What Digital Camera Should I Buy?

How to Choose the Right Camera for you or your loved one.

By Nick Wood

When starting out in photography it can be both a daunting and stressful experience just trying to buy a camera besides working out how to use the thing.  In this simple guide we explore the options open to you and help you come to the right solution.

Essentially there are three broad categories of camera available to you:

  1. Compact
  2. Hybrid
  3. DSLR

1. Compact


Your compact camera is the small, highly portable type thats fits beautifully into your pocket or handbag.  Readily available it allows you to always have a camera to hand and capture those essential images.  The trade-off for this portability is often the capability to access manual controls, a delay in starting them up and also a delay in shooting.  Your compact camera can also struggle when shooting indoors or where light levels drop and as a result so does quality.  Compacts are the perfect choice for your quick snap on the go – for top quality photography and more creativity however look elsewhere.

2. Hybrid

hybrid camera


Hybrid camera have become very popular over the past few years as in many ways they combine the best elements of both compacts and DSLR type cameras.  They tend to remain small in size and operate in a similar way to your compacts yet pack a real punch in terms of features and particular their zoom capability.  No longer are you limited to fixed zoom lenses as many of the top brands now allow you to swap lenses.

A word of warning regarding the zoom element of modern hybrid cameras is that the manufacturers love to promote the fact that their cameras offer great long zooms for close up photography however in my experience such long zooms can magnify any shake in your hands so be careful.

Hybrids are good all round cameras without specialising in any particular fields.  They are great to take on holiday due to their size and capability but their weaknesses remain in fast moving action and indoors shooting.


DSLR camera


Your DSLR camera tends to be the big impressive beast that wows your friends and also tends to scare you a little when starting out.  DSLR cameras give you the ultimate in flexibility but come at a price – their size and weight.  To get the most from a DSLR camera you really need a couple of different lenses for shooting results and conditions.

It is easy to be overwhelmed when starting out by the number of lenses available but don’t be put off as the results are well worth it. I shall produce a guide to lenses here in the blog so pop back for a look.  Most entry level DSLR cameras come with a ‘kit lens’ which is designed to get you up and running but do be careful as they don’t tend to have as much of a zoom as your compact so it can be an initial let down.

The majority of DSLR cameras do come with a fully automatic setting so they work just like your compact and are easy to get up and running so don’t be frightened by the size or intimidated by the controls.  To get the most from the cameras though you do need to start playing with the settings – if you need any help why not pop along to one of our beginner photography courses.

If you are looking for more creative photography, professional level shots and wonderful family portraits then the DSLR remains the ultimate choice.  I would suggest you look towards the Canon or Nikon brands as the choice of add-ons is enormous and there are even third party manufacturers who make lenses at great value prices.

When choosing a camera I suggest you consider the following:

  • Your budget
  • Subjects you want to take pictures of – portraits, flowers, sport, weddings, holidays etc
  • What are you willing to carry / leave around in hotel rooms?

From there why not give me a call and we can help give you some practical impartial advice.  You can contact me on 01245 494258.  Alternatively why not come along to our beginners courses and borrow one of our cameras so that you can leave much better informed about what to buy.

With photography bigger is not always better, I have seen plenty of people with an interest in photography grow out of love with their large DSLR type cameras due to the size and lack of portability.  In the same way I have seen plenty of snappers start out with a compact and quickly wish they had gone straight to a DSLR.  Choices, choices, choices.


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