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One of the most common photography related searches on Google is “what is the best camera to buy?” That might not be the best question to ask when you are buying a camera.

That is because the best camera to buy for you might not be the best camera for me and vice versa. A better question is what camera has the best features to satisfy my photography needs at my skill level. Of course, price will be an important factor as well.

For instance, let’s say that you will mainly use your camera for family snapshots and an occasional birthday party. A basic compact camera with a 3X to 5X zoom in the lower end price range should be all you need.

The picture quality of most compact cameras in a similar price range is pretty much the same. If you could take a look at an image from the Canon A2400 and then look at an image from the Nikon S4300, you would see that there is not much of a difference in the quality of the images.

 

The main differences between compact cameras will be more in the extra “Bells and Whistles” than in the picture quality.

For example, some of today’s cameras have built-in GPS systems to give you driving directions as well as to let you know where you took a particular picture. So ask yourself, would you pay extra for a camera with a GPS system, or would the GPS in your smartphone be enough?

Another feature of some of today’s cameras is the ability to take 3D pictures. Once again, is that something you’d be willing to pay a few extra bucks for or can you live without that feature?

Next, let’s say you will be taking pictures at sporting events or maybe you might be thinking about trying some wildlife photography. You might not be able to get close to your subjects in those situations, so a camera with a long zoom range might be best for you.

A camera like the Fujifilm Finepix HS25EXR has a 30X zoom. It also has manual and semi-automatic exposure settings for those who might be interested in learning about those type features. Hopefully, you are beginning to see that how you plan to use the camera, and the camera’s features should have a big impact as far as which camera you choose.

Lastly, let’s say that you’ve been taking pictures for a while with your compact camera. Your pictures might be ok, but you wonder why some pictures seem to look crisper, brighter, and sharper than yours. It is probably because those pictures were taken with a Digital SLR camera. (Digital Single Lens Reflex)

Digital SLR cameras have larger image sensors than compact cameras. The larger image sensors of Digital SLR cameras produce higher quality images than compact cameras. That higher quality is retained even when large size prints are made from images.

Another great feature of Digital SLR cameras is that you can change the camera lens. There is a wide range of quality lenses available for Digital SLR cameras that might fit certain picture taking situations better than the one that comes with the camera.

The better picture quality of these type cameras also comes with a higher price tag than compact cameras. However, entry level Digital SLR cameras like the Canon T4i and the Nikon D5100 are good affordable cameras to get started with.

Please note that Digital SLR cameras are larger and bulkier than compact cameras. Placing one in your pocket is out of the question.

However, there is a smaller, more compact size camera with features that are pretty much the same as the Digital SLR cameras. They are called Mirrorless cameras. So maybe the smaller size mirrorless camera might be the best fit for you.

In any case, think first about what features you need or want before buying a camera. Remember that it doesn’t make sense to buy a camera with a lot of features that you don’t need or will never use.

On the other hand, it might be wise to spend a few extra dollars on a camera with features that will be useful to you.

So do a little research when buying a camera and see which cameras have features that are a good fit for you. Then, hopefully, you won’t need to ask “what is the best camera to buy?’