Cameras buying guides

We all like to take photos, whether it’s capturing everyday moments, recording spectacular scenery or snapping holiday shots, there’s no limit to the types of images we record. As a result, there’s an abundance of cameras to suit which ever type of photographer you may be.

It’s best to have a clear picture of what you need before you start comparing models…

What type of camera
user are you?

Beginner, enthusiast, advanced or expert? The more advanced user will be after specific functionality that will help get the most professional looking shot. If you’re just getting started, then you’ll probably be more keen on a model that will offer full auto options.

How much time do you
spend taking photographs?

Have you constantly got your eye behind a viewfinder or is your camera only for special events and the occasional holiday snap? How much you use your camera and its functionality will impact the battery life, so consider having a spare battery for back up as there is nothing worse than the power down at a critical time.

Where will you be
using your camera?

If you’re an outdoor adventurist, a highly durable action camera might be your style. Or perhaps you will be capturing every day moments at home and you need a compact camera that is on hand and easy to use.

What type of photos will you take?

Friends and family, landscapes, nature stills, action shots or a combination of a few.

How will the size and weight of a camera impact its use?

Whilst you might love taking the best possible shot, carrying around a bag with lots of accessories might not be something you have room for. Conversely, perhaps having easy access to all your equipment is essential and you need to incorporate an ergonomic camera back pack into your budget.

What functionality or accessories are must haves?

Do you want to take video? Is having a range of accessories and lenses important? If you’re looking at action cameras, do you need to consider the mounting options? If you already have equipment is it compatible with other brands?

How will you share your images?

Do you need WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity? Will you post them on social media, print photobooks or create artworks? The current standard of picture quality is 10 megapixels but there are models on the market of up to 21.1. Ten megapixels will give you high enough quality for standard printing. The higher the megapixel the great the quality of the image, but also the greater the size of the file, so understanding how you’re going to use your images in the future is important.

Quick Tip – Make sure you plan the best way to store your digital images, so that you can enjoy them for years to come.
From external storage drives to cloud storage, there are plenty of options to choose from.


Who: Suitable for the everyday to experts

DSLR or Mirrorless? Let’s start with the fact that neither is necessarily better, they each have their pros and cons and it will come down to what suits your lifestyle.


DSLR cameras use a mirror to direct the image from the lens to the viewfinder. This mirror flips up when you take the shot allowing the light to hit the image sensor. What you see in the viewfinder is a preview. Mirrorless cameras don’t use a mirror and so what you see in LCD or viewfinder is a live view of what you are shooting.

DSLRs have longer battery life as their power usage is less. They are also better for fast action photography for things like sports and active wildlife as they have faster contrast detection and have a wider array of lens options.


Mirrorless cameras weigh less and are much smaller in size. The viewfinder provides a more accurate view of what your final photo will look like, because the image in the viewfinder changes as you adjust the settings.

When choosing a DSLR or mirrorless camera here are some things to consider…

Does Sensor Size Matter?

Every camera has a sensor which is essentially a digital film that captures your shot. Some cameras have full frame sensors, which are the same size as traditional 35mm photographic film, but most standard DSLRs come with a smaller cropped sensor. They are less light sensitive and lenses behave slightly differently. For the image purist, a full frame sensor is essential, but a crop-sensor model will still produce good quality images.

File format matters

Images are output in either RAW or jpeg. RAW is a professional standard and enables dramatically improved image quality and for those wishing to edit offer more flexibility in the editing phase. Many cameras have this option, however, consider how you will share and store your images as RAW files take up additional storage.

Video to complement the stills

Whilst still images may be your thing, having the option to shoot video is something worth considering. High definition or 4K will give you footage that can be played back with crystal clear quality on the latest TVs.

Accessorise your camera

Lenses, tripods, selfie sticks, underwater casing and chargers… there is an abundance of cool add-ons you can get for your camera. Also, some accessories are compatible between manufacturers, such as chargers, lenses etc., which can save you from having to buy new equipment.

As the name suggest, these are pocket-sized cameras – but don’t let size deceive you as they can take great quality shots and come with a range of features to suit different needs.

Compact Digital Cameras

Who: Everyday to Enthusiasts

These are a no-frills type of camera, giving you an affordable, lightweight, compact camera that is super easy to use.

