Camera Buying Guide

With the advent of new cameras and imaging technologies, it can be a bit difficult to find the best camera for you. To choose the right camera, you need to consider several aspects, such as camera hardware, design, build quality, features, and ease of use.

Cameras are everywhere. There is one in your laptop, two in your phone, and probably a couple in your tablet that you have never used. Maybe there’s even one in your doorbell or attached to your head on the way to the track. We take more photos in more ways and share them in more places than ever before. With the advent of new cameras and imaging technologies, it can be a bit difficult to find the best camera for you. To choose the right camera, you need to consider several aspects, such as camera hardware, design, build quality, features, and ease of use.

Yet most of us use our cameras with minimal knowledge, just point and shoot and hoping for an Instagram moment. And even if you buy a camera because you are ready to go beyond the iPhone and take photos to keep forever, it is hard to know what to do. Even camera manufacturers don’t make life easy. Their data sheets are full of foreign words like ISO and f-stop, and once you understand what they mean, you are faced with a spectacular array of options.

Types of Cameras

DSLR Cameras

DSLRs are the classic, fancy-looking cameras with the many buttons and large lenses. Lower-end DSLR cameras offer good image quality and give users a variety of control options, while higher-end DSLR cameras have a number of advanced features, such as lightning-fast continuous shooting, complex autofocus tracking, and an extremely rugged frame. You’ll find an amazing selection of lenses and flashes, as well as a variety of other gadgets for all sorts of creative effects.

Mirrorless Cameras

As the name suggests, these cameras have no physical mirrors, which gives them some significant advantages over the heavier and bulkier traditional DSLR cameras. First, this makes them lighter and thus preferred by travel and lifestyle photographers. Second, the extra space allows manufacturers to build much larger sensors, improving image quality, image depth, and dynamic range (the difference between light and dark areas in a photo). As technology improves and prices drop, many professional photographers are moving away from DSLR cameras and into the mirrorless market.

Compact Cameras

Years ago, we heard a lot about the decline of compact cameras due to smartphones, but in recent years, the technology that can be put into such small bodies has improved so much that buying a compact camera now has many advantages. The lens quality is usually much better, the sensor quality is better because it was designed specifically for small cameras, and the optical zoom quality is much higher (more on that later). Because of the relative portability of compact cameras and their ability to record high-quality 4K video, many of them are popular with content creators, bloggers and vloggers.

Action Cameras

These cameras are small, rugged, durable and can capture amazing detail in a small package. The obvious option here is GoPro and the recently released Hero9 Black (Argos, £429.99), which records in 5K and has fantastic stabilization. There are other models on the market, but generally they’re similar in design, with a durable, shock-resistant body and advanced video recording. A word of caution – they’re geared more towards video than photos. So if you’re after the latter, you should buy a rugged housing for a high-quality DSLR instead.

Instant Cameras

The price per print may be quite high, but these cameras have come back into fashion as camera manufacturers and developers emulate the style that Polaroid created and made so famous in the 1970s. Fujifilm offers a wide range with its Instax series, but Polaroid, Leica and Lomo are also on offer.

Important Camera Features and Specs


The number of megapixels captured by a camera’s sensor determines the amount of detail that appears in photos and videos. But there is a trade-off. Putting too many megapixels on a sensor, especially on the small chips in point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones, means that the pixels are too small and have less surface area to capture light. The result can be a noisy (grainy) photo, especially if you shoot in low light without a flash. Anything with at least 8 megapixels is fine for a cell phone or camera. Larger cameras usually offer 20 megapixels or more, which are perfectly adequate even for large prints.

Image Stabilization

There are two types of optical technologies that reduce camera vibration: systems inside the lens and systems inside the camera body. Internal lens systems physically move an element in the lens to counteract camera vibrations to compensate for a certain amount of movement along two axes, horizontal and vertical. Dual-axis systems are found in some smartphones, high-end point-and-shoot cameras, and many bridge cameras and lenses for mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. Some mirrorless cameras and even some high-end smartphones move the image sensor up to five axes for stabilization.


