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Best Superzoom Cameras 2019: 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 best fit 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?

Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens...

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.

How We Chose Our Ratings

Canon Powershot

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 2018

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...

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.

​Rating:

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 4K Point and Shoot Camera, 16X LEICA DC...
  • 4K VIDEO & 4K PHOTO - Panasonic's exclusive 4K Photo technology uses 30 frames per second in high resolution 4K Ultra HD...
  • LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT LENS - 16x Zoom (25-400 mm) with full zoom range F2.8 aperture for enhanced low light shooting...
  • HIGH IMAGE QUALITY - The 12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor with the Venus Engine excels in diffraction...

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.

​Rating:

Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera with 83x Optical Zoom and Built-In...
  • 16MP CMOS Sensor;6-level brightness adjustment
  • 24-2000mm 35mm 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.

​Rating:

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 in 2018. 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.

​Rating:

​​​​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 HD...
  • Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens - 24x zoom (25-600mm) with full zoom range F2. 8 aperture for enhanced low light shooting...
  • 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.

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Buyer’s Guide

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.

Budget

Budget is usually the biggest factor when deciding to purchase anything in life and can have an extreme pull in quality of the product you end up with. 

If you are looking for a more affordable option, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300 is a proper choice. If you have a little more to spend, definitely go with the Canon Powershot GX-3.

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Canon SX60

Canon Powershot SX60

16.1 Megapixel 1/ 2.3-inch high-sensitivity CMOS sensor


65x optical zoom
4x digital zoom
260x combined zoom


Optical Image Stabilizer


5.04 x 4.49 x 3.66 inches dimension


1.43 pounds weight


1080p video capture resolution


DIGIC 6 image processor


Zoom Framing Assist


Intelligent IS

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000

4K GFHD 30p video


Hybrid 8MP post capture


1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor


Anti-blur mechanism with F2.8-4.0


16x optical zoom


LUMIX DFD Focus technology


Depth from Defocus technology

Nikon COOLPIX P900 4

Nikon Coolpix P900

16 Megapixels CMOS sensor


200mm more optical zoom


Swiveling Vari-angle display


Electronic Viewfinder


PSAM mode control dial


Battery life of 360 shots per charge


83x optical zoom, 166x dynamic fine zoom


2,000 mm equivalent focal length


Snap-Back Zoom button


5.0 stops Dual Detect Optical VR


Built-in WiFi and NFC, GPS and Points of Interest

Canon Powershot G3-X

Canon Powershot G3-X

1.0-inch, 20.2 megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor


25x Optical Zoom 924-600mm lens


Intelligent IS system


1080p Full HD movie shooting


Multi-angle touch panel LCD

Panasonic Lumix FZ300

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300

12.1-megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor


24x zoom (25-600mm) with F2.8 aperture


4K video and 4K photo


F2.8 Long Zoom Digital Camera


24x zoom with a constant f2.8 aperture


High speed focusing technology


Five-axis correction technology


Splashproof and dustproof

Zoom, Shoot and Go!

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!

Best Canon Camera: The Models to Look For

person holding the best canon camera

Canon is one of the best camera brands out there, with a variety of cameras for every level of photographer no matter the occasion. In fact, the wealth of superior options when it comes to Canon cameras can be overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re just picking up a camera for the first time, an aspiring Instagrammer curating your feed or a professional working photographer, Canon has an option for you. We have sifted through Canon camera offerings in 2018 to pick out the best of the best so that you can purchase the camera that best suits your need.

Remember, a camera can be an expensive investment, and you want to make sure you have exactly the equipment that best suits your needs. Make sure you’re making the best Canon camera purchase for your photography goals by taking a look at our in-depth guide below.

How We Choose Our Canon Camera Ratings

man holding a canon cameras with its strap around his neck

Ratings are nothing without research, accuracy, and honesty, so we strive to incorporate these points in each and every Canon camera rating we produce. We choose our Canon camera ratings by carefully reviewing customer feedback and testimonials, as well as the product specifications for each camera. We also consider how each product meets with our expectations of Canon as a brand and factor all of these considerations into our ratings.

The cameras are judged based on features, design, photo quality, and performance. We judge how the camera feels in your hands, how easy it is to get started, how advanced its systems are and how well its special features function. We also make sure to let you know who the target consumer for each Canon camera we rate is.

Of course, in the end, you (and your wallet) are the final judge. That’s why it’s important that we give you as much detailed information as possible on each Canon camera we rate, and that’s why we have assembled this guide.

Top 3 Best Canon Cameras

The Canon EOS-1D X is a professional-level DSLR that’s capable of taking fantastic shots in a variety of modes, from shoot stills to video or studio models to landscapes.

