To purchase a good camera in 2019 is quite simple since the manufacturers have reached a very high level of quality. So we start from the base that any camera that has been launched between the end of 2018 and all 2019 will offer outstanding quality.
The complicated thing is buying a camera according to your real needs and your budget to avoid having to invest a fortune in a camera that you do not need and which you will not use even 30% of its functions. That is the real problem when choosing which camera to buy.
It is tempting to get carried away by the fever of technicalities and choose the largest, the most modern or the most megapixel, but you must flee those topics and make an objective analysis of what you are going to use the camera , what do you expect get and, above all, what budget you have available. Unfortunately, photography is a hobby that does not come cheap.
Before launching yourself to buy the first camera that is advertised with neon letters in the advertisements of large shopping centers, find out before you buy exactly and think if it is what you need, in the long run, you will save money.
Do not limit yourself to let the commercial of the high surface advises yourself. Search for information on web pages and specialized forums, go to a specific photography store, where the employees know the product their virtues and their miseries, and they will professionally advise you.
The “expert” of large surfaces, is likely to be pressed to take stock of a particular product and the same advise you on the purchase of a specific camera, as it informs you in detail of the performance of a washing machine.
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With these tips and guide to buying a camera according to your needs, we will guide you on what you should take into account when purchasing a camera in 2019, so that you choose the camera you need and not fall into the songs of the siren of the marketing departments of the manufacturers.
First, decide: why do you want the camera?
It is not a question that has to be taken lightly since it depends on your answer to what kind of camera you should buy.
There are still many users who are convinced that to get the best photos you need a reflex camera. A few years ago it is possible that it was true, but currently, it is not at all, or at least not always.
Are you willing to go on vacation with a 1-kilogram camera hanging around your neck all day long? Many do not take it into account, and that fantastic camera that they bought at a discount ends up at the bottom of a drawer because it weighs too much.
It makes little sense to invest in a full-sized sensor camera to post photos on Instagram, or to use it only during your travels when other options can offer you the same quality for half the price.
We are going to review the different formats and types of camera that you can find in the market in 2019.
They are cameras of a reduced size that usually fit in a pocket. They integrate manual shooting functions and mount fixed lenses, generally with a wide focal range and a sensor of 1-inch maximum.
These characteristics allow them to offer an excellent image quality, a very contained weight, and a perfect size to carry them always during trips and even for street photography or rare photos.
The focal quality of the lenses that are mounted in this type of cameras is much higher than those installed by mobiles, so in no case could the results be compared, especially since the sensor mounted by smartphones is much smaller.
An excellent example of good advanced compact cameras can be any of the versions of the Sony RX100 or the Panasonic Lumix TZ range.
Possibly the most popular. They have interchangeable lens systems that provide them with great versatility. Its main drawback is the size and weight as not all users are willing to carry a team of several kilos of influence that includes the body of the camera and a couple of objectives.
There are models with full format sensor (Full Frame) for professional use, and others with a slightly smaller APS-C sensor for semi-professional or amateur use. Some examples can be found in the Canon EOS 1300D, EOS 80D or EOS 6D MK II, as well as in the Nikon D3400, D7200, D750.
Cameras without a mirror
Also known as mirrorless, CSC ( Compact System Camera ) or EVIL ( Electronic Viewfinder with Interchangeable Lens ).
Its name refers to the fact that it does not have an internal prism-like in the case of SLRs. And so far their differences in terms of performance concerning SLRs since they have similar target systems.
Perhaps in some models, there may be a small difference in size or weight, but they continue to be cameras that, depending on which targets are mounted, can reach much weights and sizes.
As in the case of SLR cameras, there are cameras without a mirror with a full format sensor for professional use, with APS-C sensor for semi-professional and amateur use, and with a micro-thirds sensor that is a bit smaller and , therefore, it offers much smaller and lighter cameras than the rest of the sensors, but with the same photographic features. We found some examples of cameras without mirrors in the Sony A7 III, Fujifilm X-T3 or Olympus OM-D E-M1 II.
Many models of cameras without mirrors are entirely comparable to réflex homologs with the same features, relative prices and identical results. But we also find some compact variants that achieve precisely the same effect with advanced compact cameras, adding the incentive of having interchangeable lenses. The Fujifilm X-A3, Olympus Pen E-PL9 or Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 are some examples of this.
We dare not say that, a few years ago, mirrorless cameras will largely replace conventional reflex cameras, in the same way, that digital SLR cameras replaced analogue reel cameras.
Set your budget and choose the best time to buy a camera
Once you know what you are going to use the camera for, and therefore you have defined what type of camera you need, it is essential to set a budget.
The price defines to a large extent the category of camera you can access, and what features it will include. Try to be realistic when establishing a budget.
When buying your camera, stick to that initial budget. There will always be a camera that, for a little more, offers this or that additional function.
Another aspect that you should keep in mind when buying a camera is the date on which you plan to do it. As a general rule, buying a new camera is usually not as urgent as if your smartphone or laptop is damaged, and allows certain flexibility on the date of purchase.
Make it coincide with the Christmas campaign, with the Black Friday discounts, with the stationary price drops of before holiday or take advantage of the price drop experienced by a model when its renovation is presented is usually the best time of the year to buy your camera of photos at the best price.
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Only body or kit with objectives
With the advanced compact cameras you will not have problems, but in the case of reflex and mirrorless cameras, these are usually offered as a pack in which the body of the camera is included accompanied by one or two lenses.
While it is true that there are some of these kits that include high-quality lenses, most include entry-level lenses with a standard zoom that do not offer the best quality in the world, but they are sufficient to learn how to use the camera.
