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Best Superzoom Camera: All You Need To Know About Lens Power

Analogue aperture black and white classic superzoom cameras

With so many cameras on the market these days, it can be a daunting task to figure out which purchase is the best superzoom camera for you and your personal requirements.

How do you know if the camera is made from quality parts that are sourced appropriately and will actually function like the product description when it shows up on your door? How can you trust a company you have never even heard of and have zero experience with? Where do you even start with so many cameras on the market?

Well, luckily for you, we have gathered a list of our top five picks for superzoom cameras on the market this year. When it comes to finding the best superzoom cameras for you, there are many things to consider, such as your shooting style, your photography or videography needs and of course, your budget. The below list is a mixture of sizes, styles and prices, but the one thing they have in common is quality.

We hope this dutifully researched information matches your prospective superzoom camera dreams with the ‘perfect-for-you’ camera that you will cherish for years to come.

Comparison Table

How We Chose Our Products

Vintage camera on brown wooden table

Image source: Pixabay.com

When we choose our top picks for a popular product online, especially such an important purchase like a superzoom camera, we search for one key factor: transparency.

We only choose products that offer a completely transparent purchase experience, from the time you click ‘search’ in your Google bar, to the moment the product arrives on your doorstep. We value your opinions and finances and take the proper steps to ensure our best of’s truly are that —the best of.

Other key factors we considered when composing this list are previous customer reviews (product history), the product quality in correlation with the price (value for cost) and the company’s track record (customer service).

We hope this list provides you with accurate, well-thought out and valuable information to assist you in finding the perfect fit in a new superzoom camera!

Top 5 Superzoom Cameras

Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens...
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC allows wireless transferring of images and video ; Power Source :Battery Pack...
  • 16.1 megapixel 1/2.3-inch high-sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with DIGIC 6 image processor (Canon HS SYSTEM)
  • 65x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom and 260x combined zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer.Video Clip Length Up to 29 Min 59...

The Canon Powershot SX60 is bar far the best bang for your buck when it comes to superzoom cameras on the market in 2018. The Canon Powershot SX60 offers 16.1 Megapixel 1/ 2.3-inch high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and zoom properties that are unheard of for a camera this small in size.

The zoom features on the Canon Powershot SX60 boasts 65x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom and 260x combined zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer. Imaging capturing those up-close shots of landscape, wildlife and portraits with the superzoom power this Canon offers its users. This Powershot gives you the reach to capture it all!

The Canon Powershot SX60 has a 65x optical zoom (21mm-1365mm) wide-angle lens with the Optical Image Stabilizer gives you tremendous shooting ease and zoom power that is hard to find and transport in a camera this size. The dimensions of this Canon are 5.04 x 4.49 x 3.66 inches and weighs in at a total of 1.43 pounds. Imagine the places you could go and the sights you could capture with this superzoom Canon.

Other notable specs of the camera are its 16.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, 1080p video capture resolution and its DIGIC 6 image processor. This Canon high-sensitivity system offers an excellent environment for low-light performance. Advanced technology Zoom Framing Assist and Intelligent IS help you track and capture clear, steady long shots. Another huge notable feature of this camera is the fact that it is the first of its class that allows for an attachment of an optional external microphone.

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 4K Point and Shoot Camera, 16X LEICA DC...
  • Big sensor quality: Large 1-inch 20.1MP MOS sensor for improved low light capture and large sensor background defocus...
  • 4K video & Photo: 4K 30P video with hybrid photography 8MP video frame grabs as photos.
  • Leica DC lens: A bright and ultra-sharp Leica DC lens 25-400 millimeter (16x) F2.8-4.0 and macro photography down to 3...

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 follows closely behind the Canon Powershot SX60. This amazingly capable superzoom camera takes 4K GFHD 30p video with hybrid 8MP post capture and offers a large 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor used as a wonderful defocus tool. Let us get to the zoom action of this camera though.

The new LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens is created especially for the body of the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000. The anti-blur mechanism is enhanced with its F2.8-4.0 brightness with telephoto shots and an angle view extending from 25mm wide-angle to 16x optical zoom. The LUMIX FZ1000 composes fifteen elements in eleven groups including four ED lenses and five aspherical lenses with eight aspherical surfaces. This advanced lens unit achieves superior MTF value.

Panasonic’s unique aspherical lens mold technology allows for evenly smooth defocusing and an invisible edge line. The LUMIX DFD Focus technology offers a new linear motor integrated into the focus system allowing for approximately 275% faster1 focusing. This camera also features new Depth from Defocus technology that shortens the focus time and gives the user more time to focus on the shot.

Panasonic uses a newly assimilated 1-inch 20.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor that enables the camera operator to capture clear images with minimal noise. All of the newest technologies that are incorporated into this LUMIX FZ1000 truly make for outstanding captures despite the shooting conditions.

Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera (Black)
  • 16MP CMOS sensor; 6 level brightness adjustment
  • 24 2000-millimeter 35-millimeter equivalent focal length. Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
  • 83x optical zoom Nikkor super ED VR lens

The Nikon Coolpix P900 is an outstanding option for a reasonably price superzoom camera. This camera offers quite incredible zoom features. This specific Coolpix model offers 200mm more optical zoom than any other of Nikon’s Coolpix line to date. This DSLR offers incredible image quality, a sure grip, a swiveling Vari-angle display, an Electronic Viewfinder and a PSAM mode control dial. Shoot full HD videos on this camera and a long-lasting battery life of 360 shots per charge.

Let us zoom in on the important stuff. The sky is no longer your limit when shooting with the Nikon CoolpixP900. This camera offers 83x optical zoom, 166x dynamic fine zoom with 2,000 mm equivalent focal length. With the dynamic fine zoom, effectively doubles your shot reach to a 4,000 equivalent. Use the convenient Snap-Back Zoom button for a quick zoomed-out view to make sure you have all you want to capture in your shot.

The entire time you are shooting, 5.0 stops Dual Detect Optical VR improves VR performance using enhanced detection accuracy to assist in keeping your photos sharp and videos extra steady and blur-free. This by far the best and most powerful zoom lens ever put into a Nikon Coolpix camera and the images you produce.

This camera is ideal for wildlife shooters and bird watchers. This 83x zoom reaches far but does take a small cost in overall quality. Another quality feature of the Nikon Coolpix P900 is Nikon’s built-in WiFi and NFC. Use Nikon snapbridge to simply and promptly send photos to a compatible smartphone or tablet. The camera also features ​built-in GPS and Points of Interest for creating amazing photo journals of where you have been and where you would love to go.

Canon PowerShot G3 X Digital Camera w/ 1-Inch Sensor and 25x Optical...
  • 20.2 MP 1 inch CMOS sensor
  • 25x, f/2.8-5.6 optical zoom lens, 24-600mm equivalent
  • ISO 125-12800

It is hard to go wrong when picking a Canon Powershot as your superzoom camera. Both the SX60 and the G3-X are wonderful options for reasonably priced superzoom cameras of 2018. The Canon Powershot G3-X is ideal for capturing all of your sightings, indoors and outdoors!

This compact and easy to travel with design allows for one of the best superzoom cameras on the market right now. The camera features a 1.0-inch, 20.2 megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor that fuses high sensitivity and high image quality. Even at high ISO speeds you can see detail clearer and the tonal quality is simply brilliant. With changes in the image processing in this model, users are able to notice the dynamic range in bright areas and the expansion of gradation changes in the exposure standard.

The zooming quality on this camera, however, is what helped it make the cut for this top list of superzoom cameras. The Powershot G3-X incorporates a powerful 25x Optical Zoom 924-600mm) lens for faultless telephoto shots and unbeatable dynamics. All in the same lens you can capture everything from eagles soaring high in the air to up close and personal shots that include every single perspiration drop. The all-new f/2.8-5.6 lens uses the latest technology to prevent aberration and illumination loss over the entire range of photo taking.

