This question can best be answered if you understand the realistic seriousness of undertaking a hobby like photography.
Sporting a huge and fancy camera is everyone’s idea of photography and many times while outdoors or on a vacation, you see the appreciative glances going in the direction of someone taking pictures with a zoom lens, quite the professional so to seem.
Photography is a hobby with commitment and requires a certain level of proficiency and knowledge about the equipment and uses as well as its situational applications. Buying a camera just because it looks ‘top of the list’ is not the way to go about it.
Here again, there are some very serious considerations to apply the mind to.
1. Portability and Weight
Bigger is not always better! When buying a camera, the most important factor to understand is that the size of the camera is not always proportional to picture quality; therefore going to a good store that has various size options along with brands and features to choose from is the best option. While at the store, take time to ask questions about the brands and pieces you like, get the assistance of the shop staff to feel the camera, carry it, aim and look through the lens to see how the camera feels in your hands and the comfort level it brings. If you are just an ‘aim and click’ photographer who carries a camera only for vacations and holidays, then one of the compact camera systems is good enough.
2. Pixels and Sensor
In a digital camera, images are recorded on a piece of electric film called a sensor. A sensor is equipped with pixels, which are tiny elements that pick up fine details of the subject of the photograph. Contrary to popular belief, more pixels do not translate into better pictures; sometimes they can be grainy. It depends on the manufacturer’s capability, to be more specific, on the electronic engineer putting together the camera to figure out just how many pixels can be made to fit on a sensor. By and large, compact cameras are fitted with small sensors; hence the pixels are also small. In contrast, DSLR (Digital Single Reflex Camera) cameras have larger sensors and therefore the pixels do not have to be made very small.
These are some of the finer technical aspects of camera purchase and so it is important to ask for professional and expert advice before venturing into purchasing one.
3. Lens Range and Zoom
Here again, these features are more apt for serious photography. Compact cameras come with fixed lens ranges and will provide adequate photography capability for less serious tasks.
When buying a high-end camera, it is important to see what the lens and zoom settings translate to, the mere numbers do not mean anything to an amateur photographer. And of course, with compact system cameras and DSLRs the options of buying add-on lenses can impact the cost of the equipment you had originally intended to buy. It’s clearly no fun if you end up having a camera body and then finding out that the lens that goes with it might just be out of reach of your pocket!