Last week I talked about buying a new camera, and today’s article will help you choose the best camera for your needs. So in today’s article, we’re going to talk about how to choose the best camera you can choose without breaking the bank.
Just like any piece of technology today we have a multitude of options to choose from, cameras are just one of then. In addition there are a lot of brands that have a lot of different models and types. And with all these options I can understand that someone can be a little bit overwhelmed when the time to buy a camera comes. We definitely don’t need to buy the latest and greatest to achieve great results, but if we want to keep ou equipment a little bit future-proof there are a least 7 points that I want to touch to help you choose your new camera
The market will always be relentless telling you that you need to be as up to date as possible, even if for this you have to finance something with one of your kidneys. So if you don’t want to have any part of your body removed in exchange for some equipment read these next steps.
7 steps to choose the best camera for your needs
Step 1: Determine what type of camera
Determining which type of camera is the best camera for your needs will solve virtually 80% of the problem. Then there’s only one thing left to solve, most cases.
Among the basic types nowadays we have
- Point and Shoot (P&S or compact camera)
Point-and-shoot are mostly basic cameras, typically tend to have a more affordable price. The great advantage of this type of camera is its size and simplicity. If you want something that fits in your pocket, that doesn’t have lots of compromises and doesn’t destroy your bank balance maybe this camera is for you.
Depending on the type of P&S you buy you’ll have great image quality, but the vast majority of them have limited quality, but still better than most smartphones.
The commitment in these type of cameras is to record the image and to go to the next image, there are no fuzzing with settings. Very cheap P&S cameras won’t give you good image quality, and sometimes it’s even better to just rely on the smartphone. But certain P&S may be able to create much more than decent photos or videos. As is the case with the Sony RX100V that one of the top-of-the-line P&S. See some pictures taken by her here.
Mirrorless can represent the best of both worlds today, in terms of equipment size vs. photo or video quality. The idea that they can offer the quality of DSLR but with the size of a compact camera. With regard to the cost of a mirrorless camera the story can vary greatly, as the cheaper mirrorless ones cost less than a top-of-the-line P&S. While a mirrorless top of the line can have cost as high as a great DSLR.
This type of camera can be a great choice for those who think the traditional DSLR too large, the one who is always on the road and needs to have reduced equipment. Today we have mirrorless camera options almost from all brands so choosing the best camera for your needs can be easier if you are a true believer to a single brand of camera.
DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex, is the great choice of many professional photographers for a long time. Just like in mirrorless it is possible to use different lenses for different purposes. And it also allows you to have full control over your photos. One of the great advantages of this type of camera is its reliability, some DSLR is almost indestructible, and they can do every photo job that you need. However, the downside is its size, mostly professional DSLR camera is as big as a tractor, heavy and cumbersome to carry around.
As we have been bombarded for years by DSLR cameras options around, you will find many new and used equipment, old and new releases. So be patient when choosing the best camera for your needs.
What I normally ask myself when I’m looking for a new camera is not if the camera A is better than camera B, but instead which of those cameras can help me to produce better work, or which of then will somehow make my life easier.
Step 2: Determine how much money you want to invest
The money will always help you solve the most varied problems, and the amount of money you are willing to give for something is proportional to the importance of this thing to you.
The same goes for a camera, no matter what type, you will invest more or less money in this type of equipment depending on the need for it in your life.
Setting your budget is the first task here, and then see what best you can buy with this budget. If you’re too cheap, you might not be able to buy something that really meets your needs or expectations.
If you have defined that you want mobility and simplicity you will have to pick up a P&S camera or a small mirrorless and for that let’s say you have available in your budget $ 1500.00. Therefore you will have to find an option among these cameras in this value that covers certain needs.
Don’t go too far to spend as much as possible, because this is not always the best way.
Step 3: Performance, speed, and resolution.
You have set your camera type and also your budget, now we are on the right track, that’s is great but we are still missing some crucial things, like what purpose your camera will serve. And here we can start to define what type of photography you are going to do in order to define what is the best camera for your need. Let’s say you want to take a chance on sports photography, you will have to choose a camera that has a good autofocus speed and that’s no discussion on this subject. The same way that you don’t need the fastest camera on the planet just to take passport shots. Therefore, you need to define the job before defining the best weapon for it.