The Intelligent IS system found in the Powershot G3-X captures clear and blur-free images with its enhanced technology throughout the years. Even in low light without a tripod, allow the GX-3 to automatically analyze camera movement and apply the best shake connection method for the specific shot. The GX-3 fuses quality 1080p Full HD movie shooting, a high-resolution multi-angle touch panel LCD and continuous shooting options to make for one of the best superzoom cameras in 2018.

​​​​5. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300

Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 Long Zoom Digital Camera Features 12.1...
  • 4K video & 4K photo: Panasonic’s exclusive 4K photo technology uses 30 frames per second in high resolution 4K ultra...
  • Leica DC Vario Elmarit lens: 24x zoom (25 600 millimeter with Full zoom range F2; 8 aperture for enhanced low light...
  • High image Quality: The 12.1 Megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor with the venus engine excels in diffraction...

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300 offers a superior option for a superzoom camera. The LEICA lens has a 24x zoom (25-600mm) with F2.8 aperture brightness across the full zoom range of the LEICA DC lens. There is a 12.1-megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor accomplishes superb low light image quality and the 4K features capture moments in the best video quality out there.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300 offers a F2.8 Long Zoom Digital Camera with professional-quality and multimedia imaging. The 4K-photo technology allows for the user to shoot 30fps in crystal-clear 4K Ultra HD video and extra them as still-frame photos. This powerful photo taker allows for 24x zoom with a constant f2.8 aperture allows you to shoot with consistency and upmost confidence. Shoot in low light conditions without worrying about blurriness being an outcome.

Panasonic has renowned high speed focusing technology that will ensure the subject of your picture is as sharp and clear as can be. Intelligent, five-axis correction technology reduces blue by making up for five different types of movement. This camera also features a worry-free splashproof and dustproof rugged body so it can stand the test in the harshest environments.

Buyer’s Guide

Person holding black camera lens

Image source: Pixabay.com

We hope the above list helped you narrow down the best superzoom camera for you whether you have been ready to make a purchase for some time or if your search for the best camera has just begun.

As you can see, there are many options, brands, prices and features to consider when picking out the right camera for you, but we hope our list assisted in making your search easier. Before you make your final decision though, consider pondering the following elements first.

Best Superzoom Camera: Zoom, Shoot And Go!

Person holding black dslr camera

Image source: Pixabay.com

We hope this ‘best of’ guide helped you break down the best superzoom cameras of 2018. From Canon to Nikon to Panasonic, these three are the leaders when it comes to reasonably priced and reasonably sized camera with the superzoom qualities you are looking for. Take our advice and choose one of these superzoom cameras to add to your camera family.

Happy zoomed shooting!

Film vs. Digital: Benefits and Drawbacks

As a photographer, you need to understand both photographic mediums

Taking pictures is like magic. You’re able to freeze a moment in time, immortalizing it forever. These days using film vs. digital is only a consideration if you’re interested in increasing and expanding your photography skills beyond what’s immediately available.

The truth is, the way we take pictures has changed drastically as the world moved on from primarily using cameras with film to digital photography.

Today the average consumer will most likely snap a picture on their smartphone and never even consider using a film camera.

A Revolution in Photography

Cost and convenience are the primary reasons why people typically (photographers included) choose digital photography over film.

Not only do you pay to acquire and develop film, but you also have no idea what your picture looks like until it’s developed. Sadly, not knowing what you need to improve upon immediately is likely to result in wasted film.

Trust us: 

There’s been more than one roll tossed aside because an amateur photographer used the wrong film speed or camera setting and ended up with unusable images.

No wonder digital photography quickly took over as the technology advanced.

Talk about instant gratification. 

And who doesn’t always have their smartphone camera with them, making it easy to capture moments and share them on social media?

Everyone uses digital photography

Not only can the photographer immediately make adjustments as they see fit with digital technology, but there's also the advantage of limitless photos. 

Best of all, if you make a mistake all you need to do is note the adjustment and delete the bad photo. 

Indeed, even professional photographers welcome these advancements to their industry brought on by digital technology.

Nevertheless —

If you’re a budding photographer, it’s to your benefit to understand how to use both digital

and analog photography mediums. Then you can decide for yourself if film vs. digital is even a question.

Once you home in on the advantages and disadvantages of each, you may decide to use film vs. digital depending on your needs.

Film photography: The Basics

Think of the inside of a camera as a dark place, where the light is only allowed to penetrate at specific intervals for limited amounts of time.

A lens (1) is attached to the camera’s body and covers the opening where the light enters. As the shutter opens and closes, light passes through the lens into the camera. 

But that’s not all —

Exposing the film to light causes a chemical reaction that burns an impression onto the film.

As you might imagine, there are various ways to control the amount of light and exposure the film receives.

Light and Exposure

First, the aperture regulates how much light enters the camera as it acts much like the pupil of our eyes, dilating and retracting. Consequently, aperture settings depend on lighting conditions, among other things. 

In other words, like our pupils, bright light calls for a smaller aperture opening; conversely, if it’s dark you’ll open the aperture to allow more light to penetrate.

Next, use the F-stop (2) to set the aperture opening on the lens. Each number represents a stop on the aperture: 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2.8, 1.8 and so on.

What’s more —

The smaller numbers represent a larger aperture opening and vice versa. So an F-stop of 2.8 will let in more light than an F-stop of 11.

Fair enough?

And we don't stop there —

Shutter speed regulates how long the film is exposed to the light that the aperture lets into the camera. 

To put it simply —

The shutter is a series of doors that are timed to open and close with a choice of settings from 30 seconds to 1/4000 seconds.

Understanding Film Speeds

Since we’re thinking about light, it’s a good time to talk about film speeds (ISO) because that’s how we denote the film’s sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO (3) the less sensitive the film is to light.

What this means for you —

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re shooting with film on a bright day, use an ISO film speed of 100 or less. Similarly, if you’re shooting a dark interior, or at night, 800 to 3200 ISO is your best bet.

Of course, there’s a lot of variables since the ISO, F-stop, and shutter speed all work together to deliver light to the film and set off a chemical reaction that creates the image.

Truthfully, as a beginner, you can grab a roll of 400-speed film for a middle of the road ISO and adjust the F-stop, and shutter speed, even use a flash if necessary to get the proper exposure for your image.

Then, once you feel comfortable with the way the settings interact with each other, you can move on to another speed film and experiment some more.

Capturing a Clear, Crisp Image

Resolution is the term that describes the clarity of a photograph; the higher the resolution, the clearer the image. When it comes to film, resolution capabilities vary with the size of the camera.

So this makes all the difference —

There are three types of film cameras: 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) (4), medium format, and large format.

A medium or large format film camera produces high-resolution photos that surpass that of any digital camera; however, if that quality image is scanned it loses resolution. 

The thing is, these larger cameras are excellent if you want to make incredible prints in sizes over 11’ x 14’; however, they’re overkill if you’re going to scan the image for use online.

Try a 33mm SLR

As it turns out, when you're new to film photography, there’s no need to invest in a medium or large format camera until you gain some basic skills, as you’ll get excellent photos and save some money using a 35mm SLR.

Plus, there are still lots of great 35mm SLR cameras on the market and you’ll find that refurbished SLRs tend to be less expensive than their digital counterparts.

By the way —

You’re just as likely to find an SLR packed away somewhere. So don’t be afraid to put out the word if you want to try using a film camera. Someone you know may have one they'll gift you.

Interchangeable Lenses

Once you have your film camera, you’ll soon find that there’s a wide variety of lenses that enhance your photography. 

