ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Practical Guide to Choosing Digital Cameras

Updated on May 21, 2012
jim.sheng profile image

RanjuRanju was born in India but has spent most of his life in 's favourite topics are about travelling, education and socio-economics.

This article aims to offer a few pointers when choosing a camera. There are three main types of cameras you can opt for, viz. compact, bridge and SLR (Single Lens Reflux). Each type has certain pros and cons. I am going to attempt to explain these points concisely and do so with minimal usage of jargon. The camera which is perfect for you is not necessarily the most expensive but rather on what you will use it for.


This has become the staple camera for the many as it is cheap, portable and simple to use. With prices starting from around £30, it is not a large investment and to put it bluntly does the job. If you’re after something which you can carry everywhere, that go into your pocket and take snaps in an instant, this is perfect for you. Conversely it does have its limitations; the image sensor which is found within the camera is very small compared to larger more expensive professional cameras. This means that this may not be able to capture as much detail in the photo. The performance deteriorates heavily in low light conditions meaning use at night is very limited. It is fully automatic so you don’t need to know any of the settings and the camera will choose the optimum settings for you. However these may not necessarily provide the best results which may sometimes be frustrating.

Don’t be fooled by the large number of megapixels that these cameras are offering. This just means that you can take larger prints without losing resolution. However the actual image quality may still be low. In most modern compacts this is not an issue as you can only see the difference between 12MP and 18MP once the picture is over A1 which most people never blow up to anyway.

The major disadvantage I find with compacts is the very low level of optical zoom, which provides greater quality compared to digital by simply magnifying the image. More sophisticated cameras offer greater functionality on this front and are all the better for it.

Despite these drawbacks most people own a compact because of its convenience and affordability. It is a good idea to invest in one if you are new to photography to see if you would like to peruse it as a hobby, and in good light conditions it can produce some very good results.


This is exactly what it says on the tin; a bridge between a compact and a SLR. It offers greater flexibly at the drawback an increased price. It is not quite as small as a compact camera however it packs a lot into the relatively compact body. Although the image sensor inside is essentially the same, you will have much greater control as to how the image is taken. The zoom offer currently is the best available of all cameras which is a great advantage for sports or wildlife photography. Most bridge cameras come with a variety of shooting modes far more complete than in a compact. So it produces better results more of the time if used properly.

So if you want a little more control and a lot more zoom in your camera, a bridge may be the right camera for you. I find that it is a great stepping stone to buying a more expensive SLR and taking photography more seriously.


The top of the tree in cameras no doubt is the DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflux. This is the camera of choice for photographers the world over. This is not without reason as it produces the best results in every shooting condition mainly due to the larger image sensor inside which can capture more detail. Using a larger image sensor bring drawbacks primarily in size, weight and the cost. DSLR’s are not handy like compacts, they are large and heavy and the lenses which need to be attached separately can be even more so. Unlike compacts and Bridge cameras, no lens is attached permanently to the camera. Instead you can purchase a lens for every circumstance to acquire the best result. These are high quality and high precision tools and so tend to be larger. Also prices can quickly run into many hundreds if not thousands of pounds. With different lenses you can achieve different effects. This is an example of the total freedom and control that a DSLR provides, which can be handy for taking photos with various effects or more artistic pursuits.

Taking action photography of maybe sports or wildlife is made much easier by the almost instantaneous response of a DSLR where the shutter is electronic rather than mechanical. It tends to be much faster achieving up to 12 frames (photos) per second which is many times faster than a bridge or compact that enables you to capture pictures quickly during crucial moments.

Other than varying the lenses and controlling the camera settings, DSLR’s offer numerous other tools for taking the perfect snap. There are various filters available which can polarise the light or add colour effects. Almost without exception, all DSLR’s have a tripod port so you can increase the time of exposure which is useful in poor light conditions. An external flash gun can also be added which improves the power and angle of light provided.

If you are serious about photography as a hobby or a job then a DSLR is a must have. It is expensive but it undoubtedly provides the best photos every time. However for someone who needs a handy camera that they can put in their pocket this is definitely not the best option. After all having the best camera is no use if it’s at home; you can’t take photos with a camera that you don’t have with you.

Most modern digital cameras come with the option of video, granted with various levels of quality. However if video is going to be the primary use, then it is definitely worth looking at a dedicated camcorder which is better designed to be held for longer periods and should have much greater memory capabilities for longer videos.

Summary of features

Mid-sized (too big for pockets!)
Large especially with zoom lenses
Image Quality
Poor in low light
Poor in low light
Best available in all conditions
Up to x30
Depends upon Lens
Limited manual control
Good basic manual control
Full control over settings available
Ease of Use
Very easy to use – just aim and shoot
Requires some expertise, but can be used with aim and shoot mode
For better results, a good amount of expertise and understanding of combination of features (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) required
None to full HD
Most have HD
Latest models offer full HD


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Alex Hills 

      6 years ago

      Useful article


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)