Finding the best digital camera to buy can be a tricky task, with so much choice out there. That’s why we’ve put together this guide – if you’re just looking for the best digital camera for everyday use or holidays, you don’t need the most advanced camera on the market. Something straightforward, simple and well priced will fit the bill, and will still take great pictures!
There are loads of different types of digital cameras to choose from. In this guide, we’ll take you through the main categories of camera to help give you an idea of which one is right for you. We’ll include some examples of fantastic digital cameras for all ability levels and budgets.
From top-of-the-line digital cameras to beginner-friendly models with tutorials and guide modes, this is your definitive guide to buying a digital camera. Also, if all the terminology confuses you, jump down to our Digital Cameras Explained section where we run through some key terms.
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Browse our in-depth buying guides and camera round-ups for 2021
The best of the best
OK, so let’s take a look at some of the best digital cameras you can buy right now. We’ve divided our picks up into three main sections – best for photography, best for video and best for beginners.
We’ve made our picks with an eye on budget, so there’s a mix here of new cameras, and older models that represent fantastic value for money.
We’ve also picked a few of our absolute favourite cameras on the end, including the best-looking digital camera, the most simple digital camera, and the best high-end digital camera, the dream model for which money is no object.
This is a quick reference to the most recently launched digital cameras. They may or may not be listed again in this guide, under other headings.
Update: The first camera of 2022 arrives!
Leica's newest Mirrorless has launched!
The Leica M11 builds off the design of its predecessor, taking on board those classic camera aesthetics and ergonomics. But inside, this camera is packed with state-of-the-art machinery including a 60.3MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor with Triple Resolution technology, and Leica’s Maestro III processing engine. As an M-mount camera, the M11 is compatible with a huge range of current and legacy lenses.Discover more about the M11 »
These are cameras we’ve picked for snapping superb stills! A mixture of starter and intermediate cameras, these models are ideal for those who want to take great pictures.
Canon EOS 250D Digital SLR Camera Body - Black
The Canon EOS 250D Digital SLR Camera Body is one of the lightest DSLRs equipped with a movable screen. Featuring intuitive, easy-to-use controls, classic handling, 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, DIGIC 8 image processor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF this camera will help you capture stunning photographs and 4K videos. It is a fantastic entry-level DSLR, ideal for users looking to step up from smartphone photography or simply wanting to upgrade from a compact camera.
Pro: Great starter camera
Pro: Sophisticated Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus
Pro: Basic video features
Con: Bulkier than mirrorless rivals
Canon excels at making all-rounder DSLRs for photographers at different skill levels, and the Canon EOS 250D, an entry-level model, is a terrific example. It’s a camera towards the beginner end, but with its 24.1MP APS-C sensor, has the depth for the user to grow into it. Having the EF-S mount also gives you a huge number of lens options, helping you define the style of photograph you want to take.
If you want to learn photography, a well-laid-out camera like the EOS 250D is an ideal choice. It’s got useful tutorials and guide modes to help you get a grip on the basics, but also has a highly capable sensor/processor combination that dependably produces high-quality images. It comes with a kit zoom lens, so you’ll have everything you need to start shooting out of the box.
Sony A6000 Digital Camera Body - Silver
The Sony Alpha A6000 builds upon the success of the NEX-6 and offers the performance and creative options of a full sized DSLR in a stylish, compact body. The a6000 is built around a 24.3 megapixel APS-C HD CMOS sensor with Fast Hybrid AF tracking system and a powerful BIONZ X image processor, that together ensure detailed image capture for stills and movies. Users can enjoy stress-free, intuitive operation as they view scenes through the OLED Tru-Finder (with 100% frame coverage), which features a new optical system with four double aspherical lenses for enhanced visibility. Further to the above, the A6000 also features a built-in flash, multi-interface shoe, a 3.0" tiltable LCD and Wi-Fi/NFC functionality to simplify sharing and connectivity with mobile devices.
Pro: Tremendous value
Pro: Fast burst shooting and AF
Con: No 4K video
Con: Handling awkward with big lenses
It may have been released in 2014, but the Sony A6000 is still one of the best cameras around – and it’s only getting cheaper with time. It’s part of the APS-C range that are more affordable than the flagship full-frame Sony A7 series.