For example, the basic 50mm (5) lens for a 35mm SLR delivers an image akin to looking at an object with your eyes. A zoom lens, such as one that has a range from 28 to 70mm can bring objects that are far away, up close and personal.

You can get even closer to your subject with a macro lens in the range of 90mm to 105mm, and closer still with a macro lens of 150mm to 200mm.

Of course, you can also use a wide angle lens that all fall below the 35mm range, from 28mm, down to 14mm. Not to mention, many photographers enjoy the distortion of a fisheye lens.

As you can see there are plenty of creative options when it comes to choosing a lens.

Trends in Film Photography

Despite the ease with which we use digital photography, film photography is holding on and many believe it’s making a comeback. 

In fact, with the advent of 3-D printers (6), those discontinued camera parts may not pose a problem as manufacturers could utilize this technology to produce them as needed.

In the long run, using a camera that takes film gives you an opportunity to learn the mechanics of photography. 

Beyond that, film cameras are popular to collect because there are so many makes and models to choose from and they all have their own quirks. So the possibilities for creating art are endless.

To sum up this overview, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of film photography:



  •  35mm SLR cameras are inexpensive
  •  A wide range of makes and models
  •  Manual settings force you to learn the mechanics of photography
  •  Can develop your own film and gain more opportunities for creative processing
  •  Can’t adjust ISO because it’s film-based
  •  No batteries needed to shoot
  •  Works in extreme weather conditions
  •  Film cameras are heavier than digital cameras
  •  There’s no way to tell if your photo looks good before it’s developed
  •  It’s easy to waste film
  •  The number of photos is limited to each roll of film (up to 36 pictures)
  •  Photos must be scanned to share online
  •  No automatic options
  •  Experimenting is costly due to wasted film

Digital photography: What You’ll Need

Now that you have a basic understanding of how a film camera works, as well as what is good and not so good about film photography, we can compare film vs. digital.

First off, we’ll start with the DSLR camera, which as you can probably guess is the digital version of the 35mm SLR film camera.

The two cameras operate under the same basic premise as far as using a combination of ISO, F-stop, and shutter speed to achieve the end result. 

Similarly, a digital DSLR has interchangeable lenses, which correspond to the analog versions.

Ultimately, the defining difference between the two mediums is that the digital version records the image in pixels instead of setting off a chemical reaction that burns an image onto film.

Pixels and Resolution

Similar to film speed in an analog camera, the size of a digital camera’s sensor dictates resolution. Entry level DSLRs typically have a resolution of 12 to 24 MP (7). In comparison, film speeds in a 35mm SLR result in a range between 7 and 16 MP.

The takeaway? Entry-level digital cameras have higher resolution than entry-level film cameras, though they both are capable of producing gorgeous prints up to 11 x 14 inches.

Digital Manipulation

If there’s no film in the camera then it makes sense that the ISO is adjusted digitally instead of being a function of the film. 

Indeed, all the functions are digitally handled and can even be set to automatic and hybrid variations of automatic and manual settings, unlike film cameras which are strictly manual.

Another advantage of digital manipulation is that you can essentially change film speeds from photo to photo without having to finish a roll of film. 

Think about it —

You can drastically change the lighting set-up, go from daylight to a dark room, and never have to change film rolls.

On the other hand, increasing the ISO causes a loss of resolution and as a result, you may see unwanted coloring known as digital noise or pixelation of the image.

Image Storage

Another consideration with digital cameras is how the images are stored. With film, the images are all on the roll. You develop the roll of film into negatives and pull the photos from there.

In the digital world, images are stored on a scan disc or SD card. 

Here’s the kicker —

A memory card can hold more photos than a dozen rolls of film and they’re small requiring very little space for storage (8).

And that’s not even the best part.

Trends and Techniques

Not only can you easily take photographs with digital cameras, because of the automatic settings, but you can also just as easily take time-lapse photos. Plus, you can use the camera as a video camera as well.

Digital cameras are great for product photography, social sharing, and even making YouTube videos. Of course, if your primary objective is making videos, you might want to think about which DSLR works best for your needs.

Metering modes, histograms, and white balance

Another advantage of digital photography is the option to use metering modes (9), which essentially direct your camera’s vision beyond the exposure settings using ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.

Combined with metering modes, using the histogram helps to achieve perfect exposure, white balance, and color balance too.

Indeed, the ability to adjust the settings on the photo via the LED screen is one of the great advantages of digital photography.

But wait, there’s more —

White balance is one thing that doesn't work as well automatically and it has a dramatic effect on the color (warmth or coolness) of your photograph. 

So keep in mind that you’ll need to learn how to achieve the correct white balance manually as it will almost certainly be necessary.

Now then, let’s see how the pros and cons compare to those of film photography.



  • Take as many pictures as you want at a time
  • Can edit or delete the image in camera
  • High resolution
  •  Lighter than film cameras
  • Can adjust the ISO in between photos
  • Automatic and hybrid auto/manual options
  • Can easily share online
  • Prints up to 11” X 14”
  • Easy to snap pictures without much thought, just use automatic
  • Need computer knowledge
  • Can be difficult to focus
  • Not as many details as film when shooting in black and white
  • Loses resolution and pixelates at higher ISOs
  • Needs batteries
  • Doesn’t work in extreme weather conditions
  • Digital storage can get lost or corrupted

The Big Picture

There are those who swear by film photography and are certain that digital will never compare. 

Likewise, people who use digital cameras regularly may see no need to try film.

You may find that your choice of film vs digital comes down to a love of creating with your hands, as in the manual process of shooting and developing film.

On the other hand, you may be driven by the instant gratification and the creative power that digital technology possesses. 

The bottom line is that photography is a kind of magic that happens in the camera, but also takes place in the eye of the photographer. So, whichever you choose is the right choice. What matters most of all, is taking the time to understand each medium so you can use them to your advantage.

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X100F Fujifilm: Our In-Depth Review

Photo of a woman holding a Fujifilm x100f

Looking into getting a new camera? That’s exciting! Taking photos is always fun, but it can be even better when you’re using a real, high-quality camera, especially if it’s new and you’re still exploring all its features. In order to make the most out of your photography experience, you want to make sure that you’re working with a product that will not only take the great photos you have in mind, but that will also last you a good several years. Cameras can be pricey, so you want to make sure that the one you get is worth the investment.

That’s where we come in. We’re here to provide you with accurate, unbiased information on whatever camera you’re interested in so that you can make the best decision for you, whether you’re starting a new hobby or getting the latest model to use in your professional photography career. Keep reading to see what we have to say about the Fujifilm X100F.

What is the Fujifilm X100F?

The Fujifilm X100F is a large sensor compact camera. Launched in 2017, this is a fairly young camera and the latest in the X100 series. This Fujifilm model is marketed toward more serious photographers, offering great control over framing and style options.

This control is achieved mostly through the design of the camera, which offers most of its features on one side for easy and intuitive use. The design is also meant to be reminiscent of old film cameras, so this is a great camera to look into if you want something that operates along the lines of nostalgia.

While the Fujifilm X100F is a compact camera and so its lens is built-in, it offers compatible attachments. Multiple conversion lenses can be attached on top of the built-in lens, creating a more specified feel like that of a DSLR.

Fujifilm X100F Specifications

Unique and Notable Features

This Fujifilm camera is made to capture and process images with a high color reproduction and tone gradation, so you can get those stellar, vivid photos. In relation to producing these high-quality images and footage, the camera offers high ISO sensitivity and noise reduction.

The Fujifilm X100F has a 3’’ fixed type LCD screen that works for the photographer in conjunction with an electronic viewfinder. In addition to being electronic, the Fujifilm X100F’s viewfinder is also optical in nature, allowing for a tunnel-type view. This allows you to adjust the magnification of the electronic rangefinder for increased accuracy when checking the frame’s focus. It also has a Real Time Parallax Correction feature that functions with manual-shooting modes, ensuring pristine frame and focus when shooting.

