Camera and Lens Reviews
4 stars based on
Choosing a camera type: Advice to help you buy a camera. We describe the difference between a compact camera, a superzoom camera, DSLR camera digital camera with lens options compact system cameras. Deciding on a new camera can be a daunting task, not least because of the wealth of options available. What Digital Camera runs through some things you might want to consider when buying a camera, as well as the main types of digital camera available to help you buy a camera best suited to your needs.
There are a range of types of compact cameras, described below. If you decide you want one of these, you can check out our advice digital camera with lens options choosing which compact camera to buy. A better solution is to invest in a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger — while this will be initially more expensive, such batteries offer the best performance and can be used time and time again.
Most budget compacts offer lenses with a x optical zoom, which will ordinarily stretch from around mm. This is a capable range for everyday photography, although some cameras digital camera with lens options the boundaries a little further to offer particularly wide or long focal lengths.
A camera with a lens starting at around 28mm will be perfectly suited to group shots and landscapes, while one which stretches to mm or mm is ideal for capturing far away details. As a rule, anything with an optical zoom over 8x is better than average, and so is worth a closer look. The last few years have seen fierce competition among manufacturers to bring high-end features down to a lower price point. These may not improve your picture taking as such, but they do provide a better view of the scene and your captured images.
In fact, more megapixels can be detrimental to image quality, particularly when shooting in low light and these images take up more space on your memory digital camera with lens options. Unless you have a specific reason for needing more megapixels, bear in mind that less is often more. See all our compact camera reviews.
A number of these offer wideangle lenses, and practically all of them work on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are supplied with the camera. At the budget end of the scale the focus is decidedly on style, with slim and colourful bodies and an array of trendy features such digital camera with lens options inbuilt Wi-Fi and face and smile detection included. More expensive models may incorporate longer zoom lenses and larger LCD screens, digital camera with lens options may even offer touch-screen functionality.
Digital camera with lens options of these cameras offer some form of auto-intelligence, which automatically adjusts a number of settings according to the subject matter. This ideal for less confident users, who may be confused by certain settings. While such cameras are good general purpose models, they may put off larger-handed users or those used to the larger controls of an SLR. With the exception of touch-screen models, where control is through a series of virtual buttons on the LCD screen, the way these cameras operate is through an assortment of buttons and a menu pad on the rear.
See our list of the best compact cameras. Enthusiast compacts aim to bring a high standard of image quality to a small camera. This is typically achieved with a larger-than-usual sensor and a high-quality optic, together with manual control and a superior build quality. When lighting conditions are good and correct photographic technique is employed, such cameras can produce DSLR-like results — which makes them ideal backup cameras digital camera with lens options more expensive models.
These are also the cheapest types of camera to offer Raw recording, should you wish to take processing into your digital camera with lens options hands. Some models also offer hotshoes for external accessories, such as viewfinder and flashguns, while a couple of those with longer lenses also manage to squeeze in GPS recording should you be travelling around.
As these allow you to zoom into an image without the quality degrading, these are ideal for digital camera with lens options finer details post capture, or for checking correct focus as you compose.
See our list of the best premium compact cameras. Superzoom cameras combine the flexibility of a wide focal range with a small format body. Many offer manual control over exposure such as with an aperture or shutter priority optionand some allow you to manually focus too, meaning the photographer can take many decisions into their own hands. One crucial aspect of a superzoom camera is its image stabilisation system.
When shooting at longer focal lengths a camera has to work harder to keep the image stable, which makes a lens or sensor based image stabilisation system vital. Another popular feature on such models is an articulated LCD screen. These pull away from the body and allow you to shoot at awkward angles to the subject, such as at ground level. They may also help when shooting in bright conditions, as they can be adjusted to the angle with the least glare.
The key aspect of a bridge camera is how far the zoom can reach. There are those which offer a more modest focal length, but in exchange offer a wide aperture, such as the Panasonic FZ On the other hand, there are those that offer huge focal ranges, such as the Nikon P with its digital camera with lens options 83x zoom.