The EOS-1D X combines the best features of the 1D Mark III line and the extraordinary speed of the 1D Mark IV, making it two astonishing cameras in one. It offers a new full-frame image sensor, fantastic autofocus control and performance, and the ability to shoot continuously over 12 frames per second. The 1D X also integrates the same professional-level video capability of the Canon 5DK Mark III, making the Canon EOS-1D X a powerful in a single body.

Speaking of the body, the Canon 1D X has an ergonomic build, with buttons in strategic places. If you shoot with the integrated portrait grip, a second multi-selector joystick makes menu and option navigation a breeze, with two more buttons along the lens mount allowing depth of field preview in portrait orientation. Additional video controls are easy to use and integrated well into the body design.

Canon EOS-1D X 18.1MP Full Frame 1DX Digital SLR Camera Body

The Canon 1D X features a new 61-point autofocus system that is even better than the 1D Mark III’s, an AF system which is both sophisticated and accurate. This is an AF system meant to be trusted in any condition. The body also features a new wired LAN port that will be convenient for news, sports and studio photographers.

Videographers should find the Canon 1D X an especially compelling buy. There may not be a headphone jack, but features like a 3.5mm mic jack and dual CF card slots more than make up for it. Users can also choose between two forms of compression at the full 1080/39p resolution. The Canon 1D X is a multidimensional powerhouse.

Pros

  • 14fps burst capability
  • 61-point AF system
  • Great images at high ISO settings
  • Dual CF card slots
  • 1080p video capture
  • Full frame image sensor
  • Tough build

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No headphone jack
  • No built-in flash
  • Switching between still and video live view mode is annoying
  • Heavy weight
  • No video record button on the body
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-70mm...
  • 30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting
  • Up to 7.0 frames per second continuous shooting speed
  • High performance L-series ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with constant f/2.8 maximum aperture.

Part of Canon’s EOS 5D series, the Mark IV is well-placed to appeal to enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body

Its appearance is similar to its predecessors, but inside, a lot has been upgraded. The Mark IV has a higher-resolution sensor, 4K video capture, a touchscreen, better weather-sealing, built-in Wi-Fi/NFC, GPS and more. The camera is built around an all-new 30.4-megapixel sensor and uses the Digic 6+ processor, which means you’ll be able to produce professional-quality images rich with detail and color. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is borrowed from Canon’s flagship sports camera, the 1D X Mark II, and means your 4K video and Live View Shooting will look smooth and flawless.

The 5D Mark IV is Canon’s all-around pinch hitter, somewhere between Canon’s action-oriented models and their high-resolution options. A versatile camera, the 5D Mark IV is a great upgrade from the 5D Mark III. According to Canon, this camera is well-suited for “wedding and portrait photographers, nature and landscape shooters, as well as creative videographers.”

Pros

  • Improved face detection and tracking through viewfinder AF
  • Fast Dual Pixel Autofocus
  • Excellent dynamic range
  • High ISO capability
  • Great videos are easy to shoot
  • Tough and rugged frame
  • Back review LCD is a touchscreen

Cons

  • No tilt screen
  • Outdated and slow memory card
  • No EVF
  • Not able to shoot wide in 4k video recording
  • Motion JPEG format for video shooting takes too much storage
  • Downloading pictures via Wi-Fi drains battery
Canon PowerShot SX730 Digital Camera (Silver) and Canon Battery Bundle
  • 40x optical zoom with zoom framing assist
  • 20.3 Megapixel
  • CMOS sensor

Canon’s PowerShot SX730 is a long zoom, point-and-shoot camera that features not only a slim, appealing design, but also Image Stabilization technology that counteracts the natural shakiness of the human hand while shooting. This means both sports and nature photographers of any level can produce great, steady shots. The 40x optical zoom lens ensures that you get all the details no matter whether you’re shooting your child’s play or insects in a field.

Canon PowerShot SX730 Digital Camera w/40x Optical Zoom & 3 Inch Tilt...

The powerful lens is only part of the package. The PowerShot SX730 has a 20.3-megapixel CMOS Sensor and DIGIC 6 Image Processor, all of which works together to produce fantastic pictures as well as video. Both still images and high-quality 1080p FullHD video will impress, even in low-light situations.

This camera also features built-in Wi-Fi, making it easy to share your footage instantly. While some consumers prefer the SX720, which is 30 grams lighter and available at a cheaper price, the newest camera out of Canon’s PowerShot line features Bluetooth connectivity as well as an articulating screen.

