Taking great photos is a skill, but having the right equipment is essential for capturing the perfect shot. With the global market for digital cameras now worth billions of dollars, there are so many options available—from entry-level point-and-shoot cameras to professional-grade DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. But how do you choose the right one?
One of the main deciding factors when buying a camera is the brand name. This guide covers the major camera brands. With a decent understanding of the major players in photography, you can make an informed decision that fits both your budget and desired level of quality. It also explains some important things to consider in the buying process, and goes over some popular camera models to help you decide which one is best for you. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find some great options here. So grab your camera and get ready to capture beautiful moments!
Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Photography Camera
Choosing a camera once used to be an easy task. With a limited number of models available, the decision majorly rested on the price and personal inclination towards a specific brand. But things are not so simple these days. With hundreds of models lining the shelves, it can become difficult to pick one confidently. To top it all, many smartphone cameras also take pretty good photos. The following are some main things to consider, which can help up you make sense of complicated photography terms and technical jargon, and choose a camera that suits your needs:
The size of a camera’s sensor plays a big role in determining its image quality. It is important because a camera with a large sensor gathers more light, resulting in better low-light performance and less noise in images. A smaller sensor, on the other hand, has less light to begin with, so you may notice dullness and distortion in photos.
Full-frame sensors are considered the best and are commonly found in mirrorless, compact, and DSLR cameras, but they are costly and come at a premium.
Other popular sensor types include the APS-C sensors. The APS-C sensors ( Advanced Photo System Type-C) multiply the focal length of your lens so you can shoot great photos of subjects that are far away.
Lastly, there are one inch or smaller sensor sizes that you can spot in the budget compact cameras. They may be suitable for beginners, but don’t offer much when it comes to professional photography settings.
The MegaPixel (MP) count of a camera represents the number of pixels it can capture. It is an important factor in determining image quality, but should be considered along with other factors. MP alone is not a true representation of image quality because it’s not just about the number of pixels, but also the quality of those pixels. A camera with more MPs will capture sharper photos and you can develop them in bigger sizes or crop them without losing too much quality. But in some cases, having more MPs can hurt. For example, in low light conditions, a full frame camera with fewer MPs will perform better than a crop sensor with more megapixels.
Shaking is usually unavoidable when you are holding a camera when photographing or shooting a video. The in-body image stabilization (IIS) or more commonly known as Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) feature helps to reduce blur in photos and videos caused by camera shake. It can’t replace a gimbal system or a tripod, but will surely improve the steadiness of your shots. This feature is particularly important when using long shutter speeds or when shooting in low light. Different manufacturers have different names for their image stabilization tech, but they all serve the same purpose: to compensate for shaking.
Autofocus is your helping hand in capturing fast-moving subjects or shooting in low light. With this feature, a camera relies on a motor to automatically focus on your subject. Simply choose the subject in your viewfinder to focus on or let the camera do it for you. Look for a camera with a fast and accurate autofocus system so there are no lags when capturing a fast moving object or when switching from one object to another.
Lens is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a camera. You can choose between fixed lens cameras or the ones with interchangeable lenses. Interchangeable lens cameras are a better choice because they allow you to use different lenses so you can get creative by trying different lenses.
Lenses with low focal length, e.g. 15 millimeters, are wide angle and can capture more than a standard lens (less zoom). Lenses having 35-50 mm focal length are standard and suitable for most situations. Also referred to as zoom lenses, telephonic lenses can go up to 600mm and are suitable for closeups of different objects (zoomed in). Consider the type of photography you will be doing and look for a lens that suits your needs.
Ease of Use
Consider how easy the camera is to use and navigate, especially if you are new to photography. Many cameras have fiddles and dials that make it difficult to adjust its settings. Some also have difficult menus that give you a hard time navigating through. Before making a purchase, test out the potential candidate to make sure you are at ease with using it.
Battery life is an important feature that you cannot compromise on. If you plan to shoot for long periods of time, you need a camera with a powerful battery. You don’t want to find yourself with a dead camera in the middle of an important occasion. Plus, it is also important to see how long it takes to recharge completely. It’s also a good idea to buy spare batteries, allowing you to simply swap when one loses its juice.
To sum it all, the camera you choose should match with your unique requirements. And only you know what they are. Keep the above parameters in mind and choose a model that best fits your application and, of course, budget.
What Are the Best Camera Brands
Kodak used to be the major player in the camera industry. But the advent of digital camera technology has widened the selection and now you have a lot of options to choose from. If you want to avoid the trial and error method for purchasing a good new camera, sticking with a reputable and reliable brand is your safest bet. Here are the top five camera brands buyers should take into consideration when investing thousands of dollars in a digital camera.
The name Canon has become synonymous with quality products. Founded in 1937, Canon has been manufacturing innovative photographic and video products for over 80 years. The brand has worked hard to earn the trust of its consumers, and still does not merely rely on the brand name, rather works hard to introduce more innovative ideas.
It was the pioneer of manufacturing accessible single reflex lens (SLR) cameras. Canon dominated the SLR market in the 70s and 80s, and didn’t lose its footing even when it stepped into digital photography.
