Digital Cameras: A Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re taking picture perfect portraits or simple holiday shots, our guide will have you snapping away in no time

Asimple holiday snap or capturing a vibrant sunset over the Pacific ocean, digital cameras provide a solution for all photographic needs. Digital cameras allow you to erase, edit, crop, add effects, delete red eye all before you decide to print or save to disk. Prices range from less than £20 to more than £20,000, and choosing one from thousands can be overwhelming.

Professional photographer Will White always has two questions when anyone asks his opinion on what camera to buy “What do you want from the camera, and what’s your budget?”

Digital Cameras Fall Into Four Categories

A point and shoot camera with a fixed lens that are great for holiday snaps and ideal for the person who does not want to be too technical nor worried about detail. They are discreet and portable with most fitting in a pocket. Many come with relatively large zooms and additional functions. For example, panoramic mode, HD video and Wi-fi attempting to combat the threat of modern smartphones and their increasing photographic capabilities. However, if you want more control over light, quality and detail then you will need to aim higher. White says: “Although there are some fantastic zooms on point and shoot cameras, some are so extreme that I don’t believe you can use them effectively without a tripod.”

These tend to have a larger sensor than budget compacts but still have a single integrated lens. You can just point and click or manually adjust the settings on the camera. These are for people who don’t want the expense of a DSLR, but want more control over the image than a compact. They are very transportable.

Compact system

They have a body of a compact, but have the ability to swap lenses opening up more possibilities for your photos. The sensor is larger than a typical compact, helping to produce a better image. Longer lenses often make the camera top-heavy, therefore more awkward to handle. Good for enthusiasts who want to travel light.

DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)
You should be able to accomplish anything with this camera – budget permitting. It can give you ultimate control over what you take, though you can go automatic. With an SLR camera you have a “what you see is what you get” viewfinder, and like the compact system you can change lenses. DSLR tend to have larger sensors than other camera types.


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