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Now that you know the various types of compact cameras out there, perhaps you have an inkling of what you really need. Otherwise, or even so, you may find the following few guiding questions helpful.

Are you satisfied with your current camera?

For many of us, that would be a smartphone camera, or a basic point-and-shoot camera. If you already find it adequate enough for all your needs, then save the money for something else instead! Otherwise, read on.

Why do you need a new camera?

Is it because you find that your indoor or night shots turn out crappy without the flash? Or is your camera too slow that it can’t capture the proper moments? In that case, a premium camera or mirrorless camera may suit your needs. Don’t get a superzoom in this case; with its slow lens, it’s really not meant for shooting indoors.

Or, do you want to take shots of nature? Or are you about to travel overseas and want a versatile camera that can capture anything near or far? Then, the superzoom camera or the mirrorless camera may be for you (though a large lens may be really expensive).

How much do you value practicality and portability over image quality?

A mirrorless camera can be exciting and really versatile, but having to change lens every now and then can be a hassle, especially once the novelty wears off. You may want to opt for a premium camera instead, which usually comes with a lens that has a wide aperture across its entire zoom range, while with a zoom range that’s usually sufficient for most intents and purposes.

However, a mirrorless camera probably gets you better image quality, dollar-for-dollar. For example, the Sony RX100 Mk III sells for about S$1,000, whereas a Sony α5000 or a Samsung NX3000 mirrorless camera goes for less, while offering a much larger sensor size. If you read Buyfromwhere regularly, you’ll sometimes see a mirrorless camera going for S$400 or even lower, and image quality-wise, you can’t get anything better than that for the price.

Do you need ‘bokeh’ in your photos?

Ever seen photographs where the foreground is in sharp focus whereas the rest of the image are blurred, or out of focus? That’s called the bokeh effect. It’s more prominent with a larger image sensor and larger aperture, and you most probably need a mirrorless camera with a APS-C sensor or larger in order to enjoy such an effect. Of course, some smartphone cameras these days, like the HTC One (M8), are able to add such effects via software as well.

Hopefully, these questions would have helped you in making your decision. By focusing on a particular category, you’ll be able to do the necessary research (via Google, perhaps) on that specific category. Of course, there’s still numerous models within a particular category to choose from, and sometimes the specification sheets can be difficult to understand. Thus, on the next part of this series, we’ll explain some of the things that’s really relevant to you when choosing between several models.

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