A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Camera

A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Camera

Whether it’s through group selfies or epic GoPro adventures, our generation has embraced the importance of capturing life’s precious moments. Even as a beginner, photography doesn’t need to be a complex or abstract art form that takes years to master; today’s technology has granted us innumerable ways to take pictures and preserve our favorite memories. Here’s the lowdown on the cameras that any amateur photographer can enjoy. Happy snapping!


Talk about a throwback! Digital cameras may have the spotlight right now, but the classic feel of disposable film cameras will always have a special place in our hearts. Disposable cameras are always hits at family gatherings, and easy to use for virtually anyone in the family, whether it be one of the kids or Grandma Betty who can barely hear the shutter go off.

•Light, durable, and popular at vacations and special events!
•Simple use -- no loading necessary, focus-free operation
•Ultimate ease and convenience with old school feel

•Developing film can be tedious and expensive
•Can’t review photos after you take them
•No control over settings

Kodak Fun Saver 35mm Single-Use Camera with Flash

Fujifilm Disposable 35mm Camera With Flash


The truly old school versions of these cameras nearly became obsolete, making film super expensive (although they survived thanks to the Impossible Project)—but nowadays newly refurbished Polaroid-style cameras are quickly regaining popularity. Much sleeker and more modern than the old school versions, these instant film cameras make for artsy and vintage photos with very little hassle. You’ll never get over the joy of seeing your photograph develop before your eyes (after you sh-sh-shake it like a polaroid picture!).

•Easy to use, fun, and small enough to transport
•Instant way to seem more artsy (pun intended)

•Film costs can add up quickly
•Limited control over operations, lack of focus can show

Fujifilm Instax Mini

Polaroid 300


With today’s love for documenting every adventure, why limit ourselves to dry terrains? Waterproof cameras have become an indispensable tool in capturing photography beyond the normal family group picture. Underwater photos are special keepsakes that are a lot easier to take than one would think!

•Taking underwater photos (obvious, but so rewarding!)
•Can be found at affordable prices
•Often are more durable than other digital cameras

•Sometimes more expensive than small point-and-shoot digital cameras
•Risk sacrificing quality for underwater shots

Olympus Tough


Albeit becoming overshadowed by smartphones’ cameras, compact point-and-shoot cameras still pack a mean punch. Handier than bulky DSLR cameras and more sophisticated than disposable film cameras, these nifty cameras are great ways to get high quality with plenty of convenience.

•Many now have wifi to instantly share pictures over social media
•Costs have dropped while technical abilities have increased
•Variety of pre-programmed creative modes

•Fewer capabilities/control than digital SLRs
•Losing popularity to smartphone camera applications
•Limited with certain types of photography (ex: sports)

Canon PowerShot

Sony Cyber-Shot


The most sophisticated among this list of cameras, digital SLR cameras are great for those looking to delve deeper into the realm of photography. With some practice, mastering DSLR cameras doesn’t have to be difficult! Amateur photographers looking to become more advanced and technical with their work should definitely look to invest in a DSLR camera.

•More control and capabilities to allow for more sophisticated photos
•Typically built tougher than compact digital cameras
•Interchangeable lenses mean wider variety of photography

•Bulky body can be inconvenient to bring on-the-go
•Takes time to understand and master all the functions
•Prices can be hefty, especially when it comes to accessories and lenses

Canon EOS Rebel t3

Olympus E-5


Boasting one of the quickest rises to popularity, action photography has become all the rage. Showing off your latest adventure—whether it be skydiving, snowboarding, snorkeling, or whatever element you tackle—is essential. Action cameras have even become popular for non X-gamers, with high-quality photo and video capabilities making documenting vacations and other special life moments increasingly easy.

•Lightweight, small, durable; built to last even the craziest of adventures
•Oftentimes including both photo and video capabilities
•Able to access angles and document actions otherwise impossible

•Even older versions still carry a hefty price tag (plus accessories)
•Sound and quality can sometimes suffer
•Limits: light, memory, water-depth, connectivity


Sony Action Cam

Well, there you have it! I hope this guide helps you decide how you’d like to best start or continue your journey with photography.

What kind of camera is usually your favorite, and why? Share with us in the comments below!

About the Author
Sophia B.
Sophia B.
Puppy enthusiast and cupcake connoisseur.