Choose a digital camera

Choosing a Digital Camera

When choosing a digital camera, there are many features to look out for and assess before buying the camera. The individual needs of the beginner, amateur, enthusiast and professional photographer will vary enormously and there are cameras available to suit each group. Smartphones and tablets have changed the way many people take photos in everyday life. In response to this, the digital camera market has grown more sophisticated with higher quality cameras, sensors and lenses becoming more common.  The digital camera market can be divided into the following three main groups:

Point and Shoot digital cameras

These form the main bulk of the digital camera market and generally tend to be fully automatic with zoom lenses and built in flash. Some cameras may also offer manual controls and extra long zoom lenses. These digital cameras are mainly aimed at beginners, amateurs, families & they can also be considered for general use. This sector of the digital camera market has declined over recent years due to competition from smart phones & tablet PCs.

Prosumer digital cameras

These digital cameras are aimed at enthusiasts or advanced amateurs, semi-professionals and in some cases, as a backup camera for some professionals. Many of these digital cameras have high quality built-in zoom lenses, manual controls, raw uncompressed file format and maybe a hotshoe for external flash. Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras are also available which offer interchangeable lenses, raw format, fast operation and usually higher quality images than point and shoot cameras. A recent addition to this section includes mirrorless cameras which include Micro Four Third (M43), APS-C sized sensor and one inch sized sensor cameras. Mirrorless compact system camera bodies can accept interchangeable lenses and some digital SLR lenses via an adapter. M43 cameras use the same size sensor as four thirds digital slr cameras. Over recent years, the market for mirrorless cameras has expanded rapidly due to their many advantages which include compact size, smaller interchangeable lenses in many cases, large sensors, high quality images, some cameras have weather sealed bodies and accessories which can match those of some digital SLR cameras. 

Professional digital cameras

Professionals mainly use digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) or medium format cameras. Digital SLRs offer interchangeable lenses, high resolution, raw format, high build quality, hotshoe for external flash/studio work and fast operation. Medium format digital SLR cameras offer the highest resolution available with interchangeable lenses/film backs, eye/waist level viewfinders, connection for studio flash and many accessories. Many advanced or professional photographers are now also using mirrorless cameras as their main camera or backup camera. Mirrorless cameras can compete with digital slr cameras in terms of image quality as they have sensors ranging from micro four thirds to medium format sized sensor as in the case of the Hasselblad  X1D mirrorless camera. In addition the range of high quality lenses and accessories for mirrorless cameras has grown rapidly over recent years.