Theme: Cameras

Here we suggest which cameras are worth taking a closer look at, the best accessories and what to consider when choosing a camera.

Popular cameras on PriceSpy

1. Fujifilm FinePix X100V

The Fujifilm FinePix X100V is the fifth-generation compact camera in the X100 series. This is a relatively large compact camera with a retro design, a built-in wide-angle lens and an advanced hybrid viewfinder. The camera has a large APS-C format sensor and the same superb image quality as Fujifilm’s X-T3 and X-T4 mirrorless cameras. This is a camera that stands out in terms of both appearance and quality, which is also reflected in the hefty price tag.

Check Fujifilm FinePix X100V prices and availability here.

2. Nikon Coolpix P1000

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 is a hybrid camera with a long zoom of no less than 125x. Fully zoomed in, the P1000 reaches a full 3000 mm, which is more than any other camera on the market today. This camera can capture high-definition 4K video and has image stabilisation and a large 3.2-inch tiltable screen. The large lens means that the P1000 weighs a full 1.4 kg, so this might not be the best camera for day trips if you want to travel light. The Nikon Coolpix P1000 was launched in 2018 and is the latest model in the series.

Check Nikon Coolpix P1000 prices and availability here.

3. Sony ZV-1

The Sony ZV-1 is a small and practical compact camera leaning more towards video. The camera has a number of functions aimed at vloggers and is designed to be able to record the person holding the camera. The screen is fully articulated so that you can see yourself, it has a fast lens and there are three microphones to optimise audio capture. The Sony ZV-1 also supports external microphones and has a light on the front to indicate when video is being recorded. The Sony ZV-1 is an expensive niche product for those who prefer videos to photos.

Check Sony ZV-1 prices and availability here.

4. Fujifilm X-T4

The Fujifilm X-T4 is the successor to the popular X-T3. This new model features built-in image stabilisation, an improved camera body and faster autofocus. This is a professional camera with a price tag to match its abilities. The X-T4 delivers high image quality, powerful video functionality and lightning-fast continuous shooting. Image quality is identical to the cheaper X-T3 model, so anyone wanting to save a little and who doesn’t need in-camera image stabilisation can consider the latter instead.

Check Fujifilm X-T4 prices and availability here.

5. Sony Alpha A7 III

The Sony Alpha A7 III is a mirrorless full-frame camera with built-in image stabilisation, advanced autofocus and support for high-res 4K video capture at high bitrates. An enthusiast camera with many great features. This model is a major upgrade over its predecessor, the A7 II, with improved image quality, a longer battery life and faster autofocus. A feature-packed camera for any situation. Just keep in mind that Sony lenses can be somewhat expensive.

Check Sony Alpha A7 III prices and availability here.

The differences between compact cameras, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs

Compact camera

A compact camera is the smallest and lightest option. With its built-in lens, a compact camera is often small enough to fit in a jacket pocket or a small handbag. The big difference compared to mirrorless and DSLR cameras is the size. The camera body, the lens and the sensor are all considerably smaller. In general, they don’t produce the same image quality as larger cameras, but what you lose in image quality you gain in convenience and functionality.

Five compact camera traits

  • Lighter and physically smaller than DSLRs
  • Good choice if you want something small and simple to carry around
  • Lack the versatility of mirrorless and DSLR cameras
  • Built-in lens that can’t be changed
  • Sensor and resolution generally smaller

Mirrorless camera

Mirrorless cameras are essentially DSLRs without a mirror in front of the sensor. The light travels through the lens and falls on the sensor, which displays the image either on the screen or in the electronic viewfinder. Since there’s no mirror, mirrorless cameras are smaller than DSLRs. The lenses can also be made smaller, which reduces the overall weight of the camera and its lens. Another advantage is that you can see the resulting image directly in the electronic viewfinder before you take a picture.

Five mirrorless camera traits

  • Image quality comparable to a DSLR
  • Shorter battery life than many common DSLRs
  • Smaller and lighter than a DSLR
  • Many newer models have excellent video functionality
  • Lenses are generally smaller than their DSLR counterparts

DSLR

Digital single-lens reflex cameras are generally referred to by their acronym, DSLR. These cameras have the same classic design as their analogue predecessors, which used 35mm film. They have a mirror in front of the camera sensor that reflects the image up into a prism to form an image in the viewfinder. Hence the name single-lens reflex camera. When taking a photograph, the mirror is lifted up so that the light falls on the sensor and – voila – an image is recorded. In recent times, DSLRs have adopted increasingly more technology from mirrorless cameras and are improving at, for example, video capture.

