Choosing a good digital camera for buying is not a very easy task specially when so many options are available in the market. It becomes more difficult if you are not familiar with the camera technology. So without using much technical terms let’s see what all you should consider before buying a camera.
1) Focus On Your Needs –
This is a very common problem which every buyer faces. Every camera model they check will have few good features but it will lack a few. So often people ask – I want DSLR like photo quality, great night shots, however camera should be small enough for my pocket.
We need to understand here that every device has its own limitations. Here the key is to focus on the most important requirements and also think on which points you can make compromise. So if you are a novice photographer you may not need to go for a camera with full manual control or the camera which shoots in RAW mode.
If we think and to focus on what all we need and not on what all we can get, it will make list of options much shorter. Otherwise plethora of features being offered by every camera can easily confuse you and will leave you running behind every model.
2) Pocket Camera or DSLR –
This is another question which crosses every camera buyers mind. My suggestion would be to focus on three factors – Size, Money and Complexity. If you think you have no problem carrying a big size camera like DSLR and if you think your budget permits you to buy DSLR then you can think about buying it. Because picture quality of a DSLR will definitely be better than a pocket size camera.
However I have seen many people buying DSLR and then not using it on most of the occasions. Let’s see what goes against a DSLR even if you can afford it.
Size is a big issue, at first your enthusiasm for photography will give you enough strength to carry it at every place. But after few years you will feel less interested in carrying its weight all the time. So just imagine you are going to a party, you can not carry your DSLR camera while dancing but you may carry a pocket size camera. So seriously think about the size, carrying a big camera and multiple lenses is not a very comfortable thing to do. On the other hand small camera gives you more freedom and more opportunity for photography. In face it may be a good idea to first buy a small pocket camera and then buy a DSLR, so that based on the occasion you can choose which one you should carry.
DSLR cameras are powerful because of the customization and control they offer. You can play with its settings and its lenses can be changed to fit the situation. But these same characteristics increases the complexity involved with using it. This causes bigger trouble when you ask someone else to take your photo. I know many DSLR users who take awesome photos, but they always struggle to get themselves photographed nicely. So if you are a person who loves to be in front of the camera and not behind it, then go for a simpler camera.
3) Super Zoom or Low Light –
Why are we even comparing these two factors when every camera manufacturer is talking only about more and more zoom. Because reality is very different from what it is projected in camera ads. When you compare two cameras one with super zoom and one with better low light photograph, in most of the cases having better low light performance weighs more than having larger zoom range.
Let’s take an example of camera with 26x zoom and see how useful it is. Best use of this camera would be in wild life photography, so you can take picture of a bird even from far distance. But think whom you will be photographing more, birds or your family members. Specially when you are not buying a DSLR, higher chances are that you are not a professional photographer and you are more likely to use your camera during holidays and family functions.
So what is wrong with a super zoom camera. Nothing is wrong, it is just that zoom has been an overhyped feature and people are buying cameras just by comparing how much zoom it has got. However practically you can not use very high zoom without using a Tripod, otherwise even a small (non-noticeable) shake of hand will make your photo blur. So even a 10x Zoom is good enough for your camera which you intend to use without Tripod.
On the other hand having good Low Light performance means that your camera has got better image sensor and better aperture. This will result in high quality pictures in almost all scenarios including at night. Most of the indoor photographs will also be much better as compared to super zoom cameras. So if you are not a sports photographer or wild life photographer, give priority to low light performance more than zoom. For a normal user even 5x zoom will be sufficient for most of the scenarios.
4) Complex vs Easy to Use –
You must focus on level of complexity you can handle and you wish to handle while purchasing a camera. Having a very complex camera can easily make your life difficult on the other hand having a camera with no controllable feature can also dampen your love for photography.
5) Extra Features –
There are additional features which you can get in your camera by paying extra. Such as – HD Video, WiFi, NFC, Swivel Screen, Waterproof, Shockproof and even Android OS. Some of these features can be very important for few people while it can be completely useless for others. So you must be aware that you buy what you need and do not pay for what you are not going to use.
One thing I must warn you about is Megapixels. You should not be spending any extra amount for getting extra megapixels in your camera. Reason is simply that megapixel represents only one thing, that is size of the photo and it is no way related to the quality of the photo. So having more megapixels in your camera is not going to improve image quality on the contrary more megapixel in a small camera can actually give you worse photo quality and it will also occupy more memory card space because of the big size of images. So even 10 megapixel is enough for your all needs unless you are need to print a large size poster from your photos. Camera manufacturers started this megapixel race by cramping small image sensors with more and more megapixels just to lure customers, it is better to stay away from it.
Quick Tip for buying Camera –
Now that you know what all you will need, it is time to quickly see what type of camera will fit your needs. So we have tried to select the right camera based on your needs –
1) Casual photography –
You click picture of any beautiful thing you see on your way to office. You love to click selfies and share them with friends. You love more to be in front of the camera than behind the camera.
Good news is that you do not need to have a separate camera for such needs. All you need is a mobile phone with good quality camera. Few such options are – iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel.
2) Family Photography –
You click photos on your kids birthday parties, friends gathering and on every marriage you attend. Twice in a year you go on vacation and want to have nice photos for your collection and for showing to your friends.
You need to have good pocket camera which can accompany you on every social occasion. Based on your budget go for a camera which gives best performance in low light.
3) Wildlife Lover –
You love nature so much that you cannot control yourself from visiting wildlife centuries and mountains.
You need either a DSLR with zoom lenses or a super zoom camera which will allow you to capture the wildlife action from distance.
4) Adventure Freak –
You love adventure sports, and here we are not talking about watching it over TV. You love to experience the thrill of cycling on mountains, bungee jumping and fast motorbike race.
You need a shockproof and durable camera to handle harsh conditions. Go for special adventure sports cameras. If you think camera can also get wet, look for waterproof camera.
5) Wannabe Professional Photographer –
You have already played with small cameras and now you know you are ready for your next step. You want to play with manual controls and learn the tricks of photography.
You need either DSLR camera, Mirror Less Camera or at least a point and shoot cameras with full manual control. However if you want to see how a big image sensor can give you great photos, try to get your hands at least on an entry level DSLR.