What Type of Digital Camera For Me?

whattypeofdigitalcameraforme

Confused on what type of digital camera suits you? Have a read at this article. After all, it’ll help you decide better on which is the right camera type for you.

In this article, I will explain the 3 camera types that you come by. These 3 camera types are Compacts, Prosumers and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DLSR) cameras and subsequently I will guide you on deciding which one suits YOU!


Now, let’s start off with by getting to know the various camera types.

3 Types of Digital Camera

Compact Cameras (a.k.a Digital Compacts or Point & Shoot)

The name says it all – they are COMPACT! In the past, compact cameras weren’t that compact as it is today. Even back then, the size difference is quite huge between 2 compacts of a different price range, nowadays even the cheaper compacts sport a slim and sleek look. whattypeofdigitalcameraforme

Compacts are convenient, they slip into your pockets, pouches or handbags easily.

When it comes to pricing, the price range of compacts vary depending on the size and features. Usually the more expensive ones offer better features like higher megapixels, greater sensor sensitivity and so on so forth but that doesn’t mean cheaper ones aren’t good enough for you.

The one in the picture is my trusty Olympus C-2 Zoom. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been ages since I bought it and it’s still in great working condition. Look at the size of it! Compare that to a digital compact these days, they’re really getting slimmer than ever.

Prosumer Cameras

Halfway point between the professionals and the consumer, the prosumer range of cameras pack quite a punch if you consider the features you get for the price you pay.

The size and weight of Prosumer range of cameras are quite similar to that of DSLRs. So yeah, they’re not something you could slip in your pocket or handbag but the beauty of the Prosumer range is that they usually come with a lot more features than what you can find on a Compact such as manual controls.

whattypeofdigitalcameraformeIn fact in some Prosumers even come with manual lens ring focusing, this means you would be able to manually focus your cameras just like how you would on a DSLR.

Prosumers generally come with powerful telephoto and macro mode capability. This means they’re great at zooming in on subjects at a distance, and also they’re great in taking small subjects at very close range.

The price of a prosumer hovers around the level of high-range compacts and some may even cost more than a beginner DSLR, however do note that you get an all-in-one package, features that a beginner DSLR will not have unless the owner is willing to fork out much more for a macro lens and tele lens.

Here’s a picture of my Prosumer camera, the Fujifilm S7000. I bought it back in 2005, it was a used unit but even so it still snaps great pictures. I still use it from time to time.

Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR)

The DSLR range of cameras, their changeable lens makes them the most flexible camera you can get your hands on – at a cost of course.

whattypeofdigitalcameraformeWhile the beginner DSLR is affordable, getting a beginner DSLR would mean that you’re stuck with the kit lens unless you spend a little more for additional lenses to vary your shots.

The price of semi-pro and pro level DSLRs on the other hand costs much more, the highest end DSLR body and high-grade lens could cost more than a car………or 2. And that’s just A body and A lens.

Here I present to you my workhorse – the Canon 350D, in this picture it is armed with it’s 18-55mm kit lens and a BG-E3 battery grip. Wanna know what a DSLR can do? Have a peek at my gallery. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do bear in mind that unlike the Digital Compacts and Prosumers, DSLRs do not come with VIDEO recording ability.

So which one should I take?

Here’s a simplistic approach on making the decision

The COMPACT camera is suitable for you IF you
– are looking for something slim and easy to keep.
– want something convenient.
– want something that’s a no-brainer when it comes to using it.
– don’t mind the lack of features.
– want video recording capability.
– don’t mind lesser image quality.
– don’t mind slower focusing.
– don’t mind the lack of noise control.

The PROSUMER camera is suitable for you IF you
– are willing to pay a bit more to have a more variety of shots.
– desire more controls over your shots.
– don’t mind having a quite big chunk of technology to lug around.
– don’t intend to spend any much more for your photography gear.
– don’t wish to burden yourself with lens changing.
– want video recording capability.
– don’t mind lesser image quality.
– don’t mind slower focusing.
– don’t mind the lack of noise control.

The DSLR camera is suitable for you IF you
– really look forward to expand the variety of your shots.
– desire even more controls over your shots.
– don’t mind splashing money on lenses.
– don’t mind lugging around the camera and its lenses.
– don’t mind the hassle of switching lenses.
– don’t mind the lack of VIDEO RECORDING ability.
– want better image quality.
– want better / faster focusing.
– want better noise control over your shots.