Within compact cameras there are also ‘bridge cameras’ these cameras sit neatly between a basic auto compact camera and a full-feature DSLR camera. They have some degree of manual control but usually do not have interchangeable lenses.

Tough Cameras

Who: Adventurers, busy families, kids

Built to withstand the toughest conditions, this type of compact camera is designed to go with you wherever you go. The casings are highly durable and are shock and water proof – so whether your camera is dropped in the pool by the kids or it falls to the rocky ground as you enjoy your next exciting holiday these tough little companions will keep on shooting no matter what.

Here are some things to consider when looking at compact cameras:


Optical zoom gives better quality than digital zoom and some models come with x10 optical zoom, which allows you to get ten times closer to your subject. Some feature wide angled lenses to capture perfect landscape shots.

Auto Features

Compact cameras are built to meet many different needs – with options such as built-in WiFi, durable water and shock proof casing, GPS tracking and auto- adjustment settings based on subject – you’re bound to find a model that fits your lifestyle.

Memory types

Images are stored either on internal memory or removable memory cards. Memory cards come in a variety of capacities. The greater the storage, the more images you can fit on it.

Video option

Being able to flick from still to moving images at the flick of a button will ensure you don’t miss a moment. Consider a good output quality so that you can continue to enjoy your memories for years to come.

Style to suit your life

Some compact cameras are designed to fit your style as well as function and come in a range of fashionable colours and designs.

Who: Families and video enthusiasts

Having a video function on your still camera may not be enough for some. Some memories, like baby’s first steps, are more special when captured as moving images. Like their still image cousins, camcorders come in all shapes and sizes, so where do you start?

Firstly, you need to understand the types on the market, which are mostly defined by the way they record and store the footage. This has an impact on the size of the camcorder, its storage capacity, battery life and how you access your footage.

Flash drive

These are the smallest and lightweight type of camcorder and are generally durable and shockproof.

Hard disk (HDD)

Delivers the largest storage option, with memory ranging up to 250GB and is the bulkiest camcorder.


A mixture between HDD and flash drives this type offers both internal and removable flash memory card storage.

Next you’ll need to consider the features and functionality you need:

Best quality future proofs footage.

Capturing in 4K or HD will ensure you can watch your footage with in great quality on most TVs for years to come.

Check out the features.

There are plenty of cool features to look out for that will help you get the most out of your filming such as auto focus, anti-shake, low-light filming, image stabiliser and flip-out LCD screens. Some feature 3D and time lapse recording and allow you to record your GPS by geotagging the file. You can even have built-in projectors which lets you to display a video onto a screen or a wall.

Handy accessories

There are plenty of options to suit your filming needs — Bluetooth microphone for high quality sound recording, waterproof cases, bags, chargers, remote control and more.

How to connect, share and store?

How do you want to download your images and where will you store them? Can you use an HDMI cable to connect directly to your TV or does your laptop or DVD player have a memory card slot? Some camcorders have WiFi functionality allowing you to wirelessly transfer your video to your computer. Video files take up a reasonable amount of space, so have a think about having a dedicated external hard drive or purchasing cloud storage.

Who: Rugged adventurers, active families, video enthusiasts

Action cameras are the most portable camcorders available. They’re built to be with you, whether it’s skiing down a mountain or snorkelling with the kids your action camera will record every moment.

A few tips to consider when looking for the one that suits you:

Shape and size does matter

There are a range of sizes and shapes suitable for different activities. The cameras are mountable on clothing, protective gear or even body parts, so it will depend on where you wish to record from as to which shape will best suit.

Picture quality is king

There’s no point recording your action if you can’t play it back. Therefore, make sure you understand the latest in recording technology. Today you can record in 4K which is four times the resolution of high definition, but if you don’t own a 4K TV or computer, a 4K camera might be a better choice. Whether you choose 4K or HD may ultimately come down to budget and how you intend to playback your footage.

Edit share and store

Understand how you can download your footage so that you can easily edit, share and store it for the future. Some cameras come with WiFi functionality for easy connectivity and have their own easy-to-use apps for editing.

Extra gear

How Accessories are very important for action cameras, because generally you are attaching the camera to yourself or the vehicle you’re in and you need secure mounting to attach it. Each manufacturer has different options, so make sure you investigate before you buy. There are plenty of other features including GPS, widescreen capabilities, 360 view, waterproof casing (although some don’t require additional housing) and much more.

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