When deciding which camera you want to buy, it’s important to address your photographic expectations, where you will be taking the majority of your shots, and what will be the focal point of most of your pictures. For instance, if you are interested in a camera that may not be the best, but can get the job done, and most of your pictures will be taken of landscapes while you are traveling then you camera will be much different than someone who wants top image quality for indoor portraits. It’s important to identify what you expect, where you will be taking pictures, and what you will be shooting before going out camera shopping. In this article I’m going to cover these three main criteria and point out which camera class you should shop in.
First, the packing-light traveler. If you probably won’t be doing much, if any photo processing, and mostly using your camera on-the-go, then a compact point-and-shoot or bridge camera will be the right choice for you. Depending on the level of image quality you want and your size constraints, a compact point-and-shoot could be the right one for you. P&S cameras are becoming more and more sophisticated, and can take surprisingly high quality pictures in such a small package. These are ideal if you don’t want to lug around a 5-pound DSLR around Europe or to your friends birthday party. Good compact P&S cameras are ones like the Canon Elph models, and the Nikon Coolpix models.If you don’t need this camera to fit into your pocket and are a little more lenient with the size constraint, then it would be worth your while to check out the bridge models. Bridge model cameras are still much smaller than your average DSLR, but they still offer many of the same function as a DSLR. An abundance of manual controls to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and exposure and most come with wide-angle lenses and much longer zooms. These cameras tend to do better in low light setting and have faster shutter speeds to catch action shots. And by no means are these cameras difficult to operate, they are actually designed to be quite user friendly, and when used properly, can out perform any compact P&S. Slightly larger, slightly more expensive, but much better pictures. Examples of bridge model cameras would be the Nikon p7000 and the Canon G12.
Now, for those of you who have a strong creative side or are interested in making money for your photos, a DSLR is the only way to go. DSLR’s allow you to be very precise with your shooting. You can crystal clear images in virtually any light condition (with a tripod), adaptable to virtually any lens on the market – from super wide angle to super zooms, these bodies can take on anything. Defined depths of field can be achieved easily, and much larger prints can be made without a reduction in image quality. Examples of these cameras would be the Canon T1i and the Nikon D90.