Camera buying guide

Many cell phones come with decent cameras with high megapixels, like the Samsung S6 or the iPhone 5s. These cameras are good for a quick point and shoot when out and about, but suffer when it comes to zooms and other capabilities. However, cell phone cameras can rival some of the point and shoot cameras on the market right now.

The question arises, “What is better than my camera on my phone for more professional style photos?”

This is where you enter the world of DSLR. DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Meaning the camera uses better sensors, optics, and a memory card to record the image.

There are many options to look at when it comes to DSLRs. You can start out with an entry level camera and move all the way up to a professional grade camera. Nikon and Canon are just two of a few companies that make DSLRs for the consumers. This guide will be looking at the those two companies.

Entry level

Good entry level cameras are Nikon and Canon since they offer cameras that are easy for a novice photographer to use. The Nikon D3300 and the Canon EOS SL1 are the way to go. You have the cheapness in price; Nikon at $499 and Canon at $499 through You can find cheaper prices around the internet with rebates happening all the time or with bundles that come with bags, memory cards, and other lenses.

The D3300 is the newer of the two and comes with 24.2 megapixels vs the SL1’s 18 megapixels. The Nikon shoots 1 FPS (frames per second) faster than the Canon at 5 FPS vs 4 FPS, making the Nikon slightly better for sports photography. As for ease of use, the Canon does come with a touch screen. Both cameras offer HD (high definition) video recording.

Moving up to the cameras with more options available are the Nikon D7200 and the Canon 70D.

Both come in around $1000 with a basic kit lens. These offer better sensors than the entry level cameras. This allows you to up the ISO. The ISO setting is how light sensitive your camera is. 100 ISO means it is not so sensitive and as you move up, the camera performs better in low light areas. One problem with upping the ISO is the noise that happens in the photo. The noise is the graininess you may see in your photographs. These cameras allow you use higher than the entry level cameras without much grain, to a point.

The Canon shoots at 20 MP while the Nikon shoots at 24.2 MP. Yet again the Canon comes with a touch screen while the Nikon does not. The screen on the Canon also rotates out for you to shoot low or high without looking through the viewfinder. The Nikon offers more autofocus points (51 vs 19) and comes with two slots for your memory cards.

Now a full frame camera comes with a 35mm format sensor whereas the other cameras in this article has a crop sensor which is anywhere from 1.5x to 1.6x smaller.

Canon offers the 6D ($1400) and Nikon with the D610 ($1900). In low light, the 6D outperforms the D610 with an ISO reach of 102,400 vs 25,600. The Nikon again is at 24mp while the Canon is at 20mp. The Nikon is a better fit for those who want actions shots with 39 auto focus points for quick focusing. Canon, as mentioned, has a higher ISO range making it better for those who want to shoot in low light environments.

All cameras mentioned in this buying guide have removable lenses. Some may find themselves out growing their kit lens thinking that they need a new camera to take better photos. Slapping on a new glass (lens) will greatly change your images. However, that will be another buying guide for a different day.

Regardless of the camera you use, it always comes down to practice. Taking pictures of any and everything can help improve your skills as a photographer and help you decide on what your style is so that you can find a suitable camera for you.

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