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The Best Cameras For Photography

Updated on June 19, 2013

If you are buying your first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera or looking to upgrade to a camera with a more sophisticated spec, it pays to do a little research first to work out what you are really looking for.

Most digital cameras are sold on key points in their specifications. The main point is the number of mega-pixels offered by the sensor. The more mega-pixels the better the picture. Next is the performance of the lens that comes with the camera body. Followed by the speed and accuracy of focusing and then the size, weight and build quality of the camera.

The two main types of cameras are the compact cameras and the DSLR cameras. Whatever type you choose, as long as it will do everything you are looking for it to do, it will be a good camera.

THE DIGITAL COMPACT CAMERA

Compact cameras are ideal in certain scenarios: occasions when you don't want to carry around a bulky DSLR, when you are on holiday with the family, taking part in sport activities, or shooting in locations where security is an issue. There are three types of digital compact cameras that match point and shoot simplicity with the high mega-pixel sensor and good quality zoom lens. They are the Prestige, Extreme and Super Zoom Compacts. Below are some of the characteristics of each compact camera and what those characteristics do on each camera.

Prestige Compact

  • Hot-shoe - External Flash
  • Manual Focus - Precision focusing and pin-sharp shots
  • Built-in Flash -
  • LCD Screen - Reviewing exposure and sharpness of the picture taken
  • Creative Modes - Controls shutter speed and aperture
  • Hand-grip - Sculpted and rear thumb rest´╗┐

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My first Kodak Extreme Compact Camera with a tri-pod, a claw-pod and it's very own printer.Kodak EasyShare C743 camera with 3x optical zoom and a durable body (it has been dropped multiple times).Easy to use menu buttons and easy to navigate through pictures taken.  Also has a share button for when it is hooked up to the computer.
My first Kodak Extreme Compact Camera with a tri-pod, a claw-pod and it's very own printer.
My first Kodak Extreme Compact Camera with a tri-pod, a claw-pod and it's very own printer. | Source
Kodak EasyShare C743 camera with 3x optical zoom and a durable body (it has been dropped multiple times).
Kodak EasyShare C743 camera with 3x optical zoom and a durable body (it has been dropped multiple times). | Source
Easy to use menu buttons and easy to navigate through pictures taken.  Also has a share button for when it is hooked up to the computer.
Easy to use menu buttons and easy to navigate through pictures taken. Also has a share button for when it is hooked up to the computer. | Source
4.5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Kodak EasyShare C743

Extreme Compact

  • Durable, Sealed Body - Great for wet weather, underwater and hard knocks
  • Lens - 3x optical zoom is pretty standard
  • Monitor - Compose and review pictures taken
  • Menu Buttons - Simple to operate, easily accessed, not too small
  • Mode Dial - Contains a range of shooting modes

Super Zoom Compact

  • Battery - Powered by lithium-ion battery packs or AA cells
  • Mode Dial - Take control of the cameras shutter speed and aperture
  • Pop-Up Flash -
  • Electronic View Finder - Switch the display from rear screen to electric view finder
  • Menu - uncomplicated and clearly laid out
  • Screen - 2.5 to 3 inch screens, needs to be bright and clear, preferably with a tilting facility to get a better angle to take the picture
  • D-Pad - Contains useful features including self-timer, exposure compensation, flash and macro modes, helps navigate through the menu.

Digital Camera with 8x Wide Angle Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD
Digital Camera with 8x Wide Angle Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD

This 16.1 megapixel camera has a 28mm lens with an 8x optical zoom. It has many different modes and takes amazing pictures.

 

THE DSLR

A DSLR system gives you a wide range of interchangeable lenses and other accessories to choose from. These cameras are specifically designed to give you control over key creative aspects such as exposure, focus and composition. Although it might seem a big step at first, with lots of jargon to learn, all entry level DSLR's feature a simple point-and shoot mode alongside the more creative ones, so you will still be able to get great shots from day one, even before you learn all the new and exciting parts of a DSLR camera.

There are three main types of DSLR cameras. The Budget DSLR, the Enthusiast DSLR and the Full-Frame DSLR. I own the Enthusiast DSLR, a cannon EOS 1000D (also known as the Rebel) and I LOVE IT! Here are some characteristics of the different types of DSLR cameras.

