How to choose your next digital camera

Author: David Morgan-Smith   Date Posted:29 October 2015 

PAXTONS NEW CAMERA BUYING GUIDE

Welcome to Paxtons new camera buying guide. Buying a new camera is an exciting process with consumers having more choice than ever before. To help you simply this process, we have outlined the most important information to help you make an informed decision. 

It’s important to think about your expectations and requirements for your future camera. Where and what will you be shooting, budget, size, weight, WIFI connectivity, look of the camera and necessary features. These are important factors which all play an important part in finding a camera to best suit you.

Remember, there is no perfect camera for everyone. Our aim is to find the right camera, for you. Our staff have years of experience and are ready to help find you the right camera for your needs.

 

POINT & SHOOT CAMERAS

Point & Shoot compact cameras are ideal for people seeking high quality images in a convenient, small package.

Who’s it for: Not just for beginners, point & shoot cameras give you the ability to easily carry a camera to capture priceless family moments or document holidays. Point & shoots are also a great option for those wanting to begin practicing photography, with more manual controls not usually found on smartphones.

Key characteristics: These cameras house a permanently fixed, retractable lens which covers a wide focal range. A LCD covers the back panel to operate the menu system. Generally pocked sized with minimal physical manual control dials.

Pros: Cheaper price point compared to mirrorless or DSLRs. Small and convenient to carry every day. Easy to operate, generally designed to be used in automatic mode. Great for happy snaps and sharing on social media.

Cons: Doesn’t provide as much manual control found on mirrorless or DSLRs. Fixed lens can’t be changed.

Image Quality and Performance: Basic point & shoots are a step up from smartphones and will easily produce great photos quickly without hassle. Small sensor sizes impact on image quality (e.g. Clarity, colour).

 

Editor’s Choice:
Basic Point & Shoot – Nikon Coolpix S7000, Canon PowerShot SX710,
Enthusiast Point & Shoot – Sony RX100 IV, Panasonic LX100, Canon G1X II, Fujifilm X100T
Superzoom – Panasonic FZ1000, Canon G3X, Nikon Coolpix P900
Waterproof Cameras – Olympus Stylus TG-4, Fujifilm FinePix XP80,

To view our range of compact cameras, please click here.

 

MIRRORLESS / COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERAS (CSC)

For people looking for DSLR image quality in a smaller and lighter package, mirrorless cameras are a great alternative. Advancements in mirrorless camera technology, continues to challenge the long running popularity and tradition of DSLRs in photography. 

Who’s it for: Photographers looking at purchasing an entry or mid-level DSLR. Anyone looking for a small camera setup, easy to carry around with the freedom and creativity to change lenses without compromising on image quality. Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic & Sony are the strongest contenders in the mirrorless battle.

Key characteristics: Smaller and lighter than DSLRs which is achieved by changing the image capture process, which captures images directly onto the sensor, opposed to through a mirror prism found in DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras also use Electronic Viewfinders (EVF), instead of traditional Optical Viewfinders (OVF). Benefits of using an EVF includes, allowing you to compose and view images in real time, seeing what the sensor sees. Mirrorless cameras are great for street photographers wanting a discrete camera to look less intimidating than larger, more serious looking DSLRs.

Pros: Small size, weight and generally smaller lenses than DSLR alternatives. The ability to use lens adapters, opening up the ability to use other branded lenses. Some models feature 3 or 5 axis in-body stabilisation, great for low light situations and telephoto lenses. Olympus and Sony also feature 5-axis in body stabilisation, which is beneficial for hand-held in low light or reducing camera shake shooting video.

Cons: Some photographers prefer to use Optical Viewfinders, especially sports or wildlife photographers. The electronic viewfinder requires more battery power, reducing overall battery life.

Image quality and performance: Mirrorless cameras are very capable cameras, able to capture beautiful images. Despite having shorter battery life compared to DSLRs, mirrorless cameras can hold their ground. Mirrorless technology is constantly improving in the camera world and doesn’t look to slow down any time soon.

 

Editor’s Choice:

Entry level mirrorless – Panasonic Lumix GF7, Fujifilm X-A2, Nikon 1 AW1, Olympus E-P5
Enthusiast mirrorless – Olympus OM-D E-M10ii, Fujifilm X-T10, Panasonic Lumix G7
Pro mirrorless – Fujifilm XT-1, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Panasonic GH4, Sony Alpha series.

To view our range of mirrorless cameras, please click here.

 

 

 

DIGITAL SINGLE LENS REFLEX CAMERAS (DSLR)

When most people think of a camera, they probably think of a DSLR or “Digital Single Lens Reflex” camera. DSLRs are highly versatile cameras with an emphasis on manual shooting, featuring larger sensor sizes (APS-C or full frame), quicker shooting speeds and ability to change between a wide range of lenses.

Who’s it for: With a wide range of DSLR camera bodies are designed for amateurs to professionals, the mass appeal and choice of the DLSR market is great for anyone wanting to take photography more seriously.

Key characteristics: DSLRs are designed to be durable, reliable and feature total manual control. Images are captured using the same design as 35mm film cameras. A mirror inside the body reflects the light coming in through a prism which is then reflected via the optical viewfinder (OVF).

Pros: Higher megapixel count, which is great for printing or heavily cropped images in post-production. Wide variety of lenses available. Capable of shooting high frame rate (5-11 fps) which is great for action, sports and wildlife. Increased low light performance. Entry level DSLRs are very affordable. DSLRs will hold their market value for longer.

Cons: Larger size and weight compared to other cameras.

Image quality and performance: DSLRs generally have larger sensors which improves low-light performance, better background blur (bokeh) and retaining more detail and resolution from images. With the wide lens selection to meet your shooting requirements, they are capable of capturing incredible images. You can expect a DSLR to be very durable and work without problems for extended periods of time.

 

Editor’s Choice:

Entry level DLSR – Nikon D3300, Canon EOS 1200D,
Enthusiast DSLR – Pentax K-3, Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Nikon D7200,
Full frame DSLR – Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Nikon D750, Canon 6D, Nikon D610
Pro grade DSLR - Nikon D810, Canon EOS 5Ds, Nikon D4S, Canon EOS 1DX

To view our range of DSLR cameras, please click here.

 

ACTION CAMERAS

For adventure seekers and holiday makers wanting to capture their unique experiences.

Who’s it for: Adventure, holidays & sports

Key characteristics: Small, sturdy and waterproof, these durable cameras shoot both stills and high quality video. They feature a fixed ultra-wide angle lens which captures a dramatic ‘point of view’, with focus and exposure generally handled automatically. Menus are simple to navigate, usually using one button to start and stop.

Pros: Tiny size and light weight. Wide range of additional accessory mounts help increase creative possibilities.

Cons: Battery performance. Many don’t feature a LCD screen to preview what you are shooting.     

Image quality and performance: Built to endure extreme environments in a small package, action cameras are very versatile. Image quality continues to improve with some now shooting 4K video.

 

Editor’s Choice:

GoPro Hero4, Sony X1000V, GoPro Hero4 Session, Sony HDRAS20, Ricoh WG-M1.

To view our range of action cameras, please click here.