Camera buying advice: Which camera fits you?
Buying a digital camera is not that easy. We'll explain what you need to look out for when buying a camera. Whether you are a beginner or already advanced: In this article we show which camera is right for you.
"Which camera should I buy?" That's the most common question we get from readers, friends and acquaintances.
Is not really an easy decision, after all, the camera market is huge.
Do I need a SLR camera, a mirrorless system camera, a bridge camera or even a compact camera? And what are the differences anyway?
What else do I have to pay attention to when buying a camera? And what about lenses? Do I buy them directly with the camera or rather individually?
Questions about questions.
In this article, we'll explain what you need to look out for when buying a camera - in simple words and with concrete buy recommendations for beginners and advanced and for every budget.
Note : The contribution is constantly updated by us. So you can be sure to get up-to-date recommendations here.
Our personal recommendation for every budget
We are often asked for our very personal camera recommendations.
The purchase of a camera is a very individual decision and that's why we always answer: "That depends on it" and then refer to this article.
First and foremost, of course, it's always a matter of price, which is why we recommend exactly one camera for every budget right at the beginning of our purchase consultation.
If we had to choose ourselves for a camera in the respective budget, we would buy exactly these cameras.
So if you do not want to read our complete buying guide, you'll find our buy recommendations here on the fly.
Our recommendations : We linked each camera to the product page on Bol.com. We have also had good experiences with the photo retailers Foto Koch and Calumet, who are sometimes even cheaper than Bol.com. That's why we've linked all the cameras, when they're in stock, to all three retailers, so you can easily compare prices.
Camera up to 300 euros: Canon PowerShot SX540
If you only have a very small budget of a maximum of 300 euros, we recommend buying a bridge camera. These are cameras with a larger lens, but which is firmly attached to the camera.
So you do not have to buy a separate lens, but still have a large zoom range.
The Canon PowerShot SX540 is the perfect entry-level model for the small budget. The suggested retail price is 349 euros, but the camera is usually available for less than 300 euros.
Camera up to 600 euros: Sony Alpha 6000 with kit lens
If you have more money available, you'll get a much better camera.
We recommend a mirrorless system camera with a simple lens for this price.
So you can just buy a better lens later and you do not have to buy a new camera if you want something better.
The Sony Alpha 6000 has long been our top recommendation for photography beginners.
We photographed for a very long time with the Alpha 6000 and can recommend the camera with a clear conscience.
For under 600 euros you get the camera and the simple kit lens with a focal length of 16 to 50 mm - a combination with very good price-performance ratio.
A detailed article about the different lenses for the Sony Alpha 6000 we wrote here:
Camera up to 900 euros: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G81 with 12-60 mm lens
For up to 900 euros, there are already a lot of cameras on the market.
Panasonic offers a very good price / performance ratio in this area with its mirrorless Lumix camera with the bulky name DMC-G81.
With the associated 12-60 mm lens you are well prepared. With the large zoom range you are here, especially on trips already very well equipped.
In addition, there is a wide range of lenses for Panasonic, if you want to treat yourself in the future something new.
The recommended retail price for the camera incl lens is 899 euros, in the trade, they are often again 100 euros cheaper.
Camera up to 1,200 euros: Sony Alpha 6000 with 18-135 mm lens
If you have up to 1,200 euros available, we also recommend the Sony Alpha 6000, but with a better lens than the 600 euro version.
We recommend the 18-135 mm lens, the best value for the Alpha 6000 zoom lens.
It offers a very good picture quality and a much larger zoom range than the kit lens.
In this variant, you have to order the camera without a lens and in addition the lens to do so, since both are not together in a kit.
Camera over 1.200 Euro: Sony Alpha 7ii or Sony Alpha 7iii
Is your budget higher than $ 1,200? Then you get a really good camera for your money, with which even professionals take their photos.
We have been photographing the Sony Alpha 7ii for some years now and just love this camera.
The image quality is outstanding, the handling is perfect for us and in terms of size and weight, the camera is significantly better than SLR cameras from the professional sector.
The only downside is the relatively high price, especially for the additional lenses. But quality costs synonymous and the camera is definitely worth it.
At the end of 2018, Sony introduced a successor model, the Alpha 7iii, which offers some real improvements, such as: B. better autofocus, longer battery life and even better picture quality.
The new model is, however, again much more expensive. The Alpha 7ii you get without lens for currently about 1,200 euros, the successor model costs almost double.
The Alpha 7ii is really great and you can buy it with a clear conscience.
If you can get over the 1,000 euro surcharge for the successor, we definitely recommend the Alpha 7iii.
Of course you need a suitable lens for this camera. All our tips can be found in our detailed article:
These were our top recommendations for the question "Which camera should I buy?"
As already mentioned, there can never be an ultimate recommendation, which is why we would like to recommend the rest of our purchase advice article to you.
There we introduce you to even more models and include, among others, also on SLR and compact cameras. Although we would not buy ourselves, but for you such a model is perhaps just the thing.
Before we move on, we want to give you three important information from our many years of experience in camera buying on the way:
Experience # 1: As a beginner, you can not really go wrong with any camera these days. If your budget is not high, you can also take a good camera synonymous erstmal a cheap camera. Of course, expensive cameras offer more, but especially for beginners that is usually not so important. More importantly, you can use your camera properly. For this we can highly recommend our online photo course.
