Compact cameras are exactly that... compact. Easy to throw in your bag or pocket to catch a super snap while out and about. Typically these are less pricey than their bigger counterparts, so they're perfect to take on a night out to capture some great party pics.
With features such as Wifi and Facebook/Instagram connectivity on some of the smart cameras, these are a great way to share your pictures. Often these compacts feature high-powered zooms and high pixel counts so they are certain to be a step up from your phone's camera.
Compact System Cameras (CSC) are also often referred to as mirror-less cameras and typically have high quality sensors for great image quality. These cameras offer most of the functions you'd expect from a DSLR camera with the compact portability of a compact camera, and allow you to purchase additional lenses for different situations.
If you think you might want to take your photography one step further this is a fantastic place to start as CSC's typically have both auto and manual modes which will help you develop all within the one camera.
Bridge Cameras are typically considered to fill the gap between compact cameras and DSLRs. Bridge cameras feature the same appearance of a top end DSLR with one fixed high power zoom lens, allowing the camera to remain light enough to carry around with ease.
Some Bridge cameras feature manual modes to give you full control over your settings, but all will have 'auto' and 'scene' modes to help get the best out of every situation.
DSLRs are the top dogs when it comes to image quality! The choice of the pro-photographer Digital SLR cameras feature a catalogue of fantastic features and manual settings as well as the ability to change lenses and with a vast number of choices available for each of the camera brands you'll a lens for every occasion. The idea that DLSRs were too big and heavy to carry around is a thing of the past too, with cameras such as the Canon 100D which is tiny at only 9cm tall and 11cm wide. Though to protect your camera you may want to consider our range of camera bags to accompany you on your journey into pro-photography.
Don't be fooled by the name, Action cameras aren't just for people that like to throw themselves off skyscrapers for fun, they are also fantastic for children to use, and in situations where you'd normally be afraid to take a normal camera. These Action cameras have features like waterproof and dustproof housing as well as shock proofing which means the camera will survive being dropped from small heights. So whether you're playing in the pool, going on a skiing trip, a day at the beach with the kids or just bungee jumping off the Grand Canyon, a tough camera will take almost everything you can throw at it.
Alongside the sensor the lens is arguably the most important part of the camera as it's the many pieces of glass that are built into your lens that are responsible for your image quality, zoom/focal length, depth of field and how well it will perform in low light.
You'll notice on all lenses there are a series of numbers; well these tell you a few things about your lens. The lower the first number the more wide-angle your lens is, and ultimately the more you can get in your photo. Traditionally wider lenses are best for landscapes, as they will capture the whole view, adversely the larger number refers to how far your lens is able to zoom, again in this case the higher the number the further away you'll be able to snap.
The second number is the aperture. The aperture controls 2 things; both the depth of field and the performance in low light. Without getting too techy the lower the number the more light the lens will let in, which in turn means better performance when it gets dark, and also means a shallower depth of field which creates the gorgeous blurred backgrounds that you find in professional photographs.
No matter which camera you chose to buy you'll need to buy a memory card to save your images on.
There are a few things to consider when buying a memory card, primarily the size of the card you need and the speed you need from it.
There's no definite answer as to how many pictures you can store on a memory card, because it's down to the file size of your pictures, which is determined by megapixels and the file type. If you take a relatively standard 16-megapixel jpeg as a guide you can expect the file to be approximately 4.8 megabytes which will mean:
4GB Card = 715 images
8GB Card = 1430 images
16GB Card = 2861 images
32GB card = 5722 images
The second thing to consider is the speed, this can be found on the packaging of your card, something along the lines of '24MB/s', which means that you can write 24megabytes per second to the card. In simple terms the faster you plan on taking pictures (example at a sporting event) the faster you want your card to be able to write these images, though for every day normal use it shouldn't be a worry.
The sensor is the part of your camera responsible for capturing and creating the image so it's safe to say it's relatively important. Whether it's a CCD sensor or a CMOS sensor each sensor type will have benefits over the others, but the key areas to consider with a sensor are the autofocus speed and accuracy, the quality of images the sensor can capture, and the size of the sensor. Our suggestion is to have a look at pictures produced with the camera online to see what each sensor is capable of and see which you prefer.
Tough cameras are not just for those that live an extreme life style, though they are also capable of taking almost anything even the most seasoned rock climber or deep sea diver can throw at them with some capable of operating at 60m depths underwater and -35degrees freezing conditions. With that in mind you should feel relatively safe handing over a tough camera to your child or husband as most will be shock and dust proof and will come with a degree of water protection, so you don't have to worry about a bit of sand, dirt or water getting anywhere it shouldn't.
