Knowing how to choose a new camera can be a challenge, whether you’re looking for the best cheap camera for photography beginners, trying to find a camera for professional photography, or trying to find a first camera, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you buy the best digital camera for your needs.
This is my camera buying guide for beginners and it will help you work out what to look for when buying a mirrorless digital camera. Read through the sections below to help you think through the various considerations you’ll need to make when choosing a new camera.
Whether you’re wondering what camera should I buy as a beginner, or what to look for when buying a camera for video, there are certain factors to consider when making your decision.
See the top 10 features of the Fujifilm X-T5 here
Buy the Fujifilm X-T5 on Amazon here
Table of Contents
Consider your photography needs
Before you start shopping for a new camera, think about the types of photography you’ll be doing. Are you looking to take landscape photos, portraits, action shots, or something else?
Different cameras are better suited for different types of photography, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when considering how to choose your next camera is whether you want to buy a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) or mirrorless cameras.
Are DSLRs best for photography or have mirrorless cameras now taken their place? They are two popular types of digital cameras used by photographers and videographers.
While both have their unique features and capabilities, they differ in several key areas, including design, image quality, speed, and versatility.
One of the main differences between DSLR and mirrorless cameras is their design. DSLR cameras have a mirror inside the body that reflects light from the lens to the viewfinder, allowing the user to see what they are photographing.
Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, lack this mirror, relying on an electronic viewfinder instead. As a result, mirrorless cameras are typically smaller and lighter than DSLRs.
In today’s market, it’s possible to buy a camera which does everything well, so I suggest writing a list of all the types of photography you’ll be hoping to do to help you begin your search so you will not regret your purchase.
If you’re wondering what camera should I buy for photography, the sensor size is one of the most important factors to consider. A larger sensor will allow for better low-light performance and more detailed images.
However, APSC sensors, which are found in many mirrorless cameras are equipped with technology that vastly improves the performance of the smaller sensor, making them a great option for most photographers, including professionals.
Read my top tips for photographing wildlife here
I use FUJIFILM cameras for all my photography. They have an analogue, retro styling on the camera body, but are full of modern technology inside. Their camera line-up consists of cameras for all types of photography, from pocket sized travel cameras to professional medium format cameras.
It’s worth considering these when deciding how to choose your next camera. Fujifilm cameras are known for their high-quality image sensors and innovative design. They offer a wide range of digital cameras, including mirrorless, compact, and bridge cameras, to suit various photography needs.
The X-series mirrorless cameras are particularly popular for their compact size, lightweight design, and advanced features. Fujifilm also offers instant cameras, such as the Instax series, which allow you to instantly print and share your memories.
In addition, Fujifilm is well known for their film cameras and continues to produce film stock for traditional photography enthusiasts.
See the Fujifilm cameras available here
How many megapixels is good for a camera? The number of megapixels is also an important consideration to make when choosing a new camera. A higher number of megapixels means that the camera can capture more detail in an image.
However, it’s important to note that megapixels aren’t everything, and a camera with a high number of megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean it will take better photos.
Don’t be swayed by cameras that advertise a high amount of megapixels as there are many other factors to consider when choosing a camera.
A camera with 20 megapixels may provide you with large print capabilities, but if the lens isn’t a high quality then you’ll lose any advantage you have in the megapixels. Megapixels are a good consideration to make, but if you’re a beginner then don’t worry too much about them.
A good example is the Fujifilm X-T1. It’s an older mirrorless camera with 16 megapixels, but produces stunning photographs.
Read more about megapixels here
This is the most important factor to consider. Don’t be led by advertising which makes you believe you need the latest, most expensive cameras.
When I choose a new camera I look for the best possible option, and then work my way back through the earlier models of that brand until it matches my budget. My advice is don’t get into debt over a camera purchase.
If you’re planning on using your camera to shoot videos, it’s important to look for one that has good video capabilities. Look for a camera that can shoot in 4K resolution and has a variety of frame rates to choose from.
Many modern mirrorless cameras are basically hybrid cameras which are capable of shooting videos and still photography. Look for a camera that is able to switch seamlessly between these two modes to make it easy to shoot video and stills at a moments notice.
Cameras such as the FUJIFILM X-T4 and FUJIFILM X-T5 make it very easy to transition between video and stills, with a simple switch on the top dials.
The menus are also separate, meaning you don’t need to keep changing the settings when you change from stills to video. These are both worth your consideration when deciding how to choose your next camera.
See the Fujifilm X-T4 here
Autofocus is another important feature to consider when choosing a camera. Look for a camera that has fast and accurate autofocus, especially if you’re planning on taking action shots or shooting videos.