So pay attention to things with the number of frames per second (fps), things like megapixels (mp resolution), and other factors like focus speed, startup speed, buffer size, etc. All this of course will depend on the use you will make of your camera.
If you are shooting weddings you will probably need:
- A camera that has the ability to focus fast
- That has a great resolution (i.e. more megapixels)
- Be versatile in viewing angle (can change lenses)
- Be reliable (don’t have a history of problems)
These are just some of the suggestions I can give you. So you can search and see which camera has these features and also fits into your budget.
Step 4: Image stabilization.
It may seem silly, but having a camera, or lens, that has good image stabilization makes all the difference in your job. Nowadays we have more than one image stabilization option. Today it is usually found on the sensor of the cameras, commonly called IBIS. Where the sensor can move for all, or just a few, direction to compensate for certain involuntary movements and thus making the image sharper. This can also be found on lenses, called OIS or VR depending on the brand. The fact is that if you want to have this feature at your disposal is better that your budget may not be so tight. Especially for those who make videos having some sort of stabilization feature is a necessity.
Step 5: Recording videos.
For many people this is the only item that matters, whether the camera can make good videos or not. Nowadays almost all new cameras can make some kind of video, but this does not mean that the video is good.
There are cameras capable of making amazing videos in FHD (1080p) with 120 fps, however, along with this we have normally a high cost. Other cameras record in 4K at only 15 fps, which only serves as a slideshow and not as a video. If the video recording capability for you is important I advise you to define which aspects of the video are the most important, or will be most used, so you will be able to set a good path of choice.
Let’s say you want:
- Slow-motion videos
- Don’t use a tripod all the time
- Great image quality and lots of details
You’re probably looking for a camera that records between 1080p and 4k and can do between 60 to 120 fps and has optimal image stabilization. Of course, the commitment here will be the price, but it is the talk of necessity, if you really need this you will have to pay the price.
Step 6: Ergonomics and build quality
Whenever possible before buying a new camera try to test it. So you can feel it in the hand whether it is comfortable or not, nothing is worse than using an uncomfortable camera for a long time. I have a relatively large hand and when I get a compact camera it looks like I’m going to crush it. This makes my life a little difficult because for me it is uncomfortable to have to take care not to break all those little cute cameras (yes Fujifilm I’m talking to you).
Paying attention to details like ergonomics and build quality will bring to your game much more confidence in your equipment, and soon in your photography. The build quality will dictate how long you will use your camera. Your camera can’t be made of see-through plastic if you are the type of person that doesn’t mind going out no matter the climate to make your photos.
So, choose the best you can the ergonomics, it is possible that you will have to stay with this camera for a long period of time and you will regret it if you don’t pay attention to some details.
Step 7: Choose the best camera connectivity
Today we live the apex of the internet generation everything is connected and shared online, sometimes even too much. And if for you it is necessary that your camera has some kind of integration with your phone or any other device, you need to define which type of connectivity is most important for you. We can find cameras that are able to transmit photos via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even the unknown NFC, this will all make it easier to share your photos on your social media.
Some types of connectivity are great like Wi-Fi and GPS. Nothing better than being able to transfer your photos to your phone or computer without having to use cables, or the famous GPS to never lose the exact location where the photo was taken. But here have to define if the price you will pay for this type of connectivity is worth, if this is really necessary for your life to the point that you cannot live without, invest in the resource, otherwise invest only in what is important to you.
Buying a new camera is easy, you usually already know what you need and almost always know where to go. The problem sets in when we do this for the first time and need to choose the choose the best camera. Always keep in mind everything you need, real needs, and also what you can purchase. Current and future costs, but also be sure to think about desires, things you would like to have. After all, new features open up new possibilities so maybe buying a camera with the feature you want to have can be a good way.
Usually you will take about 1 month to make this decision so if you have any questions ask for someone more experienced, or seek the opinion in forums and blogs.
The important thing is not to choose fast, but to try to make the best possible choice given the limitations you will address.Don’t forget that you can always post here in the comments or message me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for help.