Are you planning to buy your first camera but wondering what is the best camera to buy? Then I do hope this post will be of a little help to your decision making drama.
Before starting there are 3 points I would like you to keep in mind:
First, the “best camera” to you is the one that best meets your needs and not the one that is the most technologically advanced or the most expensive in the market.
Second, Almost all cameras do the same job which is capturing images and saving them on memory cards. Some cameras models today have extra functions such as WIFI connectivity, face detection and so on, but these are simply extras and not essentials.
Third, technology is changing very quickly. So what is the point of wanting to buy the latest model of a certain brand when you know that in a matter of weeks a new model will be available in the market.
Now let’s list what to consider before buying your “best camera”:
1. Realize what do you need the camera for.
After answering the below questions, you will be able to narrow down the options available and have a clearer idea on what kind of camera to look for.
- What is your budget?
- What type of photography will you be using the camera for? (portraits, sports, wildlife, landscapes, macros, etc..)
- Will you mostly be photographing indoors, outdoors, during the day, or during the night?
- Are you interested in becoming creative and artistic in photography or you just want to snap memories?
- Are you a beginner or you do have a bit of experience in photography?
- Does size matter to you?
- What are the features that you want in the camera? (optical zoom, image stabilizer, HD movie recording, changeable lenses, etc.)
2. Which camera type to choose?
There are 4 types of digital cameras available in the market to choose from. I will go through their specifications in details in a future post, but briefly they are:
Compact Digital Cameras (Point and shoot): These cameras are compact in size and can be as small as a mobile phone if not smaller. Almost all of these cameras are fully automated with many built in shooting modes (night, portraits, beach, snow, fireworks, etc.). Their lenses are fixed, they have optical and digital zoom, and some have extras such as face detection and image stabilizer functions.
DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflux): These cameras are bulky, heavy and are more expensive than the compact cameras. They can be controlled in full manual mode, their lenses are changeable, and most of them have HD movie recording capability. DSLRs are available to all levels of photographers from beginners to professionals and they allow more control and creativity.
Advanced Digital Cameras (Bridge): I like to consider these cameras a hybrid product between compact and DSLR cameras. They are larger than the compact digital cameras but almost half the size and weight of a DSLR. They have image stabilizer function, better image quality than the compact digital cameras, optical and digital zoom, fixed lenses, and some have a place for external flashlight (hot shoe). You can be more creative with this type of cameras compared to compact cameras, but still limited when compared to DSLRs.
Extras? What extras?
The number on the camera’s price tag is usually the price of the camera only (in case of DSLR it can be the price of the body only without the lens). It is always good to look for special offers and free extras before buying your camera. Below is a list of items you should consider buying with your camera:
- Camera bag/ case
- Cleaning kit
- Extra batteries
- Lenses (for DSLR/ Mirrorless)
- External Flash
- Memory cards (Larger than 2 GB)
- Lens filters
Cleaning kit is needed mainly to keep your lens clean from finger prints and dust. As for memory cards, look for larger memory capacity and higher speed class (speed class 10 is best for HD movie recording).
4. More megapixels = more expensive
The reason I mentioned this point is because sales persons tend to convince buyers to buy more expensive cameras just by mentioning that a certain camera model has more megapixels than other models. If you are printing/developing your photos for family album, then 10 MP camera is more than enough. If your plan is to develop your photos for posters or billboards then you will need to pay a bit more money to get more megapixels (18MB and above).
5. Online search engines are your best friends
Before you head to the store, it will be a good idea if you do your homework at home. Go online and read reviews and feedback about different camera models from different online resources – this way you will be able to know the pros and cons of most cameras. http://www.dpreview.com/ is a great source of information about cameras and lenses.
Sales persons at the store may not know the specifications of every camera in the store, or he/she may try to sell you a less selling/popular model or one that they are getting commission on its sale.
6. Head to the store and give it a try
By now you should have your focus locked on 2 or 3 camera. Go to different camera stores and try them, ask the sales persons what do they recommend (hopefully they know their products), and see how does each camera feel in your hand. After checking the different models in more than one store you should be able to decide on your “best camera” and you will know which store is giving you the best offer.
If you can’t get lower price on your camera, then try and get some free extras. Some stores will throw in free filters (try to get a polarizing filter . UV filters are only as good as an additional protection for your lens from scratches and nothing more), memory card, or camera case. Try not to leave the shop without them.
What do you think?
This is my answer to the question of “what camera is the best?” I hope it will help you in deciding what camera to buy.
One last point to mention: I’m not getting paid by any party to promote their brands or products. The links I added to the post are those of major stores in U.A.E that I believe they can meet your needs.
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