Five DSLR traits

  • Increased risk of image blur from mirror slap
  • Uses an optical rather than electronic viewfinder
  • Very good battery life
  • New models are starting to adopt functions from mirrorless cameras
  • The largest and most unwieldy option
iStock.com / PhotoBylove

To keep in mind when choosing a camera – 6 practical tips

There are many things to keep in mind when choosing your new camera. Here we list six things to consider before making your decision.

1. Total cost

It’s easy to forget all the costs over and above the camera and the lens. Memory cards, a flash, a camera bag, a camera strap and filters can quickly add up to tens or hundreds of pounds more than you perhaps imagined. A spare battery alone can cost upwards of a hundred pounds in some cases. Check what you need for your camera and work out the total cost.

2. Manufacturer

The cameras, lenses and accessories on offer vary significantly between manufacturers. This is why it’s important that you check the entire range before making a purchase, especially if you choose a camera with interchangeable lenses. Otherwise, you run the risk of buying into a system where while the camera body is cheap, the lenses are very expensive. Or accessories are few and far between and hard to come by from cheaper third-party brands. If you don’t thoroughly check things out, you might need to replace your entire camera system as your photography evolves.

3. Lenses

The right lens from the start reduces the risk of unnecessary and expensive replacements in the future. Cameras with interchangeable lenses offer more options so that you can use the right equipment in each situation. However, this also means a larger and more expensive kit compared to a camera with a built-in non-interchangeable lens. Many people choose a DSLR for important work, and another, smaller camera with a built-in lens for travel and day trips. What’s best for you?

4. Video capabilities

Do you want to use your new camera to record high-quality videos, perhaps with an external microphone for better sound quality? Modern cameras have become an excellent alternative to the classic camcorder and smartphones. However, be sure to check out the video capabilities – not all models are well suited to video. Carefully check the maximum resolution and frame rate the camera offers, as well as whether there’s an external microphone jack and image stabilisation for rock-steady videos.

5. Accessories

Don’t forget your camera accessories. A spare battery for longer trips and journeys, an external microphone for videos and a tripod for night photography. There are many different accessories, and even if you don’t want to buy them all straight away, it’s a good idea to check out what’s on offer. It’s also a good idea to compare third-party accessories with those from the camera manufacturer. You can often save tens of pounds without compromising on quality. Good examples include batteries, battery grips and flash units from companies such as Jupio.

6. Resolution and sensor size

For everyday photography, you can get by with a camera that has a 1-inch or APS sensor and a resolution of around 24 megapixels. If you’re interested in landscapes, architecture and studio portraits, it might be better to choose a camera with a high-resolution full-format sensor with 36 megapixels or more. If you’re new to photography, our advice is to focus more on ergonomics, lenses and video capabilities and less on resolution and sensor size.

Adobe Stock © Africa Studio

To keep in mind when choosing a lens

The right camera lens makes it easier to take great pictures. If you have a mirrorless camera or a DSLR, you can choose which focal length you want to use with your camera. Here we help you choose the right one.

1. Lens type

Lenses are usually divided into seven different types – fisheye, wide angle, normal prime, telephoto prime, standard zoom, superzoom and macro. What you should attach to your camera depends entirely on how and what you usually shoot. For example, a wide-angle lens is perfect for landscapes and architecture, while a telephoto prime lens is best for portraits. One suggestion is to start out with a standard zoom or a normal prime lens, as these cover many common subjects.

2. Focal length

The focal length is specified in millimetres and indicates the magnification of the lens. The longer the focal length, the closer it brings you to your subject. Short focal lengths are often referred to as wide angle and longer focal lengths as telephoto. Common focal lengths are wide angle (20mm, 24mm), normal (35mm, 50mm) and telephoto (85mm, 100mm and 200mm). A popular combination is 24mm, 50mm and 85mm as they can cover many different scenarios.

3. Zoom or prime

A zoom lens has moving lens elements that enable you to alter the focal length by turning a ring on the lens. Prime lenses have only one focal length. The advantage of a zoom lens is that you get a range of focal lengths to cover different situations without having to move. A prime lens, on the other hand, is generally sharper and often has a larger maximum aperture, offering a more aesthetic background blur.

