What should I pay attention to when buying a camera?

Suppose you feel that the photography on your smartphone is not clear sufficient.

if you want to capture main moments in your Pictures. in such a quality that you would not be ashamed in front of your descendants.

it’s time to get a full-fledged camera.

Considering how far photography has gone over the past. couple of decades.

beginners are lost in the abundance of types and the number of camera models.

So that buying a camera does not turn into a headache and overpayment for functions that you will not use, we will try to help you choose a camera.

When choosing a camera. You should rely solely on your needs and capabilities and not on the statement “more is better.”

An expensive SLR camera will only help you make a career at Reuters.

if you have the skills and a lot of experience based on your own mistakes.

Otherwise, this technique turns into an expensive soap box. On the other hand, cameras from the middle price segment in. The hands of creative people can become a tool for taking incredibly colorful pictures.

Types of cameras. Taking the first step towards choosing

The first rule when choosing a camera: drop all conventions on brands and brands. First, you need to decide which type of camera is most acceptable for your impetus. They can be conditionally divided into:

  • Instant cameras
  • Compact Cameras
  • Mirrorless Cameras
  • SLR Cameras

Instant cameras 

Instant cameras were popular at the end of the 20th century.

when the famous Polaroid was a dream of many, printing images immediately after shooting. This technology is outdated these days. The size of the photos is too small, and the cost of photo paper cassettes is very expensive. This type of device is rather of artistic value. because you can make good collages for the interior from such pictures.

Compact cameras 

Compact cameras are cameras that are popularly dubbed “soap dishes.” These are devices with the minimum feature set required for a good shot. All the user has to do is point the lens at the subject and press a button.

These cameras are small and can be carried in a pocket or purse. With their small dimensions. “soapboxes” provide better photos quality than most modern smartphones, which is quite enough for everyday needs.

The advantage of compact cameras is the almost complete absence of lag. When taking pictures and instant shutter release after pressing the shutter button. Which allows you to take photos on the move.

Read: The Canon EOS M100 Review, for beginners

Mirrorless cameras 

Mirrorless cameras are a serious competitor to DSLRs, which appeared relatively recently. As the name implies, there is no mirror in the design of such cameras, and the light from the lens unhindered directly onto the matrix of the device.

Due to the lack of moving parts inside, this device is more reliable and allows you to take photos silently. Moreover, they are more compact than “DSLRs.” But the absence of a mirror entails an increase in the duration of focusing, sometimes several times.

The most modern models of such cameras have already learned to focus quickly and have a built-in viewfinder. but they are obscenely expensive, especially for a novice photographer.

The range of settings and modes in mirrorless cameras is about the same as in SLR cameras. Moreover, their design also supports changing lenses.

It is a common misconception that the quality of the picture directly depends on the type of camera. That is not the case; the quality of photographs is built on completely different parameters, including the photographer’s ability to work with light.

The presence of a mirror in the camera does not affect the improvement. And detail of the image all depends on the element called the matrix.

SLR cameras 

SLR cameras are the main tool of professional photographers, art lovers, and those who want to be like a photographer.

Such devices have a huge set of functions for any need of a specialist. but to cope with the DSLR. and use it to its fullest technical training. and knowledge of the hardware is required Of course.

SLR cameras also have a built-in automatic mode, but the quality of such a picture will not differ in any way from a photo taken with an ordinary “soap dish.”

They got their name “DSLRs” due to the presence of a special mirror in the design, which reflects the light passing through the lens and sends it to the camera’s viewfinder, providing an image. When the shutter is released, it folds back, emitting a characteristic click. Part of the light hits the special focus sensors, which allows you to focus on the subject quickly. The advantages of DSLRs include fast autofocus. A simple lens change procedure. a wide range of settings for various shooting conditions. The ability to use various peripherals in the form of tripods, flashes, and other attachments.

The stumbling block is the high price of SLR cameras due to their functionality. so think three times about whether you will use all the settings provided by the developer.

Camera matrix and its dimensions

The main detail of any modern camera is a matrix that replaces outdated film. Matrix parameters that you should pay attention to. When choosing a camera are its size and the number of active pixels. 

