How to choose a camera

When in 1900, Eastman Kodak presented the Brownie camera, it was not much different from the cardboard box with a lens and a film coil (and in 2019 this concept partially returned). But no matter how simple it is, this camera has become a revolution in the democratization of photography.

In those days to buy a camera was easily. And now we will move more than in the century ahead, nowadays - and we will see such a development and a variety of cameras, which is almost impossible to choose "one model for all occasions".

Most of us already have a pretty good cameras in smartphones and understand where a separate camera will be better than the phone, it is quite hard. Prices for digital cameras are from several thousand to hundreds of thousand rubles, and in each market segment there are many brands and models.

This guide is created in order to help you act in the right direction when buying a first chamber. We will talk about the various sizes of sensors (matrices), so if possible, this question is better to study in more detail or scroll to the section "Myth about Megapixels", where it is explained why there are better snapshots on the sensors of the larger size.

Compact cameras

Name " Pact "sufficiently conditionally, because this category covers a very large variety of cameras. Sometimes they are called "soapboxes" due to similar shape of some models. It can be as really small, available and easy to use cameras and more advanced models with good zoom, large sensors and full manual control. Consistently only one is a non-removable lens.

Most likely, you know that with improving the quality of cameras on smartphones The popularity of "soaps" has fallen significantly. Simple cameras no longer attract the mass consumer, and therefore manufacturers reoriented to more advanced models.

And although the initial level chamber can be found within ten thousand rubles, usually their shooting quality is practically no different from modern smartphones. Nevertheless, they have the ability to be inaccessible to the latter, for example, full-fledged lenses with zoom.

To achieve better quality, it is worth purchasing a more advanced model. Pay attention to the chambers with a 1-inch matrix size, for example, an excellent series Sony RX100. Their price begins approximately from 30 thousand rubles, but can reach hundreds of thousands. Thanks to more compared to the main mass of "soaps" (and phones), the size of the matrix you will get a serious step forward in the quality of the pictures.

The disadvantage of this model is that due to the large sensor, the size of all other elements increases, from the body to the diameter of the lens. However, the RX100 remains impressively compact, although there are similar dimensional cameras with a smaller matrix size and much greater zoom.

Another type of these cameras is a superscript or ultrauday, which received such a name due to lenses with a very large zoom. At the moment, the record in this area owns the Nikon P1000 model with a 125-fold zoom (equivalent focal length of 24-3000 mm). Such a camera provides you with considerable flexibility in a relatively compact size.

But it should be borne in mind that although super suits are similar to large "mirrors", due to a small matrix, the quality of the pictures will be the same as in other compact cameras. In some more advanced models such as the Sony RX10 series, larger sensors are used (in 1 inch), but they are inferior to supersums with small matrices.

There is also a niche subcategory of protected and waterproof cameras. They can easily take on the beach for a whole day, and fall into the pool such a camera will survive. Compared to other compact models, they have worse than the quality of the pictures and much less than the multiplicity of zoom, but with them you can not be afraid to take pictures where you would not risen to take an expensive camera or smartphone.

migratory cameras

This category provides higher quality images, greater variety of creative opportunities And the best performance compared to the "soapboxes", but without the massiveness of the "Slirlock" to some extent.

The name "mirrorless" speaks for itself - there are no mirrors in these cameras, therefore there is no optical viewfinder. The field of view is excreted on a liquid crystal display or electronic viewfinder. Usually migratory cameras are more expensive than compact, but the initial level models are cheaper than premium "soaps".

Different brands have their own standards of mirrorless chambers. Panasonic and Olympus use micro 4: 3 format (Micro Four Thirds - MFT), that is, Panasonic lenses can be used with Olympus cameras and on the contrary. Fujifilm For its X series uses the Larger APS-C matrix, and Sony produces mirror-free chambers with the APS-C matrix and with full-frame (35-mm) sensors. Canon, Nikon and Panasonic in 2018 presented full-frame mirror-free cameras, which were finally able to compose Sony's competition, and Canon has an APS-C standard EOS M range.

The prices for migratory cameras start about 30 thousand rubles, but for professional models can reach several hundred. As in the case of compact chambers, a larger matrix size provides better picture quality, although even APS-C sensors are repeatedly superior to the size of the camera matrix on smartphones.

The resolution in most of the mirrorless cameras is at least 20 megapixels, which is enough for most photographers, but if you really need a higher resolution, it is worth paying attention to the larger matrices. The record permissions among full-frame mirror-free cameras belongs to Sony A7R IV - 61 megapixel. The Fujifilm GFX 100 uses a medium format matrix - it is even greater, and the resolution exceeds 100 megapixels, but this camera costs about 700 thousand rubles.

Mirror cameras

Mirror chambers at a price approximately correspond to the mirrorless and cover the same Range from consumer to professional. The Mirror Camera of the entry level can boast more than high compared to the compact chambers with the quality of the pictures due to the larger size of the matrix, but will yield to professional "mirrors" in speed and functionality. If the size is not important to you, then a simple "mirror" for 30 thousand rubles will be better than similar at the cost of "soapsy", at least in terms of the quality of the pictures.

