Camera buying guide 2023
Photography is an endless world. A world that you can easily immerse yourself in and live with for years. Apart from the skill it uses to record images, a photographer must have a spirit and, of course, flexible thinking to capture a photo worthy of attention in various situations with the help of combining his knowledge and talents. This subject requires a lot of experience and, of course, sufficient skill.
Skill in photography includes two types technical and artistic. Technical skill is the same knowledge photographers have about the camera, exposure, light temperature, angle of light, familiarity with programs, image editing, etc. Artistic skills are also the information of photographers in fields such as framing, contrast, golden points, etc. But before you want to enter the world of photography and start this profession, You must meet its requirements. Like any other art or business, photography also needs tools and equipment. With some equipment, you may be as successful as you are.
The essential tool for photographers is a camera. By renting a camera, things can be progressed. This belief needs to be more accurate! In addition to their equipment, professionals may also rent cameras or other equipment for large projects; But they still need cameras! When you start photography, you want to use a camera for trial and error or to do what you have learned; you need. Initially, you cannot pay for camera and equipment rental every day. So it is better to get a camera.
What points should we pay attention to when looking for a camera?
You may see many tempting options with different features when looking for a camera. These cameras will undoubtedly have a high price. But is it reasonable to buy them? Whether you want to pay a high price for them is up to you, but remember that many camera features may not work for you! Not only does it not work for you; Rather, but many people will never use it. For example, the internal flash of cameras has no application in photography; Because it spoils the final result to some extent. You only need to use it at certain times (perhaps once a year). So there is no reason to pay extra for this option. Below are some tips to make the camera buying guide much more accessible.
1. Better image quality than your phone camera
You should be able to make this critical decision by reading reviews of different camera models. If the camera doesn’t take better quality pictures than your phone, or at least doesn’t offer features that it lacks, there’s no point in carrying it around and buying it.
2. Ergonomics for your hands
If you can’t go to a physical camera store to buy and review a camera, you should make an informed decision based on the reviews you read. Is the camera big enough? Does it have specific stability? Are essential buttons far enough apart?
3. The size that fits your habits
This part is an important one. Are you a parent with a child by your side? If so, your camera should be lightweight or compact. Do you usually carry a bag with you? So you can also have a suitable camera bag. Do you travel a lot? Etc.
4. Availability of lenses to fit your budget and future needs
If you choose a compact camera with a fixed lens, you don’t need to consider this issue. If you select a camera with an interchangeable lens, look at the other lenses.
Are they in your price range?
Are used lenses available for the model you are looking for?
5. The latest model on your budget
With camera technology evolving quickly, we recommend investing in the latest cameras. If your budget can’t quite stretch to the bottom line, you can get by with an earlier model but try only to use something older. There is also a second-hand option, but buying it has its risks.
Know your needs
Recognizing the need means knowing your ultimate goal (at least for the next four years). If you want to make photography fun, you can do it with your cell phone camera. But if you want to go beyond entertainment and publishing photos online, You must have a camera to take quality photos and edit them. Editing images is as important as capturing them, and even more important!
Your options will change depending on your needs and what you want to do. If you are interested in documentary, street, and travel photography and carry the camera for a long time, there are better choices than DSLR cameras. But if you want to do studio photography, You can include these models in your options.
Nowadays, the lighting of photography and filming equipment is one of the priorities of manufacturing companies. Manufacturers are trying to make cameras, tripods, lenses, stabilizers, gear bags, and other things photographers and videographers need as light as possible, which is very expensive. But why is this done? The critical reason is to increase the efficiency of this equipment. They are considering mobile phones’ advances in photography and videography to the extent that movies are made with their help! If the companies that produce photography equipment cannot pay for their products in a way that is always available to users, They will lose the competition.
Just as DSLRs lost the competition to cameras with no future. DSLR cameras are no longer produced today. Even large body cameras used for wildlife or sports photography have gone mirrorless. Therefore, when buying a camera, you should prioritize mirrorless cameras. Because in addition to the simplicity of using them at any time and place, they have a higher purchase value than DSLRs. In the market of our country, some full-frame DSLRs have the same price as mirrorless crop frames. This means the market is more inclined towards them, and their purchase value is higher.