The A6000 can burst-shoot at up to 11fps, with a snappy autofocus system that means you can be sure you won’t miss the moment or the subject. The a6000 can be controlled remotely via a smartphone using Wi-Fi, and comes packaged with the Sony E 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS Lens, a lightweight and fully retractable zoom lens.
With intuitive design, an OLED electronic viewfinder and superb image quality, the Sony A6000 really is the full package for photographers.Possibly the best digital camera for general use, it’s a mirrorless shooter to take everywhere with you and enjoy for years to come.
Fujifilm X-T30 Digital Camera Body - Charcoal Grey
The Fuji XT30, the follow-up to the X-T20, now boasts Fujifilm's fourth generation image sensor and processor found in the Fujifilm X-T3, which includes a 26.1MP resolution and fast high-performance AF. Designed to be usable for both beginner and advances photographers, the X-T30 features an intuitive 3" rear LCD, phase-detect AF across the entire image frame, and both Full HD and 4K30p video recording options.
Pro: Superb style and handling
Pro: Film Simulation modes are awesome
Con: 10-minute limit on 4K
Con: No in-body stabilisation
This is one of our absolute favourites. Fujifilm has a great habit of releasing slimmed-down versions of its flagship cameras at more affordable prices. However, the Fujifilm X-T30, a little cousin to the X-T3 from 2018, is so packed with tech and features that it hardly feels slimmed down at all! We especially rate the Fujifilm X series of lenses, which are some of the sharpest, most beautifully engineered optics around.
It still finds room for a 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor with an ISO range of 160-12,800, expandable to 51,200, meaning it produces fabulously detailed and colour-rich images even in low light.
It can focus even in conditions as dim as -3EV, and its autofocus tracking benefits from the latest refinements to actually be better than the X-T3’s! And it does all this in a body that weighs just 383g. An amazing travel camera and a capable mirrorless shooter that does it all. We absolutely love the X-T30.
Can’t stop shooting video? These are the digital cameras that are best for making movies right now – they’re high-quality, portable and affordable. Perfect for shooting video solo, or as part of a crew, these dependable cameras will get the job done every time.
Panasonic Lumix G100 Digital Camera Body
The Panasonic G100 digital camera has been specifically designed for Vlogger and content creators on the go. The tiny and lightweight frame is the smallest of its kind that features a free-able LCD which allows for complete shooting versatility. It is also the first camera to feature the use of Nokia's OZO Audio technology that dramatically transforms the audio quality and feel of the footage. The camera features a micro 4/3rd lens mount, allowing the use of your favourite lenses and to exploit the 4K 30p video recording capability of the camera. This is the ultimate camera for Vloggers and content creators alike.
Pro: Comes with handy vlogger kit
Pro: Sophisticated mic setup
Con: No headphone jack
Con: 4K tops out at 30p
We’re seeing more and more cameras expressly pitched towards vloggers, and the Panasonic Lumix G100 vlogger kit is one of the best of the bunch. With this bundle, you not only get a hugely capable mirrorless camera for video and stills, but also a 12-32mm lens and a handy shooting grip that provides an ergonomic handle.
The Panasonic Lumix G100 produces sublime 4K video, and thanks to its on-board OZO audio, can also record excellent sound without necessarily needing an external mic – though if you’re serious about vlogging we’d still recommend considering one. Having both a free-angle LCD and a good-quality viewfinder means you have plenty of options for composing your videos and images, and having 5-axis hybrid stabilisation makes it easier to produce smooth footage, even in motion.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera
Save £100, was £569
The Canon PowerShot G7 X II brings expert-level control and uncompromising image quality into a classically styled compact small enough to take anywhere. With a 1.0-type sensor, bright f/1.8-2.8 lens and superior DIGIC 7 processing engine, this pocket-sized, large-sensor compact offers DSLR-like creativity when capturing both stills and Full HD video. The camera's 5-axis Advanced Dynamic IS and MF Peaking will ensure pin-sharp focus and steadycam-like footage, while the 3.0" vari-angle LCD with Touch AF permits low-angle shooting and quick fingertip control for cinematic focus pulls.
Pro: Affordable and pocketable
Pro: High-quality 1-inch sensor
Con: No viewfinder
Con: Screen tilting, not articulating
Popular with YouTubers, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a slightly older camera. We’re recommending it here because it’s still a fantastic camera for shooting video on a budget. A compact camera with a 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens, it’s a self-contained package that fits in a pocket. Its 1-inch sensor is powerful and great for producing high-quality video – the dynamic range and image quality is a step up over a smartphone, that’s for sure.
