Best Cameras: Why It’s Important To Know What You’re Buying
Camera technology is getting more and more sophisticated; it’s getting more and more refined to the point that it’s getting harder and harder for the first-time buyer to decide which one they should choose. But each camera from each brand has slight differences that can make a big difference on what you get out of it. Some companies might tweak their autofocus speed, whilst others will focus on improving the amount of megapixels. Others will add a myriad of eye-catching features, such as colour creators or a customisable aperture. Still others might come up with a silent shutter speed, which would be perfect for intense portrait shoots. This comprehensive list seeks to closely analyse what the best cameras out there are offering at the moment, and will look to save you from making an expensive mistake, or perhaps help you discover that previously unnoticed gem that will last you a lifetime. From Canon to Nikon, Pentax to Olympus, we exhaust the possibilities, ironing out the poor from the very best.
Best Cameras of 2014
For many – including ourselves – Olympus’ EM1 is the complete package. One must always be wary of using the phrase ‘complete package’ when reviewing a product because, of course, we may have said the same thing ten years ago about another camera. And then, as often happens, technological innovation advances and what was once seen as the complete package was, in fact, just another piece of brilliance on the path towards something even more special. Nothing can ever really be termed the complete package because you can be sure that something else will eventually come along that is even better. But, you know what? We’re gonna stick our necks out on this one and say that this really is as good as it gets.
If Olympus’ EM1 could be tasted, if it was edible, we’d say it was the finest, juiciest, most succulent steak that was on offer. The point here is that when describing cameras, you’re limited to adjectives that are somewhat less tantalising than the ones you would use to describe food to a starving person. What a camera enthusiast really likes to hear is technical, borderline esoteric jargon they understand. They want to know what a camera can do, whether it makes use of the latest technology; whether it breaks new autofocus ground, whether or not it has a micro 4/3 camera body, an f.20 aperture or In-Body image stabilisation.
Not everyone who buys a camera wants to know all this. The main thing, for any of us (or, at least, most of us) is how good the image quality is. Well, let’s just say that the EM1 boasts better image quality than Nikon’s flagship D300, a camera noted by many as being among the best. It comes with 16 MP Live MOS Image Sensor along with a super fast AF Sensor for double quick autofocus speeds. The IQ is newly improved for sharper, crisper results, as is the ISO.
Olympus themselves claim that the EM1 is the start of a new revolution in photography (after they themselves started a previous one with the EM5), and it’s hard to argue when you take a look at the Colour Creator feature they’ve added. This function allows you to adjust in-camera the hue and chroma, which you can then preview in real time. It also provides twelve art filters that have been improved by the addition of new variations and inventive effects. It’s a camera that’s pushing the possibilities of your imagination, encouraging you to be creative and innovative with your shots. It’s designed for professionals, enthusiasts and even amateurs alike. It aims to be bold and encourages you to think big.
The camera also looks great and exudes coolness. It’s small, easy to carry and easy to hold. It’s easy to use, fluid, fast, and responsive. With a 4/3 micro body, it’s more compact than its rivals, yet it’s easy to hold, steady on the grip, and comes with a solid body that also looks slick and smart. It’s also dustproof, waterproof, and freeze proof. Moreover, you have more control over its features and functions, including the ability to adjust the shutter speed and aperture. With On-Chip Phase detection, any lens you choose to use will conform seamlessly, giving you rapid speed and accuracy each time. If you want to be creative with your photography, and if you aim to be the best, this one comes highly recommended.
Image quality is at the heart of Canon’s 5D here, coming as it does with a 22.3 MP full-frame CMOS sensor side by side with a DIGIC 5+ image processor. Such technical refinement may add weight to the overall price, but it also lends greater detail and clarity to the images. Tonalities as a result are beautifully articulated and gradations retain their natural essence. In short, it produces brilliant colours, a hallmark of Canon.
This 5D has been advertised as being ideal for portraits, and this is true for a few reasons, among which is the silent shutter mode. Not many cameras offer this, so it’s a real selling point of the 5D. Even in non-silent mode, it’s quiet. It’s compatible with a range of wide-angle EF lenses that offer you the chance to be as creative as you like, and with the addition of a full-frame sensor, there is now more control over depth of field.
The controls are simple and intuitive, and with an ISO sensitivity that extends up to 25,600, its versatility is subsequently evidenced by the fact that it can deliver excellent results in low lighting scenarios, something which is aided by a low-light focusing ability that has variously been described as being state-of-the-art, and which is considerably better than that offered by the 7D.
It comes with an LCD viewfinder that helps with your framing, and is remarkably small and lightweight for a DSLR. With Wi Fi and a built-in GPS, which is capable of finding your exact location and logging it along with the route you take, you are afforded the chance to easily and quickly transfer your images. It can also shoot full HD video and comes replete with manual controls that allow you to create your own cinematic aesthetics.
The D5300 comes with 24.2 megapixels, built-in Wi Fi and GPS, a 39-Point High-Definition auto-focus system, and an expend 4 processor.
Nikon have always delivered what for all photography enthusiasts is a prerequisite – exceptional image quality. But here they combine it with the kind of up-to-date technology and accessories that camera users expect and take for granted these days, such as in-built Wi Fi and the ability to remotely control the camera. With one eye on the future and one eye firmly on what they’ve always done best, Nikon here have come up with a fine compact camera that not only keeps pace with the competition, but which pushes the boundaries wonderfully without ever sacrificing what makes them great in the first place.