Pros

  • 40x optical zoom
  • Advanced stabilization technology
  • Zoom framing assist helps you keep the photo’s subject in focus
  • Slim and lightweight frame
  • Built-in wireless and Bluetooth tech
  • 3” tilting screen

Cons

  • Video auto-focus is not always reliable
  • No 4K
  • No external mic
  • Not great for low light
  • Slow lenses at long-range

Buyer’s Guide to Best Canon Cameras

man using a canon camera to take photos

While the cameras above represent the very best Canon cameras available in 2018, they are far from a complete list. If you’re looking to purchase a Canon camera that might not be in our list above, there are several important factors for you to consider. These considerations will help you understand what to look for as you make a decision about which Canon camera you should buy.

Photo Subjects

Decide what you will be shooting with your camera. What kind of environment will you be shooting in, a controlled studio environment or the unpredictable lighting of nature? Depending where you plan to shoot, you may need a camera with a sophisticated AF system, a powerful zoom lens, or one that is especially effective in low-light conditions. For sports, you’ll want a faster shutter speed; if you’re shooting in the great outdoors, you may need a rough-and-tumble camera that’s been sealed against dust and weather. Is battery life a concern for you? Is speed of transferring files something that concerns you? Are you more interested in video than stills? You want to answer all of these questions before you go shopping.

Photo Quality

When it comes to photo quality, the key is sensor size, not megapixels. Megapixels determine an image’s resolution, and this is not something the average hobbyist needs to worry about. Instead, sensor size, a great autofocus system, and an excellent image-stabilizing system are the main factors that come together to create standout images.

Camera Model

The newest model in a line isn’t necessarily the best model for you. If you have heavily invested in accessories for your particular older model, you’re very accustomed to how it handles or you feel no real reason to upgrade. Older models are more affordable once new models come out, so if money is a concern, sticking to an older model of an excellent camera is one way to make the bite out of your wallet hurt a little less. For example, if you’re an advanced hobbyist looking to upgrade, an older model of a professional Canon camera will be a lot more affordable than jumping straight from your inexpensive point-and-shoot to the year’s newest elite DSLR.

Terms to Know

As you explore the world of the best Canon cameras, you’ll run across several terms whose meanings you may not know.

Interchangeable-lens

These include DSLR or mirrorless models. You can swap the lens out for a number of reasons, such as improving photo quality, low-light performance or the angle of view.

Fixed-lens

These types of cameras include bridge cameras, compacts, and point-and-shoots. Compacts (such as your phone) are much smaller, while bridge cameras cover a zoom range that’s hard to mimic with a lens alone. On a fixed-lens camera, you are free from the trouble of swapping the lens, which may be tough depending on where and what you’re shooting.

DSLR

A DSLR stands for “digital single-lens reflex,” a digital camera that combines a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor rather than photographic film. A DSLR uses an optical viewfinder which is well-suited for shooting action, and the battery life of a DSLR is also much better when compared to a mirrorless camera.

Mirrorless

Mirrorless cameras are smaller, with smaller lenses than a DSLR. Rather than an optical mirror or viewfinder like an SLR, they have an electronic viewfinder that displays what the camera image sensor sees. They are better for shooting video and allow you to see real-time previews for image editing features. Mid-to-high range mirrorless models also have better image stabilization as well.

Comparison Table

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Canon EOS-1D X 18.1MP Full Frame 1DX Digital SLR Camera Body

18.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor


Dual DIGIC 5+ Image Processor


14 fps in Super High Speed Mode


ISO range of 100 - 51200


61-Point High-Density Reticular AF


1080p FHD video capture resolution

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-70mm...

30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor


Up to 7.0fps continuous shooting speed


61-point AF system


ISO range 100-32000


4K video recording at 30p or 24p


Touch-screen LCD monitor

Canon PowerShot SX730 Digital Camera (Silver) and Canon Battery Bundle

20.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor


Digi 6 image processor


40x optical zoom


3-inch 180° tilt-type screen


Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC


1080p Full HD Video at 60p

Conclusion

Hopefully, our buyer’s guide has empowered you with the knowledge you need to understand how the different Canon camera models are unique to one another and which one will be the best camera for your purposes. Whether you choose one of our ranked Canon cameras, such as the top-ranked Canon EOS-1D X, or decide to do further research for a camera that suits you even better, go forward with great confidence.

Got a recommendation for best Canon camera we missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Canon SL1 Comprehensive Camera Review

stylish Canon SL1 camera

Great for travelers without a lot of professional photography experience, the Canon SL1 is the smallest and most lightweight, mirrorless camera on the market today. Designed with smaller hands in mind, women, and younger people will love the feel of this model.

Below, we will compare the positives and negatives of buying a Canon SL1, explore how this camera matches up to the competition, and help you find out if it’s right for you.