If your budget stretches further, we can also recommend the newer Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, which keeps the same powerful combo of a 1-inch sensor and a 24-100mm equivalent zoom lens and 1-inch sensor, but adds 4K video into the mix.
Sony ZV-E10 Digital Camera Body
Sony’s ZV-E10 is a dedicated vlogging camera, designed to produce professional-level video content that will engage with your audience, be it on Youtube, Twitch or Facebook. The camera is equipped with a powerful 24.2 Megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor that offers 4K (up to 30p) and Full HD slow motion (up to 120P) video capture, and with the option to pair with 60+ compatible premium Sony lenses, you’ll be able to capture some truly stunning content. The camera is equipped with a range of intuitive and useful features that lend themselves to vlogging such as, a vari-angle touch screen, a high-quality integrated directional microphone and the use of Sony’s highly regarded Real-Time Eye AF that will ensure focus is maintained whilst you’re vlogging.
Pro: Built for live-streaming
Pro: Stunning Eye autofocus
Con: No shooting mode dial
Con: 1.2x crop in 4K mode
One of Sony’s newest vlogging cameras, the Sony ZV-E10 is a mirrorless wonder designed to be a capable, portable video-shooting setup. With a highly sophisticated autofocus setup that includes Sony’s famous Eye AF for locking onto a subject’s eyes, the ZV-E10 is a great vlogging companion. Footage from the camera looks fantastic, and it can shoot in 4K as well as Full HD.
The on-board microphone of the ZV-E10 is a three-capsule mic designed to prioritise speaking voices. However, there’s also a 3.5mm mic jack, and the hot shoe is compatible with Sony’s XLR adapter, meaning it’s possible to rig up multiple sophisticated XLR microphones to the camera!
Here we’ve picked the best digital cameras to purchase if you’re a new user looking to learn the ropes. Whether you’re interested in photos, videos, or both, these cameras will provide a terrific entry point to get started.
Nikon D3500 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm AF-P Non VR Lens
The Nikon D3500 is a compact 24.2-megapixel entry-level DSLR with an APS-C CMOS sensor and a versatile 18-55mm non VR zoom lens for everyday photography. Packed into the D3500’s ergonomic and lightweight body is an 11-point autofocus system, 5fps burst shooting, 1080/60p video, an easy-to-use Guide Mode, Bluetooth connectivity, and a battery life that offers approx. 1500 shots on a single charge.
Pro: Exceptional guide modes
Pro: Fantastic 1550-shot battery life
Con: Screen isn’t touch-control...
Con: … and is fixed in place
The Nikon D3500 is still one of the best beginner DSLR cameras out there, as well as being one of the best digital cameras for home use. It’s hugely popular with students and families for the simple reason that it’s both user-friendly and highly capable.
So, you can take great images thanks to the APS-C sensor, with well-designed Guide Modes showing you how to do it. The sturdy DSLR build with external controls makes it a satisfying camera to use and hold, and the ISO sensitivity range of 100-25,600 means it’s no slouch in low light!
The Nikon F-mount range of lenses is formidable, meaning you can spoil yourself with primes, zooms, wide-angles and telephotos that all fit the Nikon D3500. What’s also amazing about this camera is its battery life, rated to more than 1500 shots – so a day’s shooting is less likely to end because you’ve run out of juice.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera - Silver
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 digital camera in silver is the perfect pocket-sized travel companion for those looking for the freedom to explore and capture high-quality 4K stills and videos as they go. Ready to capture images in a variety of environments, the TZ100 features a versatile 10x Leica zoom lens (25-250mm) and a powerful 1.0" sensor, which together deliver more detail, colour, and clarity in stunning 4K quality. Additional features include the Post Focus function, a Live View Finder, built-in pop-up flash and a 3.0" LCD.
Pro: High-quality Leica zoom lens
Pro: Sophisticated 4K Photo modes
Con: Very small viewfinder
Con: Fixed rear screen
Panasonic’s travel-friendly range of TZ compacts provides the ideal learning platform for newbie photographers. The Panasonic Lumix TZ100 is a do-it-all camera that fits in a pocket, combining a 1-inch sensor with a 25-250mm equivalent lens. It also boasts some of Panasonic’s sophisticated image stabilisation modes, making it easier to get smooth, sharp shots in low light.
