How to compare options and select the right camera

Every model of camera is slightly different. And on the broadest level, there are different categories of cameras with entirely unique sets of capabilities. Here are the camera types you should be aware of as you look to buy your first camera:

  • Compact cameras. These are also known as point-and-shoot cameras because they allow you to do just that — point, shoot, and end up with a pretty nice shot!

They’re small, lightweight, and a good option for people just getting their feet wet with photography. You can find compact cameras with more advanced zoom capabilities or manual exposure modes that take these simple cameras to another level.

  • Digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs). DSLRs are a bit more serious than compact cameras. They’re more expensive — and heavier! — than compact cameras, but that’s because their technology is a bit more advanced.

DSLRs allow you to change lenses so that you can get the right lens for the right context. They also have less shutter lag and more powerful autofocus.

But don’t worry: DSLRs still have a wide range of prices from the very expensive to the fairly reasonably priced. That makes them a possible option for those looking to dive headfirst into photography for the first time.

  • Action cameras. Good luck scaling Mount Everest with your bulky DSLR in tow! Action cameras are designed for photographers who need to take pictures in extreme conditions. They’re weatherproof, shockproof, and built to withstand basically anything. Because they need to be so small, they’re similar to compact cameras in terms of technological sophistication.
  • Mirrorless cameras. These are becoming a popular alternative to DSLRs. They’re a bit cheaper and more lightweight than DSLRs but boast many of the same features. They lack an internal mirror, which ends up making the camera quite a bit smaller than a DSLR. But they still allow interchangeable lenses and large sensors.

Mirrorless cameras are a great option for people who want something fairly advanced but don’t want to break the bank.

  • Medium format camera types. Unfortunately, these are likely out of your price range. Medium format cameras boast amazing resolution, but you’re likely to find them only in advertising firms, considering their price tags hover in the tens of thousands!

Sure, these types of cameras have different capabilities — and some definitely bring more to the table than others. But that doesn’t mean a lesser camera has to hold you back.

Each type of camera something special, whether that’s stunning technology or convenient lightweight size. No matter which you choose, strive to become a master of that camera type by taking lots and lots of photos!

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