What Is the Canon SL1 And How Does It Work?

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm STM Lens + Canon EF...
  • 1 of Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm STM Lens - WiFi Enabled
  • 1 of Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

The Canon Rebel SL1 is a DSLR camera made with dainty hands in mind. Perfect for travel thanks to its small size, the SL1 packs in tons of awesome features and external controls into a small package. A mirrorless DSLR camera, Canon laid its cards on the table with this model.

With downsized internal parts, a smaller shutter mechanism, a thinner sensor module, and a tiny circuit board - the Rebel still offers an 18 MP resolution, a powerful DIGIC processor, and clear image quality. In fact, this camera is one of the smallest DSLR options on the market today.

Perfect for those who want to step up from a camera phone or traditional point and shoot camera, you can shoot photos in an impressive IOS range for stills and video alike. With 4 frames per second continuous shooting, the SL1 is a go-to choice for any photo type or setting, whether you’re in dim lighting or capturing action shots.

A mode dial sits on the right side of the camera that allows you to switch between manual, semimanual, and automatic modes. You also have a three-way movie switch to begin recording video, with four different shot modes – perfect for shooting at night, capturing images of kids or food, and at candlelight scenes, such as a wedding. A built-in flash and face detection help capture gorgeous images.

Choose your setting on the touchscreen and begin shooting. This camera is easy to use for beginners and novice photographers alike.

Product Specifications

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens

The Rebel SL1 may produce a small footprint, but it has a huge number of features and high-performance quality packed in.

With all the same features you typically find in a Canon Rebel camera, the series carries a front dial for exposure, ISO, and AF/AE lock buttons. It has a 3-inch touchscreen, CMOS autofocus system, and boasts 80% frame coverage. Weighing only 13 ounces, the SL1 is compact with everything beginner and novice photographers need to create beautiful images.

Canon offers a series of STM lenses that are designed to take the Hybrid autofocus system used in Rebel models and enhance it. Three different lenses are included in the standard zoom kit (18-55 mm, 18-1335 mm, and a fixed 40 mm pancake lens) for the SL1 and they offer a quieter shooting and autofocusing experience. This is helpful when shooting video as well.

When shooting video, you can capture 1080p Full HD quality and capture sound through a monaural microphone with a stereo input jack. It even has a video snapshot feature to capture short clips ranging from two to eight seconds and places them into one video file you can play as a highlight album or view as snapshots.

You can preview your video live on the screen or connect to a TV using the camera’s HDMI port and use a number of creative filters to play with your images and video before uploading them to your favorite social media site or sharing them with friends and family.

Although, with the SL1, you don’t need to edit after shooting.

Handling the SL1 feels the same as if you use one of the Canon’s larger siblings. A handgrip helps keep the camera slip proof while feeling like a traditional DSLR model. The large 3-inch touchscreen has an LCD monitor with smudge and glare resistant coating to reduce fingerprints and is perfect for selecting different scene modes and altering your images with creative filters on the crisp real-time display.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens

This model is also GPS compatible with an optional GP-E2 receiver attached to the digital terminal to record the exact location of the photos you take and track the trajectory of movement by logging your latitude and longitude from an electric compass and GPS synching capabilities.

What Makes the Canon Rebel SL1 Unique?

  • Small and lightweight
  • Easy to use for learners
  • Upload or share images by email or online
  • Resize and crop images and videos directly on the camera
  • Better auto-focus speed and video skills

Small and lightweight, the very size and powerful options packed into this small frame make the SL1 unique. Reviewers on Amazon say that even though they “knew the size of the camera before buying,” they still couldn’t get over how tiny it is for an SLR camera.

The SL1 is easy to carry around without losing the buttons you need. It’s easy to use for learners, produced the same image quality required of any mirrorless camera on the market today, and even professionals have access to a better-than-average lens kid and the functions they need to edit, upload, or share images when they’re on the move.

You can upload and share resized images by email or online. Alter a JPEG file directly on your camera to size down your files while not touching the original image size. With this camera, professional photographers can create photobooks by altering layouts and selecting certain images to be printed in book form easily and quickly.

You can even crop images and video without a computer and print on-the-go even!

Bells and whistles aside, the SL1 is the smallest and most lightweight option out there with better autofocus speed and video skills than most DSLRs out there.

Other Reviews of The SL1

person holding the Canon SL1 camera

The Canon SL1 may have been created with small hands in mind, but reviews say the grip is comfortable on one-handed or even with moderately larger sized hands. Men with large hands may feel a bit cramped, but this model is still larger in size than many interchangeable-lens compact cameras on the market.