The X100F uses Firmware Ver. 2.0, an update that supports the Fujifilm RAW Studio editing capabilities. This enables you to develop RAW files within the camera by connecting it to a computer via a USB cord. Additionally, the camera’s Film Stimulation function has been advanced with the new ACROS mode, which improves processing abilities by adding texture and gradients.

In terms of design, most functions and buttons are located on the right side of the camera. The distinct and tactile nature of the buttons and dials allow for intuitive use. Its reminiscent nature of old-style cameras manifests itself in the form a built-in ISO dial that is integrated into the shutter speed dial.

The camera offers eight different advanced filters and 15 film simulation modes, so you can capture your images and footage with exactly the tone and saturation you want.

As touched on briefly above, the Fujifilm X100F is compatible with several conversion lenses, allowing for even greater clarity and precision of image than the built-in lens of the camera already allows for. The camera automatically recognizes when a conversion lens has been mounted and displays a guiding frame so you can be exactly sure of your shooting area.

Technical Elements

The Fujifilm X100F has a 24.3 MP (megapixel) - APS-C CMOS X-TRANS III sensor. This is quite a large number of megapixels for a compact camera, allowing for greater imaging and capabilities.

The camera comes with a built-in ND filter. This filter is optimal for when shooting in bright light with a wide aperture, or when using a slow shutter speed. It is capable of reducing light down to 1/8 of its original presence, capturing images that are saturated in color and tone.

It has a “super intelligent flash”—an auto flash mode that turns on when the camera senses dark lighting. It also comes complete with a hot shoe, so you can connect an external flash and extend the camera’s range and dark photography capabilities.

It offers a video resolution of 1920 x 1080, and has a continuous shooting rate of 8 frames per second (fps). In terms of ISO, it has a range of 200 – 12800, though it can expand to 100-51200.

The camera also has a variety of built-in wireless features: image transfer, geotagging, directly printing to a wireless printer, remote shooting, and PC autosave.


The camera weighs 469 g, including its battery and memory card. This is rather on the heavy side, especially for a compact camera, many of which hover around the 200 g mark. This makes the camera not wholly ideal for travel, or at least not if you have limited space and need something that can slip into your pocket. The heavier weight will also most likely demand double-handed use.

Its dimensions in terms of width x height x depth are 127 x 75 x 52 mm.


As far as batteries for compact cameras go, the Fujifilm X100F has a pretty good one. Its battery life can extend up to 390 shots per charge, while many compact cameras range closer to 300 shot or lower.

​Public Perception—What Users Have to Say About the Fujifilm X100F

Users really seem to like the camera. It’s targeted toward a more experienced photographer audience, and they enjoy it for its high-quality images and editing software. Camera enthusiasts praise the sharp and vivid pictures it takes and overall really enjoy the build.

There have been some critiques, however, when it comes to the camera’s menus. The menus and options only display through the viewfinder, rather than on the touchscreen. So, if you’re used to relying on the LCD screen for choosing what to apply to your shot, this may cause some annoyance. Additionally, some complain of overly expensive repairs once the camera falls outside of warranty.

How the Fujifilm X100F Compares

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver
24.3MP X Trans CMOS III APS C sensor with no low pass filter and X Processor Pro
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Digital Camera - Wi-Fi Enabled
24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor.; 3x zoom Lens (24-72mm) with optical image stabilizer.

Now that we’ve taken a close look at the Fujifilm X100F, let’s see how it stacks up against similar cameras. Below, we’ll be comparing this Fujifilm camera to the Panasonic ZS100 and the Canon G1 X III.

Before we do that, though, here are a few key ratings about the Fujifilm X100F to keep in mind as we start our comparison.

Fujifilm X100F

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver
  • 24.3MP X Trans CMOS III APS C sensor with no low pass filter and X Processor Pro
  • 8 way focus lever plus the number of focusing points has been expanded from 49 in previous models to 91 (up to 325...
  • Built in ISO dial, incorporated into the shutter speed dial and operating temperature is 0 degree Celsius to 40 degree...

Panasonic ZS100

Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 4K Digital Camera, 20.1 Megapixel 1-Inch Sensor...
  • POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA: Large, 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor plus 10X zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens (25-250mm)...
  • EYE-LEVEL ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER AND LCD DISPLAY: High-resolution 1,166k-dot viewfinder and rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD...
  • 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160), plus exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO and 4K Post Focus with...

This will be an interesting matchup because both these cameras are large sensor compact cameras and considered among the top models in this class, yet there is large price discrepancy that must be taken into account that likely affects each camera’s quality and overall value.

In addition to being large sensor compact cameras, both the Panasonic ZS100 and the Fujifilm X100F have 3’’ fixed type LCD screens with a high resolution of 1.040k dots and an electronic viewfinder. Both also feature built-in flash and wireless technology, and both allow for manual focusing and exposure. They each also support RAW footage and images, lending their products higher quality.

The biggest and easiest reason to choose the Panasonic ZS100 over the Fujifilm X100F is obviously because of its price. Aside from that, though, the Panasonic camera offers optical image stabilization, a touchscreen, 4K photo mode, and post focus mode, where the Fujifilm does not. The Panasonic also has superior wide and long-range lengths in addition to optical zoom. The Panasonic has faster shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) and continuous shooting (30 fps vs 8 fps). Lastly, the Panasonic ZS100 is considerably lighter, weighing 312 g versus the Fujifilm’s 469 g.

In terms of imaging quality, however, the Fujifilm X100F has the Panasonic beat by a long shot. To start, its sensor has 24 MP to the Panasonic’s 20 MP, and its viewfinder is not only electronic, but optical. The Fujifilm also has way more focal points (325 vs 49) and a much larger sensor pixel area (15.34µm2 vs 5.82µm2). It has superior wide and long-range max aperture features, and it offers a hot shoe where the Panasonic does not. The Fujifilm’s battery life of 390 shots per charge is also a good deal better than the Panasonic’s 300.

Canon G1 X III

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Digital Camera - Wi-Fi Enabled
  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor.
  • 3x zoom Lens (24-72mm) with optical image stabilizer.
  • Dual pixel CMOS AF with phase-detection.

Just like with the last matchup, both these contenders are large sensor compact cameras that are ranked among the top in their class. ​

The Canon G1 X III and the Fujifilm X100F both offer 24 MP sensors, 3’’ LCD screens, and electronic viewfinders. Both cameras offer 1920 x 1080 video resolution and time-lapse recording functions, as well as manual focus and exposure. Additionally, each supports RAW footage and has built-in wireless capabilities. Both feature a built-in flash and hot shoe.

Now for the ways the Canon G1 X III gets a leg up on the competition. In terms of its LCD screen, the Canon’s is touchscreen and fully articulated for great flexibility when shooting, unlike the Fujifilm’s. It also offers optical image stabilization and Bluetooth. It has superior wide and long-range focal lengths and optical zoom, and its continuous shooting speed is just slightly faster (9 fps vs 8 fps). The camera also offers an environmental sealing, so you can take the Canon outdoors and not be afraid of damage. Lastly, its lighter than the Fujifilm by 70 g.

Like with the Panasonic, where the Fujifilm X100F really stands out is with its imaging qualities. The Fujifilm has 325 focus points to the Canon’s 49. It also has a superior sensor pixel area (15.34µm2 vs 13.84µm2) and shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s), in addition to superior wide and long-range max apertures. The Fujifilm X100F’s battery life far outlast the Canon G1 X III’s, offering 390 shots per charge while the Canon only lasts for 200.

