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A question many ask themselves after making the decision to purchase a camera for their hobby. It used to be a lot simpler many years ago. Believe it or not, there were times when a 35mm SLR was the only option, both for amateurs and professionals. Of course, different money would buy you different things, but it basically came in the same shape . Nowadays, anyone looking to buy a camera is bombarded with a lot more options. The three main categories of cameras that are most taken into consideration are the following three.: bridge cameras , mirrorless cameras and entry level DSLRs. Each of these have pros and cons so let’s go through each category and help you make the best decision.
|Nikon D3200||Canon Rebel T3i||Sony SLT-A37|
|Nikon D5200||Canon Rebel T4i||Sony SLT-A57|
|Nikon D7000||Canon EOS 60D||Sony SLT-A65|
|Nikon D300||Canon EOS 7D||Sony SLT-A77|
|Nikon D600||Canon EOS 5D Mark II||Sony SLT-A99|
These are basically advanced compact cameras. The main difference between these and something that fits in your pocket is usually the very powerful zoom lens and the control capabilities. Most of these cameras have very long focal lengths and figures like 36x,40x or 42 x are not uncommon. But what to they mean? If you were to translate these figures into 35mm language ( which has been the reference for many years) you would come up with the equivalent of a lens up to 800mm. That’s a lot of close-up! It means you can shoot a subject from a very far distance. Naturally, there are some drawbacks. It’s quite hard to shoot with a bridge camera at full zoom length handheld. The slightest movement in the hand will probably cause motion blur. At that range, it’s absolutely normal. Other than that, squeezing that much optical power into such a small package is bound to cause some compromise in quality. How else would a 300mm, 4 kg, f2.8 lens justify its price?
There are advantages to these cameras though . Since you have all the optics included in a single piece, you don’t have to bother with auxiliary lens purchases . It’s an all in one deal. Not all of them offer manual control, so be sure to look for those that do. If you want to learn who to use a camera by yourself, this isn’t optional.
These are the perfect cameras to take on holiday and vacations. They pack light and some offer impressive image quality as well.
2. Mirrorless cameras
These have only been out for a few years. They are basically designed to offer DSLR like capabilities in a small package. That means the lenses are exchangeable and the image sensors aren’t as small as compact cameras. There are some pretty cool functions you can get with these cameras. Some of them are really, really fast. I used to own a Nikon J1 that could shoot at 60fps. That beats any (D)SLR in history and a lot of video cameras. It also had 135 autofocus points which made it a blast to shoot street photography with. I imagine the following models and competitors are even better.
The most important drawbacks I found are limited lens options ( as I said, the mirrorless market is still young) and small the image sensors, which I get because most of them are small cameras.
Great option for both portability and image quality.
3. Entry level DSLR:
These are the biggest cameras in this list. Although small compared to a pro camera, they’re a lot bigger than a bridge or mirrorless. The main advantages for choosing this kind of cameras are image quality and flexibility. Most of them are equipped with APS-C sensors that are a lot bigger than any of the others. The bigger the sensor, the better the image quality ( check out the prices on Phase one backs by the way). Second, you have potentially hundreds of lens choices. The mounts are the same as on pro cameras and that means you can fit a pro lens to a beginner camera. They also work by the same principles a 5k $ pro body works.
On the down side , they aren’t very portable or comfortable to travel around with.
The price tags on these types of cameras are pretty close. With about the same amount of money , you can get a high end bridge camera, a medium mirrorless kit or an entry level DSLR with a kit lens. Before you buy any of them , take some time to consider what you’re looking for in a camera in terms of image quality, speed and portability.
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Image credit: inbj / 123RF Stock Photo