The SL1 also disappoints when it comes to shooting outside in the bright sunlight, as it seems to have been better designed for indoor and night use. Overall, most people say they would buy this model again in a heartbeat, but you may consider purchasing another camera later as your photography skills grow.

You may also want to be aware that the European version of the SL1 is often called the EOS100D. While the functions of the two cameras are the same, this may affect some warranties depending on where you live and buy your SL1 from. All Canon Rebel cameras are also often compared because they often carry a lot of the same functions.

In terms of DSLR cameras, the SL1 is easy enough for beginners but not too easy for novice learners.

Pros and Cons of The Rebel SL1 Camera

Tiny cameras can often lose a lot of the functionality you need to alter your shots and upload straight from your device, but the SL1 does not hold anything back.

While the biggest pro for the SL1 is its compact size, it still performs well. The autofocus is quick and reliable, even with live video as long as you choose the focal point yourself, and the touch focus option in live viewing is a huge help.

And, with tons of editing and uploading abilities, you can share your images with family when you’re out of town or at home without the need to sync to another device and another before you can upload it online, which saves you time and effort when editing.

Pros

  • Compact style, but performs well
  • Functional despite small size
  • Quick and reliable autofocus
  • Comes with editing and uploading abilities
  • Sharing abilities

Cons

  • 3" touchscreen only
  • you can't move the screen
  • nearly impossible to see the screen in bright light
  • has less features

When it comes to cons, the screen is really the downside. The 3” touchscreen may have a glare and smudge proof design. However, it would be nice if the camera offered vari-angle or side-swiveling capabilities to allow you to shoot from different perspectives. You also can’t move the screen at all. The resolution is amazing, but the ability to move the screen gives you more versatility to shoot in various settings without being too hard on your body or eyes.

The LCD screen could also use an update. Even though the touchscreen interface is the same as the T5i model, reviewers say it’s nearly impossible to see well in bright light, especially direct sunlight. If you’re shooting stills, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. But shooting videos outdoors can be more difficult since you can’t see most of the settings you may need in the viewfinder without squinting and moving the screen around.

For a professional camera, this model is also slim on features. It doesn’t come with GPS or wireless functionality, such as time-lapse, multiple exposures, and more you can find in other models.

The Canon takes less time to start up and has a slightly longer battery life as well, for nearly the same price.

The SL1 was designed to be an entry-level DSLR camera whereas pros may opt for a mirrorless interchangeable-lens type of camera if you need more functionality. Overall, the SL1 packs in a lot for a small beginner DSLR camera.

Warranty

Canon offers one-year warranty for this product. They also offer maintenance services to its customers, whether you are a casual photographer or simply take photos as a hobby, to regularly clean your camera and provide a variety of coverage plans at an additional price that covers varying years of service and support if an accident occurs or an unforeseen repair surprises you.

Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Build Quality
Warranty
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens

How Canon Compares to the Competition

The Rebel SL1 is smaller than its competitors, but there are other SLR-style mirrorless models like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and Nikon D3400.

Generally, the Rebel models are compared to other entry-level DSLR competitors. Where the Rebel shines over the competition is in terms of the screen resolution, which is 1.040k dots versus the usual 921k dots that comes with both the Panasonic and Nikon models.

With a focus that continuously updates even while recording movies and an external mic jack, the SL1 has more than either competitor.

Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera (Red) with 18-55mm & 70-300mm Lens Accessory...
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Nikon D3400 24.2MP DSLR Camera (Red) with 18-55mm and 70-300mm Lenses, SanDisk Ultra 32GB Memory Card,...
  • SENSOR AND PROCESSOR: The D3400 Digital Camera features a highly sensitive 24.2MP CMOS image sensor that produces images...
  • WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY: Better photos, transferred automatically to your compatible smart device. With the built-in...

The Nikon, for example, has a higher frame rate when it comes to video, longer battery life, and a 24 MP true resolution, but no mic jack or touch screen abilities along with the lower screen resolution. Panasonic also doesn’t come with a mic jack or high screen resolution.

Warranty

Nikon D3400 can come with varying levels of warranty cards. A two-year warrant can be bought in some states. Usually, the D3400’s Nikkor lens will at least have a four-year extended warranty if you live in the United States, which covers five total years of protection as long as you have proof of purchase.

Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Build Quality
Warranty

Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Black)

Panasonic DMC-G5KK 16 MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm Zoom...
  • AVCHD Full HD (1080p),ISO Sensitivity Auto: 160-12800
  • 16M digital Live MOS sensor+Venus Engine 7FHD
  • Engine 7FHD 3, 920K dots Free-angle touch LCD

Although Canon’s STM focus motor is quiet and fast when you use the optical viewfinder, the live view autofocus system in the SL1 lags behind the competition. Canon added a movie servo autofocus used for continuous focus tracking on moving subjects, but it may not perform as well as the image stabilization lens of the Panasonic Lu​​mix, which also has a faster frame per second rate of 20 and a flip-out screen that’s perfect for recording.

