Hard to pic and choose
Here are the questions you should ask yourself before snapping to a decision about the newest cameras to hit the market, writes Alex Kidman
Do I need another camera?
Of the top five cameras used on the online social photo sharing site Flickr, the top four are iPhones. However, that doesn’t mean you should only ever shoot with your iPhone ( or any other smartphone), because popularity isn’t a total measure of quality.
There are shots that would be near impossible to get with a smartphone camera due to the differences in lenses, sensors and capabilities.
Should I bother with a compact camera?
Compact cameras have been hardest hit by the smartphone revolution and that’s not surprising, as they’re often functionally close to smartphone cameras.
Where they still can shine is in offering features such as optical zoom, although manufacturers such as Samsung, with its zoom-enabled K Zoom Camera/ Smartphone hybrid, are knocking on the compact cameras’ door rather heavily.
Aren’t DSLRs big, heavy and expensive?
They can be, but they’re also popular for the flexibility of shots and photography skills they can teach you. While figures suggest the total shipments of digital cameras worldwide is going down, DSLRs have been bucking that trend, with more than 16 million DSLRs shipped in 2013 alone.
If the heft of a DSLR still puts you off, there’s a fresh crop of interchangeable lens cameras ( ILCs) to consider. These are typically lighter and smaller than a full DSLR, with many of the same advantages.
Do I need lots of lenses or will the kit lens do?
The kit lenses that come with camera bundles are never the best glass, but industry figures suggest many DLSRs and ILCs are never upgraded beyond the kit lens.
I want my images on Instagram straight away. Isn’t that impossible with a fixed camera?
Not at all. Virtually every new camera in 2014 comes with in- built wi- fi for easy pairing to a smartphone or tablet.
Viewfinder or rear panel?
Viewfinders suck up less battery and can help to eliminate camera shake, but rear screens can be easier to use. It’s worth checking if the camera has a viewfinder built in, or if you can add one as an additional part.
Which accessories do I need?
We’d suggest a decent lens cleaner, because grubby images aren’t worth keeping, and perhaps a spare battery.
I only want a smartphone camera. Which one should I buy?
Probably the one that’s already in your pocket. Apple’s iPhone 5s has a nice camera built in, as does HTC’s One M8. Still, if you’re buying a smartphone purely for the camera, it’s hard to overlook the Lumia 1020 with its 41MP sensor and optional camera grip.
Do I really need to replace my camera?
It’s often tempting to think that new camera gear will make you an instant expert, shooting crisp, clear images without a care. A camera upgrade can help you expand your horizons, but make sure you’ve got the most out of your existing camera, because photography is so much more about your skill and selections than your camera gear.