Other Image-Capturing Devices

A handphone with camera is still a handphone. A PDA with camera is still a PDA. Despite boasting megapixels, these devices are sorely lacking in image quality and overall functionality. Sure, they’re convenient for capturing moments but they’re still far from being in the league of a proper camera.

Video Cameras? They are VIDEO cameras, their sole purpose is to VIDEO moments thus their still-capturing abilities and features are limited. The price of a video camera could be that of a DSLR (body + kit lens) or more but don’t expect them to be able to do artistic stills like those captured by cameras, especially the DSLRs.

Webcams? They are a form of input device for your computer, their ability to capture videos and stills depend entirely on the software installed. Their image quality is horrible at best and they’re not something that you carry around to snap pictures.

If you intend to get your hands wet in photography, kindly avoid these devices and get yourself a proper camera.

Conclusion

With this article, I hope that you have better understanding on the various camera types and you have more or less identified what type camera you should be looking at. ๐Ÿ™‚ Feel free to leave comments or contact me should you have any questions or suggestions.

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62 Comments

  1. I am not good at photography so a compact camera is enough for me. Thought of getting one because I am using a Canon Power Shot A540 which is quite… ๐Ÿ™

    What will you buy if you go for a compact camera now?

  2. Author

    Good question! Currently I’m intending to replace my old digital compact. My favourites so far are

    1. Casio Exilim series, I like the size. Colors looks good, big LCD. A 5MP version comes to around less than RM 600 and a bunch of freebies. ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Fuji compacts (like F31FD), they’re touted to be great performers in image quality and lowlight condition. haven’t tested them.

    3. Canon Ixus series. Last I checked, they have underwater cases available which would be useful for me in underwater photography (yeah! scuba diving!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just a few I’m looking at, no specific models yet because I’m eyeing for something cheap and just simple clickity snappity purpose. If all you want is just to click and snap pictures, any compacts will do. I think practically every brand has it’s supporters and haters.

    I will be publishing another guide soon on picking camera. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I am a Nikon 3700 user now, but I think I have reached certain bottlenecks where the satisfaction isn’t there when I look back on what I have taken ๐Ÿ˜

    Well, moving forward to get myself a D40… or maybe D80 straight? haha….

  4. Author

    There’s also the D40x. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nikon’s good. I intended to get Nikon at first but ended on the Canon side. Regardless, they’re great cameras. I’ve even had Pentax in my shopping list before.

  5. I bought my first camera last december, before Id just used my schools D2Xs, so I went with a Rebel Xti and I love it, its not a D2Xs but its hard for a normal person to tell the difference.

  6. Author

    Man!! Your school has D2X! ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s freakin’ awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Nice article here goldfries.

    Wondering, what do you recommend for me IF i am for one, having trouble with quite a bit of shaky hands. I used to have digital cameras before, its a nikon. But taking pictures is quite hard as most of them come out to be blurry due to shaky hands. Same goes to pictures taken with my handphone camera..

  8. Author

    Hehe. Not arthritis I hope. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have super stable hands either.

    The thing about taking pictures it that you MUST be aware of lighting conditions. A typical compact (Point & Shoot) will adjust everything to suit the light condition, including slower shutter speed, thus everything blurry.

    Some cameras are known for their great performance under low-light condition due to them having higher sensitivity setting (like ISO3200). I can think of the Fujifilm F31FD for that.

    Other possible options would be to go for cameras with Image Stablization options (Canon calls them IS, Panasonic calls them OIS, others call them Anti-Shake…….so on so forth).

  9. Hopefully next time you will come out with camcorder guide since there are now proliferating recording media and formats, and this of course confuses most average users. Thank you.

  10. Author

    That one’s gonna be tricky, since there’s so many types these days. some support HD & wide format, then there’s also many recording medium (HDD, DVD, memory) unlike Digital Cameras which is just using different memory types. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe a basic guide.

  11. Mine is Nikon L12 coolpix. Only RM630.
    I am not a professional photograher so I think this should be enough for me to take some photos.

