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Best camera buying guide

The Best Cameras review

Are you going to buy a new digital camera but, understanding little about it, you do not know which product to guide you? Are you passionate about photography and would you like some advice on the best cameras currently available in stores? Want an overview of the models on the market that are characterized by the best quality-price ratio, among the various compact, mirrorless or SLR? So let me help you choose the product that best suits your needs, both practical and economical.

On this page you will find a series of indications – which I hope you will find useful – on how to distinguish cameras according to their type and some advice on those that offer the best value for money. After all, the vast majority of photographs are taken with smartphones, but it is undeniable that the best results are obtained with a dedicated camera with a sensor and a lens larger than those that can be placed on mobile phones for the obvious physical limits of the bodies.

There are different types of cameras, including compact cameras, mirrorless cameras and SLR cameras. Each type of camera has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on your personal needs and the budget you want to dedicate to the new purchase. In addition to the types of various cameras on the market you must also know some technical notions so you can guess the qualities of each model without necessarily having to try it personally.

Index

Fixed optics or interchangeable lenses?

Types of cameras

– Reflex
– Compact point-and-shoot
– Mirrorless
– Bridge cameras
– Super pocket zoom

– Technical features

– Which camera to buy

Fixed optics or interchangeable lenses?

The choice is purely subjective, but to choose your next camera the first distinction you need to make is that between cameras with interchangeable lenses and those with fixed optics. Below I’ll explain the differences.

1) Cameras with interchangeable lenses are those that have a camera body (where there are all the main components of the device) and an objective independent of the latter. This means that you can purchase lenses of different types and can be mounted on the camera based on the type of photography you want to make. The cameras of this type are more advanced than those with fixed optics, as they are more versatile and allow greater control over the final quality of the shot. Among the cameras with interchangeable lenses there are the Reflex and the Mirrorless. This versatility is often paid with higher dimensions and with the need to carry out regular maintenance on the machine.

2) Cameras with fixed optics have a lens fixed on the camera body, which therefore can not be changed. They are much less flexible than those with interchangeable lenses, but they are not fixed on a single viewing angle. They are in fact equipped with zoom lenses that allow you to cover various types of visuals. Among the cameras of this type there are compact point-and-shoot that are particularly suitable for beginners because they are easier to use and practically zero maintenance.

Types of cameras
camera-types

Once stability is the fundamental difference that passes between a camera with fixed optics and one with interchangeable lenses, we discover which are the main types of camera currently on the market and we try to figure out which one is most suitable for you.

Reflex
camera-reflex-reviews

The Reflex (or dSLR, ie digital single lens reflex) are the best choice for those with professional needs and for photography enthusiasts. They offer maximum control over all shooting parameters, but also include automatic functions that make it easy for beginners to use. As major strengths have the very wide range of lenses available and the presence of the optical viewfinder that allows you to view the scenes captured in real time from the sensor, through the lens. Its operation involves the use of a series of mirrors that reflect towards the viewfinder the light that passes through the lens. The main negative sides of the Reflex are the weight (they are rather heavy and bulky compared to the compact) and the price, lower than a few years ago but still quite high. To learn more read my guide on how to choose a Reflex.

Compact point-and-shoot
camera-point-and-shoot

The compact point-and-shoot (point and shoot) are for those who do not have a particular passion for photography but need a reliable camera to capture all the moments worthy of being remembered (trips, ceremonies and so on). These fixed-optical cameras are ultra-cheap and exceptionally light. This comfort, however, you pay with the inability to adjust many shooting parameters and with a quality that in most cases is quite poor in low light or fast moving conditions. In recent times, however, the so-called advanced compact are spreading, which mixes high portability with good shooting performance. To find out more read my guide on which compact camera to buy.

Mirrorless
fotocamera-mirrorless-home-300x300

Mirrorless cameras are compact cameras with interchangeable lenses, but without mirror and optical viewfinder, with a quality similar to that of Reflex and in some cases even higher. They are reasonably priced and are much more manageable than the SLR cameras, even if the professionals accustomed to the latter find them too small and not very ergonomic, especially due to the fact that the SLRs often have a higher number of keys accessible along the body. The ideal choice for those who demand the highest quality from their camera, but at the same time can not afford to travel with the clutter typical of Reflex. Moreover, Reflex can usually exploit a more complete target park, even if the situation is rapidly changing even with mirrorless ones.

