In today's age the notion of photography has become extremely accessible and almost effortless. Images and videos seem to be the hottest way for brands to market themselves, professional photographers have become a sought-after commodity and family and friends seem to be engaging with each other more and more through images and videos of shared moments. Constant advancements in technology combined with the rising use of smartphone cameras means that the digital camera market is constantly changing. These somewhat endless changes mean that defining the best camera in the market is a tough task.
Before buying, we recommend that you focus on your personal needs. Is your camera for work? for day to day use? or will you just be using it a few weeks of the year? Once you know why you want a digital camera and when you'll be using one you can move forward with the deciding factors. Cameras can vary in size, image quality, ease of use, value for money and professional features such as sensors and zoom quality. We have taken all of these important factors into account and compiled a list of the best cameras available on the market so take a moment to go over it before rushing to the electronics store.
Nikon pride themselves on developing the best sensors for entry level cameras and this is certainly the case with the Nikon D3400. This easy to use and lightweight product specifically for beginners comes with a built-in guide mode that gives the user a smooth introduction in real time. The image (24.2 megapixels) and video(1080/60p) quality mean that budding photographers can capture images in a broad range of outdoor and indoor settings and the ISO range from 100-25600 allows for great results. Reviewers claim that the lens is faster than that of other cameras in its price range and the battery life is excellent. There is snap-bridge Bluetooth connectivity (a new addition) but still no WIFI meaning that although you can transfer and share images on up to 5 devices, the process can be slow and images must be small. The Nikon D3400 has 11 AF points however despite this, users may come across difficulties in focusing images due to the small autofocus points in the view finder. For under $500 we strongly recommend the Nikon D3400 for those starting out on their photography journey but would recommend experts to look elsewhere.
Best High-End Camera: Panasonic LX10
We found the Panasonic LX10 to be the best high end 'point and shoot' camera that slips straight into your pocket. In comparison to other compact cameras in the market, the images are brighter and more colorful due to the 1 inch, 20 Megapixel sensor and the lens is fast to focus with 3x (24-72mm) optical zoom lens performance. Unfortunately, there is no view finder however Panasonic have made room for a pop-up flash. Unlike the Nikon D3400, the Panasonic LX10 has touchscreen interface with a 3.0-inch touch monitor that also tilts upward 180 degrees allowing you to capture the perfect selfie. Users can also enjoy high quality 4K videos and what's more, there is a feature that allows you to pull 4K frames at full HD resolution. It also comes fully equipped with USB mobile charging. The slick and stylish finish of the camera means that although it is aesthetic, there is a lack of grip and some users may find it fiddlier and challenging to use. We've found the Panasonic LX10 to stamp on the myth that you need a big camera with a changeable lens to capture the perfect shot and at $548 we couldn’t agree more.
Best Underwater Camera: Nikon W300
Extreme weather conditions can make for the best photographs and the fact that the Nikon W300 is not only waterproof but freeze proof, shockproof and dustproof excites us. Unlike the cameras reviewed above, the NikonW300 is less aesthetically pleasing but this is made up for in practical functionality. Although this camera lacks higher end features for more advanced photographers it prices at less than $400 making it one of the most versatile and value for money waterproof cameras on the market. The Nikon W300 comes armed with extra capabilities such as high-resolution photos, a 6- megapixel sensor, 24-120mm equivalent lens, 4K videos and more. There are a variety of extra features such as Wi-Fi, bluetooth, GPS and eCompass, meaning that photos can be transferred and uploaded via the snapbridge app. We did find the directions to be confusing as to how to upload and transfer images so its best to consult Nikon's site if you are a first-time user.
Best Budget DSLR: Nikon D3300
We crown the Nikon D3300 as the best budget DSLR around. The camera's 24.2 MP format sensor comes with a low pass filter allowing photographers to capture even more detail. There is also an ISO of 100-12800 (expandable to 25600) meaning that high quality images are easily produced. The camera also takes 5 frames per second continuous shooting and has a 3x optical zoom. We did notice however that like with the Nikon D3400, there is also a small and dim viewfinder with small focus points which may make it difficult to focus. The Nikon D3300 is easy to use and does what it says on the tin. It takes high quality images and has excellent battery life. There is no doubt it's a fine choice for a competent camera however it doesn’t come with WIFI or Bluetooth making it more difficult to transfer and share images.
Best Point and Shoot Under $500: Cannon Powershot G9x
The Cannon Powershot G9X is another point and shoot camera with advanced features that manages to slide into your pocket. This camera seems to be Cannon's response to the rise in popularity of camera phones due to its size and easy to use settings whilst still producing impeccable images even in low light due to the new DIGIC 7 image processor. Cannon have reduced the shooter size whilst ensuring the camera is capable of capturing high resolution images with high-speed continuous shooting (up to 8fbs) in both Raw and JPEG. The size however does come at a price. We found the battery to be poor however the camera does come with in camera USB charge option as well as a wall charger for spare batteries. The video quality is also on the poorer side (1080p) but then again, it's is hard to believe that someone looking at pocket point and shoot cameras would want 4K video quality. Like with the Panasonic LX10 there is a built-in pop up flash, a 3.0-inch touch panel and a tilt screen so making the Panasonic LX10 the best point and shoot in the market for less than $500.
As we mentioned earlier, the digital camera market is constantly changing. Research shows that Americans are more likely to pick up their smartphone to take a picture rather than using (let alone purchasing) a digital camera. Therefore, camera companies seem to be developing technology like crazy in order to sway photographers away from camera phones and the market is tough. We tried to make your decision that much easier and reviewed 5 cameras in the current market. We reviewed cameras in terms of value for money, ease of use, special features and image quality in order to share with you a fair picture of what each of the five cameras has to offer. The Nikon D3400 and the Panasonic LX10 were our overall favorites due to their features being advanced enough to excite us whilst remaining user friendly. However, if owning an expensive camera and a smartphone seems excessive we would recommend the Nikon D3300 for a quality digital camera that is easy on the purse strings.