The larger the sensor size and resolution. The higher the quality of the photos. Almost all modern cameras operate on CMOS matrices, the CCD type is found only in some versions of compact cameras. In this segment, the choice is not critical.

Physical size classification of camera matrices

After switching from 35 mm standard format film to digital photography, manufacturers tried to make matrices of the same size. Still, they quickly concluded that it was very expensive and technically difficult, so they decided to reduce these elements. That is how the concept of crop appeared. and the size of the matrices of digital cameras began to be measured by the crop factor.

which shows how many times the matrix is ​​reduced compared to the full-size version.

  • Full Frame, or full-size 36 × 24 mm sensors are installed inexpensive. professional cameras, but they will be practically useless for beginners.
  • matrices 1.5 and 1.6 crops (APS-C) are the most common in modern SLR and mirrorless devices. If you are not related to cinema and creating photos for glossy magazines, you are planning to do photography at a semi-professional level; this size of the matrix will suit you;
  • Matrices with a size of 1 “and below are used in compact cameras and are capable of providing a clear image under normal conditions, but at twilight or in other low light conditions, their quality will not allow the photographer’s artistic idea to be realized, however, more is not required from “soapboxes” …

Matrix sizes in digital cameras always exist in symbiosis with the number of pixels and their size: the larger, the better.

Influence of matrix resolution on photo quality

One of the main mistakes when buying a camera is the race for megapixels, the number of which marketers of companies selling smartphones love to brag about. The number of megapixels affects the clarity and size of the final image. The more there are, the larger the can print the photo without loss of quality.

The catch is that the pixels have to be made small o matrices too. less light gets on them. and the photo turns out worse, with clearly noticeable noise.

Due to the size of the matrix, an SLR camera with a resolution of 20 megapixels will destroy a smartphone with a resolution of 40 megapixels in terms of image quality.

From the above, we can conclude:

  • Suppose you plan to watch photos digitally on a computer, TV, in a photo frame, or print them on photo paper. In that case, you should not bother with the resolution when choosing a camera, since almost any modern device, starting with compact “soap dishes,” can provide high-quality images …
  • If you decide to get carried away with large-format printing. take photographs for posters and billboards. and process photos in graphic editors at maximum magnification. It would help if you stopped your choice of SLR and mirrorless cameras with large matrix size and a resolution of 18 megapixels.

Zoom in

It is not always possible to take a comfortable position in photographing for high-quality and detailed capture of an object in the viewfinder. Sometimes you have to photograph objects at a sufficiently large distance; in this case, the zoom function built into the camera helps.

There are two types of “zoom”: optical and digital.

Optical zoom uses the lens to bring the object closer, changing their position relative to each other. That helps enlarge the image without sacrificing image resolution and photo quality. Almost all professional photographers use this particular zoom method.

Digital zoom

Digital zoom is simply an enlargement of the picture in your camera’s viewfinder. A cheap analog of the optical one creates the illusion of zooming in, although, in fact, it just stretches the Frame and makes it blurry, low-quality, and spoils the impression of the photo. The use of digital zoom is typical for devices that do not have full-fledged lenses, such as smartphones.

In system cameras (SLR and mirrorless), powerful optical zoom is an integral part of the camera and depends directly on the type of lens selected. As a rule, it is necessary to adjust the zoom in such cameras manually, requiring a certain skill.

When buying a camera, pay attention to the fact that the model you like has a built-in optical zoom; even if it is small, now inexpensive compact cameras can also afford it.

Light sensitivity and shutter speed

Light sensitivity is an extremely important parameter when choosing a camera. especially if you are serious about taking up photography and manually adjust the settings in the camera.

The sensor can process the light was falling on it. Which is very important for shooting in low light or complete darkness. This kind of sensitivity is measured in ISO units and varies widely among the models. On the market depending on the type of camera and its purpose.

In most cases, the developers build in the automatic adjustment of the photosensitivity of the camera sensor depending on the exposure (the amount of light falling on the sensor). The wider the ISO range, the better the camera and the more flexibility it has in photography.