Pros and Cons

So, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the Fujifilm X100F, and we’ve seen how it compares to the competition in terms of features and overall quality. But before we draw any conclusions, let’s make a quick recap of the X100F’s major pros and cons.


In terms of image quality, the Fujifilm X100F has most other cameras beat. Its number of focal points exceeds the typical cameras by hundreds, and it offers high resolution and large pixel sensor areas. Its battery also lasts for a good deal of time, and its viewfinder has optical capabilities in addition to just being electronic.


The Fujifilm X100F could be a little more user-friendly, however, mainly in terms of its LCD screen lacking touchscreen capability, mobility, and guide screens. It also doesn’t feature any optical image stabilization.

Conclusions About the Fujifilm X100F

Woman holding a x100F

​Image via Pexels

The Fujifilm X100F is all in all a great camera. It might not be the best choice for beginners or amateur photographers, but if you’re experienced or a professional then you’ll fall in love with the images that this camera can produce. Its amount of focal points is jaw-dropping, and though it’s a little large for a compact camera, it is still small enough to take with you on the go.

Canon Rebel T5i Comprehensive Review

canon rebel t5i review

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is Canon’s latest addition to its amateur-oriented Rebel series, a line of Canon cameras meant for photographers who are just beginning their journey. At a relatively affordable price, this entry-level DSLR is the new flagship of the Rebel line. It is also a solid choice for any novice photographers looking to upgrade their gear without breaking the bank due to its ease of use, strong specs and powerful performance.

What is the Canon Rebel T5i?

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The Canon Rebel T5i is an entry-level DSLR and an upgrade to the EOS Rebel T4i. It is considered the “step-up” model from the T5, less of a dramatic upgrade and more of a refresh.

The T5i and the T4i are very close: not only are their appearances similar, their product specifications are basically the same. If you already own a Rebel T4i, there isn’t much of a reason for you to purchase a T5i. These are some of the differences:

Canon Rebel T4i

Canon EOS Rebel T4i 18.0 MP Digital SLR with 18-135mm EF-S IS STM Lens...
  • 18MP APS-C "Hybrid CMOS" sensor
  • 5 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 9-point AF system, all cross-type

Product Specifications

  • Redesigned hybrid CMOS AF system better accommodates the new STM lenses that eliminate autofocus sounds and instead silently track the subject
  • Improved mode dial and scene modes in Live View
  • “Real-time” viewing of creative filters: all adjustments can be made at the time of exposure rather than in post-processing
  • Digital zoom is now available in movie mode
  • New texture/finish
  • Allergy issues with T4i’s rubberized grip are no longer present

However, if you own an older Canon Rebel model, be aware that the Canon Rebel T5i features many improvements over the T2i and T3i. It can shoot at an ISO up to 12800 in manual modes, it can shoot up to 5 frames per second in burst mode, and it has an updated processor which gives it more speed. It also has a variety of scene mode options that enhance auto-mode shooting, as well as touchscreen capabilities, all of which is very helpful for getting a novice photographer accustomed to their new camera.

Canon Rebel T2i

Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR Camera (Body Only) (Discontinued by...
  • 18.0-megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor; DIGIC 4 Image Processor for high image quality and speed
  • Body only; lenses sold separately
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 12800) for shooting from bright to dim light; enhanced 63-zone, Dual-layer metering system

Now that the Rebel T5i is a bit older, it should be available at attractive prices, making it a great option for those searching for a superior entry-level DSLR camera.

What Makes the Canon Rebel T5i Unique?

man taking photo with canon black camera

The Canon Rebel T5i has extremely fast performance when in Viewfinder mode and excellent image quality in all shooting situations, whether low-light, natural light, action or still shots. It can shoot in both RAW and JPEG formats. Its high-resolution LCD not only features touchscreen but is articulated, part of its excellence as a well-built camera.

DIGIC 5 Image Processor

The DIGIC 5 processor, Canon’s latest processor model, gives the Canon Rebel T5i great performance when shooting photos. The T5i also has great response times when it comes to using the optical viewfinder and shooting in Viewfinder mode. There are almost no shot-to-shot delays or shutter lag, and the burst mode features 5 frames-per-second at full 18-megapixel resolution. Start-up and autofocus are also very fast.

Hybrid CMOS AF system

The Hybrid CMOS AF system makes shooting photos and video in Live View a pleasure. This hybrid system combines two separate auto-focus technologies, phase and contrast detection AF, for a faster and more accurate focus. These dual complementary AF systems work in conjunction with pixels on the camera’s CMOS sensor to help predict subject location, which is especially helpful with continuous focus tracking in video recording while also improving focusing speed.

Finally, if you shoot mostly in Viewfinder mode, the battery life is adequate. You can also add a battery grip if needed for more power. Also, Canon has provided a high-performance kit lens with the T5i which definitely adds value to the camera kit overall. The 18-55mm Image Stabilizer kit lens uses Canon’s STM Stepper Motor technology to create quieter operation during video capture.

What We Think About the Canon Rebel T5i

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i has outstanding image quality courtesy of its APS-C sized CMOS image sensor, which produces sharp, 18-megapixel images with bright and accurate colors. Special effect filters are also included with this camera, which allows you to shoot with effects such as black and white or miniature. The camera is particularly good at producing high-quality images even in low-light, and noise in RAW images isn’t a problem until you hit the highest ISO settings. A pop-up flash is included with the T5i, but you can also add a more powerful external flash if you desire for better results.

Key features include (source: DPReview):

  • 18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS' sensor
  • Phase detection AF from imaging sensor for Live View and Video
  • 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor
  • ISO 100-12800 standard, 25600 expanded
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 9 point AF system, all sensors cross type, central sensor F2.8 (from 60D)
  • 63 zone iFCL metering
  • 1080p30 video recording with built-in stereo mics
  • 1.04m dot 3:2 touch-sensitive vari-angle ClearView II LCD (capacitive type, multi-touch support)
  • Improvements have been made to the CMOS sensor, AF sensor, and flip-out dot screen in order to entice customers into choosing this entry-level DSLR over any other. High image quality is no longer enough for consumers who require quick and easy access to video recording, a must for any aspiring YouTuber. For users more comfortable using an LCD screen than a viewfinder, Live View performance is critical.
  • The Canon Rebel T5i aims to improve its Live View and video performance options, including the ability to have continuous AF tracking while recording movies. Continuous AF tracking is enabled by Canon’s Hybrid CMOS sensor, which uses pixels dedicated to phase detection autofocus. The Hybrid AF system uses the pixels to set the lens to about the correct distance, then uses contrast detection AF to fine-tune focus. This is supposed to provide faster and more reliable focusing for Live View and video shooting compared to other Canon models.

The Rebel T5i also features a contact-sensitive touchscreen that functions like a typical smartphone. In Live View and Movie modes, users can touch the screen to specify where the focus should be as well as release the shutter. The touchscreen also supports multi-touch and gestures similar to the iPhone. As for the rear screen, it has been redesigned in order to reduce reflections and improve visibility in bright light. It also features an anti-smudge coating to minimize fingerprints and keep the display bright and clear.

Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor allows it to shoot at a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12,800 (25,600 extended). The processor allows lens-specific corrections during JPEG processing. The AF system for eye-level shooting uses nine cross-type focus points, and the center point offers additional accuracy when used with fast lenses.

The Canon Rebel T5i has a built-in stereo microphone which provides sound for video, though it also retains an external microphone input. Several modes such as ‘HDR Backlight’ and ‘Handheld Night Scene’ combine different exposures for appealing, unique final processed images. ‘HDR Backlight,’ for example, ensures that backlit subjects are not recorded too darkly by shooting three consecutive shots at different exposures and then combining the images in order to maintain detail in both shadow and highlight areas.