Budget DSLR

  • Anti-Shake - some anti-shake systems are lens-based, while others are in-camera and use a sensor-shift system
  • Lenses - As well as the standard "kit" zoom, each camera manufacturer offers a range of lenses as you build up your system
  • Construction - Expect to find a mainly plastic construction
  • LCD Screen - All shooting info is displayed on the rear screen as well as Live View and video when available
  • Storage - Most budget DSLRs accept SD/SDHC cards

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My Canon set with tripod, charger, two lenses, camera and lens filterFront picture of my Canon EOS 1000D with an 18-55mm zoom lensTop picture of my Canon with spot for the flash, mode dial, and iso buttonBack Picture of my Canon with all the "fun" stuff
My Canon set with tripod, charger, two lenses, camera and lens filter
My Canon set with tripod, charger, two lenses, camera and lens filter | Source
Front picture of my Canon EOS 1000D with an 18-55mm zoom lens
Front picture of my Canon EOS 1000D with an 18-55mm zoom lens | Source
Top picture of my Canon with spot for the flash, mode dial, and iso button
Top picture of my Canon with spot for the flash, mode dial, and iso button | Source
Back Picture of my Canon with all the "fun" stuff
Back Picture of my Canon with all the "fun" stuff | Source

Enthusiast DSLR

  • Build - The build quality and finish take a step-up compared to the budget models
  • The System - Each manufacturer offers a range of lenses, flashguns, and accessories
  • Anti-Shake - Some have the system built into their bodies while others rely on specific lenses.
  • Screen - This should be clear and bright, allowing you to access the sharpness of a picture easily.
  • Live View - Handy if you want added versatility when shooting in an awkward angle.
  • Storage - Storage will either be a SD/SDHC or CompactFlash

Full-Frame DSLR

  • Controls - Many of the camera's core settings can be accessed from controls on the body, not via the menu system
  • Lenses - If you have a selection of digital-only lenses, they may be of limited use on a full-frame DSLR
  • Construction - This should be rugged and weather-sealed with a solid metal chassis
  • LCD Screen - Should be large and offer a decent resolution (round 920k dots) allowing you to zoom in and check detail.
  • Storage - CompactFlash is normally used.

Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (discontinued by manufacturer)
Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (discontinued by manufacturer)

This Canon camera comes with the standard 18-55mm zoom lens, battery pack and charger, disk and instruction manual, eyecap and wide carrying strap. This camera delivers beautiful photos also takes videos.

 

So whether you are looking for a camera that you can take on vacations, that is easy to store in a purse and you don't have to worry about lenses, a digital compact is probably what you are looking for. My kids will be getting these for Christmas this year; since I have upgraded mine they are not allowed to touch it. LOL If you are looking for something that takes a bit better pictures and you want to be able to change the aperture, ISO and all that fun stuff then a DSLR should be what you get. Remember, no matter what camera you do choose, if there are buttons you don't know or modes you aren't sure about, it's as easy as opening the manual (or looking online) to find out how those things work. Happy Picture Taking!

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    • CassyLu1981 profile imageAUTHOR

      CassyLu1981 

      5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      hhunterr - Thank you so much for your kind words :) This area is definitely beautiful in it's own special way!

    • hhunterr profile image

      hhunterr 

      5 years ago from Highway 24

      Your mind wanders? Hardly. Maybe your ideas do, but your writing, format, focus, can really draw a reader in. I'm in the Camp "Le-Jerne" area regularly, and tuned in to several hubs here. Keep it up!

    • CassyLu1981 profile imageAUTHOR

      CassyLu1981 

      7 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      leahlefler - Ah yup, I know that one too :) I've actually gotten quite good at taking night photos. I love to do the ones where it looks like it's noon but the stars are out. Photography is my stress releaver :) I'm glad you keep both on you. It makes it easier for those quick shots. Thanks for the comment :)

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      7 years ago from Western New York

      We have a Canon 30D and I love it, but I hate the fact that it doesn't have a spot meter (so taking flash photos at night is difficult). I usually whip out my Panasonic point-and-shoot for night shots, because it doesn't do the annoying rapid-flash thing to focus!

    • CassyLu1981 profile imageAUTHOR

      CassyLu1981 

      7 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Om - Glad I am able to help :) Thanks for the comment!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      7 years ago

      Ah, I'm planning to buy a new camera soon. Will bookmark this hub for future reference. Thanks for the tips!

    • CassyLu1981 profile imageAUTHOR

      CassyLu1981 

      7 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      teaches12345 - When you are ready to get one remember you don't have to go all out and get the most expensive one. Get what will work best for your needs. Thanks for stopping by and the comment :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I am not quite ready for a camera but your information is one that I will keep handy for when I am. Good comparisons on the options available.

    • CassyLu1981 profile imageAUTHOR

      CassyLu1981 

      7 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      tillsontitan - Thanks for the votes and comment :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      Ah, the complications of camera buying! You've done a great job of outlining some of the differences and what to look for in a digital camera, simple or DSLR.

      Voted up and useful.

    • CassyLu1981 profile imageAUTHOR

      CassyLu1981 

      7 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Thanks spartucus :) You don't have to have a huge expensive camera to get a perfect picture, you just have to know which one would best fit your needs! Thanks for the comment :)

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 

      7 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very detailed hub! You provided a lot of useful info which will assist the consumer in making an inform decision.

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