Decisions, decisions! With all the great digital cameras available today, what’s best for you? Just like picking your favorite meal, only you can decide what’s right, but here are a few key factors to help you make the choice.
First and foremost, settle on your price. If you have a budget, this is a great way to narrow the field and choose the best camera in your price range. You can find excellent high-end cameras for as low as several hundred dollars or you can invest in a professional DSLR with a collection of lenses for several thousand! You might prefer something in the middle, so settle on your price range and then focus on features.
If you’re looking for something small, lightweight, and inexpensive, a point-and-shoot may be just right. Here are the highlights for these compact cameras:
- Size and weight—Lightweight and easy to carry
- Ease of use –Turn it on, point, and shoot!
- Fixed lens—One lens takes the guesswork out of shooting
- Price—Less expensive than other cameras
- Image quality—Image quality may fall off in challenging situations
- Speed—Notorious for slow shutter lag
- Limited control—Lacks the artistic controls of more expensive cameras
- Less adaptable—Limited control in a variety of areas
Digital Single-Lens Reflex (or DSLR)
If you’re looking for something for professional photography or a serious hobby, consider the favorite of traditional photographers, the digital SLR.
- Image quality—Higher lens quality and larger image sensors
- Adaptability—The ability to change lenses
- Built for speed—Faster autofocus, shorter shutter delay
- Manual exposure—Full control over camera settings
- Depth of field—Artistic control with aperture and shutter settings
- Price—More expensive because the lenses are sold separately
- Size and weight—Bulky and heavy
- Complexity—Manual controls are overwhelming to new users
- Underwater limitations –You can’t use DSLRs underwater without expensive covers
I have both DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras and enjoy them both! Although I prefer the image quality of my DSLR, I’m willing to swap it for my point-and-shoot when I need convenience over quality.