It is a major player in the modern photographic world and loved by both beginners and professional photographers. It offers a range of DSLR cameras at different price points, making it accessible to a wide range of customers. Users also love it because of its widely available lens ecosystem, which makes it easy to find the right lens for any situation.
Canon is also known for its seamless support for its products, including firmware updates and repair services. Overall, Canon cameras are a great choice for anyone looking to purchase a high-quality camera with a wide range of features and options, and most importantly, at a competitive price.
Canon EOS Rebel Series is one example of cameras targeted at beginners who want a quality camera and the essentials without breaking the bank. The entry-level and midrange cameras are a great option for beginners who are looking for solid, reliable cameras at an affordable price.
Nikon has also become one of the biggest camera brands in the world. With a long history of producing cameras, lenses, and other optical devices, it is a well-loved camera brand in the modern photographic world. Its product lineup includes DSLRs for all skill levels and price points.
Nikon is also one of the initial digital camera manufacturers , and has maintained its spot amongst top camera brands since 1990. While it is primarily known for its high quality DSLR cameras, the brand is strengthening its roots in the world of mirrorless cameras.
Its camera bodies and lenses are built to last, and many of their cameras are used by professional photographers for years on end. Plus, Nikon also has a wide variety of lenses available for its cameras, including both third-party and proprietary lenses. With a widely available F-mount lens system, you can use a Nikon with a vast selection of lenses, including wide-angle, telephoto, macro, and fisheye lenses.
Some innovative features of Nikon cameras include a Multi-CAM autofocus system that provides fast and accurate focus and high resolution sensors for capturing every little detail. This camera brand also backs its products with good support that includes firmware updates and repair services. Not to forget, its wide network of authorized dealers and service centers across the globe makes it easy for customers to find assistance when needed.
Its D series lineup includes a wide range of cameras targeting customers at different price points, ranging from entry level Digital SLR cameras to hobbyist and professional cameras.
While you may recognize its name from the tech world, SONY is also a major player in the camera industry. Although it is younger than other camera brands mentioned on this list, it has managed to make a name for itself with its digital mirrorless cameras.
SONY is popular for its mirrorless devices that are known for their advanced imaging technology and image processing capabilities, which allow for stunning image and video quality. Its lineup includes full frame cameras, crop cameras, and even compact cameras, so you can easily find one according to your budget and requirements.
Like Nikon, Sony’s E mount system is also compatible with a sizable range of lenses, both proprietary and third-party manufactured. Plus, its lenses are also available in abundance, so you won’t be worried in this regard.
Sony cameras are also loved for their portability. They are compact and lightweight which makes them suitable for street and traveling photography. Being smaller than traditional DSLRs, the mirrorless cameras from Sony provide a more discreet photography experience.
To sum it all, Sony Cameras are known to be a great choice for anyone looking to purchase a high-quality camera with a wide range of features and options, and a great lens ecosystem. Sony is widely known for its Alpha series of cameras, which includes mirrorless cameras for hobbyists and professionals.
Olympus may be a member of the old guard of camera brands, it is still going strong with its digital cameras. It produced some of the most popular options during the era of film photography. The lightweight Olympus cameras were usually the first cameras that users purchased and learned photography on.
The brand has maintained its name and standards in the world of digital photography. In fact, it has managed to carve out a niche in the micro four thirds (MFT) section of the market. MFTs are digital cameras equipped with a sensor that is smaller than APS-C and full frame cameras. This makes them more compact and lightweight.
Olympus cameras also come equipped with high-quality lenses and advanced image stabilization technology, which helps reduce blur and shake in photos and videos. They can take sharp and clear photos, even in low light conditions or when shooting at long focal lengths. Plus, they are also known for their durability and weather-sealing. These cameras allow worry-free shooting in harsh weather conditions, thanks to their dust, splash and freeze-proof design. Its product lineup includes Mark series mirrorless cameras featuring fast autofocus and a bunch of other features for professionals.
The name Pantex may not be very familiar to the younger readers, but it was one of the most recognizable camera brands in the last century. The company started as a lens manufacturer for eyeglasses and soon upgraded to producing cameras and cine lenses.
It was this brand that released the first Japanese SLR camera. This led to an era of innovation during which it produced both compact and professional cameras. While it joined the digital bandwagon quite late, Pantex was eager to keep up. It didn’t wait before taking a plunge into mirrorless cameras too.
Pentax Cameras are known for their high-quality optics and advanced image stabilization technology. This makes it easy to take sharp and clear photos, even in low light conditions or when shooting at long focal lengths. They also boast customizable settings that allow photographers to adjust different parameters according to their preferences and requirements. Talking about construction, Pentax cameras are extremely robust. Their durable and sturdy construction helps them withstand tough weather conditions, so you can use it in harsh conditions without any worry.
If you are serious about photography, you need a high quality camera to keep up with your creative ambitions. For many buyers, it means purchasing a camera made by a reputable camera brand. However, shopping just by brand name is not enough, and you also need to consider the key factors and options within a brand to get the right camera. The diversity in their range of cameras can confuse anyone. Instead, look at individual cameras, read their specifications, and check out what other buyers are saying. Once you are completely sure, only then should you spend your hard earned money on a camera made by a particular brand. For those that want to know more about what to look for in digital cameras, check out the Guide to Selecting a Digital Camera.