Basically, the aperture is the size of the aperture of a lens. In modern cameras, such as digital SLRs, mirrorless compacts, bridges and even many point-and-shoot camera models, the photographer can manually adjust the aperture to control the amount of light reaching the image sensor. Look for lenses with a larger maximum aperture reversely expressed as a lower number, such as f/2.8 or f/1.8–that allow more light to reach the sensor, so you can capture brighter, sharper images in darker light. They can also be set to blur the background and draw attention to the subject of the photo.

Focal Length

Focal length describes how close a lens can make an object appear. Zoom lenses offer varying focal lengths, from wide-angle to close telephoto. Focal length is expressed in millimeters-as in the case of the 18mm-55mm zoom lens included with many DSLR cameras-or by a magnification factor, such as 5x, 10x or 20x. For most cameras, the focal length is specified as the equivalent for a full-frame camera with the largest sensor type.

For DSLR and mirrorless lenses, the actual focal length is given, which gives different results for full-frame cameras than for cameras with smaller sensors and interchangeable lenses. 50 mm on a full-frame camera roughly corresponds to natural vision. Shorter focal lengths are wider and longer focal lengths are more telecentric. Some lenses, called “primes,” have a fixed focal length, such as 35 mm or 50 mm. These lenses are less flexible, but generally offer better image quality and are less expensive than equivalent zoom lenses because of their simpler construction. A good fixed focal length lens can usually have a larger aperture.

Sensor Type and Size

The sensor converts light into the electronic signals to create an image. Generally, the larger the sensor, the better the images. Larger image sensors allow a combination of more megapixels and larger pixels that can capture more light. The largest sensor in consumer camera is the “full-frame” sensor found in high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras, so called because it is the size of 35 mm film. APS-C sensors, which are slightly smaller than the full-frame sensors, are used in DSLRs and many mirrorless cameras.

Other mirrorless cameras use slightly smaller sensors than APS-C cameras, called Micro Four Thirds. Sensors in bridge cameras are even smaller, ranging from the size of a point-and-shoot camera to slightly larger sensors (although they are generally smaller than those in mirrorless cameras). Finally, cell phones (with a few exceptions) have the smallest image sensors.

ISO Rating

ISO sensitivity, a standard for film sensitivity, has also become popular for digital cameras. The higher you set the ISO sensitivity, the better the camera can capture images in low light without a flash. There is one drawback, however: higher ISO sensitivity results in more distortion, or “noise,” which shows up as graininess in a photo. All in all, a larger sensor – with larger pixels – is able to produce better image quality at a higher ISO sensitivity.

With a maximum ISO setting of 6400 or more, you can capture images in low-light conditions indoors and out, but 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 generally produce poor results.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the time it takes the shutter to expose the sensor. The faster shutter speed, the more clearly a moving object can be captured. Shutter speed is usually specified in tenths or hundredths of a second. Cameras with faster shutter speeds are better for freezing action. So if you like to take sports pictures, you should choose a camera with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second or less.

Many DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras can shoot at a shutter speed of 1/8,000, which is good for photographing car races, but most photographers don’t need that speed. Some mirrorless and bridge cameras offer electronic shutter speeds that are even faster.

Shooting Rate

Most cameras have a feature that allows you to take a series of pictures by holding down the shutter button. These modes are often called continuous shooting or burst mode and are measured in frames per second (FPS). Some DSLR cameras and even some compact cameras and smartphones offer continuous shooting rates of up to 10 frames per second.

Mirrorless cameras can shoot even faster using an electronic shutter. Some mirrorless cameras and phone cameras can reach speeds of up to 20 frames per second. If you like to shoot fast action, such as sports, you should get a camera with a fast continuous shooting rate so you can select the best image from a series.