Comparatively, these camera and lens kits are cheaper than buying the body and that same objective separately, so it’s an excellent way to learn how to use the camera and discover what genre of photography you like to do. Depending on your evolution in the field of photography, you can decide to buy a higher quality lens that best suits the type of photography you want to do: portraits, nature, macro photography, landscapes, etc.
If you already know what kind of photography you like, these kits will not make sense for you, and it is best to buy the body of the camera and the right lens for the type of photography you want to do separately.
There is an unwritten rule when buying cameras and objectives separately: spend two-thirds of your budget on a good target and the remaining third on the camera. It may seem an exaggeration, but it is not so much if you take into account that the average life of a camera is eight years, while there are targets that are still in use 20 years later, moving from camera to camera.
When choosing objectives, choose the brightest goals that your budget allows you. This is measured according to the F value. For example, a lens with a focal length of 50mm and f / 1.8, is less luminous than one with a 50mm f / 1.4 or 50mm f / 1.2. You will notice that, despite having the same focal range (50 mm), its price goes up as the number f goes down.
Do not focus on just one brand
Being a fan of a single brand limits the capacity of choice, so it is good to have sympathy for a particular brand, but doing so can have severe consequences for your economy. Do not be afraid to bet on other brands; they will surprise you.
For example, the SLR camera market has been dominated by ironclad for years by two major players: Canon and Nikon. So it’s easy to find numerous hardcore fans of those brands.
However, if you want to buy an advanced compact camera or one without a mirror, we regret to say that those brands that dominate in the field of SLRs, have not done their homework and now begin to offer some exciting models in that segment, while brands like Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus or Panasonic have more than five years of fattening their catalogues with mirrorless cameras for all ranges.
Focus on the range of cameras you need and find out about the features offered by the different models of this range in each brand, without more. Only then will you get exactly the camera you need at the best price.
Do not mess with the benefits
In addition to weight, size or price, the technology that each camera includes is decisive in its performance. However, it is not convenient to be obsessed with these technical features because, after all, what matters in photography is who presses the shot button and their vision of the world.
When choosing a camera, it is easy to get carried away by the detail of the numbers, the figures and the minimum technical improvement. In many cases, these figures and features of the camera hardly have an impact at the time of taking pictures or, in most cases, they exist to cover particular situations in which you may never get to find you.
To guide you in the purchase of a photo camera according to your needs, we will review some of the technical aspects that you should take into account when buying a camera.
We would be lying if we told you that the sensor is not one of the most critical parts of the camera, but at the beginner level, it is not worth it to become obsessed with it either.
Our first recommendation is clear: Forget the megapixels.
Unless you are going to make a banner with which to cover the facade of your house, it will not do you any good to have a 40-megapixel camera. What you have to take into account is the quality of each one of those megapixels, and that quality is not reflected in the number of megapixels, but in the size of the sensor and in the technology that is responsible for its management.
Run away from whoever recommends choosing a full-format camera for a beginner. You would hardly notice any difference between a photo made with a Full frame and an APS-C under equal conditions.
If you are going to take photos occasionally and want a minimum of quality, a compact camera with a 1-inch sensor will offer you excellent results.
But if you prefer to use an interchangeable lens camera, bet on one with a quality APS-C sensor. Its price is relatively lower, and there are even professionals who use them regularly when they want to leave their heavy full-format equipment at home. An APS-C camera – or micro four thirds if you care about size and weight – offers more than enough quality for most users, especially if you are a beginner in this photography.
Points and focusing speed
The accuracy and speed of the focusing system is another factor to consider when buying a camera. The focusing system is the one that is responsible for keeping the subject to photograph correctly focused while you take the picture. Hence it is essential to obtain clear and well-defined photos with your camera.
The most common focusing systems are by contrast difference, by phase detection and hybrid approach in which both are combined. Ideally, it has a hybrid approach system because it offers the best response and precision.
Also, you must also take into account the number of focus points you have. Each focus point represents a zone in which the focusing system looks for differences to detect the objects to focus on. Therefore, the more focus points available, the more precise and fast the focus will be and the easier it will be to maintain focus even if the subject moves.
The stabilisation system of the camera is critical in the camera of a beginner since it will be of great help to obtain clear photos and without trepidation by the movement. Getting good pictures from the first shot is important not to lose motivation.
The stabilisation system consists of keeping the sensor “suspended” using a mechanical system that compensates for the small movements that you can do when holding the camera to avoid the photos being moved.
The idea is to have a system of stabilisation of five axes in the body. In the video shown below you can see the difference between a camera with 5-axis stabilisation system in the body (top half of the video) and stabiliser in the lens (lower half of the video).
Some cameras integrate stabilization systems in the lenses of the lenses, but not in the sensor, so it is possible to compensate part of that movement, but it is not as effective and if you use low-end or old lenses that are not stabilized, do a good photo without a tripod can be quite a feat.
4K video recording
If in addition to taking pictures you also want a camera capable of recording video in 4K, things get complicated as some manufacturers use compression systems that do not provide real 4K videos cutting their final quality.
In any case, check the technical specifications of the camera to make sure that the camera allows you to record videos in 4K at 60 images per second, a figure below that does not offer enough quality for a good result, and you will only pay for the 4K tag, Not for better video quality.
Also, you should also note if the camera supports S-Log or Gamma Log profiles to preserve the highest quality for post-production retouching.
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Currently, it is not enough for the camera to store the information on a card; it must also be able to share it wirelessly to other devices.
Choosing a camera with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC connectivity allows you to share your photos with your mobile or laptop easily. That way, you do not have to wait to get home to share them on your social networks. Directly link the camera to your mobile and the photos you have made will be sent.
Also, this connectivity gives you more remote control of the shooting functions since many of these cameras allow you to convert the mobile into a remote control from which you can configure the shooting options, or shoot the photos from a distance. Something very comfortable to make selfies or photos with a tripod.