Canon EOS 600D Body Black
  • Canon EOS 600D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera in perfect condition
  • Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
  • WT3131 Basic Tripod

The body design is the same as the EOS 600D and EOS 700D, with a useful set of external controls and a fully-articulated LCD screen. The articulated LCD is especially helpful for photographers interested in self-portraiture or hoping to use a tripod with the camera. While the body may be made of plastic, it’s plenty solid and you won’t hear any flexing or creaking.

The body features a slightly-enlarged grip which is much improved from older models in the line. At the top, there is an embossed and easy-to-read 360-degree dial with standard settings as well as enhanced and scene modes. To navigate these settings, you use the horizontal scroll wheel on top and the Q button at the back.

While this is an entry-level model, the Canon Rebel T5i features many control points and a full range of connectors, from USB and HDMI ports to a receiver for an infrared remote control. The camera’s mode dial gives shooters access to many different scene modes which allow the user to quickly and easily shoot sports, landscapes and more. The dial also helps you switch between automatic, program, aperture priority and other shooting modes. The number of scene modes will help photographers for whom this camera marks their first real upgrade feel much more comfortable. The menus are detailed but still intuitive without being as intimidating as a professional-level camera.

Canon EOS 700D 18MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) (Body Only) -...
  • 18.0 Megapixel Hybrid CMOS AF sensor
  • Creative Full-HD movies and Hybrid CMOS AF
  • Vari-angle 3.0" Clear View LCD II Touch screen, Scene Intelligent Auto

The main controls are located on top of the camera. As for the articulating LCD touchscreen, it’s great for Live View, working off a tripod and shooting videos. Unlike tilt-only screens, it can still be used to shoot stills in portrait format whether at waist level or overhead.

The touch-sensitive screen features large, well-positioned icons that make it easy to adjust shooting settings, swipe through and zoom image playback, and even navigate the whole menu system. This is a standout feature from Canon. Not only does the T5i offer an onscreen version of every external control, the touchscreen interface is integrated seamlessly with the camera’s hardware dials and buttons. You also have the option of turning it off completely.


  • 18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS' sensor
  • Phase detection AF from imaging sensor for Live View and Video
  • 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor
  • ISO 100-12800 standard, 25600 expanded
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 9 point AF system, all sensors cross type, central sensor F2.8 (from 60D)
  • 63 zone iFCL metering
  • 1080p30 video recording with built-in stereo mics
  • 1.04m dot 3:2 touch-sensitive vari-angle ClearView II LCD (capacitive type, multi-touch support)
  • Improvements have been made to the CMOS sensor, AF sensor, and flip-out dot screen
  • Improvement on its Live View and video performance options


  • Small viewfinder
  • Highly limited burst shooting in Raw mode
  • Video autofocus is staggered with non-STM lenses
  • Some physical controls can be awkward to navigate
  • Battery life needs improvement
  • Almost identical to T4i
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • Lacks weather sealing
  • Precise image framing a problem due to 95% viewfinder coverage

How It Compares

The T5i’s excellent image quality and sharp, articulating rear LCD screen are some of its most appealing qualities, as is the way Canon has married the camera’s touch capability to its physical controls. The viewfinder, however, is not as large and bright as the pentaprism viewfinder found in (for example) the Pentax K-S2, so if you’re looking for a more versatile body, the EOS 60D, 7D or full-frame 6D may be your best bet.

The video autofocus is smooth and fast but you’ll need to use a special lens in order to take advantage, so you might want to use another camera instead. The Sony Alpha 65 is a good bet because it has fast autofocus and transitions seamlessly when shooting between the rear LCD and finder. The Nikon D5200 gives the Canon EOS Rebel T5i stiff competition even though it too has a difficult optical viewfinder.

While the body is sturdy and well made, some photographers may find it bulky, in which case the Canon Rebel SL1 may be a suitable replacement. It is much smaller than the T5i but includes many of the same features with only slight compromise.


The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is pretty much the same camera as its predecessor, which is good news since it’s still a very solid camera. Even on factory settings, the Canon EOS Rebel T5i produces beautiful, sharp photos filled with color and detail.

With its image stabilization, lens focusing, several shooting modes and other Canon technology, Canon has made it easy for the amateur photographer to understand this camera and its settings, learn how to adjust everything manually, and produce great work.

The Feature Guide, which displays a short description in each shooting mode, during mode dial operations and for Quick Control screen functions, is especially helpful in this regard.

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is particularly well-suited for video. The articulating display is extremely helpful when capturing video and stills at any angle desired. The camera can auto-focus while recording, and the external microphone jack captures audio as well.

Its ease of use and bevy of powerful features make the T5i a good choice for those looking to take the plunge from a point-and-shoot to their first compact DSLR, especially if video is in the picture.

Photo Game Strong: Portrait Photography Secrets for Beginners to Master

close-up photo focused on the camera being held in hand

In the age of social media, being able to take and share pictures is simple, easy, and fun.

On social media, a good photo can take you to places you’ve never been and allow you to meet people you would never have met otherwise.

Photography is awesome.

But not all photos are created equal.

Some portrait photography out there is just mind-blowing.

Have you ever wondered what the secret to excellent portrait photography is?

Here's the thing:

It's not that hard.

I’ll guide you through the not-so-secret secrets of taking great portrait photography.

Pick Your Equipment

If you’re a beginner that wants to learn portrait photography, your first thought is probably:

What camera do I need?

After all, there are just so many cameras out there now.

It's hard to choose.

People may have their favorites for whatever reason. But really, that’s what’s best for them.

And I'm going to tell you a secret:

The best camera is always the one you have on you.

I’ll repeat it:

The best portrait photography camera you can have is the one that you happen to have on you.

Knowing that, let’s take a quick look at what kinds of cameras are available out there.

Compact cameras

photo of a compact camera with hard case

Image via Pixabay

If you're always on the go, a compact, or point-and-shoot cameras, are smaller cameras that are perfect. Compact cameras come in all price points, from budget to super-premium.

The bummer for some is:

These camera lenses are NOT interchangeable.

But most compact cameras have a lens that can vary in focal length, allowing you to take portraits as well as telephoto photography.


a person showing ,from his android phone, a photo of a man walking in a railroad

Image via Pixabay

The first camera phones weren’t great. The resolution was small. The quality was grainy.

And it was a pain in the butt to get them OFF the phone to share with friends.

But now:

Today’s smartphones have incredible cameras.

illustration of a camera being photographed using an android phone

Image via Giphy

In fact, for some phones, the built-in camera is a huge selling point.

Most smartphones include two cameras: one front-face and one rear-facing.

(And of course, when you’re not using it as a camera you can also use it as a phone.)

Which brings us to a problem:

The battle of the smartphone or compact camera

Since so many smartphones have great cameras, is investing in a standalone compact camera worth it?

It depends.

Smartphones do have cameras that rival even some of the more expensive compact cameras.

But remember:

Using that camera is going to eat up your battery pretty fast.

an illustration implying empty battery of a device

Image via Giphy

Plus, if you’re into taking photos from far away, your smartphone is going to struggle more than a compact camera would.

a car driving along the green fields

Image via Giphy

Though if you’re really into sharing pictures immediately, smartphones have compact standalone cameras beat. #SoConvenient

a woman taking selfie

Image via Giphy

But one of the most important things to remember is:

Smartphone cameras controls can be limited.

Camera controls, on the other hand, are pretty important when it comes to portrait photography. (We’ll explain why later.)

Here's the truth:

There’s nothing wrong with using what you already have. But if you’re looking at really improving your digital portrait photography skills, you may want to look beyond the smartphone or compact.

DSLR and mirrorless

a woman holding a camera

Image via Pixabay

If you want to upgrade your gear from your smartphone or compact camera, it’s time to look at DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

You've seen them:

Digital Single Reflex (DSLR) and mirrorless cameras are all the rage with serious photography hobbyists as well as professionals.

