If you’re browsing through online stores for a new camera, there are few things that you need to keep an eye on. Now days, buying a video camera can be pretty challenging. There are tons of different models, made by different companies. Should you look at the price? The camera’s specifications? Or maybe the camera’s type? Our video camera buying guide will address these questions, and help you choose the proper model for your needs.
Understanding Common Camera Types
There are thousands of video cameras on the market – each with a different set of features, price and technical specifications. But generally speaking, all these devices can be summarized in just a few camera types. Let’s move forward, and find out more about common types of video cameras.
Compact Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Image by Vernon Chan (via Flickr)
Point-and-Shoot cameras are primarily intended for photography. They are small and highly portable devices that you can easily carry around – which is not the case with some bigger DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Because these cameras are small and light, you can always carry them with you to take pictures and capture videos. Also, Point-and-Shoot cameras have permanently attached lenses that automatically retract in the camera’s body once you’re done using it.
Although they are compact and ideal companions for your trips, these cameras have some noteworthy disadvantages such as:
- Lack of image quality compared to other camera types, which results from having a small sensors;
- Lack of controls when it comes to image settings and enhancements;
- Slower response time when taking pictures.
Although this may seem limiting and not good enough for some professional photographers – they’ll do just fine for most of the people. These cameras are generally the least expensive ones, when compared to other types. So if you’re after an affordable and lightweight option with reasonable image quality, Point-and-Shoot might just be ideal for you.
Image by Kārlis Dambrāns (via Flickr)
Year after year, mirrorless cameras are getting extremely popular. They are somewhat lighter and smaller when compared to DSLR cameras. Although mirrorless cameras have some of the same features as DSLR ones, they are still behind in some areas like auto-focus speed, sensors and low-light shooting. On the bright side, these cameras are as good, or in some cases even better than DSLR for capturing videos.
You’ll often find these cameras by the name Compact System Cameras (CSC). Just like DSLR cameras, they also feature interchangeable lens – for greater shooting flexibility. Overall, mirrorless cameras are perfectly suitable for wide range of activities, and they are constantly improving in lens quality and sensor sizes.
Whether you’re a professional photographer, hobbyist or just a person who loves taking photos and videos, a mirrorless camera can be just the thing that you’re looking for – an appealing and affordable solution.
Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Cameras
Image by kanonn (via Flickr)
Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras are composed of two main parts: the body of the camera and the lens. One difference between this type and the Point-and-Shoot, is that the lenses on DSLR can be changed – depending on your needs. This feature makes the camera more flexible, and allows you to have greater control over how you capture videos and images.
Although DSLR cameras are bigger and tend to be more expensive, they are equipped with large sensors which produce better image quality overall. It is important to mention that because of these sensors, the DSLR camera provides superior background blur effect, and performs significantly better in low-light conditions. It also has a mirror that enables you to look through the lens and have more control over the final image. Here are some other features of a DSLR camera:
- HD video capturing;
- Live preview;
- Wide angle view;
- Dust reduction systems;
- Depth of field control.
If you’re a professional or you’re planning to get seriously into photography, a DSLR camera will surely meet your needs.
Some Important Camera Specifications
Now that you’re aware about camera types and their differences, we’re going to take a closer look at some features that you’ll commonly see in camera specifications. Here are some of the most important “factors” that affect camera’s performance and quality:
Bigger sensors produce images with better quality – but cameras with bigger sensors are more expensive.
Cameras with high light (ISO) sensitivity rating are performing better when it comes to shooting in low-light conditions.
Lenses have two important components: focal length and aperture. The focal length is also known as the angle of view, and the bigger the length is, the bigger the objects are in the frame. Aperture on the other hand, decides how much light the lens should let in.
The battery life rating is an important aspect that you should look into when buying a camera – especially if you’re travelling often.
Camera’s resolution is represented in megapixels – which is the number of pixels that the camera uses in order to create an image. For example, a camera with 20 MP can produce an image of 20 million pixels.
The video recording quality is an important part of any camera – regardless of its type. Now days, nearly all models are featuring 720p or even better – 1080p video quality (which relates to the 1920×1080, Full-HD resolution). Some pricey cameras also feature rich set of manual enhancements on the video as well as 4K support.
Basic understanding of what these camera specs represent will significantly help when you’re choosing a video camera.
Video Camera Buying Guide: Prices in 2016
This is a very sensitive subject as there are so many models with different features and tech specifications. The price of the camera will depend on what you’re looking for – starting from the camera type, to its functionality and range of features.
Mid-range and high-end video cameras
Point-and-Shoot Cameras: $500-$1200
Mirrorless Cameras: $700-$3,000
DSLR Cameras: $800-$8,000
Point-and-Shoot Cameras: $90-$500
Mirrorless Cameras: $350-$700
DSLR Cameras: $450-$800
What Kind of Video Camera Should I Buy?
What is the best video camera to buy? As part of this video camera buying guide, we’re presenting a list of some great video cameras for 2016 – currently available on the market.
Fujifilm X100S ($1179) – high-end Point-and-Shoot camera with 16 megapixel APS-C X-TRANS image sensor and 1080p Full-HD video mode.
Canon PowerShot SX50 ($429), a decent mid-range camera that features 50x optical zoom, 1080p video and 12.1 megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS image sensor.
Sony W800/B 20.1 MP ($89) – an entry-level camera with a compact and lightweight design and a 720p HD video mode.
Sony Alpha a7II ($1698) – a high-end mirrorless camera with state-of-the-art image stabilization in a full-frame camera.
Fujifilm X-T10 ($799) – great mid-range choice equipped with 16 megapixels X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and a newly designed auto-focus system.
Panasonic DMC-GM1KD ($376) – solid entry-level mirrorrless camera with 16 megapixels Digital Live MOS Sensor and a Full-HD 1080i video.
Canon EOS 5DS ($3699), a powerful, high-end DSLR camera with 50 megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor.
Nikon D3300 ($999) – mid-range DSLR camera with 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor (DX-format) and a full 1080p support for video recording.
Canon EOS Rebel ($699) – awesome budget DSLR model equipped with 1080p (up to 30 fps) video recording, and a 18 MP APS-C CMOS image sensor.
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Featured Image Credit: Ginny (via Flickr)