Don’t be fooled by clichés and misguided advice when searching and buying. Most of all, pay attention to your need, work, and what it will be. For someone to say that a full-frame DSLR camera is the best choice in its price range, but in its specifications, Full HD video recording quality is mentioned; Undoubtedly, it cannot be a correct statement. The camera sensor alone will not determine the quality of output images! Other cases are also practical, which will be explained later.
What are the different types of cameras?
One of the essential things that should be mentioned in the advice for buying a camera is the different camera models. You can make the best possible choice when you know the types of cameras available and the positive and negative features of each.
DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex, which means that the camera uses a single lens to frame, focus and take the picture. The bottom line is that DSLRs are still the most popular camera for amateurs and professional photographers in 2022. DSLRs are versatile, have good ergonomics, excellent battery life, and, most importantly, work with various interchangeable lenses. Low-end models are affordable, and you can also find great deals on the second-hand market. On the downside, they’re bigger and heavier and need to offer better autofocus (and other) technologies like different types of cameras. DSLR cameras have APS-C or “full frame” sensors, which we’ll explain more about below.
A mirrorless camera does not have a mirror inside a DSLR camera, giving it several advantages. They can have fixed or interchangeable lenses. In short, mirrorless cameras offer more helpful technology and simplify your photography experience than DSLRs. They are also worth more than the money paid. They’re usually smaller and lighter than DSLRs, making them a great choice if you travel a lot.
The consensus is that mirrorless cameras are the future of photography, and DSLRs are the past. But the technology still needs to be fixed. For what they offer, mirrorless models suffer from poor battery life (about half as long as a DSLR), and the shooting experience is a bit soulless! Mirrorless cameras also have APS-C or full-frame sensors.
Micro Four Thirds cameras
Micro Four Thirds cameras, also known as Micro 4/3, MFT, or M4/3, are a type of mirrorless camera that cover a wide range of styles and options, but what they all have in common is their sensor size. We’ll understand why camera sensor size matters later, but all you need to know now is that a Micro Four Thirds camera is like a “mini” interchangeable lens camera. Micro Four Thirds sensor cameras are Ergonomically similar to small DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, and their lenses are smaller, lighter, and cheaper. One thing to note: having a minor camera system is only sometimes good for everyone, with tight controls being a big problem for most people with larger hands. MFT cameras only have MFT sensors, which limits their capabilities. However, Micro Four Thirds cameras are still popular for beginners and professional photographers.
Compact cameras (known as point cameras)
Compact cameras are top-rated, and there are many reasons for this. Their small size makes them portable and convenient. You can carry these cameras daily, just like a camera phone. Of course, with better image quality or features that your phone does not have. These features include a zoom lens, better low-light shooting capabilities, faster burst shooting, RAW shooting, and more. Some people prefer to hold a real camera instead of a phone to take pictures. A compact camera usually means you are likely to carry it in your pocket or bag.
The line between compact and small mirrorless cameras is blurred, but the exact definition of a “point camera” is a camera with a fixed lens (meaning you can’t change it for another lens). This limitation makes photography very simple. This process makes the entire process of photography work and can make it much more enjoyable for those who aren’t interested in multiple lens options.
Bridge cameras are smaller than DSLR cameras but larger than compact cameras. These cameras bridge the gap between these categories, offering high-magnification zoom lenses (fixed, non-interchangeable) and manual controls. But they are not full-fledged DSLR cameras. Bridge cameras are a great all-around option and are popular with hobbyist photographers who don’t want to worry about changing lenses but still want the flexibility of a long-range zoom. They usually have tiny image sensors similar to compact cameras and rarely have an optical viewfinder (OVF), opting for an electronic viewfinder (EVF) and rear LCD screen for shooting.
Action cameras are usually small, waterproof, and shockproof; their main focus is filming. We don’t recommend buying an action camera just for photography. The image quality is usually worse than a regular smartphone, and images often look distorted due to the fisheye angle. The beauty of GoPro’s smaller action cameras is that they can be body-mounted or helmet-mounted, offering a unique first-person view. You can also get rugged and waterproof compact cameras, but these usually only provide image quality comparable to modern smartphones.
What is a camera processor?
