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Camera Sales & Store Buyer's Guide

Interesting Facts on Cameras

camera lenses and parts

Today we snap as many photos every two minutes as humanity as a whole did in the 1800s.

Lights, camera, action! Today, cameras are ominous. You probably have two in your smartphone, another pair in your tablet, another on your laptop, another on your desktop, and maybe even one for your doorbell. Taking pictures is a daily activity and sharing them online is easier than ever.

Finding the best camera to take pictures that you’ll want to save forever all depends on your preferred purpose and function. Use this simple guide to make smart purchases, and see a recognizable difference in your photography.

All internet connected citizens upload and share over 1.8 billion photos per day.

Things to Consider Before Buying A Camera

  • Purpose and use

  • Film or digital based images

  • Automatic versus manual settings

  • Size, weight, bulk

  • Optical and lens features

  • Megapixels

  • Special features

  • Memory storage and film costs

  • Printing photos

  • Options to test the camera

Types of Cameras

Today, most photographs are primarily taken with digital image sensors, however these are a modern invention and earlier photos were created with analog camera technology. What are the differences?

DSLR camera

  • DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras consist of a body and a lens. Normally, you purchase only the body and interchangeable lenses are purchased separately -- you’ll need both the body and lens in order to take a photo. DSLRs use a mirror, that allows you to look through the lens before taking a picture. Having a mirror allows you to view an accurate depiction of your final photograph.

    When you press a button on the camera to take a photo, a shutter opens quickly to allow light to pass through the lens to the film or sensor inside. The darker it is, the longer the shutter needs to stay open. DSLRs have large sensors that help improve image noise. This means that most DSLR models tend to be large, heavy, and bulky. For image quality the most important part to consider is the camera lens. DSLR camera lenses are interchangeable and have a wide range of quality and prices. This means you can experiment and find the best camera combination to suit your personal photography needs and interests.

    Tip: If you are an aspiring photographer or a professional photographer then a DSLR is most recommended. Nikon cameras and Canon cameras dominate the DSLR industry.

mirrorless camerasmall camera

  • Mirrorless cameras are an upcoming trend. They are very similar to a DSLR but have a smaller body, are less bulky, and do not have a mirror. Mirrorless cameras also come with interchangeable camera lenses, however the selection isn’t as wide as with DSLR models. Their smaller body means that there is a smaller sensor for processing, which means that they aren’t as effective for registering depth or for shooting in low light conditions. Furthermore, their auto-focus speed technology is not as advanced compared to DSLRs.

    Tip: If you are a casual hobbyist or advanced amateur photographer, a mirrorless camera model may be the best deal.

  • Bridge cameras are the middleman between compact cameras and cameras with interchangeable lenses. They “bridge” the gap between beginner point and shoot cameras and mirrorless cameras, distinguishable by their built in superzoom lenses with up to 50x magnification. A powerful built in lens like this gives versatility to shoot between wide-angle and telephoto, or close-up shots without the need of having to bring along a spare lens.

    The small size of these camera also means that there are smaller image sensors, similar to that of a point and shoot camera model. The image quality is therefore lower, despite a powerful lens, even in low lighting. Compared to DSLRs they have a slower all-around performance.

    Tip: If you are an amateur photographer or looking to upgrade from a point and shoot camera, then bridge cameras provide an unparalleled balance between portability and zoom.

  • Compact point and shoot cameras are small, portable cameras that you can fit in your pocket and use for snapshots. The biggest advantages of these cameras are their size and because they are easy to carry around, most people frequently use point and shoot cameras more so than other camera types.

    These cameras have permanently attached lenses that have a broad zoom range. Normally, the lens slides back into the camera in order to keep the design compact. Their small size also means that their sensors are petite and image quality doesn’t compare to a DSLR. However, with technology good quality images are still possible with more advanced point and shoot camera models.

    There are less manual controls on point and shoot cameras (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc). In addition, autofocus speeds are slower, meaning the lag time between pressing the shutter and when the camera processes an imprint will take a little longer.

    Tip: If you are on a market for a camera that is lightweight, portable, and affordable -- with no frills -- then a point and shoot camera is the best model for you.

Camera Summary Table

Camera Type Pros Cons Purpose
DSLR

$800 and up (body only)
Fast shooting

Option for interchangeable lenses

With special camera lenses, you are able to shoot close-ups and wide-angles.