You may have noticed your camera has a series of symbols on it and wondered what these mean. These are various shot modes, where the camera company has chosen the best settings for each situation to help you along the way.
Landscape mode - for taking pictures of beautiful scenery, this mode is designed to give you a very narrow aperture to get a massive depth of field to ensure everything is sharp in focus.
For taking pictures of action, this setting is designed to have a fast shutter speed to freeze all movement perfectly.
Shutter Speed Priority mode
This mode allows you to control the shutter speed on your camera, but the camera will take care of all of the other settings like ISO and aperture.
This mode will let your camera auto control shutter speed and aperture but give you control of all other settings.
for taking close up pictures, this mode is designed for taking pictures of smaller objects such as flowers or insects.
For taking pictures of beautiful scenery, this mode is designed to give you a very narrow aperture to get a massive depth of field to ensure everything is sharp in focus.
A mode for the pros, this gives you freedom to change all of the settings to suit any situation and create the perfect picture.
Aperture Priority mode
This mode allows you to control the aperture on your camera, but the camera will take care of all of the other settings like ISO and shutter speed.
Let the camera do the hard work and pick the perfect settings for every occasion.
For taking people pictures, this mode is designed to give you a nice sharp focus and beautiful blurred background.
There are a lot of things to consider when taking a portrait or selfie, though probably the most important is your lighting. Typically to separate your subject from the background you'll want them to be brighter, though be sure not to put them in direct dazzling sunlight or they'll be struggling not to squint, and your camera sensor may struggle with the contrasts.
Another thing to consider is the pose, one of our suggestions is for a head and shoulders portrait try to be looking slightly down on your subject, and adversely for a full length body shot try to get shoot from below waist height as it proportions the body to look taller and slimmer.
If you're looking for the perfect selfie be sure to go for one of the many cameras available with a flip-out screen so you can make sure you're getting your best side all in frame, and no duck faces!
Night-time photography can be a tough one to perfect. Quite often to try and capture enough light your camera will push the ISO so high that you're left with a very grainy image, or it will set a slow shutter speed which is when you'll get a frustrating blurry picture. The best way to combat this is to use a flash to light your subjects.
If you're looking to take a night-time landscape picture one essential piece of kit is a tripod, which will allow your camera to use a slower shutter speed to capture more light, without having to worry about the movement you'll create by holding the camera yourself.
In it's simplest form photography can be described as 'the capturing of light' so it's quite important to make the most out of lighting when possible. If you're happy using natural light then that's fantastic though there is still a lot to consider. Try not to let the light come straight on to your subject as it can look flat, instead try having the light come in from a slightly elevated angle just off to the side of your subject and you'll get a lovely contrasted portrait just like a pro.
The same theory applies when using flash. If you are using a flash on top of your camera that you are able to adjust the direction of then try and bounce the light off a white wall or ceiling so that it is coming in from an angle to create that contrast.
One common misconception is that a flash is only for when it is dark. If you're taking a portrait of someone being backlit by the sun then the bright background will silhouette your subject. In this instance, if you turn your flash on you it will light your subjects so that they better match the background.
Landscapes can be a tricky to master, but with a few simple tips you should be able to improve your landscapes easily. The first thing to consider is the framing of your picture. Always try to keep the horizon of your picture level.
Another thing to consider is 'the rule of thirds'. To put it simply this is where you mentally draw 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines in you frame, leaving you with 9 equal sized boxes (a bit like a noughts and crosses grid). The idea of doing this is to place your horizon on one of the horizontal lines to ensure the best possible composure to your photo. You may also want to consider using a polarising filter which can really enhance the colours in your picture, though be sure to get the right size filter to fit your best landscape lens.
Most cameras will have a landscape setting; this will typically narrow down your aperture to ensure everything is in focus.
For a great action shot you want a good fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of everybody in the shot. For these occasions some cameras will have an action or sport mode setting, but to get the best results you can try adjusting your shutter speed yourself if your camera has a manual mode which will give you full control of the photo. Remember though that a fast shutter speed will need a lot of light, so action shots in the dark can be particularly tricky unless your camera has a good ISO range, which is typically a trait of DSLR and high-end CSC cameras.
There are plenty of great ways to share your pictures with friends. Sites like Flickr and Imgur allow you to host photo albums for free online, while sites like Facebook, Instagram and Google+ allow you to share directly with your friends and even tag them in the pictures. If you plan on sharing your pictures directly online then one of our many smart cameras which come with either Wi-Fi or 3G to get your pictures straight online to whatever sharing website you chose, as quickly as you can take them.