Consumer compact cameras generally have an ISO range of 80 to 3200, enough to get good shots in medium to even low light conditions. Don’t go for high ISOs if you don’t plan on doing fine art photography.

In professional digital cameras, the light sensitivity of the sensor can reach ISO 204,800. Still, more often in SLR and mirrorless cameras, this value is close to 25,000, allowing you to perform almost all inherent functions.

High ISO settings when shooting at night will add so-called noise to the photo, so you need to have at least a minimal understanding of professional photography to handle this setting manually.

You can long and persistently select the settings for shutter speed. ISO, and aperture, but the photo, in the end, runs the risk of getting worse than on a cheap soap box. Which is better suited for domestic needs.

Exposure – you should pay attention to the exposure parameters if you decide to get a DSLR or mirrorless camera because, in cheap compact cameras, the automation does everything by itself.

In simple terms, shutter speed is when the camera shutter remains open. Allowing light to enter the matrix—the higher the camera’s maximum shutter speed, the more options it provides to its owner. Thanks to the long exposure, beautiful night photos with blurry lights on the freeways are obtained.


Almost every modern camera has an image stabilization function. The developers consider the human factor because the photographer’s hand may tremble when pressed. and the photo will turn out blurry. Stabilization is especially useful,

when photographing handheld at high zoom or slow shutter speeds, where every movement can ruin the picture.

There are two types of stabilization: optical and digital.

A digital stabilizer is a cheap option for undemanding users who need to photograph themselves and their friends under normal conditions. Such a stabilizer works at the software level, and the image may lose quality. Most often used during Vlogging shoot.

Optical stabilization

Optical stabilization is provided by changing the position of the optical elements of the lens. It is a more expensive type of stabilization, but it is much better than digital stabilization.

Today, even cheap compact cameras have acquired optical stabilizers, so preference should be given to models with this type of stabilization when choosing a camera.

If you are buying a DSLR camera, pay attention that the lens supplied with it is equipped with optical stabilization. Otherwise, you will have to shoot from a tripod.

Powering the camera

The power supply of the camera is extremely important. The camera’s operation in the field depends on it, which is important when going out into the countryside or traveling.

Most modern cameras are equipped. with a rechargeable battery that can recharge. from an electrical outlet or a USB port in a computer.

(in the latter case, the charging time will be greatly increased). Cameras with such batteries are acceptable for users who are sure they can always find a place to recharge.

When choosing a camera, please pay attention to the battery capacity. the larger it is, the less often you worry about recharging.

Devices powered by conventional or AA batteries can be recharged using portable chargers. Sometimes buying batteries is much easier than running around a foreign city looking for an outlet.

If you are concerned about battery consumption, take a closer look at devices with an optical viewfinder. As a rule, they are equipped with SLR cameras and some models of mirrorless and compact cameras. Using your camera in the digital viewfinder, or “screen,” mode drastically reduces the camera’s lifespan on a single charge. In addition, the scene is visible in the optical viewfinder without the delays inherent in digital displays.

Additional features and options to consider when choosing a camera

If, after reading what you have read, you begin to navigate the issue of cameras better, the last step remains – to decide on the choice of the brand. Everything here is strictly individual.

While Canon and Nikon owners argue between themselves better many photographers can easily buy cameras from Sony or Olympus and live happily. Each manufacturer has its own “chips,” which are not in other brands, and this is noticeable, mainly, only inexpensive models of devices.

Let’s summarize:

  • if you expect to buy yourself a camera that can always be at hand and it will be simple and convenient to use. but without performing complex tasks, then you should opt for a conventional compact camera with optical zoom, flash, maximum ISO up to 3200, resolution matrices from 12 megapixels and AA batteries or rechargeable batteries.
  • If the standard features of amateur cameras are not enough for you should take a closer look at DSLR and mirrorless models. Can also advise them to people who have decided to seriously take up photography and spend a lot of time studying all the intricacies of this art. In this case, beginners should make sure that the camera lens is equipped with an optical stabilizer and that the camera itself has a wide ISO range.

Do not forget that the camera is just a soulless instrument that turns into a magic wand only in the hands of a talented photographer. How the world around you will look in the photo depends only on you. Happy staff!