Larger image sensors for sharper shooting.

Good for shooting in dark settings.
Size: big, heavy, and bulky

Complicated to properly use all functions

Very expensive, especially if you make the most out of the camera and purchase high quality lenses
For true photography lovers, advanced, and professional photographers who need speed and quality.

You need a durable, reliable, and dependable camera that can always deliver the best quality images, high action, from far away, or up close.
Mirrorless 
$400-700
Close to DSLR-level image quality. 

Smaller
and less bulky camera body.

More
quiet and smooth operation.

More durable since there are fewer parts and there is no mirror to break.
Limited camera lens selection. 

Slower performance. 

Auto-focus function has slight lag. 

Expensive.
People who want something better and
faster. 

Great if you enjoy photography and videography, to play with various settings and lenses, but want something that’s not bulky.
Megazoom, Superzoom, Bridge

$350-900
Versatile zoom range. 

Both manual and automatic control for
agility and creative options.

Some
models have tilt out, vari-angle LCDs to take shots from difficult angles
Sensors are akin to point and shoot models.

Low quality images in in poor lighting.

Built in lens doesn’t offer the same sharp image as most interchangeable ones.

Slow all around performance compared to DSLRs.
Anyone who wants a versatile camera that can shoot both close-ups and action shots of the game, even from the cheap seats.
Point and Shoot
$50-300
Small and extremely portable -- can fit into a pocket or a purse. 

Convenient. 

Type of camera used most frequently. 

Fully automated. 

Budget friendly. 

Perfect for quick snapshots.
Smaller images. 

Lower image quality. 

Digital grain or noise when shooting in low light environments. 

Slower photo proessing.
Anyone who wants a separate devie for taking photos, other than their smartphone. 

Anyone who wants a better photo quality and zoom lens compared to a camera phone.

Basic Camera Features and Specs

It’s exciting and necessary to discover your camera’s special characteristics. Most cameras these days come with additional features that enhance an image. These are fun to experiment with and make photo taking a more enjoyable experience. First, the three main things to know are the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. These three functions work together and once you learn how to control them all, you can take fabulous photos without using any other additional settings. Also called the "Exposure Triangle," these functions control exposure to light, sensitivity to light, and how long your exposure lasts.

Another important spec is resolution, which is generally referred to in megapixels. It tells you how many pixels the camera uses to make an image. It is not a very important spec, since most cameras come with ample resolution.

Tip:Watch out for cheap cameras with high resolutions -- they often lack the processing power to handle large images. As a result, you’ll have a very slow camera.

Autofocus is your go to for great photos. It draws the eye through your image to the exact focal spot. Make sure the camera is able to focus quickly, accurately, from both close and far away. If there is lag when you change what you are looking at, there is difficulty focusing on the proper element, or between different depths, then you may want to search for an alternative model. 

Pano mode is the panoramic setting of a camera. It automatically stitches together images into a long image. This feature is very common in point and shoot cameras and some mirrorless models, however it is uncommon in DSLRs.

Image stabilization helps even out vibration and shakiness when shooting, reducing blurriness in low light conditions.

Almost all cameras now offer video recording, even with HD (1080p). More advanced cameras will also offer manual control of exposure and better video quality (with the option to blur backgrounds).

Frames per second is the number of photos the camera can take per second. A higher FPS means that you can shoot sports and fast action scenes without blurriness.

LCDs (liquid crystal display) are a common feature in practically all digital cameras. Higher resolution screen display your images far better than lower resolution screens, with huge brightness differences. Some cameras even have flip screens that allow you to adjust the LCD screen to use as a viewfinder. By testing out a few screens at camera stores, you can find a balance that works for you.

viewfinder allows you to look at your photo composition. With DSLRs you look through the lens, however mirrorless along with point and shoot cameras typically have an LCD in place of a viewfinder. An electronic viewfinder shows an electronic image of the scene and composition of the photo, based on settings.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity make uploading and sharing photos easy.

Popular Camera Brands

brand camera

  • Canon
  • Olympus
  • Nikon
  • Pentax
  • Sony
  • Sigma
  • Panasonic
  • Fuji

Shopping for the best camera to suit your needs is easy at local electronic stores and camera stores. Be sure to look for deals and get the biggest discounts on your camera, camera lenses, and camera accessories!