In general, the mirrored cameras do not necessarily do not necessarily have better quality photos and greater functional compared to firecalls, but they have a number of other advantages. Even despite the significant development and many advantages of electronic viewfinder, some photographers still prefer optical viewfoots of mirror chambers. In addition, thanks to the use of optical viewfinder with very low power consumption in the "Slirlock" much higher than the battery life. The average mirror camera can easily make more than a thousand pictures on one charging.

The main disadvantage of the "Sloglok" is their dimensions. Compared to firecracker cameras, they are more and harder. In addition, they are worse for video filming - and the point here is not as, but simply in the fact that in the video shooting mode, the optical viewfinder is useless, there you need to look in real time.

If you buy your first camera, we still recommend to get a mirror chamber.

Decide with the budget

, in the perfect case, you will not need to spend on a suitable camera integer Status, but as you know, you will get what you pay for. However, it is important to understand your needs: many more expensive models have a lot of functions that you may never take advantage, but you will have to grow with them, if you seriously passionate a photo or will be engaged in it professionally.

Considering how good photos now can be removed on the smartphone, it is pretty hard to recommend to buy simple "soapboxes" - if, of course, the camera is not required to you for some specific goals. If you need a higher quality photo, be prepared to spend at least 30 thousand rubles, although if you just need a lot of flexibility in comparison with the phone, you can also meet at a smaller amount. And remember - with an expensive camera you will not shoot better.

Myth of Megapixels

If you just look at the characteristics of cameras on paper, you can see that the number of megapixels from the "soaps" and "mirrors" is often the same (16, 20 megapixels, etc.). However, to consider them the same - it's like to consider the same pickup and sports car only because they have four wheels.

The physical size of the sensor for the image quality is much more important than the number of pixels. That is why "Soapnya" with a 1 / 2.3 inches matrix will never be compared with a "mirror" with a much greater APS-C or a full-frame matrix, even if the "soap" is more pixels. In addition to the subjective indicators of the quality of the type of depth control, there is a completely objective reason why the image quality with a large matrix will be higher - it collects more light. Therefore, noise at low illumination will be less, and contrast and color is better.

This does not mean that a large number of megapixels are not at all necessary - it provides decent possibilities for pruning images and allows you to make very detailed and big pictures. You just should not expect from a compact quality chamber of a mirror even with more megapixels.

speed and performance

in our time the speed of most cameras is quite enough for standard purposes. Usually cameras with interchangeable lenses (both mirror and mirrorless) are superior to the compact in terms of speed. They focus faster, better track objects and take more photos per second (although the last indicator some compact chambers of the Sony RX100 type can exceed mirrored).

We recommend choosing a camera at a shooting speed at least 5 frames per second, but if, for example, your children are engaged in sports, you may need more. At the same time, you should not be carried out on marketing - the camera with a shooting speed of 10-20 frames per second looks tempting, but really such speed is needed only very few.


This factor is often underestimated. If possible, be sure to rate the chamber before purchase. Make sure it is conveniently lying in your hands and is not so heavy that you will be tired of wearing her too quickly. Pay attention to quick access to frequently used features, and the menu should be understood structured, logical and easy to learn.

Models with touch screens, possibly more intuitive, but uncomfortable organization of the interface and menu or a bad response to your touch can be very annoyed. Most of these factors are subjective, so we once again recommend that you look at the various models live and hold them in your hands.

Replaceable lenses

There are several moments that distinguish a good camera from wonderful and The lens is perhaps the most important one. The camera with interchangeable lenses provides you with a greater variety of creative opportunities. Let some premium models of compact chambers have a very good optics, it will still give in flexibility to replacement lenses.

Most of the mirrorless and mirror chambers are usually sold with a basic lens. It is comfortable and compact, but does not reveal the full potential of the camera. You can spend a certain amount on the set of lenses - from wide-angle to telephoto lens. The change of lens literally changes your view, so its choice is a topic for a separate discussion that goes beyond this article.

Often, when purchasing the first camera, the question is set, if you can use Canon lenses with Nikon camera. It is impossible to combine brands to be combined - at least without third-party adapters and loss of quality. But there is an exception - the micro 4: 3 standard, according to which Panasonic and Olympus make lenses suitable for the cameras of both brands.

In addition, there are third-party manufacturers, such as Sigma and Tamron, which make lenses with different fasteners for Canon cameras, Nikon, Sony and other brands.

image stabilization

optical stabilization Images It helps to get rid of blur due to the physical movement of elements inside the lens. This is especially useful for lenses with a large zoom, which can be hard to keep motionless. This method prevails in mirror cameras, although stabilization is not in all lenses.

Matrix stabilization physically moves the matrix to compensate for vibration. This is the most common method in mirrorless chambers. It usually works very well, and its main advantage is independence from the lens.

Electronic stabilization Images are, on the contrary, software reception of the camera. It can reduce blur, but often by reducing the image quality. This method is most often used in Action Cameras, and in some models - for example, Gopro Hero8 Black is implemented quite well.

