Camera Buying Guide: DSLR, Mirrorless and Point and Shoot

A camera is a wonderful piece of equipment that will capture the most precious moments in your life. If you’ve never purchased a camera, or if you haven’t purchased one for many years, you’re probably unsure of what to get. After all, there are hundreds of options and terms to confuse the most seasoned shoppers. Stick with us and we’ll walk you through the Upsie camera buying guide for digital cameras.

What is a DSLR camera?

DSLR means digital single-lens reflex camera. It’s a type of camera that novice and professional photographers use. Inside the camera body is a mirror that reflects light into the viewfinder so you can see what you’re shooting.
All major camera manufacturers including Canon, Nikon and Sony make multiple models of DSLR cameras. But, to make it more confusing, other brands like Panasonic, Sunpak and JOBY manufacture them, too.

Should I get a Canon DSLR or Nikon DSLR?

At the end of the day, both Nikon cameras and Canon cameras are fantastic. They offer multiple lens options, accessories and are readily available in stores nationwide. Additionally, they compete closely, so their technology is very much on par
If you dig into the nitty gritty details, you’ll find that Nikon shoots slightly higher quality videos. Their full frame models are also slightly more expensive, though their entry level models are not. Furthermore, the design of the cameras are different, too, so they’ll feel different when you hold them. It’s hard to determine how they feel online, so a visit to the store might be in order to make the best decision for you.

What is a mirrorless camera?

As it sounds, a mirrorless camera does not have an internal mirror(s) like DSLR cameras do. Instead, the imaging sensor inside is consistently exposed to light. While point and shoot cameras are also technically “mirrorless,” they are not able to swap out lenses like full frame mirrorless cameras.

Who makes the best mirrorless camera?

Sony has a reputation of being the best mirrorless camera manufacturer. So it only makes sense that Tom’s Guide declared the best mirrorless camera for most people as the Sony Alpha a6100. It is a smaller camera that costs only $700 and comes with a kit lens.
If you’re looking for a professional grade, full frame camera, check out the Sony Alpha A7 III. It has great image stabilization and low light performance. But if you don’t want to dish out $2,000 for a camera body check out the Sony Alpha A7 II instead. It is still a fantastic camera, but is heavily discounted now that it’s predecessor is on the market.

What accessories should I get for my new camera?

Both DSLR and mirrorless cameras come with hefty price tags. That’s why, in our camera buying guide, we want to stress that it’s always best to protect your investment with a warranty. Most retailers will offer a warranty add on at checkout, but those are often overpriced and unreliable. Upsie warranties have smaller price tags, coverage for accidents and reliable service. Learn about their camera warranties.
Another accessory that you will want is a camera bag. A good bag will keep your camera safe during transportation and while it is stored. Additionally, you can keep all of your gear, extra batteries, etc. organized in your bag.
Tripods, gimbals and mics; camera gear and accessories are numerous. Do some research and decide which camera gear is best for you.

Are point and shoot cameras any good anymore?

Point and shoot cameras have come a long way over the last decade. While people once depended on them for all of their picture taking, smartphones have now taken over. But, in order for them to stay alive, they needed to innovate. Modern models vary greatly: you can get a $200 model that is no better than an older smartphone, but you can also get a model that is just as quality and expense as an entry level DSLR camera body.
PC Magazine named the Fujifilm X100V the best point and shoot camera. It’s very portable due to a smaller size, unlike full frame DSLR cameras. At the end of the day, point and shoot cameras still have their place but they are much less popular than they used to be.

Which phone has the best camera?

If you ask multiple people this question, you will get multiple answers. Why? Well, “best” is a subjective term, especially when it comes to smartphones. Loyal Apple users will likely say that the iPhone 11 camera is best. Android enthusiasts will have a different opinion. Yet, overall, many tech reviewers will agree that the Huawei P40 Pro has the best cameras. In fact, they are the best part about the phone, better than the hardware itself.
Unfortunately Huawei phones are not sold in the US. When it comes down to it, the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra both have absolutely fantastic cameras of equal quality. If you want a budget phone that still has a fantastic camera, get the Google Pixel 4a. It costs only $349 and has the latest technology.

I’m going on vacation; what is the best travel camera?

When on the go, you’ll want a light and portable camera. The Expert Vagabond named the Sony RX100 VA the best compact travel camera for this reason. It focuses quickly and can shoot great video. You can also purchase reasonably priced underwater housing so you can take pictures while swimming or snorkeling on vacation.

What is the overall best camera?

According to TechRadar, the Nikon Z6 is, “a brilliant full-frame all-rounder.” It’s an older mirrorless model, released in 2018, which means that the price has decreased but the quality has not. There are many lenses to choose from, and you can also use an adapter if there is a lens you want that is not in the Z line. Lastly, it shoots lovely 4k video.

Should I get a camera protection plan?

If you take one thing away from this camera buying guide, it is this: get a camera protection plan! Cameras are portable pieces of equipment that are prone to accidents such as drops and spills. No matter how safe you are, accidents happen and you should be prepared for them. Investing in a low-cost warranty from Upsie for your new, used or refurbished camera could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if your camera breaks. Also, Upsie protects lenses. So, if you think your lens is more in danger than your camera body, you can protect that, too.

How can I contact Upsie?

The Upsie customer service reps are available daily 9am-4pm at 1-877-844-7745. You can also shoot them an email any time or contact them on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn More About Camera Warranties:

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.