Last updated: September 3, 2020

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While smartphones now integrate high-quality cameras, the reality is that cameras continue to offer a number of perks that make them irreplaceable – not to mention the wide range of options available. For that matter, you can find cameras specifically designed for various uses.

They range from compact and DSLR cameras to action cams, bridge, and mirrorless models. There is no doubt that the world of photography remains truly exciting. That being said, you may feel somewhat overwhelmed by the possibilities if you are not a real expert in the field.

Key Facts

  • A camera allows you to take much better photos than a mobile phone. The options available are much more creative, and the dedicated device essential you to free up space on your smartphone.
  • Nowadays, you can purchase many types of cameras: DSLRs, mirrorless, bridge, or compact models, as well as action and instant cameras.
  • The first criterion to consider during your purchasing process is how you plan to use your camera. Choosing a $1,000 DSLR model is pointless if you are not a photography expert and simply want a device to take on holidays from time to time.

Our Selection: The Best Cameras on the U.S. Market

In the following section, we have selected some of the very best cameras currently available on the market, all of which offer great value for money. We have done our best to include distinct models to satisfy various user profiles while keeping quality as the primary factor. Have a look, and you may just find the right camera for you!

Best Camera Starter Kit

Amazon’s Choice in the category, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is an all-round digital camera that comes with all the accessories beginners need. The kit includes a 32 GB high-speed memory card to store your photos and a padded camera case to protect your device, among other items.

The camera features a 20MP sensor and an optical zoom lens. This model also allows you to record your favorite moments in HD.

Best Camera for Instant Memories

If you love to capture the essence of the best moments in your life and be able to hang them up on your wall straight away, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is for you. Operating with 2 AA batteries, this instant camera will print your photo on film instants after you take it.

Once you have placed the sheets inside, all you have to do is aim and shoot! Available in 7 different colors ranging from ice blue to flamingo pink, this model is super stylish.

Best High-End Camera

Canon is an industry leader in the world of photography and produces some of the best models out there. This incredible bundle that includes the EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera is living proof of it. With 9-point autofocus, an APS-C CMOS sensor, and 3 lenses to choose from, you are ready to take your photo skills to the next level.

The bundle comes with other useful accessories, such as 2 memory cards, a tripod, and a cleaning kit.

Best Camera for Adventurers

If you’re an adrenalin junkie, a diving enthusiast, or a nature lover, the Dragon Touch Vision 3 is a fantastic option for you to consider. Not only is it extremely affordable, but it’s also a compact, feature-rich camera that will follow you on all your adventures.

Various modes are available so you can get the best images, whether you’re driving, diving, or gliding. Delivered with 2 batteries, the Vision 3 can naturally record videos, too.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Cameras

There are a number of important aspects that you need to consider before purchasing your own camera. Keep in mind that the different types of cameras available all offer distinct features and technical specs. This is why we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cameras in the section below.

A camera allows you to take photos in higher quality.
(Source: Marco Xu: ToUPBCO62Lw/ Unsplash.com

What are cameras exactly?

Cameras are optical instruments designed to capture images and record videos. The different types currently on the market will vary significantly in operation from one model to the next. In general, however, they consist of a dark box that allows light to pass through long enough for the image focused by the lens to be recorded by a digital sensor or film.

What are the basic elements of a camera?

Virtually all cameras will include at least the following: a viewfinder, a lens, a sensor, a diaphragm, a shutter, a screen, and buttons. We explained the function of each one in the list below. Please note that these may vary depending on the type of camera you purchase.

  • Viewfinder: This is the element through which the focusing and framing are done. It can be direct optical, reflex, or electronic.
  • Lens: This is one of the most critical components of your camera. This optical system consists of a set of lenses that form the image, which is then captured by the sensor.
  • Sensor: It is responsible for transforming the optical image into electrical signals that allow the creation of the digital image.
  • Diaphragm: Located inside the lens, this mechanism is designed to regulate the light intensity passing to the sensor.
  • Shutter: This device allows you to regulate the time the sensor is exposed to light.
  • Screen: This component is generally found in digital cameras. The screen gives you the possibility to preview the photo before taking it, view it afterward, and navigate through the camera’s setting menus.
  • Buttons: They are used to configure the camera and its different photographic parameters.

Cameras let you take quality photos in low light conditions.
(Source: Neonbrand: qUuzPvjw2CI/ Unsplash.com)

What types of cameras are there?

You can now find a wide variety of camera types on the market. Each one offers specific features and focuses on a particular user profile. As you can imagine, the price will also vary depending on the technical specifications and the quality of the materials used. In the following table, you will find more information about the most common types of cameras:

DSLR cameras Compact cameras Bridge cameras Action cams Instant cameras Mirrorless cameras
Features They allow you to see the scene directly and therefore prevent parallax errors.
Their main disadvantage is the weight.
These models directly integrate the lens in the camera body.
They generally offer a wide focal range, and their sensor measures one inch at most.
These versatile cameras do not allow you to change the lens but include many options of DSLRs and have a very powerful zoom. Also called sports cams, they are specifically designed for extreme conditions.
Small in size, resistant, light, and waterproof.
These cameras produce a paper copy of the photo almost instantaneously. They do not feature an internal prism, although they mount lenses similar to those of DSLRs.
Use For high-quality photos and professional photographers Ideal for traveling due to their weight and size Perfect for a wide variety of environments: traveling, parties, and quality nature photography Used to take photos and videos while doing sports activities or in nature For traveling or parties.
They are an original gift and useful to introduce children to the world of photography.
Since their quality level is similar to that of DSLRs, they suit amateurs and pros alike.
Recommended for Aimed at users with more experience and knowledge For people who are seeking a light and easy-to-use camera For those who want a quality camera without making such a high economic investment Athletes, especially adrenalin junkies and nature lovers For everyone, but mostly for casual use Designed for advanced users with extensive knowledge of photography
Ease of use  You require good photography knowledge to get the most out of them. They are easier to use, as they offer fewer functionalities. More comfortable than compact cameras, they include most of the same functions. These cameras are fairly easy to use. You don’t need particular knowledge to operate them. They are the easiest to use. They are not ideal for inexperienced people to use.
However, they are a little lighter than DSLRs.
Price  They tend to be quite expensive, and you have to add the cost of the lens. They are more affordable than DSLR cameras. Their price is higher than that of compact cameras but cheaper than that of DSLRs. These cameras go from less than $50 to well over $300. They are fairly affordable. These models are quite expensive.

Which controls do I need to learn when I start in photography?

The number of features present in a camera can quickly become overwhelming when you are starting out with photography. In that regard, you should focus on learning how to control speed, diaphragm, and ISO. Most experts believe that these are the three most important aspects you should master when you begin your journey in the world of photography.

Additionally, professional photographers recommend opting for an all-round camera. It is also important that you choose a comfortable model that you can always carry around. Ultimately, you will find it easier to learn with a simpler, more manageable camera than with a high-end, feature-rich model.

What accessories do I need with my camera?

In addition to the camera – and the lens for DSLR and mirrorless models, you will need various other accessories. First of all, we encourage you to purchase a bag or backpack to carry all the equipment. A spare battery often comes in handy as well. You should also buy the fastest memory card your budget allows.

Cameras are optical instruments designed to capture images.
(Source: Jeshoots Com: p8kaVRe4edM/ Unsplash.com)

What is the f-number scale?

Every camera and lens manufacturer uses this scale to classify the different apertures of a camera’s diaphragm. The lower the f-number is, the greater the aperture of the diaphragm will be. This means that more light will reach the sensor, and you will take higher-quality photos.

f-number scale
f/1   f/1.4   f/2   f/2.8   f/4   f/5.6   f/8   f/11   f/16   f/22   f/32

Buyer’s Guide

You should consider a series of key criteria when you decide to purchase your own camera. We want to facilitate this process for you, which is why we have detailed the most important factors in the section below. We are confident that our guide will help you choose the right model and get the best bang for your buck.

Personal Use

Luckily for you, buying a quality camera has become fairly easy. Ultimately, manufacturers have reached very high-quality standards. That being said, choosing the right camera for your needs isn’t so simple. This is why the first thing you should do is ask yourself what type of camera you need.

There is no point in you opting for a professional DSLR model if you don’t know how to make the most of it. If you want to get professional results or use your camera in extreme conditions, on the other hand, you will want to avoid purchasing an economical automatic device.

Aaron SiskindAmerican Photographer

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Sensor

The sensor is one of the most important components of your camera. When evaluating the quality of the sensor, you should prioritize its size and the technology used to handle it rather than the number of megapixels. If you are a casual photographer, you may find that a compact camera with a one-inch sensor is enough.

Bet on a quality APS-C sensor if you decide to purchase a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.

This will allow you to enjoy an excellent performance without having to resort to much heavier full-format equipment.

Focusing Points and Speed

The speed and precision of the camera’s focusing system are essential for sharp photos in high definition. The focusing system keeps the subject of your picture in a suitable focus while you are snapping it. The most common types are the following: phase detection, contrast detection, and hybrid autofocus.

The latter model combines the two previous ones and allows for greater accuracy and enhanced responsiveness. In addition, you may also want to keep an eye on the number of focal points that your camera offers. The more, the better, since you will be able to focus faster and more accurately.

Stabilization System

This optical system is absolutely essential in any camera designed for beginners. It will help you take sharp moving photos while preventing vibrations. The role of this system is to maintain the sensor suspended, hence compensating for any movement you make while holding the camera.

This way, your pictures won’t be blurry. We encourage you to have a five-axis system in your camera’s body. Note that stabilization systems of lenses often don’t work very well, and the difference in the image becomes truly noticeable.

Summary

Images dominate our society. Surrounded by cameras wherever we go, we care about our appearance and want to capture and share all our special moments. Against this backdrop, a camera will be your ideal companion for all your most exciting journeys, adventures, parties, and experiences.

This is why you may want to forget about your phone’s camera if you want to get better quality photos or have greater control over the settings that come into capturing the moment. A wide array of types is now available to you, for instance, from the most professional DSLR models to compact and instant cameras.

If you found our shopping guide on cameras useful and informative, feel free to share this article on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we will be happy to get back to you.

(Source of featured image: Imansyah Muhamad: wwnSkb9Z0sM/ Usplash.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.