Warranty

The Panasonic Lumix, on the other hand, offers a one-year limited warranty for defects.

Ease of Use
Assembly Time
Build Quality
Warranty
Panasonic DMC-G5KK 16 MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm Zoom...

Is the SL1 Right for You?

While no camera is perfect, the SL1 performs great at capturing shots of the family, pets, vacations, and more. Perfect for traveling on holiday, casual photographers will enjoy carrying around this lightweight model.

Pros may find they need more functions, but the compactness and fun editing feature this model carries is perfect for people who want to play around or need a powerful option that is super small and lightweight.

Although, if you want to spend the same amount of money and require a more equipped power zoom lens, the ability to connect to WiFi, or an advanced viewfinder, an interchangeable-lens camera may be right for you.

However, if you just need a small device with good photo quality on the go, Canon Sl1 is a reasonable purchase among the competition.

Best Nikon Camera: Top Models to Check Out

black nikon camera

There are a number of great Nikon cameras out there in the market suited to every photographer and occasion. Nikon is a famous brand and has been in the camera-making business a long time, so there’s tons of information out there about their cameras. Some might say there’s even too much information… but some haven’t been lucky enough to find this guide = Some might say there’s even too much information… but they probably haven’t been lucky enough to find this guide, which will help you find exactly the best Nikon camera for your situation.

Whether you’re an amateur photographer, a student choosing their first camera, a professional working on photo shoots, an event photographer, a nature photographer, or any other kind of photographer in any stage of development, Nikon has a camera for you. In our exhaustive run-down of Nikon’s best camera offerings for 2019, we will explain the pros and cons of each camera, what level of photography each camera is best suited for, what price point to expect and more.

Ready to find out which Nikon camera is best for you?

How We Choose Our Nikon Camera Ratings

person using a nikon camera to take photos

Accuracy and honesty are critical when it comes to reviewing anything, but especially something like a Nikon camera, which can be a pretty heavy investment. We choose our ratings by looking at testimonials and reviews from customers as well as reviewing the raw data about these cameras straight from the manufacturer. We also consider Nikon’s general reputation and factor all of these points into our rating system.

These cameras are judged on photo quality, performance, features, and design. We’ve taken into account everything from the camera’s look and feel to how its features, such as auto-focus and image-stabilization, really work. We’ve also made sure to tell you who these cameras are best suited for and why.

In the end, the right camera is the camera that works for you. That’s why we’ve made sure to give you as much information as possible on each of these Nikon cameras.

Top 5 Best Nikon Cameras

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body w/ Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR...
  • 1 of Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
  • 1 of Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Lens shipped separately

The Nikon D850 is a versatile, well-rounded camera that is excellent for shooting a variety of subject matter, from weddings and portraits to action and wildlife, and is particularly adept at handling stills. It is a DSLR camera with high resolution and high speed suitable for the intermediate-to-advanced user. The Nikon D850 camera marries incredible image quality with excellent performance and has graced top 10 lists at PCMag, TechRadar and more.

The Nikon D850 is one of Nikon’s fastest-shooting DSLRs and offers an ISO 64 mode which enables it to tolerate more light in brighter conditions. It also has the complete auto-focus capabilities of Nikon’s flagship D5 sports camera, from the AF module and processor to the full range of AF modes and options. The grip has been reworked to make it more comfortable when being held for long periods, which will be welcome for the tired pro at long events. The Nikon D850 also features a new optical viewfinder that enables glasses wearers to take in the whole scene comfortably.

The Nikon D850 is available on Amazon.

Pros

  • Noticeably faster autofocus than other cameras
  • Fast CPU performance
  • A bright screen with a high refresh rate
  • An intuitive rear touchscreen
  • Highly detailed resolution (comparable to film)
  • The ability to recover underexposed or shadowed areas with very little noise
  • An entirely usable ISO range
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No in body image stabilization
  • A poor wireless iOS app
  • No focus peaking with 4K video (though there is focus peaking with 1080p video)
  • Pretty expensive
  • Live View focusing speed is not as good as that of some other cameras
Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR with 16-80mm ED VR Lens w/ Seagate...
  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • Store, carry and protect your camera equipment

The Nikon D500 is Nikon’s top-of-the-line DX DSLR. This professional-level camera is especially well suited to action and wildlife photographers and is crammed full of pro features that enable it to produce incredible images in a variety of conditions and lighting with an excellent, dynamic range. The Nikon D500 is best for full-time professional photographers or very serious enthusiasts who want a lighter and smaller camera than their full-frame options.

