There are a lot of aspects to consider when buying a new camera, which can make answering this question difficult.
Great cameras are often expensive. If you do not want to spend too much money on a camera, then you should understand the different types of cameras available in the market today.
This article will explain the main features to look for in a new camera so you can buy something right for you.
What Type of Camera To Look For: Key Features
So what makes a camera the right one for you? There are five essential features to consider:
- Shutter speed
- ISO Sensitivity
- Image Stabilization
A sensor determines how much light the camera absorbs and how bright its pictures will be.
Cameras with larger sensors (1 inch) capture more detail than with tiny sensors (1/2.3 inch), but you’ll probably have to pay more for this benefit.
Aperture is measured in f-stops and controls how much light hits the sensor.
Small apertures (f/1.8 and lower) let you shoot with faster shutter speeds.
Larger apertures (f/16 and higher) let you capture the dramatic depth of field effects, which means objects in focus stand out from those that are blurry.
This also makes it difficult to take shots in low-light conditions as the aperture cannot be opened as wide.
Shutter speed determines how long your camera’s shutter stays open—the longer it’s open, the more light reaches your sensor, which allows you to shoot at slower apertures in brighter lighting conditions.
ISO sensitivity measures how responsive the camera’s sensor is to light, with a lower number meaning it can absorb less light and a higher number meaning it absorbs more.
A high ISO lets you shoot in low-light conditions without using your flash, but too much noise (graininess) will make your shots look bad.
Image stabilization reduces blur from shaky hands while zooming or taking video.
It allows you to use longer shutter speeds and smaller apertures for dramatic effects like blurred backgrounds.
Six Types of Cameras Available Today
Now that you know the key things to consider when shopping around for cameras, let’s talk about the six types of cameras available in the market today:
- Point-and-shoot or compact camera
- Mirrorless camera
- Action camera
- Bridge camera
Point-and-shoot cameras boast better build quality than ever before while maintaining their small size and convenience.
The best models have large sensors and interchangeable lenses, while cheaper ones have very little control over settings like aperture or shutter speed.
Point-and-shoot cameras are pretty popular because they allow users to point and shoot.
They come with automatic settings that help users take quality pictures without doing anything else.
These cameras usually have a small optical zoom feature that allows you to get up-close views of objects from far away.
Many photographers also use this camera as their second or backup one.
While these models may not offer an extensive range of features, they’re still great for those who only want the best shots from their travels and don’t want to bother with complicated settings found in “proper” cameras.
A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Camera is a camera that lets you see what the lens sees through the viewfinder, uses interchangeable lenses, and has HD video capture.
DSLRs are more feature-packed than point-and-shoot cameras. The main reason why people decide to buy DSLRs is that they want better image quality.
DSLR cameras utilize bigger sensors than compact cameras, which lets in more light and produces higher quality images.
They can also use interchangeable lenses depending on what you plan to shoot.
If you’re starting in photography, entry-level models are available that are still friendly to the wallet. There are other units available in online retailers selling pre-loved cameras too.
However, DSLRs are bigger, heavier, and bulkier compared to other types of cameras.
Unlike other cameras on the list, they also don’t offer the best in auto-focus (and various other) technologies.
Mirrorless cameras combine the quality and interchangeable lenses of pro-level DSLRs with the convenience of not having a mirror box, which allows them to be much smaller than DSLRs.
Mirrorless cameras are another growing option these days because they’re much lighter compared to DSLRs or SLTs while offering comparable performance at lower prices.
Professional photographers are known to use this camera in place of their usual DSLR.
There are different mirrorless systems, including APS-C and Micro Four Thirds, with the latter being the most popular nowadays, with Panasonic and Olympus both making cameras that work on it.
Camcorders are highly portable video cameras that typically come with their LCD—this makes it easier to frame shots and monitor recordings during shoots, but they cannot take still photos.
Action cameras can attach to your helmet or chest for POV footage while also doubling as a rugged camera you can submerge in water. A perfect example is GoPro.
Bridge cameras are a step up from point-and-shoot models and offer a more sophisticated style of photography without being too expensive for an amateur photographer.
For example, you can get a 30x optical zoom for this type of camera, which is far better than the 3x found in most standard point-and-shoots.
These cameras usually take interchangeable lenses to let you choose different focal lengths to improve your zooming range.
They also come with other advanced features such as manual controls and RAW image support.
How To Pick the Best Type of Camera for Your Photography Needs
When looking for a new camera, the main thing is knowing what your current skills are in photography.
If you’re starting, it’s best to look at point-and-shoot models because they’re easier to use for taking great pictures.
If you have advanced knowledge about aperture settings or shutter speed, you might want to go with a DSLR, bridge, or mirrorless model instead.
You may also want to look into other considerations, as follows:
- Compatibility with your phone and other devices, making downloading and editing photos more effortless and more accessible
- Ergonomics with your hand size and suitable grip
- Availability of lenses and other accessories that fit your budget
- Your primary objective for photography, i.e., leisure, hobby, profession
- The size that suits your lifestyle, i.e., traveling, adventure, taking photographs with a baby in tow
- The latest model and technology that fits your need