The TZ100 shoots 4K video, and thanks to Panasonic’s cool 4K Photo modes, it can also extract 8MP stills from 4K footage, making it virtually impossible to miss a crucial moment. The jaw-dropping Post Focus mode even lets you select a focus point for an image after it has been captured! The best way to get better at photography is to take your camera everywhere, and the Lumix TZ100 is designed for exactly that.
Olympus PEN E-P7 Digital Camera Body - White
By blending classical styling with contemporary optical features, the Olympus PEN E-P7 stands as an exciting creative tool for on-the-go image-makers. With an integrated 20MP Live MOS sensor and high-powered TruePic VIII image processor, this Micro Four Thirds camera system has the capacity to create visually stunning images at the press of a button. You are further afforded stunning 4K quality video, in-body 5-axis stabilisation, high-functioning continuous AF, and Face Priority/Eye Priority AF. This makes the PEN E-P7 the ideal companion for urban exploration, where it excels in capturing dynamic portraits and artistic video content. The front-facing Profile Control dial gives access to instant switching between photo modes, whilst the overall aesthetic conforms to the sophisticated designs of the Olympus PEN series. For quick-action photo transfers, the PEN E-P7 has in-built WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as direct access to the intuitive OI.Share app.
Pro: Stylish finish
Pro: Super-lightweight kit lens
Con: No viewfinder
For the fashion-conscious photographer, the Olympus PEN E-P7 just exudes retro cool. Its stylish build houses a potent imaging machine, with the high-powered TruePic VIII image processor and a 20MP Live MOS sensor. If you’re looking for your first camera to take on urban exploration or day trips, the E-P7 is an ideal choice. It’s smart, it’s fast, and it produces sublime images.
Using the front-facing Picture Control dial, you can instantly switch between Picture Modes when the situation changes. What’s more, the camera can be quickly charged via USB, making it easy to power up with a power bank while you’re on the move. In-body 5-axis image stabilisation also helps in low light, making it easier to capture sharp shots without using a tripod.
Leica Q2 Monochrom Digital Camera
The Leica Q2 Monochrom maintains many of the elements of the Q2 system but the 47.3MP full-frame sensor has been reengineered without a colour filter array or low-pass filter, resulting in exclusively black-and-white images with greater dynamic range, sharpness and detail. Other than changes to the sensor, the Q2 Monochrom body is accompanied by the same Maestro II Image Processor and fixed 28mm Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens. Together, the lens and camera can still capture stunning images and beautiful 4K video footage. On the exterior, the Q2 Monochrom has had a monochrome make-over. Leica has given the camera matte black finish with grey and white engravings on the top plate and body. The Leica red dot has also been removed which with the monochrome look gives this camera a sleeker and more discreet finish.
Pro: Sublime imaging performance
Pro: Super-sharp prime lens
Con: Excellent in low light
Con: Black and white only
Could one of the best digital cameras of all time really shoot only black and white images? We reckon you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried out the Leica Q2 Monochrom. It’s a superb full-frame compact, blending a high-quality sensor with a Summilux 28mm f/1.7 prime lens that’s made with Leica quality.
It’s a camera especially optimised for monochrome shooting, designed to let the user paint with light and focus on forms and shapes instead of colours. Ergonomically designed with a stylish matte black finish, the Leica Q2 Monochrom is as much of a joy to hold and use as its images are to view, print and show off. There’s also the Leica Q2 if you prefer a colour sensor – the Q2 Monochrom is all about a purer, quintessential, back-to-basics photographic experience.
Canon IXUS 185 HS Digital Camera - Red
Ultra-compact and stylish, the Canon IXUS 185 HS Digital Camera in red is an easy-to-use, 20-megapixel point and shoot with 8x optical zoom, 16 ZoomPlus, Easy Auto, HD 720p movie recording, and bright 2.7" LCD screen. The IXUS 185 is the slimmest in the range and comes with a variety of creative modes, from Fish-Eye, Miniature, Super Vivid, and Monochrome.
