Are you wondering how to choose a camera or asking what camera should I buy as a beginner? In this article I will give you the best camera buying guide for beginners and show you what to look for when buying a camera for video or a camera for photography. Whether you’re looking for the best camera for personal use or the best camera for professional photography, I’ll help you ask the right questions when deciding how to choose a camera.
Camera for beginners
When asking what camera should I buy for photography it’s important to consider what it is you’re looking to photograph. Are you going to capture portraits, landscapes, sports or a bit of everything? Each camera will have its pros and cons so it’s best to choose the one which matches your area of interest.
For example, a small, lightweight camera that’s intended for travel photography will perhaps not be so useful for sports photography, where you’ll need a camera with a special grip to support a longer lens. Also, a camera with a fixed 23mm lens may be convenient for travel photography but it will be less useful for portrait photography if you’re wanting an 85mm equivalent lens.
How to choose a camera
- Size that’s not too big
- Weight that’s light enough for your bag
- Ergonomics that suit your hand size
- Image quality that’s better than your smart phone
- A brand that has a good reputation for quality
- A brand with a good lens line-up
- Budget that’s not beyond what you can afford
- A camera with a silent mode for sensitive moments
- A camera with reliable and fast autofocus
- A camera with connectivity for smartphone photo transfer
Table of Contents
Camera for travel
If you’re looking for the best travel camera in 2023, you need to decide if you’re looking for a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Mirrorless cameras have a great advantage over a DSLR, as they’re smaller and lighter, making them well suited to travel. When buying a new camera for travel, it’s worth considering the type of travel you’re looking to do and apply the same considerations as mentioned above.
- Fujifilm X100V – See it here
- Ricoh GRiii – See it here
- Leica Q2 – See it here
- Fujifilm X-S10 See it here
- Fujifilm X-T3 – See it here
Cameras for Street Photography
Street photography is a genre of photography that captures candid and unplanned moments in public spaces. It often focuses on capturing the unique and diverse character of cities, capturing people, architecture, and daily life in an artistic and documentary style.
Street photographers aim to tell the stories of the people and places they photograph, capturing both the beauty and the imperfections of urban environments. Street photography is typically shot in an unposed, spontaneous manner, with the photographer blending into the background and capturing the scene as it unfolds.
Street photographers must be alert and able to quickly respond to changing situations, as the essence of street photography is capturing moments that are both fleeting and authentic. The genre requires a keen eye for composition, lighting, and storytelling, and can result in powerful and thought-provoking images that give insight into the human experience.
If you’re planning on using your new digital camera for street photography, you’ll need to consider various options when choosing your camera.
- Size of camera not too big so you can remain discreet
- Weight of camera not heavy so you can carry it around for long periods of time
- Ergonomics that suit the size of your hands
- Budget that doesn’t stretch you
- Camera that allows for quick autofocus
- Camera that has vintage lenses available for manual focus
Street photography cameras:
Read about the Fujifilm X100V here
Street photography lenses:
- Fujifilm XF35mm f1.4 – See it here
- Fujifilm XF23mm f1.4 – See it here
- Fujifilm XF18mm f1.4 – See it here
- Fujifilm XF50mm f2.0 – See it here
A mirrorless camera is a type of digital camera that eliminates the traditional optical viewfinder and mirror mechanism found in most DSLR cameras. Instead, it uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or LCD screen to preview and review images.
Mirrorless cameras, were first introduced in 2008 and have since overtaken DSLR cameras in camera sales. Mirrorless cameras are smaller, lighter, and more compact than DSLRs, making them ideal for travel and street photography.
One of the key advantages of mirrorless cameras is their ability to provide instantaneous preview and focus, thanks to their electronic viewfinders (EVF) and phase-detect autofocus systems. This allows photographers to quickly and accurately adjust their settings and the composition before taking the shot, and it also provides faster and more precise autofocus than traditional DSLRs.
Another benefit of mirrorless cameras is their interchangeable lens system, which allows photographers to choose from a wide range of lens options to suit their specific shooting needs.
Mirrorless cameras are a great option for photographers in 2023 who value compactness, versatility, and speed. Whether you’re a professional or amateur photographer, they offer a range of features and benefits that make them a compelling choice for capturing stunning images.
Mirrorless cameras are also able to utilise a smaller camera sensor, such as the APSC sensor and still achieve excellent low light capabilities in their camera models, using backside illuminated sensors.
A backside illuminated (BSI) sensor is a type of image sensor found in digital cameras. It is designed with the photodiodes, which are the light-sensitive elements of the sensor, facing the lens and positioned closer to the incoming light.
In traditional image sensors, the photodiodes are located on the front side of the sensor, with the wiring and support structures positioned between the photodiodes and the incoming light. This leads to a reduction in the amount of light that reaches the photodiodes, as some of it is absorbed by the wiring and support structures.
In a BSI sensor, the wiring and support structures are relocated to the back side of the sensor, allowing for more light to reach the photodiodes. This results in improved sensitivity, lower noise, and better image quality, especially in low-light conditions.