  12. Author

    Just because someone holds a DSLR, that doesn’t mean they’re a professional either. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Good point there goldfries. However, in your oppinion, are DSLR for beginners? I mean, i loved those pictures that came from DSLR. Magnificent. I know they are taken by professional photographers but its hard for a normal digicam to match those quality right?Assuming i am a noob (which i am..LOL), is it recommended to start off with a DSLR?

  14. Author

    DSLR is meant for everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have shots from my prosumer and digital compact that look better than newbie shots on DSLR. ๐Ÿ˜€ How a picture turns out (besides the camera capability) also depends on the person doing the shoot.

    No harm starting off with DSLR. You’ll understand the workings of a camera better. (I have some articles on that coming up soon)

    The thing about photography is that without proper understanding, we tend to think that the gear is THE most important thing. Gear does limit you but then that doesn’t mean you can’t produce stunning stuff with lesser goods. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Agree with Goldfries’s POV.
    I will ask my friends around and get some touches on DSLR first before making some decisions ๐Ÿ™‚

    Looking forward to your next postings yeah.

  16. this is a nice guide, thanks.

    however if u dun mind, i think u can put several recommended brands there.

    last time when i was surveying for a new DC to replace my Canon A400, i was actually hunting for an iXUS, but the salesperson kinda ‘forced’ me to choose a BenQ, forgot which model but it offers 7.1MP, 2GB SD and the camera is nice too.

    but then when i asked him to demo it, i saw that the picture quality weren’t very impressive, even my A400 3.2mp can do better.
    ended up i didnt choose anything, because that was just a survey..

    so thats why i think that its helpful if u can put some recommendation for the brands here, perhaps like Canon, Nikon etc etc and also maybe some brands that need to be avoided (if u dun mind) like some brand that offer up tp 8MP for only RM399 ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Author

    The thing about recommending brands is that it opens up a whole new can of worms. For example, some brands are good at RM 500 – 999 range, others maybe better at RM 1000 – 1499 range and so on so forth.

    As for your comparison, did you compare on the camera’s LCD or view the actual picture on a computer? ๐Ÿ™‚ LCDs are misleading.

    All brands have their strengths and weaknesses, generally – just be skeptical when the specs are too good to be true for that price. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I’m torn between Canon 40D or Canon 400D + 18-200mm lense. Halp!!

  19. Author

    The 40D is a much better body than the 400D BUT by going for a 400D and 18-200 you get to have a wider variety of shots. ๐Ÿ™‚

    So if you intend not to spend any further after the purchase – go for the latter option.

  20. Most probably not. As you said, without a good camera, one could still produce a good photo. This gonna be my first DSLR because I have a Sony W1 (PnS) right now. Getting bored of its functions. Besides, I lub the snapping sound of DSLR ๐Ÿ˜›

    But then again, judging by the age of 400D in the market, is it wise to get it now worrying the fact that Canon have this thing/trend of introducing a newer (or upgrade) model after certain number of years..

  21. Author

    I think it’ll be a while before they introduce a 400D replacement.

    the 400D is STILL a good camera. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m using 350D and I have no problem producing shots that impress my clients.

  22. What are your views of using kit lense?

    I’m attracted to 40D but with that price I could get 400D + 18-200mm lense. ๐Ÿ™

  23. Author

    Kit lens, versatile and very useful in many situations. Most of my shots are done with kit lens. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m getting my kit lens replacement within the year……… well, hopefully.

  24. if given a choice, which will you go for, 400D + 18-200mm or 40D (with kit lens)?

  25. Author

    if i have nothing – i’ll go for 400D + 18-200mm ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Alright. Thanks, mate..

    Keep up the good work.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Hi again there.
    I am currently hunting for a brand new digital compact camera.
    My budget is around RM800, and I prefer at least 8MP and with stylish design.
    Is Nikon S51 is a good choice?
    If not, can you recommend me with some other brand or series?
    Thanks:-)

  28. Author

    I suggest you go around and test them out in your hand. STYLISH is subjective, same goes to FEEL ๐Ÿ˜€

    Test out all, narrow down your choices, then just read up the reviews on how are they.

  29. after a long consideration, i felt like RM800 is too much, so i lowered my budget to RM600. then i bought myself a Powershot A550..quite nice price, RM560 with 2GB Toshiba SD card and freebies such as screen protector, mini tripod and case.

  30. not sure as i am no pro:-D
    for the time being, i am currently learning how to use all the features implemented on it

  31. Author

    So how’s the camera going? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your task now would be to get to know your camera and its features.