"Great piece of kit"
This is NOT a scaled down version of other DSLRs. It is packed with the same features you would find in a full size body one. The touch screen is great especially if you are a smart phone user and are used to such things. Beware of changing settings with your nose though!! It can happen. This is a great entry level DSLR that is placed somewhere in between the 1000d and the 700d, although I would say that it has started a class of it's own. Brilliant quality pictures with the EF-S 18-55mm lens. Might be worth going for the other kit with the STM IS lens to help with shake but I have a tripod so I'm not too bothered and as I said, I am a beginner so this is just the right kit.
Pros: Easy handling due to the reduced size. Packed full of goodies. Easy to follow menus.
Cons: Not found any yet.
"What you think and more"
I am a complete novice and had bought this as I had read reviews it would be good for any beginner. I have this camera for around a week now, no problems. My dog had licked the lens and I was worried about this, photos still looked fine and I purchased a separate lens pen and this did a great job of cleaning the smudge up. Pictures look absolutely wonderful, the manual that comes with this and the amount of information on Canons website helps a great deal to help you play around with all the features you get.
I would recommend at least a 32gb card and something to carry this in or too keep it in whilst not in use to keep dust off it. All in all I cannot find fault so far with anything.
Pros: Easy to use auto features for beginners shot, Great manual to help learn some basics.
"This is a very good camera, easy to set up and use"
As with most Sony products this is very good, a nice chunky camera that can be held with two hands. Loads of features and a terrific zoom ideal for birds or any animal that you cannot get close to. It's just a great bit of kit.
Pros: Far better than mobile phone camera and you can hold it steady.
"Awesome piece of kit"
I use this on my Radio Controlled helicopter, my Motorcycles and my Radio Controlled trucks, The build quality is excellent and it is very simple to use, The video and sound quality is the best I've ever seen in any of the extreme conditions I play in, A must have camera to have if you want to share your fun.
Pros: Waterproof, ease of use, build quality, looks great, loads of extras, video quality, sound quality, functions.
Bought this camera as an amateur with cameras, I wanted a camera that will not be out of date with features in several years time, this certainly delivers that. With plenty of picture options and an excellent lens, I'm taking pictures that look professional in every way, also very cool if you have an iPhone or iPad as I can sync it through Wi-Fi and get my pics straight away.
Pros: Stylish, easy to use, excellent pictures.
"More than just a point and shoot"
This little camera is an absolute gem. The Fuji X100s has the appearance of an old rangefinder style camera but has an aps-c size sensor that you would usually find in a DSLR. The top and bottom plates are metal and all of the controls just feel right. It's the first camera that I've had for a long time that puts a smile on my face every time that I pick it up. The fixed focal length of the lens and Fuji designed XTrans sensor mean the image quality is stunning. The hybrid viewfinder is great.
If you want a pocket camera with a zoom lens don't buy this. If you want a top quality travel compact which will complement (or possibly replace) your DSLR kit this, in my opinion, is the one to buy.
Pros: Image quality, build quality, hybrid viewfinder.
Cons: Not for everyone.
This camera is amazing, I took it on a day trip the other day and took some amazing images of birds of prey, I took some close ups too and the images are as good quality as you would get from an slr!
I'm very impressed with this camera and would highly recommend it, I'm still getting used to using it as I'm so used to holding a bigger camera and this is a small handheld, no peeking through an eye piece as the image is live on the screen. The only downfall is if its a really bright sunny day and the light is reflecting on the screen, it makes it a little hard to see if you have your image in focus but otherwise very easy to use.
Pros: Light weight and small, professional looking images.
For any special occasion, you want something sleek and stylish as well as great quality to capture every moment. With it's fantastic image quality and compact size, it's the perfect handbag camera, and even more perfect that it fits inside the handbag you've already picked for your best friend's wedding!
For picnics with the girls to dinners out, you want a camera that is versatile but also timeless. The Canon SX600 is just that, incredible quality, compact enough to fit into your bag and with x18 superzoom, what more could you ask for?
For your next tropical getaway, don't forget to take the GoPro 3 or the Panasonic TZ55. GoPro isn't just a boys toy, you can take incredible beach action shots as well as bring out your inner action chick, and the Panasonic has a great flip around screen, perfect for those pool side selfies.
When you're in the party mood and getting in the celebration spirit, you need a camera that can keep up with you, the Nikon S9700 is brilliant for this, having HD video and to capture all those hilarious antics as well having wifi so you can instantly share your snaps!
Whether you're helping plan the birthday of the year or just wanting to capture every moment of your best friend's birthday, the Sony H400 is the ideal camera, with great superzoom to capture every detail and a popup flash for wherever the night takes you!
For Christmas, you want a camera that will give you those romantic shots so you can capture those cosy nights in. The Canon 100D is the perfect camera for capturing those beautiful winter scenes, with 18 megapixels and dreamy background blur