They're the digital big brother of the film single-reflex cameras of yesteryear. These cameras use a mirror and prism to reflect the light into your camera.

But as you may have guessed:

A mirrorless camera does not use mirrors. Instead, the image you capture comes directly into the camera and onto the image sensor.

Of course, this is where things get a bit trickier.

What’s the most significant advantage of DSLR and mirrorless cameras?

You’ll probably find that these cameras a quite a step up!

How so?


No, seriously, this is a BIG DEAL.

While that fixed lens probably has a wide range of focal lengths, it’s still fixed. Meaning, you can’t change it or upgrade it.

You’re stuck.

With DSLR and mirrorless cameras, you can change your lens.

This opens up a whole universe of new creative possibilities.

an illustration showing a universe coming from the head of a girl

Image via Giphy

DSLR vs. mirrorless

So which should you choose? A DSLR or a mirrorless one?

Again, the answer is: it depends.

In this case, it depends on your needs and budget.

In general, DSLR and mirrorless cameras are competitively priced.

A DSLR camera will be bulkier than a mirrorless one. (After all, you need a bigger body to heft around the mirror and prism inside it.)

If size is an issue, mirrorless is your best bet.

But, if you want to use an optical viewfinder, go for a DSLR. Mirrorless cameras may have an electronic viewfinder.

It’s not the same.

If you like shooting video as well as taking photographs, you may want to go with the mirrorless. Mirrorless cameras have video quality and faster focus while shooting video.

Mastering the Manual Mode

Most cameras will allow you to shoot in manual or automatic mode.

Yes, even some compact and smartphone cameras as well.

Shooting in manual mode will encourage you to learn the elements of the exposure triangle.

The what??

a woman startled after seeing something on her phone

Image via Giphy

Elements of the exposure triangle

Wait, so what is the exposure triangle?

The exposure triangle has three parts:
shutter speed

Learning these elements and how they work together will change the way your portraits turn out.

Embrace manual mode

Here is the first step to taking better portraits:

Turn off the automatic mode.

I’m not going to lie:

It can be overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner and have never shot in manual mode.

But trust me:

Learning how all these elements work together is a total game changer.


In photography terms, an aperture is a hole that allows light to come into the camera. If you think of your camera like an eye, the aperture functions like the pupil.

You can control the size of the aperture on your camera, either using a dial or through a menu.

An f-number denotes the aperture size, also called an f-stop.

The higher the f-stop, the smaller the aperture

Depth of field

Aperture is also vital in helping determine the depth of field of your photograph.

The depth of field (DoF) is the amount of your photograph where the image is in focus.

Note this:

For portrait photography, you are almost always aiming for a shallow depth of field. This is known as bokeh.

Take a look at this photo.

Instagram post by Omar De Jesus showing a man wearing a hooded jacket and holding up a camera to take a picture in the middle of the rain

Image via Instagram

The shallow depth of field helps the subject pop out the colorful background.

Shutter speed

The shutter speed is how fast the shutter opens and closes.

Let's think of your eye again:

The shutter speed is how fast you blink.

Like aperture, this helps to control how much light comes into the camera.

Fast shutter speeds are great for freezing fast motion.

Instagram post by Tca Williams showing a man who seems like floating in the air

Image via Instagram

Slow shutter speeds are also great for creating unique, low-light portraits.

Instagram post by Chittra illustrating the slow shutter speeds through a portrait of a man

Image via Instagram


The ISO setting is the “film speed” or how sensitive your film, or digital sensor, is.

Common ISO settings:
ISO 100 (low ISO)
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600
ISO 3200
ISO 6400 (high ISO)

In general, you are always going to want to shoot with the lowest ISO setting you can.

But wait:

Isn’t capturing more light good for photos?

Well, yes and no.

Higher ISO settings will let you take photographs in lower light. Unfortunately, there’s a trade-off.

Higher ISO photographs will tend to be more grainy.

Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

You may want that noise and grain to capture a particular mood or look to your portrait.

Instagram post by Akaise showing a portrait of a man holding a camera

Image via Instagram

Understanding the exposure triangle

All three of these elements work together to control how much light hits the sensor on your camera.

When you have your camera set on automatic, your camera’s software automatically sets each of the elements to take a photo.

But when you put it on manual mode, you need to do this yourself. And that can be tricky.

Think about this:

Let’s use a window during winter as an example of how exposure works.

The aperture is how wide you open the window.

The shutter speed is how quickly you open the window.

The ISO is how quickly you realize “Wow, that’s some cold weather out there!” after you open the window.

You get the picture.

Experimenting with the exposure triangle

The best way to learn how to use the exposure triangle is to go out and do it. Read your camera manual and experiment with different settings.

Do this:

Try setting your camera on a tripod and taking the same shot at different f-stops, shutter speeds, and ISOs.

Seeing the same photo with the different settings will help illustrate what each parameter does on your camera.

Exposure calculators

Another thing you can do is download an exposure calculator.

Exposure calculators can tell you whether or not your settings will give you an under or overexposed photograph.

Here are a few favorite exposure calculator apps for Android, iOS, and web.

  • Exposure Calculator (iOS)
  • Exposure Calculator (Android)
  • Photo Light Calculator (web)
  • Exposure Calculator

While still not a perfect solution, this can help you get comfortable with the idea of shooting in manual mode.

Using priority modes

If you're not quite ready to go full manual mode, try using the priority mode on your camera. Priority mode is a sort of semi-automatic shooting mode on your camera.

And here's the great thing:

With priority mode shooting, you set one of your elements (aperture, shutter speed, ISO).

From there, your camera chooses the other two elements to take your shot. This is a handy way to start getting familiar with each of these elements.

Best of both worlds.

Lenses for DSLR and mirrorless cameras

If you're using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, we need to talk about lenses.

When it comes to lenses, the truth is:

Choosing the right lens can be as daunting as choosing the right camera.

And when you consider that some lenses can cost well into the upper hundreds or even thousands of dollars, it’s not a decision you want to make lightly.

A kit lens is a lens that comes shipped with your camera. And while more experienced photographers may scoff at kit lenses, they're a great place to start as a beginner.

After practice...

Once you understand the basics of the exposure triangle with your kit lens, you can get a better feel for what lens you need and why.

Zoom or prime lens

Lenses come as either zoom or prime lenses. Zoom lenses have a variety of focal lengths while prime lenses have a fixed focal length.

What’s focal length?

Focal length determines how much of the scene the camera will capture.

Smaller focal lengths capture a wider field of view at less magnification.

Larger focal lengths capture a narrower field of view at more magnification.

Focal length is measured in millimeters (mm)

Nikon USA

Zoom lenses are versatile. Their variety of focal lengths allows you to between different framing styles for different distances.

Prime lenses are fixed. The advantage of prime lenses is that they often have faster apertures than zoom lenses.

Focal lengths of portraits tend to range from 30mm to 85mm, depending on how many people you will be capturing in your picture.


In the arts, the word “composition” can have a lot of different meanings.

For music, it’s the arrangement of the notes in the musical piece.

In the literary arts, it’s all about the arrangement of the words to convey a story.

And, in photography:

The composition is about taking all the visual elements and arranging them in a way that helps you tell your story.

Telling a story

As the saying goes: “Pictures are worth a thousand words.”

An excellent portrait can say volumes without the subject having to say a single thing.

Here's the thing:

When you are taking a portrait, it’s a good idea to think to yourself: “What kind of story am I trying to tell with my photo?”

Frequently, with photography, the stories you will tell are not easily put into words. And that’s perfectly okay!

Better, even.

Think about what kind of feelings you want to evoke in your audience. (And it’s okay if that audience is just you.)