See our list of the best bridge cameras. While Compact System Cameras or hybrids as they are sometimes known have only been available for the past few years, they have significantly altered the photographic market. Some models use the same size of sensor found in DSLRs they are able to achieve a similar standard of image quality, where as others, such as the Pentax Q, use compact-sized sensors to reduce size even further. They can be made much smaller thanks to the lack of the traditional SLR mirror box.
This does mean, however, that they digital camera with lens options offer an optical viewfinder digital camera with lens options standard — instead, some offer electronic viewfinders, while some simply have an LCD screen for composition. As a new and growing segment of the market, manufacturers are still building up lens options for these models.
One of the advantages of these lenses is that, like the bodies on which they are mounted, they may be made smaller and lighter. For anyone wishing to travel light, a hybrid body with a couple of lenses may prove to be the best solution where image quality is key. As the first of these systems to enter the market, the Micro Four Thirds line has the most options at present, particularly as compatible lenses are being developed by both Olympus and Panasonic as well as a few third-party manufacturers.
Each of the major camera manufacturers offers at least one compact system camera, however only Sony currently offers a full-frame camera of this type.
Not so great for: Any subject requiring the faster focusing a DSLR provides, viewfinder fans. See our list of the best Compact System Cameras. See all our Compact System Camera reviews. DSLR cameras are what many people think of when it comes to advanced photography. This applies a conversion factor of around 1. The downside of this is that wider angles are harder to achieve, and usually mean investing in either a full-frame body or a very wideangle lens which can tolerate some cropping.
DSLRs also have the widest range of accessories at present. A plethora of lenses aside, all DSLRs accept flashguns on their hotshoe, and many also take extra battery grips for extra power and easier shooting in the portrait orientation. Image requiring the best quality, action photography, those looking to experiment with video recording. See our guide to choosing which DSLR to buy. See our list of the best DSLRs.
See all our DSLR camera reviews. This really is a critical factor, so make sure you go to a camera shop to pick the thing up and feel it in your hand before you buy — just to ensure you are happy with the weight and feel. Generally speaking, compact cameras tend to be the most pocket digital camera with lens options, while DSLRs will require a lot more lugging power.
Compact system cameras tend to fall in between the two, but there are some notable exceptions which are bigger than some DSLRs.
Tiny elements, called pixels, digital camera with lens options that sensor pick up the details of whatever you are photographing. In real life though that is only part of the story. More pixels does not always mean better pictures, as camera engineers have to balance the number of pixels with how small those pixels have to be made to fit on the sensor.
Small pixels are like small hi-fi speakers — they can be a bit tinny. In general, compact cameras use very small sensors, and very small pixels. If you are buying a DSLR or compact system camera look for a model that has anything between 12 and 50 million pixels; in a compact or a bridge camera go for between 10 and 14 million pixels for good quality images.
Whatever camera you are looking at it will have a set range of lenses or zoom settings it can be used at.
If it is a compact camera you have to live with what it comes with — so make sure it covers everything you will want to use it for. If you are thinking about buying a DSLR or a compact system camera take time to see what lenses are on offer for that model and to see how much they cost to buy. Reviews on buying websites and in chat rooms are written by people like you and may reflect issues that you will come across. Remember though, most of these people are not experts and may well not be using the product correctly or equally may not be seeing its faults.
Try to read reviews written by professional reviewers in magazines that have a regular technical team. The trick really is to read plenty of reviews and to average the range of opinions. It can be heart breaking to know there is a newer model and that yours is out-of-date already, but that rarely has an impact on the quality of pictures you can take with that older camera. Superseded cameras are usually still very good and can be found at bargain prices, and you might also want to think about buying second hand.
If you see a camera that is incredibly cheap it is likely that it is not very good — you get what you pay for. There really digital camera with lens options no substitute for going to a camera shop, speaking to an assistant and holding the camera in your hand. This is as true for the purchase of a compact camera as it is if you are starting out on what you hope to be a serious hobby.
Building a relationship with a good camera shop will be invaluable. Check out our buying guides for more help choosing a camera or see our full range of equipment reviews. Home Buying Advice Buying guides.
Types of camera Digital compact cameras There are a range of types of compact cameras, described below. Nikon D product shot