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8 Reasons to Buy a Digital Camera Today (and Which Are Best)

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8 Reasons to Buy a Digital Camera Today (and Which Are Best)

Over the last ten years or so, there has been an explosion in the quality of smartphone cameras, and that is a good thing for most people. As the best camera is often the one you have with you, a smartphone camera is more than good enough for quick captures of friends, family, and other random photo needs. However, as good as smartphone cameras have become, they are still limited when compared to digital cameras. 

Whether you are looking at a point-and-shoot, action camera, or DSLR, there are a lot of things dedicated cameras can do that smartphones can only hope to accomplish. In addition, even if you factor in all of the various camera and editing apps on smartphones you can download, there is just something about holding a camera in your hand that still feels exceptional. 

Let’s take a look at the 8 best reasons you should buy a digital camera today. 

What is a Digital Camera? 

For all intents and purposes, a digital camera is considered a camera that takes pictures or video and stores them using a digital format like a memory card. The digital memory could also be internal memory, though many digital cameras rely heavily on SD or microSD cards for larger storage capacities. Previous to digital cameras, photographic film like the popular 35mm format ruled the photography world. Today, it’s all about going digital. The rise of digital cameras has also made it easier to quickly preview a photo or video immediately after being captured right there on a camera display. 

8 Reasons to Buy a Digital Camera 

Image Quality

There is little dispute that smartphone cameras can capture excellent photos, and to the untrained eye, it might be difficult to say if a photo is from a smartphone or a dedicated camera. To the trained eye, image quality is undoubtedly better on a dedicated camera. Amateur and professional photographers alike know that megapixels are not everything but they do help with prints, and because of that, you can find better quality on cameras like a DSLR and mirrorless

One very specific area where a digital camera will significantly outperform a smartphone camera is with low-light photography. A digital camera is less likely to show more noise due to the larger sensor of a digital camera. DSLR cameras, in particular, can offer much higher ISO sensitivity when compared to a smartphone, which equals more vivid photography results. 

Lens Options

When comparing a smartphone to a digital camera, one of the best reasons to buy a digital camera shines through. With a smartphone, you’ll usually get up to three lenses: a standard lens, ultra-wide, and telephoto. There is no doubt that as good as smartphone cameras have gotten, you can get some really outstanding results using one of these lenses. 

However, where digital cameras shine is when you focus on DSLR and mirrorless cameras, which have interchangeable lenses. Instead of being limited to three lenses like a smartphone, there are quite literally dozens of different interchangeable lenses available for these camera formats. 

Using the available lenses, you can find a huge number of choices for macro purposes as well as lenses to help you take telephoto shots at a distance smartphone cameras can only dream about. Not to mention how much better ultra-wide lenses are on digital cameras. 

Action Photography

Looking at digital cameras like the GoPro Hero11, you can absolutely see why even these small digital cameras outshine non-digital cameras. In the case of action photos and video, these digital cameras are used in a difficult-to-capture type of environment. Whether you are looking to use a camera underwater, on a ski slope, or while jogging, these cameras are going to do a great job at capturing very specialized footage. The GoPro, in particular, uses its HyperSmooth stabilization technique, which is among the best in the digital camera space to keep photos/videos stable and level. 

Better Controls

As good as some of the photo apps on smartphone camera apps can be, they cannot beat the physical buttons available on digital cameras. Between the dials, buttons, and detailed on-screen menus available, there is a very large number of settings you can tweak to get the best possible photos. Additionally, the physical buttons on a camera can help you react quickly when you need to adjust your shot depending on your subject’s positioning, available lighting, or if you want to achieve a very specific effect with your shot. 

Plenty of Options

When you go to buy a digital camera, one of the best reasons to do so is that there is an option for everyone. Between action cameras, point-and-shoot, DSLRs, and mirrorless, there is something for every person and every use case.

When you want to travel lightly, you can pick up a small action camera or a point-and-shoot. If you are going on the trip of a lifetime, like, say, a cruise to Alaska, you might want a DSLR with interchangeable lenses so you can capture everything going on around you near and far. 

If you’re off to scuba diving in the Florida Keys, looking at a GoPro or similar action camera is going to be great so you can rest comfortably and capture all of your underwater footage without worrying about the camera itself. The bottom line is that with a smartphone camera, you have limited options, and you don’t want to risk your phone scuba diving or while climbing a glacier. For this reason alone, a dedicated camera is going to be the right choice for you.  

Sony A7C vs. A7 III
As good as smartphone cameras can be, digital cameras still offer better features and picture quality.

Better Focus

One of the more specific reasons to buy a digital camera is focus. When you think about how often you have had to try and reshoot a photo or missed a photo completely because of an issue with focusing, the better the camera, the quicker you can get in focus and start capturing or recording. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras will undoubtedly do well with focusing but even point-and-shoot and action cameras are still better than most smartphones. 

Let’s say you want to capture a very rare car driving by and you pull out your smartphone camera and cannot get it to focus. You have now missed this potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With a digital camera, you have a greater chance of turning on a camera that starts nearly instantly and getting a focused shot before the car drives off. Autofocus is a big, big deal among digital camera owners and is often the difference in why one camera has a better review than another. 

Durability

When it comes to digital cameras, many are made to be tough enough to withstand the elements with durable frames and solid build quality. From being water, shock, and dustproof to having cameras that can withstand going underwater for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, you should rest assured that a digital camera can go wherever you want it to go.

Smartphones are not known for their durability or underwater prowess, and even if point-and-shoot cameras aren’t always the most durable, there’s a lot more flexibility across DSLRs, mirrorless, and action cameras. 