The Auto AF fine-tune is quick and easy to use, while the touchscreen is both accurate and just as user-friendly. The inclusion of the super-fast XQD card slot means loading the photos to the card takes no time at all. The build quality is particularly strong, with a great, ergonomic grip and a comfortable joystick that can have different AF modes assigned to it.

The Nikon D500 can shoot a full 30 minutes of video and can also shoot in 4K, though it does crop the video when shooting in 4K. The ISO to noise ratio is very well-controlled as well. In terms of speed and durability, the Nikon D500 is impressive, especially because it means Nikon fans can now upgrade to a professional-level DX camera without being forced to opt for a full-frame camera.

Pros

  • Incredible AF system
  • Super-solid build
  • 10fps for 200 shots
  • SnapBridge technology-enabled
  • Two card slots: SD and XQD
  • Excellent noise handling
  • 100% coverage on the viewfinder

Cons

  • Live View AF is slow
  • Tilting screen (as opposed to vari-angle)
  • Touchscreen LCD is not always touch-sensitive
  • 20-megapixel sensor rather than 24-megapixel sensor
Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera + AF-P DX 18-55mm +70-300mm NIKKOR Zoom Lens...
  • Nikon Authorized Dealer Includes Full USA Nikon Warranty
  • Nikon D3400 24.2 MP DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR & AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Zoom...
  • Kit Includes: Sandisk Ultra SDXC 32GB UHS Class 10 Memory Card

The Nikon D3400 camera uses the D3300 as a base, sharing pretty much the same specs and design while adding Nikon’s SnapBridge Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to transfer images directly to your smart device. If your photography business involves lots of image sharing on social media, this is an important consideration.

The Nikon D3400 is appropriate for entry-level photographers looking to wet their toes in the world of DSLR cameras. It has a compact body, excellent battery life, and great image quality. It’s also very easy for a first-time user to use and is much more affordable than more advanced cameras.

Because the Nikon D3400 is specifically made as a DSLR for beginners, Nikon prioritized its lightweight and compact body and its simplicity of design without compromising on the benefits of its interchangeable-lens system.

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact body
  • Easy to use
  • Redesigned, streamlined kit lens
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great single-shot AF performance
  • Guide mode feature and ‘?’ button a boon to first-time users

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • No microphone port
  • Connectivity options are poor
  • Not suitable for long exposure or time-lapse photography
Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera And 18-55mm Lens Kit W/ Total of 48 GB Memory...
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor delivers images with incredible detail and sharpness.
  • ISO 100-25,600 for ultra-sharp results in all lighting conditions.
  • 3.2" 1,037m-dot swiveling touch display to shoot from creative angles.

The Nikon D5600 is a humble upgrade to the D5500, which still makes it a very capable DSLR suitable for the advanced beginner, or the beginner who has outgrown their entry-level camera but is not ready for a heavier investment in more advanced cameras just yet.

The Nikon D5600 differs from the D5500 by adding Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, which helps transfer images directly from camera to smart device. Otherwise, as far as specs go, the details of the Nikon D5600 are nearly identical to the D5500. The resolution is still 24.2 megapixels while the image processor of choice is still the EXPEED 4. The display is the same as before but has been improved with a frame-advance bar to speed up looking through images as well as a new crop function.

One of our favorite features is the new time-lapse movie feature that lets you capture and put the film together entirely in-camera, which is lots of fun for all those summer camp and school year retrospectives. The Nikon D5600 is available at Amazon.

Pros

  • High-resolution sensor
  • Detailed images
  • Articulating touchscreen
  • 39-point AF system
  • Comfortable handgrip

Cons

  • SnapBridge still needs work
  • No 4k video (only 1080p)
  • Expensive compared to similar cameras
Nikon D7500 DX-Format Digital SLR Body
  • Class leading image quality, ISO range, image processing and metering equivalent to the award-winning D500
  • Large 3.2" 922K dot, tilting LCD screen with touch functionality. Temperature: 0 °C to 40 °C (+32 °F to 104 °F)...
  • 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors and group-area AF paired with up to 8 fps continuous shooting capability

The Nikon D7500 is a major improvement from the D7200, which is an enthusiast DSLR well-suited for those looking to upgrade from their entry-level Nikon camera. The Nikon D7500 takes what was great about the D7200 and amps it up, adding a 20.9 megapixel sensor and the EXPEED 5 image processing engine. A great deal of its tech, including the EXPEED 5, is actually borrowed from the legendary D500. But the D7500 is not a direct replacement for the D7200; it is simply one step better.