Cameras that have zone focussing and tracking are ideal for capturing wildlife. You’ll also want to ensure the camera has phase detection autofocus as it’s much more accurate for tracking subjects.
Read about different autofocus settings here
Image stabilization is a useful feature that helps to reduce camera shake and blur. This is especially useful when taking shots in low light or with a long zoom lens.
Modern mirrorless cameras will provide IBIS with around 7 stops, meaning you won’t need a tripod on many occasions.
LCD screen and EVF
The LCD/EVF screens on a camera are used for composing shots, reviewing images and videos, and navigating the camera’s menu. Look for a camera that has a high-resolution LCD screen and EVF that’s easy to see in different lighting conditions.
Read about Fujifilm focus modes here
Battery life is an important consideration when choosing a camera. Look for a camera that has a long battery life, especially if you’re planning on taking a lot of photos or videos.
Video shooting is very battery thirsty, so be sure to check on the battery capabilities before buying a camera. It’s always wise to buy two and three batteries so you don’t run out on photo shoots.
See the Fujifilm X-H2 here
See the Fujifilm X-H2s here
Finally, it’s important to consider the reputation of the brand when choosing a camera. Look for a brand that has a good track record of producing high-quality cameras that are easy to use and have good customer support.
Read more about the exposure triangle here
It’s worth watching YouTube videos to see reviews from other photographers who will highlight the pros and cons of the various camera brands you’re interested in. This will greatly help you with your decision.
How to choose your next camera – Sony
Another brand worth looking at when considering how to choose your next camera are Sony. Sony cameras are known for their advanced technology and innovative features.
They offer a wide range of digital cameras, including mirrorless, compact, and full-frame models, to suit various photography needs. Sony’s mirrorless camera line, the Alpha series, is particularly popular for its high image quality and fast autofocus system.
The company is also well known for their innovative full-frame sensor technology, which allows for improved image quality and low-light performance. Sony also offers compact and bridge cameras that are compact and lightweight, making them great for travel and everyday use.
With their cutting-edge technology, high image quality, and versatile camera options, Sony has established itself as a leader in the digital camera market.
See the Sony A7iv here
See the Sony website here
How to choose your next camera – Travel Camera
When it comes to capturing memories while on a trip, having the right camera can make a big difference. A travel camera should be lightweight, compact, and versatile, with the ability to produce high-quality images and videos.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best travel camera for you:
Size and weight
The camera should be small enough to fit in a backpack or carry-on bag, and light enough to carry around all day without causing fatigue. Consider a compact camera or a mirrorless camera for their lightweight design.
Look for a camera with a high-quality lens and a large image sensor, which will produce sharp and detailed images, especially in low light. Additionally, the camera should be able to handle different types of scenes and lighting conditions.
A good travel camera should have a decent zoom lens, allowing you to capture images of distant subjects without having to get too close. Consider a camera with a zoom lens that offers a range of focal lengths, such as a 24-120mm lens.
Many travel cameras now offer high-quality video recording, making it easier to capture memories in motion. Look for a camera that can record full HD (1080p) video, and offers manual controls for exposure and focusing.
When considering how to choose your next camera, look for one with built-in Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth connectivity can be a convenient way to share photos and videos on social media or with friends and family.
Make sure the camera has a long battery life, especially if you plan to be away from a power source for extended periods. Consider purchasing extra batteries or a portable battery pack.
Fujifilm X-T1 v Fujifilm X-T5 – read about the difference here
Travel can be hard on gear, so look for a camera that is durable and weather-resistant, especially if you plan to do outdoor activities or travel to harsh environments.
Ultimately, the best travel camera for you will depend on your individual needs and budget. Consider trying out several options before making a final decision to ensure you have the right camera to capture your travels.
Read about landscape photography on the Isle of Skye here
How to choose you next camera – iPhone photography
iPhone photography has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to the advancements in camera technology and the convenience of always having a camera in your pocket.
The iPhone’s built-in camera is capable of producing high-quality images and videos, making it a great choice for capturing memories, moments, and experiences.
Here are some tips for taking great photos with your iPhone:
Use the Focus and Exposure Controls: The iPhone camera allows you to tap on a subject to adjust the focus and exposure. This will ensure that the subject is properly lit and in focus, while the background is properly exposed.
Experiment with Lighting
Natural light is the best lighting for taking photos, so try to take photos in well-lit areas or during the golden hours (morning and late afternoon) when the light is soft and warm.
Use the Grid Lines
The iPhone camera has a grid of lines that can help you align your shots and apply the rule of thirds, which is a basic principle of photography that states that the subject should be placed along the lines or at the intersection of the lines.
