Since the release of the first digital camera available to consumers in 1990, digital photography advanced at an incredible speed. The first commercially available camera, the Dycam Model 1, used a CCD image sensor and had 0.09 megapixels. Fast forward two decades later and the average digital camera has 16.8 megapixels, an advanced CMOS sensor, and video recording capabilities. There many types of digital cameras, from compact point and shoot cameras that fit in your pocket to advanced DSLRs that work with a wide range of lenses. But how to choose the best digital camera for your needs? And how to decide between Nikon vs Canon, the most popular DSLR brands, or other best-selling digital cameras from Panasonic, Sony or Samsung? It’s not enough to look at basic specs, like the number of megapixels. You should also take into consideration the size of the sensor, the photo and video resolutions, the zooming capabilities, and whether you can control manual settings like ISO, exposure and shutter speed. To help you choose your next digital camera, we’ve compiled a list with the most important specs and features you should take into account.
The first thing you should ask yourself is what type of camera would fit your needs. If you are not a professional photographer, a compact point-and-shoot camera might be enough. However, most smartphones nowadays take decent photos and can record videos, so you should pick a compact camera that offers more than the average smartphone, for example, advanced optical image stabilization and optical zoom.
The main advantage of compact cameras is their portable design. Usually light-weight, these cameras, also called point-and-shoot, can be carried around everywhere. They are easy to use, featuring automatic photo modes, so snapping photos quickly is a breeze. With WiFi connectivity, you can also share the photos easily. But do these cameras have any advantages compared to flagship smartphones that have advanced cameras? Compact cameras have much larger sensors than smartphones, so the image quality, especially in low light conditions, will probably be much better. In addition, these cameras have a wide range of manual controls in addition to the auto mode. You can use manual settings for exposure, white balance, ISO and more.
More advanced compacts have a significantly larger zoom compared to smartphones. For example, Fujifilm FinePix S9900W and Canon PowerShot SX530 HS have a 50x zoom, making it possible to photograph scenes from a distant viewpoint. These cameras, also called mega-zoom or bridge cameras, are useful when taking photos at a concert, sports event, or any other situation when you need a powerful zoom. Basically, advanced compact cameras or bridge cameras, are ideal for photo enthusiasts who prefer a portable, light-weight device. A smartphone’s camera might not be enough if you want to have more control over the photo and video settings. For example, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III, the latest camera in Sony’s popular Cyber-shot series, is perfect for shooting videos in low-light conditions thanks to its 21.8 MP CMOS back-illuminated sensor and 12800 ISO. Some advanced cameras, like Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II or Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100, have 4K video recording capabilities.