Are you planning to expand your photography creativity from simple smartphone photography to the next level? Still confused to find the right cameras for you? Which one should you buy a point and shoot, a bridge camera, a budget SLR, a semi-professional SLR, or a professional SLR?

Don’t worry, I’ll tell you the best camera for your needs.

1) What do you need the camera for

The first step is, to find out what camera do you need a point and shoot, a bridge camera, a budget SLR, a semi-professional SLR, or a professional SLR. The type of photography like sports, portraits, landscapes, macro, aerial that you want to take. Think the lighting condition that you want to take photos of, do you want to take photos of party, functions, indoors activities, outdoor trips, low light or night photography.  Are you ready to experiment with manual settings, are you ready to learn the photography principle and settings, or you need a simple auto exposure? Do you need a long zoom camera, is your camera requires good image stabilization to correct motion blur? Finally, think of the budget. How much money you want to invest in your photography creativity.

2) Sensor size and type

Sensor size is the dimensions of the array of photoreceptors that create the pixels that become an image. The sensors in point-and-shoot cameras are small at 1/2.3-inch, and those in camera phones even smaller, typically 1/3- or 1/3.2-inch. Cheaper point-and-shoots still use CCD (charge-coupled device) sensor technology. Inexpensive CCDs don’t deliver photo quality as nice as pricier CMOS sensors, but conversely, expensive CCDs like those used in medium-format cameras produce better photos. In general, CCDs are slow and poor for video. Video For typical vacation videos or videos of the kids, you want 1080/30p, the “1080” refers to 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution, also referred to as Full HD, whereas “30p” stands for 30fps progressive video.

3 ) Features You Need

The manual mode in camera allows you to take full creative control over the exposure. Manual control is essential for semi-professional and professional photographers. ISO feature decides how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. You can adjust the ISO settings, to shoot pictures in darker conditions without a flash, increase the sensor sensitivity by adjusting the suitable ISO. Look for cameras having ISO 1600 or higher. Camera resolution is expressed in Megapixels (MP), MP’s are a measure of the resolution of a camera, so greater the number of megapixels, the larger the quality of picture and the larger sharp prints that you can make from the images. Higher megapixel is advisable, but increasing the pixel size will increases the file sizes too. A 16MP sensor is ideal for current situations. The Nikon D850 has a 46MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. We want to say -More Megapixels does not mean more quality. Sensor quality and lens quality have their own roles on picture quality. Better sensor and better lenses produce clearer images. Other features to consider are optical image stabilization, panoramic mode, time-lapse movie shooting, automatic sensor cleaning.

4) Type of Connectivity

A few years ago, digital cameras with built-in Wi-Fi didn’t make much sense. It was basically no better than using a USB cable, and a really slow one at that. If you love knowing exactly where you were when you took a photo, you’ll want a camera with a built-in GPS (global positioning system) receiver.

5) Ergonomics

An essential thing to consider when purchasing a digital camera is how you feel when it is in your hands. All the controlling buttons are easily accessible with your fingers? Does the camera is lightweight enough to feel comfortable in your hands? If you are traveling a lot then you need a smaller lightweight camera than a bulkier camera. Do you need weather sealing? If you are using your camera for outdoor applications or for traveling presuppose, weather sealing is a must. The rugged design with sturdy magnesium alloy internal frames and weather sealing is something advisable for outdoor applications. Do you need a touch screen menu? It is very difficult to handle a complicated menu, you have to struggle with the settings in each time to operate your camera! A touchscreen easy navigation menu is preferred. You can touch the subject on the touch screen to bring it in focus! Look for a camera with the capability to save images in raw images with JPEG format. This will help you to retouch images with photo editing tools.

What type of camera should you buy?

Point and Shoot

These are basic cameras, now almost replaced these segments by smartphones.

Megazoom Bridge Camera

These are mega zoom fitted point and shoot cameras. Sony HX400V, Panasonic FZ1000, Fz2000/2500.

Entry Level DSLR Camera

This is best for beginners. Nikon D3400, Canon 1300D are some basic DSLRs.

Semi-Professional DSLR

This is best for amateur photographers and photo enthusiasts. Nikon D5600, Nikon D7200, Nikon D7500, Canon 80D are some of them.

Professional DSLR

These are aimed for professionals and serious photographers. Nikon D750, Nikon D850, Canon 5D Mark IV.

Camera Lenses

Bottom line

For the enthusiast or anyone with an inkling of passion for the craft of photography, even an entry-level interchangeable lens camera will provide a much more fulfilling experience, not to mention better results. To find the right cameras for you, head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them.