BSI sensors are becoming increasingly common in smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as in some high-end digital cameras. They offer several benefits over traditional image sensors, including improved low-light performance, faster autofocus, and more accurate color reproduction.
Here are some options for mirrorless cameras:
Read about the Fujifilm X-T5 here
Learn about dynamic range in photography here
Mirrorless vs DSLR here
Cameras for video
When looking for a mirrorless camera for video, there are several key features to consider. First, it’s important to look for a camera with good image quality, including high resolution and good color accuracy. A large sensor size can also help to deliver better image quality, as well as provide a shallower depth of field, which can be useful for creative video shooting.
Next, it’s important to consider the camera’s autofocus system, as smooth and accurate autofocus is essential for professional-looking video. The camera should also have good low-light performance, as this will allow for shooting in a variety of lighting conditions.
In terms of video recording capabilities, look for a camera that can record in high resolution and high frame rates, as well as support for various video formats, such as 4K and slow-motion recording. It’s also important to consider the camera’s audio capabilities, as good audio quality is crucial for professional-looking video. Look for a camera with a built-in microphone and support for external microphones, as well as adjustable audio levels.
Additionally, consider the camera’s ergonomics, as you will be using it for extended periods of time. Look for a camera that is comfortable to hold and easy to control, with a good balance of buttons and dials for quick access to important settings.
Here are some options for mirrorless cameras that are well suited for video:
Landscape photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing the beauty and grandeur of the natural world. It involves taking photos of scenic vistas, mountains, forests, rivers, and other natural features that are found in the great outdoors.
Landscape photography is all about capturing the essence of a place and its atmosphere, and it requires a strong understanding of composition, lighting, and technical skills. A wide-angle lens is typically used for landscape photography to capture a broad view of the scene, and a tripod is often used to ensure sharp, steady shots.
With its ability to evoke a sense of wonder and awe, landscape photography has the power to transport viewers to another world and to capture the essence of the natural beauty that surrounds us.
What to look for in a lens for landscape photography
When selecting a lens for landscape photography, there are several important factors to consider. Firstly, you should consider the focal length of the lens. A wide-angle lens, such as a 14-24mm or 16-35mm, is ideal for landscape photography as it provides a broad view of the scene and allows you to capture expansive vistas.
Build quality and weather sealing are important factors to consider, especially if you plan on shooting in challenging weather conditions. Modern lenses well suited to landscape photography will have multiple weather sealed points on the lenses and are often marked in their name with a symbol such as WR.
Landscape photography lenses:
- Fujifilm XF10-24 f4 WR – See it here
- Fujifilm XF 16 f2.8 WR – See it here
- Canon RF 15-35mm – See it here
Medium format cameras
Medium format cameras are professional-grade cameras that are prized for their large image sensors and exceptional image quality. Unlike traditional full-frame cameras, which have a sensor size of 36mm x 24mm, medium format cameras have sensors that are significantly larger, typically ranging from 44mm x 33mm to 53mm x 40mm.
This larger sensor size allows for a higher resolution and improved image quality, with greater detail, clarity, and dynamic range. Medium format cameras are often used by professional photographers for high-end commercial work, fashion photography, and fine art photography, where image quality is of the utmost importance.
With their advanced features and exceptional image quality, medium format cameras are a popular choice among photographers who demand the best. However, they are also significantly more expensive and larger than traditional full-frame cameras, making them a significant investment for both amateur and professional photographers.
However, in recent years various companies have begun to make medium format cameras more readily available to consumers, at more affordable prices. One such line up are the Fujifilm GFX camera system.
The GFX line-up of cameras is characterized by its large image sensors, exceptional image quality, and compact, lightweight design. The cameras in this line feature a range of advanced features, including high-resolution image sensors, advanced autofocus systems, and intuitive controls.
Additionally, the GFX cameras are compatible with a wide range of Fujinon GF lenses, which are designed specifically for the GFX system and offer outstanding image quality and performance.
Fujifilm GFX cameras:
Fujifilm GFX lenses:
- GF 80mm f1.7 – see it here
- GF 35-70 f4 – see it here
- GF 32-64 f4 – see it here
- GF 50-140 f4 – see it here
- GF110 f2 – see it here
Visit the Fujifilm website here
Another brand that has focussed on making medium format cameras available at a more reasonable price is Hasselblad. The Hasselblad X1D II is a high-end medium format mirrorless camera that is designed for professional photographers who demand the best in image quality and performance.
The X1D II features a large 50-megapixel image sensor that delivers exceptional image quality, with incredible detail, clarity, and dynamic range. The camera also has a fast autofocus system and intuitive controls, making it easy to use and responsive. Additionally, the X1D II is compatible with a range of high-quality Hasselblad lenses, which offer outstanding image quality and performance.
Hasselblad X1D II – See it here
Visit the Hasselblad website here
The rise of camera phones has revolutionized the way we take photos and record memories with our friends and families. In the past, a separate camera was needed to take high-quality images and videos. Today, however, many people have opted to use their camera phones as their main camera, leaving their traditional cameras at home.