  32. I know this is an old topic, but still, it’s opprtunity for me ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m thinking of buying Sony H3, the enthusiast series. What do you think? I want something with good optical zoom. Any other reccommendations? My budget is no more than RM1500.

  33. Author

    Old post – yes. The thing is I wrote it in such a way that it will be a useful reference for years to come. ๐Ÿ˜€

    And all questions / thoughts are welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚ As to the H3, it looks nice. I’m not too familiar with digital compact pricing nowadays since I’m so focused on my DSLR. ๐Ÿ˜€ however i did check out the specs of the H3 and it looks nice.

    I also like the Sony T-2 with 4GB Internal memory (so happen i saw it the other day after meeting client). the 3x optical zoom may not suit your preference.

    Also, since you want good optical zoom, Canon’s S5 IS is nice for that. On the bulky side but the Image Stabilization feature would be helpful when you zoom long range.

  34. My family currently has a Digital Compact and I’m thinking of getting a new camera for my personal usage as I love taking photos. Which type of camera would be suitable? I’m thinking Prosumer since I’m kinda bored with the DC already… any particular recommendations?

  35. Author

    Ahh. prosumer is rather bulky but you do have many options.

    I saw Fuji has some promo going on now (on news paper). there’s the new F50FD but that’s a compact. Prosumers? the Canon S5 IS is a popular model.

  36. Since I decided to buy a DSLR, I thought I should get some information before.
    I heard when buying a DSLR the optical zoom is important, can you explain it.
    About the market price for Rebel XTi Canon 400D & Nikon D40X (RM), It could be helpful if I knew it before I spend my savings.

  37. Author

    No, optical zoom is usually the key highlight when it comes to digital cameras, such as the digital compacts and prosumers. Early digital cameras rely on digital zoom. then they have optical zoom later on.

    SLR cameras on the other hand have always been on optical zoom because their zooming capability depends on the lens, same applies on DSLR.

  38. HIHI there… I’m a student here and I wanna “upgrade” my camera from Canon A70 to something new and my budget is around RM800.. is there any nice specs 1..?… TQ

  39. Author

    I think RM 800 is pretty difficult to get anything that’s an “upgrade” from what you have. Perhaps a little bit better specs but not too great.

    Would you consider a used Canon S3 IS?

  40. I wished to get a DSLR, but $$$ lol…. So, i don’t have a digicam until now ๐Ÿ˜›
    Wait la one day only get one ๐Ÿ˜€

  41. once i get my EOS 350D, there’s no looking back to compact p&s for me ๐Ÿ™‚ dSLR is the way to go.. ๐Ÿ˜€

  42. it’s normal. once you get addicted to some quality stuff, there’s no turning back ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Always get more reviews regarding the DSLR and Lens before buy it.. if not will regret only.. ๐Ÿ™ and Actually lens is more important than the camera body itself.. so if u want to get 350D.. and you have some money on hand, better go for the good lens for ur satisfy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Hi.. If u guys interested to get affordable and user-friendly compact digicam, just visit my digital store at superbspirit.lelong.com.my! =)



  45. wow..nice one..keeping my eyes on compact camera 1st lorr..for beginner :p still,i wonder why i bought PSP instead of DSLR last times….

  46. hi i google camera and came to this site.i love traveling and i want to find a good compact one under rm600 or around that.do you have any suggestion?beside i love a stylish one too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Author

    *wow. looks like I missed out a lot comments when I was busy. so I’ll start with Katie*

    Katie, for RM 600 there’s many out there and they’re all pretty much similar in offering.

    I can’t suggest any because your preference could be different. The gender difference alone affects the choice a lot. So go out to a fair, and try out – hold them, test the menu and all and see which one suits you.

    and yes, do some reading over the Internet. You’ll get to see their LOOKS first. ๐Ÿ™‚ then narrow down the choices. From there, move on to narrow the choices even further based on the other factors.

  48. I am using Canon EOS450D camera, could u pl let me know how 2 convert n save RAW file 2 JPEG or JPEG 2 JPEG (same photo) without losing full EXIF DATA.

    Thank you.

  49. Yoyo goldfries,

    out of topic but the gallery link in your blog post is kinda dead leh. ๐Ÿ˜›










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