Bridge cameras
camera-bridge-reviews

Bridge cameras are a “middle ground” between compact cameras and Reflex cameras. They are presented aesthetically as the Reflex but have a lower weight compared to the latter. They usually have a large zoom and allow you to cover focal lengths of various types (normal, wide angle, telephoto) without changing lenses, however they maintain all the defects of the compact in terms of quality of shots (especially with poorly lit scenes and moving ). They are the right choice for those who, not wanting to take a Reflex, need to cover various focal lengths and do not want to bring along many different objectives. Without this particular need, mirrorless are definitely preferable.

Super Zoom pocket

Pocket-sized Super Zoom are compact cameras with fixed optics with optical zoom of over 20x. Their weight and size are superior to compact point-and-shoot but lower than bridges. They are preferable to the latter if, in the name of maneuverability, they are willing to give up some advanced control and part of the focal lengths, even if there are models that offer good performance and wide freedom during shooting. They often remain lower than mirrorless and Reflex, which remain the preferred solutions of prosumer and prosumer users.

Technical features

How to interpret the technical characteristics of digital cameras? Each camera must be evaluated according to its technical characteristics. Here are the most important ones you need to consider regardless of the type of camera you want to buy.

1) Megapixel – Megapixels indicate the number of pixels that make up the images created by a camera, expressed in millions. This is an important but not fundamental value, as publicity would have us believe. Also it is good to underline that it is equivalent to the multiplication of the pixels of the horizontal side of the image for those of the vertical side, and not to the measure in width or height of the photos (this means that, for example, a 20MP machine does not take large photos the double of one from 10MP, but only 41% larger). The final quality of the shots depends largely on the lens used and the sensitivity level of the sensor to light (ISO value), so do not get “dazzled” by a camera just because it has more MPs than another.

2) ISO – the ISO value indicates the sensitivity level of the light sensor. The higher the maximum value of this parameter (which is adjustable) the more you will be able to take clear pictures in low light conditions. But be careful: if you raise the ISO value of a camera too much, image noise will be generated called “noise”. To know beyond what ISO threshold a camera begins to show “noises” (each camera behaves differently) do a search on the Internet.

3) Sensor format – in general, the sensor of a camera is larger and the quality of the generated shots is greater. The smaller sensors are generally found in the compact tip and snaps, the larger ones in the Reflex and Mirrorless. Going into more detail, there are Full Frame sensors measuring 24 × 36 mm and equivalent to 35mm film format (with a 1: 1 conversion ratio); the APS-C measuring 23 x 15 mm and have a conversion ratio of 1.5: 1 or 1.6: 1 (depending on the cameras used) and the Four Thirds system which measures 17×13 mm and has a conversion ratio of 2: 1 (mainly used in mirrorless).

4) Focal and zoom – the lenses of the cameras have different focal lengths and zoom levels, provided that not all lenses are also zoomed. The focal length is the distance from the sensor surface to the center of the lens when it is set to infinity focus. It can be normal (50 mm), wide-angle (with a focal length lower than the normal lens, ideal for immortalizing very large areas) or telephoto (with a focal length greater than the normal lens, magnify objects compared to the vision of the human eye ). Zoom are combinations of lenses with different focal lengths and allow you to frame distant objects without moving. If you want to know more read my post on which goal to buy.

5) Lens aperture – another parameter to watch is the maximum aperture of the lens. This value is expressed in F-stop (eg f / 1.4 or f / 5.6) and measures the aperture of the diaphragm. A lower number is equivalent to a greater ability to capture clear images even in low light conditions.

6) Number of photos per second and speed of focus – if you are going to take pictures in “frenetic” conditions (eg during sports competitions) make sure that the camera you want to buy is able to capture a high number of photos per second. It also tries to inform you about the timing of focusing the machine, which is another extremely important value for high speed shots.

7) Video recording – many cameras, both Reflex and compact, are able to record videos as well. If you are interested in this function and you need to make high quality movies, check the maximum resolution of movies made by the camera (HD, Full HD or 4K) and their framerate (that is, the number of frames captured every second).

8) Processor – the processor of digital cameras performs the same task as film in analog cameras. In other words, it is the one that converts the light captured by the sensor into a picture. The quality (and power) of this component affects the shutter speed, the ability to shoot photographic bursts and various parameters of the images generated (eg color fidelity).

9) Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS – two useful but not essential functions. Cameras with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC make it easy to share photos with other devices. Those with GPS are able to indicate the location where a photo was taken in the EXIF ​​data (as do smartphones).