Take Advantage of the Portrait Mode
The Portrait mode on the iPhone uses advanced camera technology to create a shallow depth of field and a blurred background, making your subject stand out.
Edit Your Photos
The iPhone’s built-in photo editing features allow you to enhance your photos and make them look their best. Experiment with different filters, adjust brightness, saturation, and contrast, and use the cropping tool to compose your shots.
Shoot in RAW
If you’re looking for the ultimate control over your photos, consider shooting in RAW format, which is a high-quality, unprocessed image format that allows for more control over the editing process.
Use Third-Party Apps
There are a variety of third-party apps available that offer additional features and tools for enhancing your iPhone photos. Try experimenting with different apps to find the ones that work best for you.
In conclusion, the iPhone camera is a powerful tool for capturing memories and moments, and when considering how to choose your next camera, you should consider upgrading your iPhone.
With a little bit of practice and experimentation, you can take great photos with your iPhone. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting out, these tips can help you take your iPhone photography to the next level.
Fujifilm Instax cameras are a popular choice for those who want to capture and instantly print their memories. These compact and portable cameras are easy to use, making them a great option for both experienced photographers and those who are new to instant photography.
Here are some key features and benefits of Fujifilm Instax cameras:
One of the biggest advantages of Fujifilm Instax cameras is their ability to instantly print photos. You can hold your memories in your hand within seconds of taking the picture.
Simple and Intuitive Operation
Fujifilm Instax cameras are designed to be simple and easy to use. They have minimal controls and settings, making them great for people of all ages and skill levels.
The Fujifilm Instax instant film produces high-quality, credit card-sized prints with vibrant colors and sharp details.
Portable and Lightweight
Fujifilm Instax cameras are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry with you wherever you go. They’re great for travel, events, and everyday use.
Fun and Social
Fujifilm Instax cameras are designed to be fun and social. They’re great for sharing with friends and family, and for creating a physical record of your memories.
Wide Range of Models
Fujifilm offers a wide range of Instax cameras to choose from, including both standard and mini models, as well as models with special features such as double exposures and self-timer modes.
Fujifilm Instax cameras are a great choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use and portable camera that can instantly print high-quality photos.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just looking for a fun camera to capture memories, Fujifilm Instax cameras offer a unique and enjoyable photography experience.
See the Fujifilm Instax mini 40 here
See the Fujifilm Instax mini 11 here
How to choose your next camera – Canon
Canon is one of the largest and most well-known camera manufacturers in the world. They offer a wide range of digital cameras, including DSLR, mirrorless, compact, and bridge cameras, to suit various photography needs.
Canon’s EOS series of DSLR cameras are particularly popular among professional photographers and enthusiasts for their high image quality, fast autofocus system, and versatile lens options.
The company is also known for their innovative mirrorless camera technology, which offers high image quality and portability in a compact design. Canon also offers a range of compact and bridge cameras that are easy to use and great for travel and everyday photography.
See the Canon website here
See the Canon R5 here
See the Canon R6 here
How to choose your next camera – Leica
Leica Cameras are premium, high-end cameras known for their exceptional image quality and build quality. Founded in Germany in 1914, Leica has a long history of producing some of the finest cameras in the world.
Leica cameras are often favored by professional photographers for their outstanding optics and manual control options, allowing for precise adjustments and creative freedom.
They are also known for their timeless design and durability, making them a classic choice for both photographers and collectors alike. However, due to their premium features and craftsmanship, Leica cameras come with a high price tag compared to other cameras in the market.
See the Leica website here
See the Leice Q2 here
Medim format cameras
Medium format cameras are high-end cameras that offer the highest image quality and resolution compared to other camera types.
They are favored by professional photographers for their large image sensors, typically ranging from 44x33mm to 53.7×40.4mm, which capture more detail, produce less noise, and offer a shallower depth of field than smaller sensor cameras.
Medium format cameras also often have advanced features such as flexible customization, interchangeable backs, and high-resolution electronic viewfinders. However, they can be larger, heavier, and more expensive than smaller format cameras.
It’s important to consider your specific photography needs and budget before investing in a medium format camera, as they are designed for demanding professionals and not suitable for all photographers.
See the Fujifilm GFX 50sii here
See the Fujifilm GFX 100s here
In conclusion, working out how to choose your next camera is a highly personal and subjective decision, and depends on your individual needs and photography goals. To make the right choice, you need to consider factors such as image quality, versatility, ease of use, size and weight, and budget.
Whether you’re looking for a professional-level camera, a travel camera, or a camera for everyday use, by taking the time to research and compare your options, you’ll be able to find the right camera for you.
With the right camera in hand, you’ll be able to capture the memories, moments, and experiences that matter most to you, and create images that will last a lifetime.