Which camera is the best?
Crop or full frame?
Optics – replaceable or non-replaceable?
Mirror or mirrorless?
Smartphone or soap box?
What to buy in the first place
The topic of choosing a camera has probably always been and will be relevant. Time is passing, technology is changing, old materials written on this topic are hopelessly out of date. General principles remain unchanged, but a huge number of nuances make us look at the problem of choice differently. The purpose of the article Which camera is the best is to dot all the i in the matter of buying a digital camera given the current market situation. The article is primarily aimed at beginning amateur photographers, but I am sure the article will be useful to experienced users as well.
Where to start choosing the “best” camera? First of all, you must determine the range of tasks for which the camera will be used. Tasks can be completely different and you need to come to terms with the fact that an absolutely universal camera simply does not exist. This is the same as choosing a car – for one price you can buy a passenger Mercedes or a KamAZ truck. From point A to point B, you can move on one and the other, but the tasks for these machines are completely different, as well as the requirements for driver skills.
The same thing with cameras. For example, in order to go on a picnic with friends and take a photo for history, it is absolutely not necessary to drag a professional camera there (although there are enthusiasts), a smartphone is enough – after all, photos from such events usually do not go beyond social networks and home photo albums .
For professional purposes, the requirements for technology are completely different. Lightness, compactness fade into the background, and completely different parameters become priority – image quality in low light, rate of fire, color reproduction, dynamic range, camera performance and autonomy.
Thus, the choice of the “best camera” is always a compromise between the capabilities of the equipment, its size, ease of use, price and system upgrade capabilities.
In this article, I will answer the four most important questions that arise when choosing a camera: crop or full frame, optics – interchangeable or non-replaceable, a mirror or mirrorless camera, a soap dish or a smartphone. The purpose of my article is not to name the specific model that you need to buy in order to find happiness in life, but simply to systematize knowledge on this topic. I went through the problem of choosing a camera many times and I know firsthand what flour of choice is 🙂 Everything that is written in this article is my purely personal opinion, which has developed over many years of passion for photography. To accept it or not is up to you.
Crop or full frame?
One of the main criteria by which cameras are divided into “good and bad” is the physical size of the matrix. It is measured not in megapixels, but in millimeters (or inches). It is this parameter that has a decisive influence on the quality of photos – color reproduction, noise level, dynamic range (the ability to simultaneously work on the picture and bright colors and deep shadows).
A bit of a boring theory
skip the boring theory
If you do not go deep into theory, the rule is simple – the larger the size of the matrix (in millimeters), the more “artistic” the picture can be obtained with it if you have good optics and hands growing from the right place 🙂 A large matrix can transmit light, color , with it you can control the depth of field and generally create masterpieces. Small matrices are capable of all this to a much lesser extent.
The ability to control the depth of field (the correct name is the depth of the sharply depicted space, depth of field) is an invaluable quality in artistic photography. The IPIG is of great relevance in portrait shooting – a portrait with a blurred background in most cases looks much more spectacular than a similar shot with a sharp background.
Based on the foregoing, an erroneous conclusion may arise that the background in the picture is blurred by the matrix. This is not true! The background in portraits blurs the lens. And the main difference between cameras with “small” and “large” matrices is that the lenses they use are completely different. Optics, which is used on full-frame cameras, can blur the background almost “to zero.” The camera lens in a smartphone is not capable of this, by definition. It’s all about a characteristic such as focal length. The larger it is, the more “blurring” the lens will be. Schematically, it can be shown as follows:
Note that with a change in the size of the matrix, the focal length of the lens is proportionally reduced (while maintaining this angle of coverage of the space in the photo). Together with him, his ability to blur the background decreases. Here is an explanation of why portraits with a blurry background can be shot on mirrors / mirrorless ones, but not on soap dishes and smartphones. By the way, if smartphones were presented on this diagram, they would be located to the right of the “soap box”.