Do you want to take your viewer to a place far from home?

Instagram post by Imemmarae showing a photo of a woman with salt flats on the background

Image via Instagram

Maybe you want to take them back home.

Instagram post by Key Reflections featuring a small girl looking at the baby held by a woman

Image via Instagram

Are you looking to capture a beautiful, intimate moment between family members?

Instagram post by Lucalauraandme featuring a pregnant woman resting on the couch

Image via Instagram

Or a moment from afar?

Instagram post of Sevib05 featuring a small girl walking towards a tree

Image via Instagram

Rule of thirds

One of the most common rules of composition is the rule of thirds.

In this case, you divide your image up into three sections horizontally and vertically.

The human eye naturally gravitates towards the intersection points on this grid.

For example, the children in this photo are in the horizontal middle and vertical bottom grids.

a boy carrying a girl in his back with a beautiful tall tree on their background

Image via Pexels

The woman in this photo is on the vertical thirds on this photo.

portrait of a woman in yellow long sleeves shirt

Image via Pexels

This man is set in the middle third vertically, and his body takes up the two bottom thirds horizontally.

a man wearing a cowboy hat

Image via Pexels

Depth of field

Playing with depth of field can help your portrait subject pop against the background.

In many instances, you will want a more shallow depth of field when shooting portrait photography.

Here's why:

Shallow depth of field naturally brings your subject to the forefront and makes anything in the background blurry.

Instagram post by Franz Zander showing a woman with blurry backdrop of trees

Image via Instagram


This guy breaks it down for you:

Playing with light

At its most fundamental, photography is all about capturing light.

But at its most creative, photography is about playing with light.

And to play with it, you need to get a better understanding of what light does to a photo.

Lighting can help set the mood for a portrait.

Natural light

Natural light is always great when you can get it.

First off: it’s free!

Secondly: It makes your portraits look AWESOME.

But beware:

Shooting on a bright sunny day isn’t a good idea.

It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but bright sun IS NOT what you want.

You want a beautiful, partly cloudy day because clouds are natural diffusers.

Lots of natural light can help give a photo a fun, carefree vibe.

Instagram post by Matthew Shaw showing a couple and their little girl blowing a dandelion

Image via Instagram

Meanwhile, low light portraits can set a darker, edgier tone that tells an entirely different story.

screenshot from Instagram post by Juho showing a low light photo of a woman with red hair

Image via Instagram

screenshot from the Instagram post by Bharat Duvvada showing a silhouette of a man holding a bottle and a dog

Image via Instagram

A note about golden hour

Have you heard about the “golden hour”?

Golden hour is the time of day when the sun is low in the sky. It casts a gorgeous, diffused light across the world.

And here's the best part:

It’s perfect for just about all kinds of photography.

With portraits, it can help you capture moments with beautiful, soft lighting with no harsh shadowing.

screenshot of from Instagram showing a portrait of a beautiful woman posted by jimeephotosandvids

Image via Instagram

The downside of the golden hour is...

It’s short, especially in the wintertime.

Portrait lighting

If you’re beginning to explore portrait photography, you don’t need to go to hardcore into lighting setups.

That being said:

It’s still a good idea to understand the different ways you can light a portrait subject.

As a beginner, you don’t need to get technical but always consider where the light is coming from when you are taking your photo.

Portrait Photography: The Human Element

There are so many little variables you can use to tweak your photo to look the way you want it.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the technical part of photography.

But never forget the most essential element of your portrait:

The person (or group) you're capturing.

Portrait photography, at its core, is capturing the essence of your subject for that millisecond in time.

Your subject

When it comes to portrait photography, remember that your subject is always the most critical part of your photo.

Everything about the photo should revolve around the story or feeling that you want to convey about your subject.

Maybe they're a professional.

a man smiling and holding a laptop in his left hand

Image via Pexels

Or mysterious.

a silhouette of a man wearing eyeglasses

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Maybe you want to capture a moment of pure joy.

Woman carrying a backpack jumps in delight

Image via Pexels

Or a less than ideal moment in their life.

a person sitting in the corner of a street

Image via Pexels

Taking portraits of children

Childhood goes by in a blink. It’s no wonder that parents and loved ones want to capture these moments to hold onto forever.

And this is key:

When you take portraits of kids, try to make sure they are comfortable with your presence.

Many children are natural hams when it comes to taking pictures and will love to say “CHEESE” for you.

three girls smiling

Image via Pexels

Catching kids in the act of playing or studying is a great way to showcase that moment in time.

Boy playing with fall leaves

Image via Pexels

a girl practicing to take a photo using a camera

Image via Pexels

Taking photos of pets

While we’re talking about portraits, let’s also talk about pet portraits.

(Pets are people, too!)

Pet portrait photography presents a whole lot of challenges that people photography does not.

a woman taking a selfie with her dog using her phone

Image via Pexels

(After all, your human subjects are far less likely to lick the camera!)

Like children, pets can be somewhat unpredictable. Pets don’t ways look where you want them to.

But the truth is:

That’s part of the beauty of taking pet portraits.


While posed portraits have their place, never underestimate the value of candid pictures.

Candid portraits are great because you can capture moments as they unfold naturally.

This is particularly helpful for taking photos of anyone who is shy or otherwise self-conscious.

Here's when they're especially useful:

When taking photos of, you guessed it, children and pets.

Honing Your Technique

Taking good portraits is not just about understanding how to take photos and your equipment.

It's also about this:

Applying what you know and getting feedback.

Here are a few suggestions on how to hone your portrait photography techniques.

Practice, practice, practice

All the advice about taking great portraits in the world will be lost on you if you do not do one thing:


Take as many photos as you can, whenever you can.

The great thing about digital photography is that you can do this without worrying about film and development costs. (Yes, that used to be a thing!)

Join a photography community.

Photographers from all over the world contribute to photography communities, sharing their photos, experience, and knowledge.

Joining a photography community is a great, and often free, way to learn from others.

Here are a few photography and photo-sharing communities to check out:

  • Instagram
  • Flickr
  • 500px

Be sure to share your work.

If you’re shy about it, you can start sharing it on closed communities on social media and then branch out into more publicly-accessible communities.

Keep learning

Beyond just sharing photos, it’s important to learn from photographers themselves. Many professional photographers run blogs or video channels dedicated to sharing their craft.

Try these beginner-friendly photography websites that can help you learn more about portrait photography and photography in general:

  • PetaPixel
  • Digital Photography Review
  • Practical Photography
  • Digital Photography School

And be sure to check out photographer video channels for some great tips and tricks:

  • Eric Kim Photography
  • Digital Rev TV
  • B&H Photo Video
  • Fstoppers
  • Adorama

Studying styles

One good way to help up your portrait photography game is to study portraits.

And it's simple:

Just look at other people’s photos.

Scroll through various collections of portraits. Take note of what you liked and didn’t like about the picture.

For example, if you liked the way the photo was composed, think about what you liked about it. If you liked the lighting on the shot, think about what sort of mood did the lighting evoke.

And where was the light coming from?

Look at the EXIF

Photography websites often have the image’s EXIF data available.

This is really helpful because:

EXIF data can give you all sorts of information about a photo. It will tell you what camera took the photo, what the f-stop, shutter speed, and ISO was.

The EXIF data may also give you information on where and when the picture was taken and what program post-processed it.


Portrait photography is a uniquely rewarding craft.

Whether you interact one on one with your subjects or capture them from afar, you're capturing a singular moment in an individual’s life and telling their story.

That’s pretty cool when you think about it.

So, go out there. Take in the world, take photos, and share your portraits with everyone.

a boy looking through a camera to take a picture

Image via Pixabay

It turns out that the secret to taking incredible portraits is you.

Do you have experience shooting portraits? What is your favorite subject? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!