There are various types of camera available in the market. To decide on which one is good for you depends on various things.
It can help to consider what the camera will be used for as this will often determine which features are required and help rule out some models. Amateurs and hobbyists are unlikely to have the same budget or requirements as professional photographers and so they may wish to look at the consumer, or pro-sumer range of cameras on the market. Furthermore, you may desire the camera to come with special features such as video capabilities or weather-sealing.
More advanced users will likely desire the ability to change lenses rather than work with a lens built in to the body as is common on most compact or Micro 4/3 cameras. Increasingly, mirrorless cameras and compact DSLRs feature interchangable lenses though this range is still limited.
Try asking yourself whether you really need some of the features offered by a more expensive model. Is a burst rate of 6fps really necessary for what you'll be shooting? Will you need a shutter-speed faster than 1/4000th of a second? Would a camera with a smaller form-factor be more useful?
It can be hard to know exactly what you'll be photographing until you actually have a camera so it can help to buy something quite versatile when starting out. Perhaps look for a camera with still and video capability, or one with a large zoom range so you don't find yourself stuck with a camera suited to wildlife photography when you find yourself shooting parties and family gatherings.
Camera Type Edit
Once you know what you're looking for in a camera, it's often wise to narrow your search to a particular type of camera such as Film or Digital. This can help eliminate unwanted clutter in your search by ruling out cameras you know definitely won't suit you.
An important consideration when looking at cameras is the Crop Factor. In basic terms, this is the size ratio between a piece of 35mm film and the sensor. Crop factors vary drastically across the market as can be seen in the table below.
|Sensor Type||Example Model||Crop Factor|
|Full-Frame||Canon 5D, Nikon D800||1|
|Nikon DX||Nikon D700||1.5|
|Canon APS-C||Canon 550D, Canon 7D||1.6|
|Micro four-thirds (MFT)||Panasonic Lumix GH3||2.0|
|Compact||Canon Powershot Series||4.2-5.6|
The crop factor of your camera will affect the field of view, focal-length multiplier, resolution, noise performance, and the depth-of-field so it is essential that you know the concept and which crop factor your camera will have before you buy.
Cost is often the deciding factor when buying a camera. Make sure you're not paying too much for a camera by shopping around or checking used or refurbished sections in shops or on websites. When buying a camera with interchangeable lenses like a DSLR it's usually best to save some money by buying a cheaper body, and use the saving to invest in a better lens.
When researching, the options can seem endless and the spec sheets intimidating. However there are many useful websites and resources to help make the process easier.
Community and forum sites such as Reddit's r/photography feature useful discussions on the topic and you can learn from other people having the same problems as you as well as seeking advice from professionals.
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