Weather sealing is all but standard on many DSLR cameras, even in the more budget-friendly ranges, which makes them perfect for all weather conditions. Lenses are also made to withstand many environmental factors, which should give you even more confidence to go down the digital camera path.  

Lots of Accessories

Whether you are taking photos at the local soccer field or traveling the world, there is a host of digital camera accessories that can come in handy. Everything from something as simple as a strap to carry a camera across your shoulder, battery pack, microphones, lenses, tripods, filters, and stabilizers are just a few of the accessories you can push for a digital camera. 

There is no question that smartphones also have plenty of accessories, but when it comes to native integration and simple functionality, digital cameras still outpace smartphone accessories by a long shot. Depending on what you do with a camera, having something like a microphone might be super handy, so having this available as an easy add-on for many DSLR and mirrorless cameras is a huge win for the digital camera space. 

The Best Digital Cameras You Can Buy Today

Sony Alpha A6100

Best Budget Digital Camera
Sony Alpha A6100 Mirrorless Camera
$598.00
  • Mirrorless digital camera
  • 24.2-megapixel sensor
  • Fast AI-driven autofocus tracking
  • External microphone jack
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03/11/2024 08:37 pm GMT

Arguably the best camera for most people, this mirrorless camera is perfect for capturing just about any type of photo on the go. 

With real-time autofocus tracking at 0.02 seconds, you can quickly start the camera and immediately capture a subject. Looking at captured photos on the 3-inch touchscreen LCD is a great way to make sure you got exactly the photo or video you want. 

As a mirrorless camera, you can choose from any number of lenses including 16-60mm, 70-350mm, 18-105mm, and more. An external mic input is built-in as well, which will be helpful as you capture footage from the 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor. 

Canon EOS Rebel T7

Best DSLR
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR
$479.00
  • 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 9-point autofocus system
  • Optical viewfinder with 95% viewing coverage
  • Built-in wireless connectivity
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03/10/2024 09:42 pm GMT

Widely regarded as the best DSLR for beginners, Canon has long made a name for itself in the digital camera space. 

Priced just right to start digging into the DSLR space, the Canon is filled with excellent features, including a 9-point autofocus system and an optical viewfinder that captures around 95% of your view. The 24.1 megapixel CMOS sensor pairs great with the built-in DIGIC 4+ image processor for turning out outstanding videos, even if it is a few years after the T7 hit the market. 

Built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to move photos and videos on and off the camera or you can transfer images through a memory card. Last but not least is Full HD videos at 30 FPS with results that are best-in-class for entry-level DSLR cameras. 

GoPro Hero11

Best for Action Shots
GoPro HERO11 Black
$299.00
  • 5.3K video that gives you 91% more resolution than 4K
  • Water-repelling lens cover
  • 27MP photo and 5.3K60 video
  • HyperSmooth 5.0, AutoBoost for maximum stabilization
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03/12/2024 05:57 pm GMT

When it comes to action cameras, there’s only one you really need to consider, and that is the GoPro Hero11. 

GoPro has long been the leader in the action camera space with no signs of slowing down. This is especially true when you factor in how they managed to include 5.3K video recording with the GoPro Hero11. This means you get 91% more resolution than 4K and 665% better video quality than Full HD 1080p. As good as videos are, still images are equally as great with a 24.7-megapixel lens, ensuring you can turn out great photography regardless of your skill level. 

Of course, capturing yourself in slow-mo is one of the many reasons to buy an action camera, and the Hero11 delivers 2.7K video at 240FPS. Last but not least is HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization, which works effortlessly to reduce shaky footage.  

Sony Alpha 7 IV

Best Mirrorless
Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera,Body Only , Black
$2,498.00
  • 33-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor
  • 8x more powerful image processing engine
  • Up to 4K 60 FPS video recording
  • Real-time autofocus for humans, animals, and birds
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03/11/2024 02:35 pm GMT

If money is no object, then the best digital camera you can pick up today may very well be the Sony Alpha 7 IV mirrorless camera. 

Priced right around $2,500, in order to demand such a price tag, Sony would have to deliver an outstanding feature set, and that is exactly what they do. The highlight is the 33-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor that is paired with a next-generation image processing engine for best-in-class mirrorless camera results. 

Videos are yet another win for Sony as you can capture 4K at 60 FPS, which is a big step up from most digital cameras that only go as high as 30 FPS. Real-time autofocus ensures you can get the camera turned on and focused in a hurry thanks to 759 different phase-detection autofocus points through the included lens. 

Wrapping Up

Going with a digital camera over other cameras like a smartphone will ensure that you get the best possible photo and video results. While it’s true the best camera is the one you have with you, all of the available accessories for digital cameras help make it possible to carry a camera on the go, wherever you are. Between DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and action shooters, you have a ton of options to make sure you can find the perfect camera for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one reason to buy a digital camera today?

The number one reason is image quality as you will find better overall photos with stronger ISO results and less noise with a digital camera. 

Do digital cameras take better photos and video than smartphone cameras?

Yet another subjective answer but yes, in ideal circumstances, a digital camera should take better photos and videos. 

How much should you expect to spend on a digital camera?

The range here can be pretty vast from a hundred dollars all the way up to thousands. 

How long will a digital camera last?

The answer to this question is partially based on how well it’s manufactured but also on how well a camera is handled over time. 

Who makes the best digital cameras?

This is very much a subjective question but Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, and Olympus are widely regarded as some of the best camera companies around. 

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