Pro: Multiple colour options
Pro: Pocketable form factor
Con: No full manual control
Con: Smaller sensor
A stylish little point-and-shoot compact, the Canon IXUS 185 HS is available in red, black and silver. It’s slim enough to fit in a pocket, while also benefiting from an 8x optical zoom lens and extra features like Eco Mode to extend the battery life. With 20MP at your disposal, you’ll have more than enough pixels to take fantastic pictures of your friends, family and whoever or whatever else wanders in front of your lens.
You don’t get the full manual settings control that comes as standard on more sophisticated cameras, but the Easy Auto mode is a boon for those who don’t want to think too much and just want great results every time. It’s the perfect camera to take everywhere with you, and with its reasonable asking price, one of the best digital cameras for the money.
Fujifilm GFX 100S Medium Format Camera Body
£450 trade-in bonus
Designed for portability and unrivalled image quality, the Fujifilm GFX 100S Medium Format Camera Body provides professional large-format image quality and performance on a smaller, more manageable scale. The Fujifilm GFX 100S sees a range of upgrades and improvements over its predecessor including, a fantastic lightweight and compact physical redesign that is 500g lighter, a redesigned In-body Image Stabilisation system and an updated shutter mechanism. Of course, the 102MP imaging sensor can capture consistently beautiful images that are crisp, rich with clarity and full of deep, punchy colours.
Pro: Amazing quality in a relatively light body
Pro: Huge, high resolution sensor
Con: Unprecedented autofocus performance for medium format
Con: Medium format is more expensive
As we mentioned, loads of cameras could have taken this spot. But we’re going to pick the Fujifilm GFX 100S, the mirrorless medium format shooter that redefines what’s possible for large-sensor cameras. It weighs about the same as a full-frame DSLR, but carries a sensor that’s 1.7x the size. And with on-sensor phase-detection pixels covering 100% of the sensor surface, the GFX 100S has incredible autofocus performance for a camera of its class.
We could go on – the 102MP resolution is incredible, the two high-speed memory card slots allow you to keep shooting and shooting, the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) gives you up to 6 effective stops of compensation. We haven’t even started on the fantastic range of lenses available – the Fujifilm GF-mount lenses. One of the best cameras ever made? The GFX 100S makes a claim for the title!
Digital cameras explained
Welcome to our guide to the best digital cameras! If you’re new to photography and videography with digital cameras, here we’re going to break down some key terms and concepts to help you understand what’s what.
If you need a quick-reference guide, you can scroll down a little to our glossary section, where we have provided bite-size explanations of the main terms you’ll encounter. We’ve also included some frequently asked questions, to troubleshoot a few common issues people encounter when searching for digital cameras.
But first up, let’s examine in more detail the advantages of digital cameras. With a smartphone in everyone’s pocket or bag at all times, why do we need them at all?
Why do you need a digital camera?
Digital cameras offer a lot of advantages over a smartphone when it comes to photography and videography. While a smartphone will undoubtedly get the job done and take a decent picture, there are certain aspects in which they just can’t compete with the best digital camera features.
The physical size of a smartphone means that the imaging sensor of its camera has to be fairly small. Cameras have the physical space and architecture to include a much larger imaging sensor.
For some more detailed explanations of sensor sizes, check out our glossary section below, but the main thing you need to know is that a larger sensor can have larger pixels, and produce a cleaner image with less noise.
This also makes larger sensors much more capable in low light – if you’ve ever wondered why your phone photos at night or in dimly lit gig venues are so grainy and rubbish, it’s because phones use a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Cameras can wield sensors of all sizes, from 1-inch and Micro Four Thirds, to APS-C, full-frame and beyond.
Optical zoom lenses
Another thing you’ll notice if you’ve spent lots of time shooting on a smartphone is that you can’t zoom in optically. While many phones have a digital zoom feature, the degradation in image quality is noticeable even on the small screen.
Cameras have the advantage of being able to field optical zoom lenses. These sophisticated optical constructions allow the user to get closer to a subject without losing out on image quality. Indeed, some of the more powerful telephoto zooms can bring far objects extremely near, which is hugely useful for wildlife and other genres of photography where it isn’t possible to get right up close to the subject. Cameras can also field high-quality prime lenses, capturing much finer detail than the lenses on smartphones.
Types of digital camera
The main types of digital camera are each aimed at a different type of user. Here, we’ll run through the main features of each type of digital camera, and the differences between them.