Equipped with an innovative 3.2 inch swivelling Vari-Angle display, the D3500 allows you to be inventive and creative with your compositions, offering you the chance to explore and experiment with fresh pictorial possibilities. Coupled with the 24.2 MP image sensor, you are afforded there chance to produce photo’s that are crisp, stunning, and which capture the imagination. The innovative image sensor adds up to an enviable image quality that raises the bar for compact cameras. You can also record HD videos with the images produced being detailed, sharp, and as close to a cinematic look as possible in a camera.
indeed, compact cameras are now much more refined than ever, and Nikon’s byword would appear to be ‘look small, think big.’ The 24 mega pixels are certainly big, and the swivelling Vari-Angle display is something of a huge deal. So, whilst the camera retains a small, lightweight nature, its actual components and features a really hefty achievement.
Recently acquired by Ricoh, this stocky, ergonomically designed compact camera from Pentax comes with with 24 Mega pixels, the ability to shoot at 8 frames per second, Eye-fi wireless, selectable anti-aliasing filter, real time scene analysis, as well as a Pentaprism Optical Viewfinder. It is also weatherproof, with a sealed magnesium alloy body, and is shockproof and dustproof.
Coming with what is a world’s first in the form of a selectable anti-aliasing filter, Pentax’s K-3 looks to set a new precedent among compact cameras. The selectable anti-aliasing filter, which looks to guard against aliasing, is something that Pentax’s competitors haven’t caught up with yet. It’s certainly something new and and exciting, and it’s just one of a few technological innovations that lie beneath the surface of this relatively unassuming piece of machinery.
Coupled with the filter, the K-3 comes with 24 megapixels that look to achieve stunning high resolution imagery. The megapixels come in an APS-C sensor, which means that Pentax have stuck to their tried and tested methodology of being practical first and foremost. The quality of their sensor is still very good, and in any case, the size of the camera and lenses don’t require a step-up to full frame. Instead, Pentax have worked diligently at improving and refining razor-sharp image quality. Now without the anti-aliasing filter, the improvement to the images is noticeable.
Pentax have a habit for tweaking their products the right way, as opposed to clogging them up with eye-catching features that many camera enthusiasts struggle to get their heads around. They don’t go for the big drawers. Instead, they always work methodically, always thinking practically and sensibly. The K-3 sees an improvement to the Shake Reduction, another example of a supposed minor change that we take for granted. Moreover, the dynamic range is better, as is the lens release button. Again, it might sound like only a minor improvement, but when you consider the amount of complaints regarding such an operation on the K-5, an eradication of what many perceived was a nuisance is worth celebrating.
The product has been described by the company as ‘complete,’ and though many of us may argue on this front, it is as close to completion as you could probably want for a price that is lower than their previous model. With weather sealing that helps you to shoot in extreme conditions, and the ability to capture H.254 quality video, it certainly boasts an array of features and functions that sets it apart from the competition. There is little left – if anything – that another, more expensive compact camera can do that the K-3 can’t, which is surely the best thing this scribe can say about it. It does everything a photographer wants from their machine, it comes with rapid auto-focus, as well as the offer of simplistic manual focus, and is compatible with the K mount which gives you the option of using any number of the millions of lenses that Pentax have ever released. If it’s incredible value for money you’re looking for, you won’t find a better deal than this one.
Canon’s PowerShot 330 comes with built-in Wi Fi, which gives you the chance to quickly upload your photographs to social media sites or swiftly email them across to your clients. The Wi Fi is enhanced by the addition of the Canon Camera Window, an app which is free to download and which allows you to upload your pictures practically anywhere on the net via an iOS or Android device. It also comes with Canon iMAGE GATEWAY, which allows you to save your pictures to an online photo album ready to share whenever you want. It’s a great way of keeping in touch with friends whilst you’re away from home, sharing quality images of the remarkable places you’re visiting.
Image quality is paramount, of course, and the images you’ll be transferring will be of a gorgeous quality thanks to the 12.1 megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor that allows you to capture crisp, detailed compositions, and which has been primed specifically for compact cameras so that you get the best out of it. It’s assisted by an improved light-capturing feature that reduces noise in your images. Whilst there will still be some noise, there certainly won’t be too much that it takes something away from your photographs, and with the introduction of the Canon 10x Zoom Lens, this compact camera is capable of producing excellent optical performance.
The Canon 10x Zoom Lens can encompass a 24-240 mm range of view, a remarkable scope when you consider how small this compact camera is. But it’s a testament to Canon’s enduring diligence and technical innovation that they have been able to make this work, making the PowerShot 330 remarkably versatile, with the powerful capability of shooting wide-angle subjects, as well broad landscapes more suited for a telephoto lens.
With curved edges and a metal body, the 330 is easy to handle. But it’s still a handheld camera at heart, and as such it is susceptible to blurry images when you’re taking photographs on the move. For this reason it comes with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer, a feature which, by utilising lens-shift technology, is able to lessen the impact of shaky human hands. There’s little worse than our cameras moving slightly as we’re about to take a shot; it can ruin a photo, destroy a moment that won’t return. Canon here have made handheld photography that little more agreeable, compensating for camera movement. The end result is a steadier, more refined photograph. The Stabilizer also provides a timely boost for anyone shooting in low-lighting.
Overall, the Canon 330 is a perfect size and is able to fit into your pocket easily. It comes in either black, pink, or grey, and as well as coming with numerous manual settings that are easy to adjust, it also has the option of an auto setting. With 12.1 megapixels and a lens that starts at 24 mm, close-up shots will be beautiful and with the optical image stabilizer, you won’t need to worry about a little jerky movement ruining the moment. Well-priced and with innovative Wi Fi technology, this camera is ideal for anyone looking for a real quality bargain.