One of the biggest reasons for this shift is the improvement in camera technology in camera phones. With each new release, the cameras in camera phones have become more advanced and capable of taking professional-quality photos and videos. Many camera phones now have larger sensors, advanced autofocus systems, and multiple lenses to provide a wide range of shooting options.
Computational photography has been a large reason that came phones have been so successful. This is where the camera uses AI technology and complex algorithms to process the photograph upon capture, giving the camera a wider dynamic range to capture scenes with challenging lighting situations.
Another reason for the popularity of camera phones is their convenience. Camera phones are always with us, making them the perfect tool for capturing moments on the go. Whether it’s a spontaneous moment with friends or a breathtaking sunset, camera phones allow us to capture these moments quickly and easily. Additionally, camera phones are equipped with editing tools and apps, making it possible to enhance photos and videos with just a few taps.
The rise of social media has also played a role in the popularity of camera phones too. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, it has never been easier to share our photos and videos with the world. Camera phones make it easy to take, edit, and share photos and videos in just a few minutes.
Finally, camera phones have become more affordable, making them accessible to a wider range of people. This has led to a surge in amateur photographers and videographers, who can now capture and share their creativity with the world.
iPhone 14 pro
One of the best smart phones on the market in 2023 is the iPhone 14 pro. It features a triple-camera system with advanced optics and cutting-edge image processing technology that deliver stunning image quality, even in low-light conditions.
The camera system includes a wide-angle lens, an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens, providing a range of focal lengths for different shooting situations. The iPhone 14 Pro also has a larger image sensor than the iPhone 13 (65% bigger) that enables you to capture detailed images and videos with incredible clarity.
Additionally, the iPhone 14 Pro is equipped with advanced video recording capabilities, including 4K video at 60 frames per second and improved Image stabilization.
iPhone 14 pro – See it here
When looking for a budget, there are several key factors to consider. Firstly, the type of camera – whether you want a compact point-and-shoot camera or an entry-level mirrorless camera.
Secondly, image quality – look for a camera with a large enough image sensor to produce good quality photos, ideally with at least 16 megapixels.
Thirdly, lens quality – ensure the lens is good quality and has a wide enough aperture for good low light performance.
Fourthly, ease of use – look for a camera with an intuitive interface, simple controls, and good battery life.
Finally, consider the camera’s features such as built-in flash, connectivity options, and image stabilizationisation, as these can enhance your photography experience. Keep in mind that you may have to compromise on some features and capabilities for this price range, but with careful consideration, you can still find a camera that fits your needs and budget.
Cameras for diving
Choosing a camera for diving underwater can be challenging, as the harsh underwater environment requires a camera that is both durable and able to produce high-quality images. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a camera for diving:
- Waterproofing: Look for a camera with a high water resistance rating and the ability to be used at depths of at least 30 meters.
- Image quality: Ensure the camera has good image quality, especially in low light underwater conditions, with a high megapixel count and a fast lens.
- Durability: Consider a camera that is built to withstand the pressure, temperature changes, and rough handling that often comes with diving.
- Control and ease of use: Choose a camera with simple and intuitive controls, especially when wearing diving gloves, as well as good battery life.
- Wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens is essential for underwater photography, allowing you to capture the full underwater environment.
GoPro cameras are small, rugged, and versatile cameras designed for action and adventure photography. They are known for their compact size, waterproof design, and ability to capture high-quality video and still images.
GoPros are often used for sports and outdoor activities such as surfing, snowboarding, and mountain biking, as well as for capturing unique perspectives in travel photography and videography. The latest models offer advanced features such as image stabilizationization, slow-motion recording, and 4K video capabilities.
Additionally, the GoPro ecosystem offers a range of accessories and mounting options, allowing users to attach the camera to themselves, their equipment, or even their pets.
See a GoPro here
360 cameras are innovative devices that capture photos and videos with a 360-degree field of view. These cameras allow you to capture a full sphere of your surroundings, providing an immersive and interactive experience for viewers.
360 cameras typically have multiple lenses positioned on opposite sides of the camera body, which work together to capture a full 360-degree panorama.
These cameras are ideal for capturing landscapes, cityscapes, and other wide scenes, as well as for creating virtual tours and virtual reality experiences. When choosing a 360 camera, consider factors such as image quality, video resolution, and stitching quality, as well as additional features such as live-streaming capabilities and Image stabilization.
See the Insta 360 camera here
The used camera market is a fantastic place to pick up a bargain. With so many cameras and lenses being bought each day, and new models arriving on the market every month, there are plenty of amazing deals on nearly new cameras.
My advice is to use a company or shop who resells cameras so that they will offer you a warranty on the used gear. A company such as MPB are a camera reseller in multiple countries. Their website is here
Choosing the right camera can be a daunting task with the multitude of options available in the market. However, by following the simple guidelines mentioned in this guide, you can make an informed decision that meets your specific needs and budget.
Remember to consider factors such as your intended use, budget, image quality, and size and weight when making your choice. Whether you are an amateur photographer or a professional, investing in the right camera will greatly enhance your photography experience and ultimately help you to create beautiful photographs.