Short for digital single-lens reflex camera, the DSLR is a durable, well-built camera for all situations. They have interchangeable lenses that can be swapped out at will, allowing the user to experiment with wide-angles and telephotos as they prefer. They also use an internal mirror system that enables the fielding of an optical viewfinder, giving the user an instant view of what they’re shooting.
Mirrorless cameras are some of the most technologically advanced digital cameras around. Like DSLRs they are interchangeable-lens cameras, however they forgo the mirror system in order to be smaller and lighter (hence “mirror-less”). Some mirrorless cameras use an electronic viewfinder, while others simply rely on the LCD screen for composition.
Compact cameras differ from mirrorless and DSLR cameras in one crucial respect – they have a fixed lens that can’t be changed. It might be a zoom that’s made for versatility, or it might be a prime that’s built with quality in mind. But either way, this is the only lens you’ve got when you use a compact. While this may seem restrictive, it makes compact cameras very convenient and portable.
Some compact cameras resemble DSLRs with big zoom lenses attached – these are referred to as bridge cameras.
Medium format cameras have a larger sensor than even full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. This means they tend to be physically larger (though the gap is closing), but offer pretty much the top end of image quality. They have high megapixel counts and can capture images of exquisite detail – perfect for printing.
Brands of digital camera
There are a fair few brands of digital cameras. Here we’ll run through the main ones you need to know about, and the different types of camera they produce.
Possibly the most famous name in photo and video today, Canon produces DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compact cameras, specialist cine cameras and more!
Whether you’re a total newbie looking for their first camera, an experienced enthusiast hunting for an upgrade, or a professional photographer who needs the latest model, Canon will have a camera for you. We have a dedicated Canon cameras page that explains the ins and outs of the different models in more detail.
Nikon is an entire system of cameras, lenses, accessories and more. Nikon has been making fantastic cameras since the early days of film SLRs, and thanks to its cutting-edge mirrorless range, its legacy is secure into the future.
Whether you choose a Nikon DSLR, mirrorless camera or compact, you’ll be getting a fantastic shooting machine. On our dedicated Nikon cameras page we run through the main things you need to know about Nikon cameras.
Sony is one of the most innovative camera manufacturers out there, and makes mirrorless cameras and compacts for amateurs and professionals alike. After turning the camera world on its head with the A7 series in 2013, Sony has consolidated its sheet to become one of the most sophisticated systems out there, and is known for pushing boundaries.
We’d recommend Sony cameras to photographers and videographers at any ability level! Check out our Sony cameras page to get an idea of what they offer.
Fujifilm cameras are positively dripping with retro cool. Its X series of mirrorless cameras and compacts began with the original X100 back in 2010, and has since gone from strength to strength. Beloved by enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals alike, Fujifilm cameras use tactile controls and chic looks to make photography stylish again. And what’s more, the recent Fujifilm GFX range of mirrorless medium format models has shaken things up again by making medium format more affordable and accessible.
Here’s all you need to know about Fujifilm cameras.
The Panasonic Lumix range of digital cameras includes two main sub-sections. There’s the Lumix G range of compacts and mirrorless cameras, the latter of which are part of the Micro Four Thirds standard. This means they can interchangeably use Olympus lenses as well as their own (more on which below).
The other half of the Panasonic picture is the full-frame Lumix S series. These full-frame mirrorless models are part of the L-mount lens alliance with Sigma and Leica, and put professional quality in the hands of the masses. Recent success stories like Bo Burnham’s Inside comedy special were shot on Panasonic Lumix S cameras – they’re shaking up the video world in a big way.
Olympus mirrorless cameras are also part of the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning they can use Panasonic Lumix G lenses. What’s more, like Fujifilm cameras they are made with retro cool looks. They tend to be absolutely rammed with handy features like high-resolution shot composite modes, and sophisticated optical image stabilisation. Great for gadget-heads and fashionistas alike – here’s the run-down of Olympus cameras.
Pentax makes tough-nut DSLRs that are designed for outdoor adventurers! While it’s a relatively small range, it has its devoted enthusiasts who eagerly await the latest updates to its range of K-mount cameras and lenses.
The aperture is the opening in a lens that allows light to pass through onto the sensor. Aperture values are expressed as a letter f, followed by a number – e.g. f/1.8. The lower the number, the wider the aperture. When you see a lens listed as a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, that means f/2.8 is the widest aperture setting it can open to. Wide apertures are good for low light and for creating shallow depth of field – meaning an image with a sharply in-focus subject and an artfully defocused background.
