Compact Camera System Buying Guide
What is a Compact Camera System?
A compact system camera is a smaller, lighter camera that has an interchangeable lens. It does not have the mirror box or optical viewfinder both of which are common features in a regular DSLR camera. Because they do not have those features, the cameras are much more compact and portable. Users still get the advantages of the manual DSLR with focus and exposure but in a smaller product.
All CSCs have large image sensors that produce high quality photographs that will please even a seasoned photographer. The manual controls include shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance as well. The do come with automatic modes for those who want to just point and take pictures without thinking about it. Some CSCs have special effects and filters that encourage user creativity.
There are many things you want to look for when you are shopping for a high quality compact camera system. Below we have outlined the features you want to look for when you are using the camera for a specific use.
- Best Beginners Camera – If you just plan on taking pictures of scenes and don’t want to mess with shutter speed, aperture or other functions the junior models will be a good fit. The style of these junior models is simple and easy to use. Most have physical controls that are only minimum specs but there are typically some fun features in there as well like filters, etc. A junior model of CSC is a good place to start. One csn always upgrade later on to a more advanced model.
- Best Camera for video Shooters – If you are looking for a camera that works for videographers, look for models with microphone ports, a headphone port, and the ability to output content without having to sacrifice anything. 4K video is being incorporated into some models of CSCs that record at a higher resolution than HD only cameras usually do. The cameras that have 4K are designed specifically for videography.
- Best Cameras for a DSLR Backup – If you own a DSLR see if the lenses that you use with it can be used with the CSCs you are interested in as well. A lot of the larger camera manufacturers have released an adaptor that csn be purchased that allow the lenses to be interchangeable.
- Best Cameras for DSLR like control – If you like having a lot of controls to experiment with, you will want to look for models that have lots of physical controls. These are located around the outside and footplate of the camera. You also want to look for customizable function buttons that will provide the user with access to the settings that you want to use the most. Some models of CSCs have hot shoes and other features such as grips.
- Best Camera to use with older lenses – If you have been a photographer for any length of time you will more than likely have a multitude of older lenses to work with that you used with the original camera. You can use older lenses on your CSC with the right adapter. You want to find models of compact camera systems that have a variety of compatible adaptors.
- Best Cameras for Image Editing – With the Android OS available for CSCs, the ability to do image editing is ready to explode within these small, compact cameras. Even if it’s through 3rd party apps.
- Best Cameras for Traveling – If you do a lot of traveling or you need a camera that is easily portable, the CSC is your camera. It offers smaller body sizes and lenses that are perfect for portability. There can be a large difference between a telephoto zoom lens for the DSLR and one for the CSC. If you plan on being a traveler, keep this in mind and look for CSCs that do not have a lot of heavy lenses to carry around.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you are looking around at the different choices. The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your choices and will help you decide on the right CSC.
- What kind of photographs will you be taking most often? – Do you want a camera to take nighttime pictures with or are you looking for something to carry around casually? Depending on what you want to do with your camera that will determine what kind you choose. If you will be doing a lot of traveling, consider long zooms that will allow you to get closer to your subject without having to be physically closer.
- What Kind of Camera Do You Want to Carry? – Portability is very important to some users because they do a lot of traveling and don’t want to lug around heavy equipment. Others don’t care about carrying one or even two cameras around to get all of their favorite pictures. Don’t forget to consider accessories as well such as additional flashes, adapters for the older lenses and more. Decide what you want to get and then look at the different cameras that offer those features.
There are several factors that will ultimately determine which camera you end up choosing. There are a lot of different categories of CSC for you to choose from. We’ve outlined them below so you can tell the difference better.
- Ultra-compact – Ultra compact cameras are small and light and have limited zoom range. They sometimes have touch screens and built in sharing options for social media as well. These small CSCs are easy to carry around in a bag or purse.
- Travel Zoom – The travel zoom CSC is the perfect pocket sized camera that has the ability to have a long range zoom. It usually has built in GPS and/or WI-Fi. The travel zoom cameras have the ability for a little bit of manual exposure control.
- Super Zoom – Super zoom compact camera systems have very long range zooms and large rear LCDs where you can see the images that have been taken. Many of these super zoom models have electronic viewfinders and full manual exposure controls as well. They have a design that is very similar to the traditional DSLR.
- Rugged – Rugged compact camera systems are waterproof, shockproof and cold proof. They are very rugged and durable and are perfect for outdoor photography whether casual or professional. They have smaller than normal LCDs, built in GPS and a mire industrial looking design with large buttons. Their zoom range tends to be relatively limited compares to all the other features they have.
- Enthusiast – This camera offers built-in Wi-FI and/or GPS, large rear displays that are often articulated, fast, good quality zoom lens and full manual exposure. The accessory ports handle extra flashes and other photography tools. The high quality construction allows the user to relax when handling this camera and just enjoy the features it offers. It is perfect for the outdoor photographer who wants a lot of features that make taking pictures even easier.
Having a great digital camera is important if you love taking pictures. Compact camera systems come in all types and styles as we have shown above. You can find the model that would be the best for you by using the information that we provided in the buyer’s guide and the reviews and seeing which one fits your personal needs the best.
Having the right information makes sorting through all of the styles and types much easier. It’s important to know what you need your camera for and the features you want it to have before you start shopping so you choose a camera that has the features you need.
You will be able to make a confident decision that you will be pleased with and have a camera that allows you to take the pictures you want to take.