The guide to buying a professional camera leads us to the question of what is a camera processor. Cameras, like intelligent and semi-smart electronic devices, have a processor that is their beating heart. A chip is known as a camera processor; Many factors determine the answer to the question of the camera’s processor during photography and after. From the amount of sensitivity to the dynamic range and detecting the natural contrast of images! Therefore, paying attention to this section when looking for a camera to buy is essential.
Contrary to what is thought, Camera sensors have a fixed sensitivity! by increasing the ISO value in photography cameras, the sensitivity of the sensor increases, and it absorbs more light; It is a common misconception. Remember the old negative cameras? The ISO value of the films of these cameras was permanently fixed and at the standard number of 100. If you need more sensitivity, You should have made films that have a higher sensitivity. At that time, the sensitivity entirely depended on the roll of film you were driving; But today, it is not like that!
Since the camera sensor cannot be replaced; Therefore, its sensitivity cannot be changed. But we still see that this option exists in digital cameras. This is done with the help of the camera processor. To learn more about the mechanism of this process, you should see how the images arrive at the camera’s processor and are processed there.
Essential features and specifications of the camera before buying
In this section, we discuss the essential features of the semi-professional or professional camera buying guide, and you should pay attention to them.
Megapixels and resolution
The number of megapixels a camera sensor captures determines how much detail appears in photos and videos. Still, there’s a catch, putting too many megapixels on a sensor in point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones means smaller pixels with less surface area to capture. The result can be noisy (grainy) photos, especially when shooting in low-light conditions without a flash. Don’t worry about how many megapixels your camera has. Anything with a resolution of 8 megapixels or higher is suitable for photography (although keys can go much higher). Larger cameras typically offer 20 megapixels or more, which is plenty even for large prints.
In basic terms, the aperture is the size of the opening of a lens. On advanced cameras, such as digital SLRs, mirrorless compact system cameras, bridge cameras, and even many point-and-shoot models, the photographer can manually adjust the aperture to control the amount of light reaching the image sensor. Look for lenses with larger maximum apertures inversely expressed as a lower number, such as f/2.8 or f/1.8. They allow more light to hit the sensor so that you can take brighter, sharper images in dark conditions. They can also be set to blur the background and draw attention to the photo’s subject.
Smartphones have huge apertures, as do some bridge cameras. (But smartphone apertures are usually not adjustable.) Inexpensive, interchangeable lenses (especially zooms) may offer a maximum aperture of f/3.5 or less. You’ll pay more for interchangeable lenses with larger maximum apertures, such as f/2.8.
Optical technology that helps reduce blur caused by hand shake comes in two forms: in-lens and in-body. In-lens systems physically change an element in the lens to counteract vibration, allowing them to compensate for some degree of movement along the horizontal and vertical axes. You’ll find dual-axis systems on some smartphones, high-end point-and-shoot cameras, bridge cameras, and mirrorless and DSLR lenses. Some mirrorless cameras and high-end smartphones modify the image sensor to stabilize up to five axes (horizontal, vertical, yaw, yaw, and roll). You’ll see it on cameras like the mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Cheaper smartphones and tiny cameras, such as action cameras and drones, may only have digital stabilization, which uses in-camera software to correct image blur. Still, the results often need to be more precise than optical stabilization.
Focal length indicates how close a lens can bring the subject. Zoom lenses have a variable focal distance and offer wide-angle zoom. Focal length is specified in millimeters, such as a zoom lens of approximately 18-55mm.
DSLR and mirrorless lenses are characterized by their actual focal length, which produces different results on full-frame interchangeable lens cameras compared to smaller sensors. 50mm on a full-frame camera is equivalent to your natural field of view. Shorter focal lengths are broader, and longer are telephoto. Some lenses, called primes, have a fixed focal length, such as 35 or 50 mm. While less flexible, prime lenses generally produce better image quality and cost less than zooms of equal quality due to their more straightforward design. An excellent prime lens usually has a larger aperture.
Sensor type and size
The sensor converts the light into electronic signals to create an image. In general, the bigger the sensor, the better the photos. Larger imaging sensors allow for a combination of more megapixels and larger pixels that can capture more light. The largest sensor in a consumer camera is the “full-frame” sensor of DSLRs and high-end mirrorless cameras, so named because it’s about the size of a 35mm piece of film. APS-C sensors, slightly smaller than full-frame sensors, are found in mainstream digital SLRs and many mirrorless cameras.
Other mirrorless cameras use sensors slightly more petite than APS-C, known as Micro Four Thirds. Still, the sensors on bridge cameras are smaller, ranging from spot size to slightly larger (but usually smaller than mirrorless cameras). Finally, cell phones (with a few exceptions) have the most miniature image sensors. Today, almost all camera sensors use CMOS chip technology. Modifications such as back-illuminated or stacked CMOS sensors improve low-light performance.
ISO speed, the standard used to indicate film sensitivity, has been carried over to digital cameras. The higher you set the ISO, the more influential the camera captures images in low light without flash. However, there is a trade-off: a higher ISO sensitivity creates more distortion or noise, showing as grain in the photo. All things being equal, a larger sensor with larger pixels can produce better image quality at a higher ISO.
A maximum ISO of 6400 or higher allows you to shoot indoors and outdoors in low light. Still, the amount of noise depends on the size and quality of the sensor and the ability of the camera’s image processor to remove noise. The highest ISO settings on cameras usually produce poor results.
Shutter speed is when the shutter is open to expose the sensor to light. The faster the shutter speed, the more clearly a moving object can be captured. Shutter speed settings are usually measured in tenths or hundredths of a second.
Cameras with faster shutter speeds do better for freezing, so if you’re into sports photography, you’ll want a camera that can shoot at 1/500s and faster. Many DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can shoot at a resolution of 1/8000, which is fine if you’re shooting car racing but faster than most photographers will likely need. Some mirrorless and bridge cameras offer electronic shutters that are even faster.
Shot rate (FPS)
Most cameras have a feature that allows them to take a series of photos by just holding down the shutter button. Often referred to as continuous or burst shooting modes, these modes are measured in frames per second (FPS). Some DSLR cameras and even some smartphones offer shooting speeds of up to 10 frames per second. All things being equal, mirrorless cameras can shoot even faster using an electronic shutter.
Some mirrorless and cell phone cameras can go up to 20 frames per second. If you’re into fast photography like sports, get a camera with a fast shutter speed to pick the best shot out of a series. (Ensure this setting is for the number of photos taken with continuous autofocus. Otherwise, many images in a row may need to be more apparent.)
Photography or filming?!
Regarding cameras, Photographing, and recording images are imprinted in mind. But photography is one of the functions of today’s cameras. Professional photography cameras have also added the ability to record video for about ten years. There is no need to carry two relatively heavy cameras for photography and video recording. But are all cameras suitable for filming?
Undoubtedly, you can shoot videos with all cameras, which will give us a higher quality than mobile phones. But the capabilities of each are different. Cameras that record in 4K, More detail than full HD or HD video cameras, will register. Frame rate or image capture rate in cameras is also an important ability that can influence your choice. If you are thinking about professional filming, Better to get a camera that supports all frame rates.
The 24 frames-per-second rate is cinematic and attractive, But this rate alone cannot be enough for you. Even though the rate of 30 frames is defined as a standard and 60 frames per second is the rate used the most, To record slow-motion videos, you need frame rates above 120. The frame rate of 120 will give you normal slow motion, and 240 fps will be twice as smooth. However, you can slow down the speed of video editing software to achieve the desired result.
Although today’s cameras can still handle filming well, these two professions (photography and videography) are separate. If your decision succeeds in one of them, You have to choose the appropriate camera. But if you want to reach a high level of ability and skill in both paths, You should get a camera that can work for both genres.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a guide to buying a camera for a beginner or a guide to purchasing a professional Canon camera; in any case, by reading this article, you can choose and buy the product you want much better. To have the best possible choice, you should first pay special attention to your needs and type of use and then to the camera’s features and its kind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What points should I pay attention to when buying a camera? Better image quality than your phone camera, ergonomics suitable for your hands, size ideal for your habits, availability of lenses suitable for your budget and future needs, and the latest model with your budget.
How many megapixels is suitable for a camera? A decent 8MP camera is good enough for most common camera uses. Choose higher megapixels only if you want to use your images for canvas or large-size prints. If your interest is in photographing the night sky, a higher-megapixel camera can also be important.
Do more megapixels mean better photo quality? Megapixel resolution plays an essential role in the size of printed images. Because the more megapixels you have, the more detail is captured, high-resolution cameras allow you to take larger prints or cropped photos without worrying about the pixel structure of the image showing through.