Quite literally, the camera’s automatic focusing system. There are two main types of autofocus – phase-detect, which uses its own dedicated AF sensor, and contrast-detection, which analyses information from the camera’s imaging sensor. Many modern cameras use a combination of the two to achieve blisteringly fast autofocusing speeds.
Expressed in frames per second (fps) this is how fast a camera can fire off shots. The faster the burst mode, also known as drive mode, the better a camera is for action-shooting. Bear in mind that cameras also have what’s known as a buffer, which is the maximum number of continuous frames it can shoot before needing to cool off.
Similar to burst shooting, but more commonly used in reference to video. A frame rate refers to how many frames per second a camera captures while shooting video. 4K 60p video consists of 60 frames per second, while 4K 30p consists of – you guessed it – 30.
Image stabilisation (IS)
A system which compensates for unintentional camera movement, allowing the user to shoot at slower shutter speeds hand-held without the image blurring. Cameras and lenses can have image stabilisation, and sometimes can work in tandem to improve it further. You can see it referred to by multiple acronyms, including IS, OIS (optical image stabilisation), Power OIS and VR (vibration reduction), but it all ultimately does the same thing.
A graph that provides an instant readout of contrast and exposure levels in an image. It contains values of 0 (pure black) to 255 (pure white), and plots the number of pixels in an image at each brightness level in between. Reading a histogram can take some practice, but in brief, if you’re seeing a lot of height at one end of the graph or the other, your image is probably under- or over-exposed.
Short for International Organization for Standardization, this term refers to the system for measuring the sensitivity of a film stock or an imaging sensor. A higher ISO value means a sensor is more sensitive to light, which means it can make clearer images in darker conditions. However, higher ISO settings lead to greater image noise, or grain. Ideally you want to be shooting at as low an ISO setting as possible at all times, but having a camera that can shoot at high levels (and get useable results) is useful for tricky lighting situations.
Short for “organic light-emitting diode”, OLED is a newer display technology found in higher-end LCD displays and electronic viewfinders. LED screens use a backlight to illuminate their pixels, while OLED displays have pixels that actually produce light themselves. LED screens are brighter, but OLED ones display better contrast, and can be viewed from more angles.
The length of time the shutter is open and exposing the sensor to light. Expressed as a time value, normally in fractions of a second. Fast shutter speeds are good for freezing action, while longer ones will let in more light. Generally accepted wisdom is that a shutter speed of about 1/60sec is the slowest one can shoot hand-held without noticeable image blur, though image stabilisation systems in modern cameras have made slower shutter speeds possible to use hand-held. Anything slower than that, a tripod or other camera support is needed. Many cameras offer a mode called “Bulb”, which leaves the shutter open indefinitely until the user closes it. This is good for long-exposure images like traffic trails.
The small eyepiece you look through to take the shot. Viewfinders come in two flavours – optical, on DSLRs, and electronic, on some mirrorless cameras and compacts. While optical viewfinders are obviously instantaneous, with no lag, electronic ones have the advantage of being able to display a readout of settings information or a histogram.
How do I choose a digital camera?
There’s no one way to do it! This page has hopefully given you a rough guide, but it’s also worth browsing the best digital camera reviews, talking to other photographers, and perhaps even consider a short rental to try out a camera you’re considering buying.
Where do digital cameras store their photographs?
What batteries do digital cameras use?
It varies, but the vast majority of digital cameras use rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, normally ones that the manufacturers supply themselves, though third-party options are often available. It’s a good idea to pick up spare batteries and chargers, and some high-end cameras also have optional battery grips, which pack in an extra battery to double the shooting time.
Can digital cameras be repaired?
Usually, yes! It of course depends on the nature of the damage, but if your digital camera has stopped working or got into an accident, drop a line to our colleagues at Fixation to see what can be done.
Can digital cameras shoot in infrared?
It requires some DIY tinkering to get a standard digital camera to shoot infrared – it’s not something we’d recommend attempting yourself! If you’re interested in infrared photography, a safer thing to do is to pick up an affordable infrared filter like the Cokin P infrared kit.
How did we decide?Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers.
We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire.
If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media.
And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy.