenses in order to get the exact shot you want, your options include going for a mirrorless camera or a DSLR camera. You should also go for lens with fast apertures and optical image stabilization to help you take sharper images in low light. The key to taking a great picture depends on the lens’s ability to capture sharp images in a range of shooting and fast moving conditions. Furthermore, when purchasing a camera, you can decide for camera with zoom lenses or prime lenses. Zoom lenses allow you capture subjects up close or at a distance by changing the focal length - the longer the focal length, the farther you will be able to zoom in on your subject. Prime lenses are fixed at specific focal length, but they typically produce sharper images and perform better in low-light settings.

Focal Length

This describes how the lens’s angle of view, how wide the image is and how close a lens can make a subject appear. Zoom lenses provide variable focal length, from wide angle-angle shots to clean ups. A shorter focal length gives you a wider image, while a longer focal length allows you to zoom in for a narrow, closely cropped shot. The longer the focal length, the closer you can zoom in on a distant subject.

Megapixels/Resolution

Megapixels (MP)refer to a measure of the resolution of a camera. Cameras capture images as pixels, known as pixels. Calculatively, one megapixel is equal to one million pixels. The more pixels, the higher the image resolution. In other words, the greater the number of pixels, the higher quality and sharpness of the images. Resolution relates primarily to print size and the amount of detail an image has when viewed on a computer monitor at 100%. For instance, a 12 megapixel will print you a 16×24 inch at a 4200×2800 resolution; a 3-megapixel camera will print you a 5×7 inch at a 2048×1536 resolution. You should also keep in mind that higher resolution cameras use more internet and Wi-Fi bandwidth and battery life.

Shutter Speed:

Shutter speed refers to the amount of time the shutter remains open to allow light to reach a camera sensor. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of seconds. The faster the shutter speed, the more clearly a moving object can be captured. How an image is exposed is determined by the combination of the lens aperture and shutter speed. Fast shutter speeds capture fast moving objects such as racing vehicle. A fast shutter speed uses a larger aperture to avoid an under-exposed image. A slow shutter speed requires a small aperture to avoid over-exposure.

Wireless Connectivity

Most modern cameras now come with Wi-Fi for sharing our photos with the people we love. Cameras are now able to connect to the internet wirelessly, making it a breeze to upload your photos to your computer or to social media sites straight from your camera. Another wireless option available to newer cameras is the Near-Field communication which allows you to wireless transfer images from your camera to a wireless device simply by touching the devices together. GPS technology tracks the exact location where each photo was taken, allowing you to create a visual map of the places you’ve visited.

Sensor/Sensor Size

A sensor is a chip inside a digital camera that captures the image. It converts light into electronic signals to create a picture. The larger the sensor, the better the output of your photos. Bigger imaging sensors allow for some combination of more megapixels and larger pixels that can capture more light. The size of a camera sensor will have a big impact on the quality of your pictures. The lens gathers light and direct it towards the sensor, and the sensor records the light to create the image. Sensors come in varying sizes. The largest sensor in a camera is the “full-frame” sensor of high-end DSLR cameras which is about the same size of 35mm film with a 1.7 inches long diagonal. The next are APS-C sensors (1.18 inches diagonal) which are slightly smaller than full-frame sensors can be found in mainstream DSLRs and some high-end mirrorless cameras. Other mirrorless cameras make use of Micro Four Thirds sensors (0.85 inches diagonal) which are slightly smaller than APS-C sensors. Compact point-and-shoot cameras and bridge cameras make use of the smallest type of sensors you can find in cameras. If you are interested in getting quality photos, get the camera with the largest size you can find or one close to the largest. A larger sensor will receive more light than a smaller one, and produce more images - the bigger the sensor, the better the photos.

Image Stabilization:

Image stabilization is a technology that helps reduce blur. It keeps the image sharp and centered and even if the user’s hands are unstable. Image stabilization reduces vibration and shakiness when shooting, which in turn reduces blurriness in low light conditions, and it comes in two varieties – optical image stabilization and digital image stabilization. Optical stabilization physically shifts an element in a camera or lens to counteract shake, while digital stabilization uses in-camera software to correct image blur.

ISO Controls:

ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The higher your ISO, the more effective the camera is at capturing images in low light without a flash. ISO controls how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. However, setting your ISO at higher sensitivity means more noise. Luckily, high end cameras such as DSLR and mirrorless cameras are getting better and better at noise reduction when using a high ISO. When a higher ISO is selected, shutter speeds are faster and apertures open wider, allowing more light to enter the camera which in turn helps prevent blurred images. When there is plenty of light, it is advisable you use the lowest ISO to retain the most amount of detail and to have the highest image quality.

Size/Weight:

This is one of the most important feature to take into consideration when purchasing a camera. If you want a portable camera for travelling in order to take shots of your experiences, a compact point and shoot camera will perfectly suit your needs. It is portable, light weight and can fit just perfectly into your pocket or bag without weighing you down. If you are a professional photographer looking for cameras to help capture the kind of images you want and give u a clear, quality and detailed image, a less light and bulkier mirrorless or DSLR camera is the best bet for you.

Viewfinder:

Viewfinders are used to compose and frame a scene or an image. Viewfinders are really helpful for anyone when shooting in direct sunlight when you can’t see the LCD. While looking through the viewfinder, you can steady the camera by bracing it against your face, making the camera less prone to shake. There are two types of viewfinders in a digital camera – the electronic viewfinder and the optical viewfinder. Electronic viewfinders are typically found on some high end compact digital cameras and DSLRs. The electronic viewfinder has a focus peak which highlights edges of contrast within the frame with a colored line, which helps to avail a more objective system of determining critical sharpness when focusing manually. Electronic viewfinders with high resolution offer improved viewing over ones with low resolution. A camera with an electronic viewfinder also displays key camera settings. The advantage is that you don’t have to take away your eye from the camera to look at the LCD screen for settings and accurate framing. A major advantage of an electronic viewfinder is that it has the ability to give an accurate depiction of any exposure, color balance, or other camera-setting adjustments prior to shooting. An optical viewfinder means that what you see is exactly or very close to what the lens is seeing. Optical viewfinders work well in both bright and low lighting conditions. When looking through the eyepiece, there is a center autofocus bracket and parallax correction line at the top. When taking close-up shots, it is advisable to use the parallax correction line.

Aperture

Aperture, also called the f-stop number, is the size of the opening in a lens. The aperture controls the amount of light that reaches a camera sensor. It acts very similar to the way the pupil of an eye does. In high-end DSRLs and mirrorless cameras, you can manually set the aperture to control the amount of light that reaches the imaging sensor. A lower f-stop e.g. f/1.8 means that a smaller area of the scene is in focus, while a higher f-stop e.g. f/8means that majority of the scene is in focus.

Face Detection

Also known as Face Priority, is typically activated when switching a camera to portrait mode or a dedicated face-detecting shooting mode. Face detection ensures that the camera focuses on the subject’s face rather than objects behind, beside or in front of them. The camera determines where to focus, so if a face is not detected in a scene, it switches to a center focus point. Also, most high-end cameras with face detection are able to focus on multiple faces at once for better group shots.

Video Recording

Shooting high-quality videos is one of the amazing features of a camera. Video modes allows you record special moments with a professional feel. A high definition (HD) video is 1080p offers you clear and crisp videos. If you plan on shooting a lot of videos with your camera, make sure to look out for cameras with an unlimited recording time. Also, you’ll want to look out for a camera with video-specific technology, which ensures that your subject always stays in focus, even while panning or shooting fast-action videos. In order to achieve all these, its best you go for DSLR cameras or hybrid digital cameras.

NOW THAT YOU KNOW BETTER!
You can choose better,
from our collection of cameras