An important consideration when buying a camera is how it feels in your hands. The camera will be held often, so you should feel it well before you decide to purchase it.


In general, cameras in similar classes weigh similar amounts. If you are just starting out in photography, you should buy a camera that you can take with you wherever you go. You’re more likely to carry around a smaller, lighter camera than a big, bulky one. This may be at the expense of image quality, but after all, you are taking pictures. If your camera is so heavy that you’d rather leave it at home, you won’t make much progress with your photography.


Some cameras are more rugged than others and have a sturdy magnesium alloy inner frame and are weatherproof. Depending on what crazy things you want to photograph, these features may not be essential for you!

Make sure the menu system is clear and easy to use. Every camera is different, but you should be able to navigate the menu system without having to consult the user manual. A camera’s menu system should not be so complicated that it prevents you from using it.

Lens Quality (and Lens Selection)

A sensor is only as good as the lens you place in front of it. If your lens is blurry, you can have the best sensor in the world, but your photos will also be blurry. If you want to buy a compact or bridge camera, compare the zoom range of different models. Ask yourself: How much zoom do we need? Some lenses cover a wide range, making them suitable for many types of photography, from landscapes to birds and everything in between. Other lenses have a limited zoom range, which can be good or bad depending on your interests.

With DSLRs and mirrorless models, you need to buy at least one lens – otherwise your camera won’t be able to take photos. Fortunately, the choice of lenses is almost unlimited, and there are lenses for pretty much every photographic genre, from portraits to street photography to wildlife and beyond. Many cameras are offered as kits, which consist of a camera body and a lens. These “kit” lenses are usually of lower quality, but can produce quite good results. Some lenses are more expensive than others for several reasons: For example, they let in a lot of light and produce very sharp, undistorted images.

They may also have a longer focal length or a wider zoom range, and are often built to more sophisticated and durable standards. In fact, choosing the perfect lens is often as difficult as choosing the perfect camera. However, as a beginner, it often makes sense to start with a kit lens, spend some time developing your photographic interests, and then upgrade to more specialized lenses as needed.


All cameras cost money, sometimes a lot – so it’s good to set your budget first. In our experience, it’s easiest to set a narrow price window for a camera. If you’re looking to spend less than $1,000, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices, but if you decide on the $800 to $1,000 range, the choices will be much more manageable.

While you’re thinking about your camera budget, consider what other accessories you need or want. Don’t spend your entire budget on a camera body without a lens. And depending on the type of photography you plan to do, consider getting a tripod, external flash, extra batteries and memory cards.

Battery Type and Capacity

The type of battery used in a camera and its capacity is an important aspect to consider when buying a camera. While most mid-budget and high-end cameras come with dedicated rechargeable batteries, entry-level compact cameras are compatible with AA-size batteries. With these cameras, you can also use rechargeable Ni-CD and Ni-MH batteries. The larger the battery capacity, the more photos you can take with your camera. Remember that constant use of the screen and flash can drastically reduce battery capacity.

Brand to Choose

Each camera company brings something unique to the table, and we explain this in our buying guides for brand cameras below. Most professional photographers would probably call Canon, Sony, and Nikon the market leaders. The big three are certainly leaders in terms of sales and market share, but their technological advances have moved the industry forward over the years.

However, the collaboration between Panasonic and Olympus to develop the Micro Four Thirds connector has helped bring mirrorless photography to the masses. Olympus was a pioneer in in-camera image stabilization. Fujifilm created the GFX series of mirrorless medium format cameras that offer ultra-high resolution images in an affordable body, and the X series of APS-C cameras are some of the best APS-C models you can buy.

Each brand has contributed something to the market and made a name for itself. The answer to which camera manufacturer is the best depends on which camera features are most important to your work. The following guides to buying a camera examine the current cameras by features and the genre of photography for which they are best suited.


Buying the digital camera can be intimidating, and it often feels like the choices never end. Hopefully, this article has cleared your mind and you are ready to purchase your first camera.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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