Which camera to buy

At this point we can also go to “hard” and discover some of the best cameras currently on the market, always divided into categories. Choose the one that’s right for you.

Best compact cameras point-and-shoot cameras

– Nikon Coolpix W100

Nikon-coolpix-w100-camera

The Nikon Coolpix W100 is an excellent compact that can also be used underwater, which also withstands dust, shocks and cold. It has a 13.2 Megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, 30-90mm focal excursion, f / 3.3-5.9 brightness and electronic stabilizer. The integrated display is 3 “and can record Full HD video (1080p) at 30FPS.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 129.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Nikon Coolpix A10

Nikon-coolpix-A10-camera

The Nikon Coolpix A10 is one of the most famous compact thanks to its particularly low cost. It adopts a 16 Megapixel sensor with a lens capable of offering a 5x zoom. On the back has a 2.8-inch display.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 74.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Canon IXUS 285 HS

Canon-IXUS-285-compact-camera

The Canon IXUS 285 HS is another compact that is worth keeping an eye on. It has a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor combined with a 25mm wide-angle lens with a focal length of 25-300mm. It supports Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS, while the display is also in this case 3 “. This model records Full HD video in MP4 format.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 149.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Sony DSC-HX60

Sony DSC-HX60-compact-digital-camera

The Sony DSC-HX60 is a compact digital camera with 20.4 Megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and capable of offering a 30x optical zoom without loss of quality. Allows you to select different shooting modes (night, landscape, portrait, beach, snow, fireworks) and record video at Full HD resolution.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 248.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Sony DSC-W830

Sony-DSC-W830-digital-compact-camera

The Sony DSC-W830 is a compact 20.1 MP sensor and Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 8x zoom. Implements various shooting modes that can be automatically selected via oftware. This model weighs only 104 grams, a feature that makes the Sony DSC-W830 an excellent travel companion, comfortable in all situations.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 94.10 See offer on Amazon !!!

– Sony DSC-RX100M5

Sony-Cyber-Shot-DSC-RX100-V-M5

La Sony DSC-RX100M5 è un modello di compatta punta e scatta estremamente avanzato. Il sensore integrato è un Exmor RS da 20,1 MP con obiettivo Zeis Vario-Sonnar T e zoom ottico da 2,9x. Questo modello registra in 4K Ultra HD con un bitrate da 100 Mbps e dispone di opzioni di moviola fino ad un massimo di 960 fps. Ha anche un mirino elettronico di tipo OLED.

Amazon.co.uk: £949.00 Vedi offerta su Amazon!!! 

Best bridge and Super Zoom

– Canon PowerShot SX410 IS

Canon.Powershot-SX410-IS

The Canon PowerShot SX410 IS is a very successful bridge. It has a 20 Megapixel sensor, while the 24mm lens supports a 40x maximum zoom with 80x ZoomPlus function and a 24-960mm focal range. This camera is capable of recording video in HD at 720p and has a 3-inch display.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 125.00 See offer on Amazon !!!

– Nikon Coolpix P610

Nikon Coolpix P610

The Nikon Coolpix P610 is also a very popular super-zoom compact, thanks to its optical magnification factor of 60x that allows you to frame even those who are at a great distance. Supports Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS to geolocate the position where the shot occurred. Under the body we find a 16 Megapixel sensor, the ability to record in Full HD, while the display is 3 “.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 599.00 See offer on Amazon !!!

– Sony DSC-H400

Sony DSC-H400

The Sony DSC-H400 is a camera that provides a great 63x optical zoom with a decidedly low price. This is a Super Zoom bridge with a 20.1 MP sensor and a 3-inch display, ideal for those who are just starting out with the world of photography and do not want to spend a fortune on the purchase of the first equipment.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 599.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Nikon Coolpix P530

Nikon-Collpix-p530-camera

More or less on the same price range, perhaps a little more expensive, we find the Nikon Coolpix P530 which uses a 16 MP CMOS sensor with a well-42x Nikkor lens stabilized with VR technology. It can go up to a maximum of 12,800 in extended mode and records video at Full HD resolution, with a maximum equivalent focal length of 1000 mm.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 179.99 See offer on Amazon !!!