Optical and electronic viewfoots

Of course, the viewfinder has its advantages, and lovers Photos are still preferred by its LCD displays. They are practically indispensable with bright sunlight when the display is very spinning, and can also help focus on the scene removable and not distracted by external stimuli.

Optical viewfoots are used in the mirror chambers (an image from a lens reflected by the mirror), and in mirrorless - electronic, in essence, which are a small liquid crystal screen with the eyeclamp. Most compact cameras have no viewfinder, because their use increases weight and sizes, but in some premium models, for example, Sony RX100 VI, they are still present.

Optical viewfoots provide maximum purity of the image and do not spend the battery. Electronic also has its advantages - you can still see the effect of exposure and color settings, closer the object to check the focus or display any information you need.

Video filming

Nowadays, all cameras remove the video, some even in 4K resolution Ultra HD. Premium mirrorless and mirror chambers provide a number of possibilities that allow you to take real films, and replacement lenses expand the space for creativity.

One of the important points to pay attention to - the frame rate. From 24 to 30 frames per second, it is quite enough, 60 is perfect for particularly smooth playback or slow survey, but sometimes the manufacturer declares video shooting in 4K, adding a small font about the frequency of 15 frames per second, which is generally difficult to name the video.

Any camera, even "soap", can shoot a video quite decent for normal quality tasks, but the most important thing for video shooting is perhaps stabilization. If you do not want to carry a tripod with you, make sure that your camera has matrix image stabilization or lens with optical stabilization. It will help remove smooth, not trembling videos.

other important characteristics

shooting modes

Usually in the initial-level compact chambers, quite a few shooting modes, but all of them, as a rule, are variations of the base automatic mode. If you do not want to bother with a diaphragm, exposure and photosensitivity, they are quite enough.

However, the advanced models of "soaps" and cameras with interchangeable lenses provide you with much more opportunities to set up your pictures in modes with manual exposure. They still have automatic modes, so if you are not yet ready to turn off the autopilot, but in the future ready to take control over yourself, look for the camera with manual settings.


JPEG is a de facto standard for almost any images. This is the format of most pictures on the Internet. Most of the cameras are removed by default at once in JPEG, and for most people it is enough.

Premium chambers, especially models with interchangeable lenses, can be removed in format RAW. It records all information from the matrix of your camera and unlike JPEG anything is not deleted. They will not necessarily look better immediately after shooting, but provide a slightly large flexibility when processing. You can increase the brightness of the shadows, dim the lights, change the color balance - RAW opens up a whole world of possibilities.

But all this additional information about the image is not free. Typically, RAW files are about four times the size of the highest quality JPEGs. If you plan to shoot in RAW, make sure you have a large memory card and enough hard drive space.

Wi-Fi and GPS

Considering the ubiquitous penetration of social networks, support Wi-Fi is almost mandatory for a modern camera. If you want to immediately publish your photo to Instagram or Facebook without connecting the camera to a computer, you should not buy a camera without Wi-Fi. But these days, almost every model from most manufacturers already has it, as does its own Android or iOS app for wireless photo transfer. Usually these applications are simple, but they do their job.

When it comes to GPS, most people don't need it that much. If you travel a lot, then GPS is very handy for attaching geotags to your photos so you can easily remember where they were taken. There are not many cameras with built-in GPS, but if you really need it, some manufacturers have additional GPS modules. Regardless of whether the module is built in or not, activating this function consumes a lot of battery power, so you should not use it when you do not need it.

Water, dust and drop protection

Let's clear up some confusion first: A waterproof camera, that is, protected from the weather, rain, or splashes, is not waterproof. In such cameras, the seams and buttons are sealed to prevent rain, splashes and small drops, but they will not withstand immersion in water. The waterproof camera is designed for shooting underwater. If you're shooting landscapes in the rain, you need waterproofing. If you want to take pictures while diving and snorkeling, waterproof.

Many premium mirrorless and SLR cameras are waterproof, making them suitable for outdoor shooting. They are not afraid of a little snow, rain and splashes of a waterfall or a small wave that has swept the boat. However, cheaper cameras with interchangeable lenses are usually not waterproof. It is also worth remembering that if the camera is waterproof, but the lens is not, problems can still arise.

Fully waterproof cameras, as already mentioned, are a special subcategory of compact cameras. In addition, they are usually shockproof, so such a camera will survive if you drop it on a hike. Waterproof cases for cameras with interchangeable lenses also exist, but they can be quite expensive.


If you have a limited budget, for example, no more than 20 thousand rubles, think again if you need a separate camera at all. If you do decide to buy one, make sure you get features that your smartphone doesn't have (zoom, water resistance, etc.) and don't expect a huge improvement in photo quality. If your budget is a little higher, but you want to keep things simple, look at the advanced models of compact cameras with a 1-inch sensor.

If you're looking for speed and image quality, or if you're interested in photography as a hobby or profession, consider getting a mirrorless or SLR camera with interchangeable lenses. Prices for entry-level models are from 30 thousand rubles, but more expensive options will provide you with more room to develop. And don't forget - it's important to choose the camera that's right for you, according to your needs.