The D7500’s sensor and image processor enables the Nikon to avoid the low-pass filter and grab more detail, improving its sensitivity. The expanded ISO range is impressive, going from ISO50 all the way to ISO1,640,000. The camera body itself also feels secure and comfortable. It is weather-proofed as well.

The autofocus system is an updated version of the D7200’s 51-point AF system, which delivers reliable AF tracking performance as well as a new Group-Area AF mode, first seen on the D810.

If you’re not quite ready for the D500, the D7500 may just be your speed.

Pros

  • Simultaneous 4K UHD output
  • Headphone and microphone jack
  • SnapBridge technology
  • Excellent high-ISO performance
  • Excellent sensor
  • Tilt-angle screen
  • Advanced AF system
  • 8fps burst shooting

Cons

  • Only features a single SD card slot
  • Live View focusing is slow
  • Low resolution on the rear screen

Buyer’s Guide to Nikon Cameras

man navigating the icons on his nikon camera

While the cameras above are some of the very best cameras Nikon has to offer in 2019, there are several important factors to purchasing a camera that you should understand before you go ahead and swipe that credit card.

Photo Subjects

First, you need to know what you plan to shoot with your camera. Will you be using your Nikon camera for indoor or low-light outdoor situations? You might want VR (vibration reduction, or Nikon’s image stabilization function). Will you be using it for outdoor sports? You might need a faster shutter speed. Nature or wildlife? You need a dust- and weather-sealed camera. How important is video to you? You may want a camera that records in 4K rather than 1080p, or one with really good autofocus. Will you be unable to recharge your camera for more than a day? Be prepared to buy extra batteries, or invest in a DSLR, which will have significantly better battery life.

Photo Quality

Second, if photo quality is very important, then you should factor sensor size, not megapixels, into your considerations. Megapixels are what determines an image’s resolution, and the average hobbyist doesn’t need to concern themselves with this. Sensor size, a great autofocus system, and a superior image-stabilizing system are the things that will make your images stand out

Camera Model

Third, you don’t always have to spring for the newest model of cameras or the ones rated “best” in all the reviews. Models from the previous year (or even the year before that) are not only perfectly fine, they are often a lot cheaper. This makes upgrading from a hobbyist’s entry-level camera to a serious enthusiast’s more advanced camera a lot more affordable.

Comparison Table

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body w/ Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR...
  • 45.7 MP sensor
  • Up to 9fps continuous shooting
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Focus Shift shooting mode
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording
Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR with 16-80mm ED VR Lens w/ Seagate...
  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • Form Factor: SDXC UHS-II
  • Memory Card
    Storage Capacity: 128 GB
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording
Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera + AF-P DX 18-55mm +70-300mm NIKKOR Zoom Lens...
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • Native ISO 100-25600
  • No Optical Low-Pass Filter option
  • 3.0" 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Multi-CAM 1000 11-Point AF Sensor
Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera And 18-55mm Lens Kit W/ Total of 48 GB Memory...
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 1.037m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with NFC
Nikon D7500 DX-Format Digital SLR Body
  • 20.9 MP sensor
  • 3.2” 922K dot tilting LCD screen
  • 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors
  • 4K Ultra HD and 1080p Full HD video
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Terms to Know

Finally, there are a few terms you should know.

Interchangeable-lens cameras include DSLR or mirrorless models. You can swap out the lens in these cameras to improve photo quality or low-light performance, or change the angle of view.

A DSLR uses an optical viewfinder, which is usually better than the electronic viewfinder on an affordable mirrorless, in particular when shooting action. The battery life of a DSLR is also much better than that of most mirrorless cameras. DSLRs have a wide range of lens to choose from and also tend to be more affordable than entry-level mirrorless cameras.

That being said, mirrorless cameras are smaller, with smaller lenses, than a DSLR. They are also better for shooting video and make real-time previews available for features such as fiddling with filters or long exposures. Mid- to high-range mirrorless models tend to have better image stabilization as well.

Fixed-lens cameras include bridge cameras and compacts, or point-and-shoots. Compacts (like your phone) are much smaller, while bridge cameras cover a zoom range that would be tough to mimic with a lens alone. Also, you don’t have to swap the lens on a fixed-lens camera, which may be an irritation to you depending on where and what you’re shooting.

Now that you’re equipped with all the knowledge you’ll need, good luck and happy Nikon camera hunting! Got a recommendation for best Nikon camera we missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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.

Smartphone

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?

YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LENSES.

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:
Aperture
shutter speed
ISO 

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.

Aperture

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

ISO

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.

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.

Composition

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

See?

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

Image via Pexels

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.

Candids

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:

PRACTICE.

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:

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:

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

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.

Post-Processing

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!