4. Aperture

The aperture controls how much light passes through the lens to the camera sensor. The larger the aperture, the greater the amount of light and the shallower the depth of field (how much of the image is actually in focus). The aperture is measured in f-stops, and the higher the number, the smaller the aperture and the smaller the amount of the light reaching the sensor. The maximum aperture on a prime lens is often between f/1.4 and f/2.8. The maximum aperture on a zoom lens is often between f/2.8 and f/4.

5. Weather sealing

Weather sealing reduces the risk of moisture and dust entering the camera or the lens. For weather sealing to function properly, both the camera and the lens must be weather sealed. Weather sealing is normally only found on more expensive camera equipment, although a higher price tag doesn’t always guarantee weather sealing.

6. Image stabilisation

Image stabilisation built into the lens reduces the risk of camera shake spoiling your images. Image stabilisation is especially important when using a high-resolution camera or a telephoto, as well as when shooting in low light. Image-stabilised lenses are also a must when capturing video while on the move. Some cameras have built-in image stabilisation that works with any lens.

iStock.com / Narathip12

Practical accessories for your camera

1. Screen protector

Protect your camera screen from scratches with a standard screen protector. You can often find laser-cut screen protectors for more popular camera models. For others, you can buy screen protectors that you can cut to size. If your camera also has a screen on the top, you should cover this with a screen protector as well to be safe.

2. UV filter

A UV filter protects your camera’s optics and reduces the risk of expensive damage. A UV filter is a relatively inexpensive form of protection that we recommend for all lenses. It can be a good idea to buy a slightly more expensive and higher quality UV filter rather than a really cheap one. This reduces the risk of ending up with a poor-quality filter with a negative impact on image quality.

3. Air blower

A small air blower is an underrated accessory for keeping your camera clean and free from dust. An air blower is especially useful if you have a camera with an interchangeable lens, as dust can easily accumulate inside the camera body. An air blower offers a simple and gentle way to remove dust and other debris that has accumulated both inside and outside your camera.

4. Camera strap

Most cameras come with a simple camera strap, and these are fine for smaller cameras. Larger cameras, on the other hand, are much more comfortable and practical to sling over your shoulder with a more generously padded and self-adjusting shoulder strap. A good shoulder strap helps relieve your shoulders and back so that you can carry a heavy camera for a long time, such as when travelling and on longer day trips.

5. Flash

Many cameras have a built-in flash, but they are rarely that good. An external flash offers much better light, more opportunities to get creative and much better end results. Don’t be afraid of using an external flash, even if you don’t have a DSLR. Check first whether your camera supports external flash and which models are compatible.

6. Camera grip

A camera grip improves the ergonomics of a smaller camera. It can make the grip larger if you have larger hands, and it can protect the bottom of the camera from knocks. Some models have a quick-release mount, enabling you to easily attach the camera to a tripod, both vertically and horizontally. For DSLRs, a larger battery grip is a more common option.

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PriceSpy’s guide to cleaning your camera safely

Sooner or later, you’ll need to clean your camera equipment. The dust and other debris that accumulate on your camera are unavoidable, and we’ve all managed to smudge the front of the lens with our finger at some time or other. When you need to clean your camera and lens, it’s important that you use the right tools and great care. In our article How to clean your gadgets, we explain the right way to clean your camera equipment.

Choosing the right memory card

A fast memory card ensures a better experience not only when shooting, but also when transferring your creations to a computer. This is especially important for anyone who uses their camera to record large amounts of high-definition video.

A normal user who isn’t a professional photographer can choose a memory card with a read speed of 150MB/s. This ensures a fast memory card that won’t slow your camera and quick image transfers to your computer via a memory card reader.

As for memory capacity, a 64 GB card is a good starting point for most people. This will allow you to save more than 5,000 JPEG images from a 24-megapixel camera, or about 2,600 images if it’s a 36-megapixel camera. If you shoot in RAW format, halve the numbers to about 2,500 and 1,300 images, respectively. Keep in mind these numbers will vary greatly between cameras.

Top tip: If you already have a microSD card and a compatible adapter for an SD card reader, you can use this combination in your camera. Just check that video capture works well and that the microSD card doesn’t slow down your camera.