This question I get asked the most at the holidays... 'what camera should I buy my partner for Christmas?'
I NEVER have an answer, as, let's be honest, I have had the same camera for the last 4 years and not updated it, so I couldn't tell you what's on the market at the click of a finger.
So, I thought I'd put together a comprehensive guide that can help you make the choice. I have included a few examples of each camera type that I discuss in this article, I have chosen them based on reviews and ratings.
So why am I making this guide? There are so many options now when it comes to cameras. Big, small, really small, really big. There are sports cameras, professional cameras, compact cameras and camera cameras.
I'm going to assume that if you're reading this you're probably wanting to start to take photography relatively seriously and are looking at more advanced cameras. This guide will you give you the knowledge you need to make the right decision. Once you have chosen the camera for you, ask yourself this question, 'do I have the knowledge to use it out the box or will need some training/coaching?'. If the answer is yes, then I'd suggest starting with YouTube - search the cameras name followed by 'for beginners', you should get a good search result back.
Perfect those who are casually taking pictures and wanting to throw something in their bag.
They don't need any technical knowledge to use, they focus themselves and are really the most cost-efficient ways of taking great photos.
Sony DSCW800 Digital Camera https://amzn.to/2DhDoXf
Canon PowerShot SX730 https://amzn.to/2ODEheG
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70EB-S Compact https://amzn.to/2PngxRi
This is something I would consider totally different from 'normal' photography. Action cameras are best suited to the video world of capturing those action shots, however, they can take some excellent photos. If you're into sports and find yourself wanting to take a small camera with you to capture the action in the least obtrusive way possible, then a sports camera is for you!
I personally have a GoPro in this lineup and can say that's my preferred one, however, the other options have had some great reviews!
Sony FDR-X3000R 4K Action Cam https://amzn.to/2z6iQxK
GoPro HERO6 Camera https://amzn.to/2DzhDmK
YI 4K action camera https://amzn.to/2JVuXSG
I personally don't see the point of these cameras. Some say that they're a great in-between the compact and the DSLR range, however, I think the compact is so advanced now, these are pretty pointless. However, they're an option!!!
These cameras have a fantastic zoom range, however, once you have used real glass on a DSLR, you'll soon realise that once you have digitally zoomed in on a picture, the quality reduces significantly.
Sony DSC-RX10 https://amzn.to/2PoJpZo
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000EB https://amzn.to/2OzZnuo
Mirrorless cameras are incredibly similar to the DSLR, but there are no mirrors inside. When capturing a picture with a mirror involved, it’s easy for you to get a great picture when the conditions are good. However, the best setting for a mirrorless camera is during the daytime with good lighting, since low light and fast movements are difficult to capture, even with image stabilisation. Essentially, these cameras are good for portraits and daytime landscapes.
Rather than using phase detection technology alone, mirrorless cameras use contrast detection too. You have the choice of taking a picture with the phase detection of DLSR, or the natural light of contrast technology. While shooting video with this type of camera, your recording looks the closest to the natural appearance of the environment.
Now we're moving into the realm of enthusiast/pro region of the game. Mirrorless cameras offer, especially with today's technological advances, an unparalleled amount of performance versus their bigger brother line up, the DSLR's.
Essentially, a DSLR with no mirror. However, not having a mirror has its drawbacks. The mirrorless camera has incredible dynamic range however, it isn't always the fastest at shooting fast-moving objects - but they certainly kill the portrait game!
I'm not going to offer any specific brand, however, I will say that a certain brand that rhymes with Bony is wiping the floor with all the brands at the moment!
DSLR cameras capture their images a little differently from compact ones. Instead of taking a replica of what’s in front of the single lens, these cameras feature both a mirror and a prism to get the best images. With phase detection technology, they capture the ideal contrast for any image, rather than using a filter or editing after you upload the images to your computer.
To help you get the right angle and view, there’s usually an interchangeable lens for you to switch out. Image stabilisation is also a major plus with DLSRs since it helps you take a still picture with less blurring. With these customisations, it’s easy to capture beautiful images, even if you aren’t a professional, making the DSLR a good middle ground option.
Now we're into the big boys, these tend to cost the most. However, if you're starting out, there are some great cheaper models that will take your breath away.
But what is a DSLR? DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. In the body of the camera, you have a mirror and prism, that allows the user to see down the barrel of the lens - what you see is what you get!
Like Mirrorless bodies, DSLR's have the ability to change their lens. Typically a camera will come with a kit lens, these are a great place to start - but over time, you will want to experiment with different focal lengths depending on the subject you shoot.
I shoot with Canon, in my opinion, they are the best DSLR out there, although, I will say that Nikon has better low light capability than Canon. But Canons colour science is the best out there.
Here are my three top picks for you...
Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens https://amzn.to/2QFbdFl
Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera with 18 - 55 mm IS STM Lens https://amzn.to/2QEDD2p
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV(WG) EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM Lens Kit https://amzn.to/2DBJYZj