This is a question that so many aspiring photographers just can’t seem to answer. There are so many options out there these days that beginner photographers just get confused as to which camera is best for their needs.

So let’s take a look at the different kinds of cameras that you can use if you want to take a shot at photography.

1. Your Smartphone

This may sound like a non-serious suggestion, but the first thing I always tell young photographers is to start taking serious photos with their smartphones. Phone cameras these days have gotten really advanced, and you can do amazing things with them if you want. A phone camera teaches you the basics of photography, from lighting control to compositional decisions. So if you’re really new to photography, be sure to give your phone camera a serious shot.

2. A Serious ‘Point and Shoot’

If you want something more capable than your smartphone, then go for a compact camera. These ‘point and shoot’ cameras now offer full manual controls as well which are vital in developing your photographic skills. Cameras like Fuji’s X100F and Sony’s RX100 line provide excellent results for a compact camera. However, these cameras are very high in price due to the balance in size and performance.

3. DSLR or Mirrorless

And finally, we come to the ‘serious’ cameras. Some people just can’t take a smaller camera seriously, and others might want something for professional-grade work. For those people, there are DSLR cameras. These are big, heavy, interchangeable lens cameras that can be used for both enthusiast as well as professional needs. You can use multiple lenses with these to suit your needs in any given situation. However, they are heavy and not easy to use as walk-around cameras.

To fix those issues, mirrorless cameras exist. These newer cameras have really given DSLRs a run for their money. They provide very comparable performance to a typical DSLR, with the same sensor sizes, but boast a much smaller body due to the lack of a mirror system. They have electronic viewfinders too which some people love and others hate (I am in the former category). They can also be used with multiple lenses, and are much easier to carry with you all day.

 

So before you go out throwing cash at a high-end DSLR, be sure to explore some other options. If you’ve never done photography before and just want to get started, it doesn’t really make sense to buy an expensive camera. Use your phone to learn the basics, or a compact camera to develop control over manual settings. Then, when you are sure that you want to be a photographer, you should consider whether to buy a traditional DSLR or a mirrorless system.