Mirrorless cameras

– Sony Alpha 5000L

Sony Alpha 5000L-camera

The Sony Alpha 5000L is not brand new but is among the cheapest mirrorless and has a good quality of shooting. It adopts the Bionz X processor and a sensor in APS-C format (the same as the mid-range SLR) of 20.1 MP with a 16-50 mm lens. The LCD screen is tilted at 180 ° and you can record videos in Full HD even at 60i.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 433.57 See offer on Amazon !!!

– Canon EOS M10

Canon-EOS-M10-Camera

The Canon EOS M10 uses a 18-megapixel APS-C sensor and a 15-45 mm EF-M lens that can be replaced at any time. The display is touchscreen and can be tilted 180 °. In the equipment we find, in addition to the camera body, the lens with dust cover, the cap for the camera, a strap, the battery and an interface cable.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 329.90 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Canon EOS M3

Canon EOS M3-compact-camera

Canon is not lacking in the mirrorless sector, and the Canon EOS M3 model is among the most famous of the entire product category. This camera uses a 24.1 MP sensor and is sold with a rather standard 18-55 lens. The image processor is a Digic 6, wireless photo and video sharing is supported, and the display is touchscreen and tiltable.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 432.59 See offer on Amazon !!!

– Yi M1 camera

YI-mirrorless-digital-camera

This Chinese company was born producing low-end action-cams, and grew up also designing and selling a mirrorless model with a four-thirds micro sensor. The Yi M1 implements a 3-inch touchscreen display, a 20-MP sensor, can record video in 4K Ultra HD 30 seconds and is proposed with a 12-40mm lens with aperture f / 3.5-5.6.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 309.99 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Nikon 1 J5 camera

Nikon-1-j5-digital-camera-mirroless

Even Nikon has fallen in the field of mirrorless, for years now. This Nikon 1 J5 is a mirrorless 20.8-megapixel sensor capable of recording video at 4K Ultra HD resolution. It has a 3 inch tilt display and is supplied with a 10-30mm stabilized VR lens. It supports Wi-Fi and NFC for the immediate transfer of photos and videos.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 380.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

Best Reflex camera

– Canon EOS 1200D SLR camera

Nikon D3300 is a particularly sought-after SLR among the novices of photography for its very low cost. The 24.2 Megapixel sensor can push itself to an ISO sensitivity of 25,600 in expansion. Support Full HD video up to 60 frames per second, and the 3 inch display is not missing. It can support Wi-Fi, but only via an optional adapter.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 303.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Canon EOS 700D SLR camera

Canon EOS 700D-reflex-camera

The Canon EOS 700D is a reflex with 18-megapixel sensor, 9-point AF autofocus system and a maximum sensitivity of ISO 25,600 in extension. The recorded videos are maximum Full HD at 30 fps, while among the most popular objectives for their convenient price are the EF-S 18-55mm, IS STM, and EF-S 18-135mm and 40mm.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 386.95 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Canon EOS 200D SLR camera

camera-Canon-EOS-200D

The Canon EOS 200D uses a 24.2 MP APS-C Dual Pixel sensor and is ideal for users looking for quality at an affordable price while taking advantage of the Digic 7 image processor. The sensor can push up to a maximum of 51,200 ISO in extension, while the camera integrates a swiveling display. The videos are maximum in Full HD at 60 fps. More information on this model can be found on the Canon website.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 559.00 See offer on Amazon !!!

– Nikon D5300 SLR camera

Nikon D5300 SLR camera

This model is also one of the most popular choices at Nikon. The Nikon D5300 uses a 24.1 MP APS-C sensor with integrated 18-105 VR lens. It can offer great satisfactions with a total expenditure reduced to a varied public. The autofocus system is a choice between 39 and 11 points, while on the body there are several controls for better ergonomics.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 375.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Nikon D7500 SLR camera

Nikon D7500 SLR

The Nikon D7500 is the flagship model among those with APS-C sensor. It adopts a sensor able to offer the maximum resolution of 20.9 Megapixels and is able to go up to a maximum of 164,000 ISO in extension. The auto-focus relies on 51 separate points with a system capable of “chasing” the subject. This camera records in Ultra HD at 30 fps.

Amazon.co.uk: £ 972.74 See offer on Amazon !!! 

– Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is the latest Reflex Full Frame of the Japanese manufacturer. Use a 26.2-megapixel sensor that supports a maximum of ISO 102.400 in extension. It is compatible with the same EF-S and EF-M models as the predecessor models, while for the auto-focus it relies on 45 cross stitches using a dedicated sensor.

Amazon.co.uk:1,999.00 See offer on Amazon !!! 

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