With enough makes and models on the market to make anyone camera shy, picking out a simple point-and-shoot can be anything but simple. If you’re looking for a higher-end SLR, the decision can be even tougher. Here are some tips to make the task a bit easier.
1. What are you using it for?
A DSLR will take great images—they’re the go-to standard for many professionals—but if you’re only looking for something to snap family action shots, you may do better with a point-and-shoot. DSLRs traditionally have more manual functions (that veterans of film photography will recognize), but many high end point-and-shoots now offer similar control. A point-and-shoot is inherently easier. You’ll also want to decide how often you’ll be using your new camera for video. Most digital cameras have video capability now, but many models excel in either one or the other. Be sure to check out both functions and choose accordingly.
2. Figure out storage
Will you be shooting mostly video or mostly photos? Does your chosen model have in-camera storage capability or will you need to purchase memory cards? Many cameras have both options, but it’s advisable to always purchase external memory cards as well, as on-board storage tends to fill up quickly. Generally speaking, there are three types of memory cards: SD, miniSD, and microSD. SD cards also vary by writing speed and, of course, storage capacity. DSLRs will need faster and higher storage capacity cards than point and shoots. When you’re comparing camera models, be sure to check out their storage requirements and include the necessary card in your budget.
3. Do your homework
Especially if you’re looking for a higher-end model that you’re hoping to keep for a few years, the importance of reading consumer reviews can’t be overstated. Online consumer reviews can be overwhelming, however; sometimes an old-fashioned book could be the way to go. If you’re brand new to photography (or making the big switch from analog to digital), a guide book to help you choose a camera could be invaluable.