If you are thinking of getting a new camera but are lost in the midst of all the different shapes, sizes, brands and prices, maybe this handy guide will help you understand which camera is the right one for you.

Traditionally if you were looking to buy a camera you would have had two options, a compact camera or an SLR. One was perfect for your pocket or handbag and the other for people who took photography a bit more seriously as a hobby or as a profession. Now there are more and more options available catering for many different types of photographer and videographer. 

Compact cameras can now be divided into standard, premium or specialist, DSLR cameras can be ideal for beginners, enthusiasts as well as professionals. Bridge cameras fit in between these offering massive zoom capabilities without the need to change lenses. Rugged compacts have made it possible to take your camera to the most difficult places and take photos under the harshest conditions. Action cameras have become popular for the more active among us, where the user would prefer to wear their camera. Mirrorless cameras, or compact system cameras, have become the newest camera category to take the imagination of the masses over the past year. These cameras offer the user all the advantages of a compact camera as well as a DSLR camera.


Since the advent of the smart phone, the handy compact camera genre has been the subject of somewhat of a renaissance. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes we can now see a clear divide between the cheap point and shoot models and the pricier premium models. When choosing a compact camera you must decide whether you need a jack-of-all-trades camera or a specific model offering a high quality image. Another way of looking at it is choosing between quantity or quality, that being, quantity of features and zoom in the camera or the quality of the lens in the camera and therefore the quality of the resulting image. That is not to say a camera that offers a 30x zoom lens would have bad quality images, it just means that a camera offering a 5x zoom with an f1.8 lens would produce a much sharper brighter image.  


There was a time when the only option builders or engineers would have was to purchase the cheapest possible compact camera available, in the knowledge that it would have to be replaced as soon as it would inevitably break due to the conditions under which it was being used. Enter the rugged compact camera, the Nikon AW130 in particular has eliminated the need to constantly replace broken cameras by offering a shock-proof, crush-proof, water-proof, freeze-proof camera that combined durability with quality images and other useful features such as GPS tagging and WIFI functionality for easy upload of images to smart devices. 

This style of camera then became a must have for the highly active user; hikers, divers and climbers began to cling to the rugged camera allowing them to capture amazing images of their hobbies.


The GoPro has taken the idea of a rugged action camera and changed the way the world views cameras. Want to go sky-diving, kayaking, surfing and capture your unique view of the world? Or maybe you want to see what your dog gets up to when he runs off into the trees in the woods? The GoPro was made for you. Since the inception of the GoPro many other brands have produced alternatives depending on what you are looking for in an action camera. While GoPro had given the genre a name, DJI has reinvented it and created a whole new experience with the Osmo Pocket and their range of drones.


Hopeful snappers wishing to take photos of the wildlife in their garden or the lucky ones heading off on a summer safari, or, indeed, loving parents hoping to get the perfect image of their pride and joy, scoring a try and dreaming of being the next Paul O’Connell, need look no further than the bridge camera. The bridge camera is essentially a compact camera in the body of a DSLR. Primarily offering large zoom capabilities, this genre is ideal for people not wishing to get into photography in a big way, but needing something that will allow them to get in close where physically moving closer to the subject is not possible. The sacrifice here is in the quality and depth of the images and the ability to customise the camera at a later date. But the benefits lie in getting huge zooms at a fraction of the cost of a similar zoom range in a DLSR lens. The Nikon P900, for example, has an incredible optical zoom of 83x making any shot a possibility.


The staple of the camera world is the DSLR, starting at prices close to €450 and ranging up to €6995, there is a DSLR camera for all levels and abilities. The main benefit of going with a DSLR is the ability to customise your camera at a later stage as you improve as a photographer. Whether it is portraiture, landscapes, sports or event photography a DSLR gives you as much or as little control over your images as you wish. Higher models offer more speed and more control over the camera. Beginner cameras sacrifice speed and manual capabilities but allow you to learn the trade at affordable prices. The DSLR is also a very tradable camera, where various compact cameras are difficult to sell second hand, an interchangeable lens system is desirable to new users, therefore allowing you to grow as a photographer by trading up when you feel the time is right. Another main advantage of these kinds of cameras is the range of lenses one can choose to take particular styles of photos. From portraits to sports and everything in between, there is lens to suit each budget and genre.


This relatively new genre to the camera world, the mirrorless camera has combined the benefits of the DSLR while remaining compact enough to carry everywhere. Various brands have approached this new style of camera in different ways. Olympus has focused all their efforts on their range, while Canon has used this system to complement their DSLR range perfectly. Sony has decided to look after the multimedia creator with their range of mirrorless cameras, which provide stunning video capabilities alongside stunning image capture. The mirrorless camera has become the main staple for bloggers, vloggers and travel photographers, where the size of their camera is a priority along with getting stunning videos as well as photographs. 

Whatever type of photographer you are, there is a camera for you. If you are unsure or what to get feel free to give us a call or  pop in store and we will gladly find the right solution for you.