Experience # 2: If you already have a camera and want something better, it may make sense to buy a new lens instead. Often the difference between an expensive and a cheap lens is much greater than the difference between an expensive and a cheap camera.
Experience # 3: In recent years, we have tried a lot of camera equipment and have now found the perfect equipment for us. If you want to know which camera, lenses and accessories we use, then just have a look in our camera bags.
Kaufberatung: Which camera fits me?
Before you think about technical details, you should consider which type of camera is suitable for you. There are four main types of digital cameras whose advantages and disadvantages we would like to briefly show you:
- Mirrorless system cameras
- Bridge cameras
- compact cameras
We are big fans of mirrorless system cameras ourselves and do not want to use anything else ourselves. But there are also cases in which one of the other camera types is a good choice.
Digital SLR cameras (short: DSLRs) are the premier class of cameras. They provide excellent image quality and offer you countless adjustment options.
The lenses of a DSLR can be changed, so you can put together your optimal camera depending on your particular area of application.
For a long time we have photographed exclusively with SLR cameras, so you can basically recommend such a camera.
Advantages of a SLR camera
- Large number of available lenses to change
- Versatile, manual adjustment options
- Excellent picture quality
- Optical viewfinder, ie you look through the viewfinder exactly how the later image will be
Disadvantages of a reflex camera
- height and weight
- A DSLR is only useful if you have mastered the essential settings
Is a SLR camera the right choice for you?
If you just want to shoot with your camera and do not plan to ever leave the automatic mode, you do not need to buy a single-lens reflex camera. Such cameras are only useful if you know how to use the most important functions.
If you do not want to learn it yourself, have a look at our online photo course . There we explain the basic functions of the camera with maximum fun and minimal technical vocabulary.
When deciding on or against DSLR you should definitely take into account the weight and size. An SLR with lens weighs 1.5 kg and takes a lot of space in the bag.
If your travel packing list is as minimalistic as ours, you'll quickly reach your limits with a DSLR. Nevertheless, we do not want to advise you against a SLR camera.
Be sure to check out the section on mirrorless system cameras as they are, in our opinion, the better choice in most cases.
Which SLR cameras are recommended?
First, the good news: Really bad cameras do not actually exist on the market, so you can not really go wrong. Here are some cameras that we can recommend to you with a clear conscience.
Whether you decide for a Nikon or a Canon, or even choose a completely different manufacturer, makes the camera purchase hardly a difference. Good quality is offered by all major manufacturers.
SLR cameras for beginners
Price level : 300-500 euros.
The first camera is often a very special one. Most of the time you remain true to the manufacturer of the first camera for a long time. Once you get used to the operation of a Nikon, it will be difficult to switch to a Canon or Sony later. We humans are habitual animals.
A beginner DSLR you get without lens already for about 300 euros, incl. Kit lens you are at 400 to 500 euros. Recommended include these cameras:
Canon EOS 2000D
The Canon EOS 2000D is a beginner model from the Canon family and a true value for money miracle.
The camera is incredibly lightweight and compact for a DSLR and perfect for you when size and weight play a role in your buying decision. With kit lens you get the EOS 2000D partially for less than 400 euros.
The Nikon D3500 is Nikon's perfect entry level SLR camera. The camera with a kit lens costs you less than 500 euros.
We have even learned to photograph with a Nikon SLR camera and can definitely recommend the cameras to get started.
Sony Alpha 68
Sony is known for its excellent mirrorless system cameras. The company can also SLR cameras!
A very good entry-level model is the Sony Alpha 68, which scores above all with its very good autofocus. Priced it is similar to the Nikon at less than 500 euros incl. Kit lens.
Advanced SLR cameras
Price level : from 900 euros
At some point, the time comes when you want to switch from your entry-level camera to a better model.
So, if you want to be an advanced model, you also have to dig deeper. For the 1.000 Euro you should plan for a better SLR camera. Of course, here are three recommendations for you.
We photographed ourselves for a long time with the Nikon D7000, a predecessor model to the D7500 and can therefore highly recommend the series. The housing of the D7500 you get for about 1,100 euros.
The camera has a very good picture quality and is below the absolute professional class, the best Nikon camera, you can currently get.
Canon EOS 77D
The Canon EOS 77D is still relatively new to the market. The camera impresses with a very good picture quality and an extremely fast autofocus.
The case is already available for less than 800 euros. A big advantage of this camera is the relatively low weight for a SLR camera.
If you want to take the next step with a more professional camera and Canon is the system of choice, then this camera is definitely worth considering.
Sony Alpha 77 II
The Sony Alpha 77 II is the best SLR camera from Sony that you can currently get below the professional class.
The case costs a little less than 1,000 euros and is worth every penny.
Mirrorless system cameras
Mirrorless system cameras have gained more fans in recent years and we definitely belong to them.
The mirrorless cameras combine the advantages of SLRs, such as manual adjustments and interchangeable lenses, with a much smaller size and less weight.
Due to the omission of the gel, these cameras are much more compact. But you have to do without the optical viewfinder. However, most system cameras have replaced it with an electronic viewfinder.
Taking pictures with an electronic viewfinder is somewhat different than using an optical viewfinder, but after a short period of getting used to it, you get used to it very quickly.
Even after ten years with SLR cameras, we recently switched to mirrorless system cameras and have not regretted the move so far.
Advantages of a mirrorless system camera
- Manual settings
- Excellent picture quality
- Changeable lenses
- Smaller size and lighter weight compared to DSLRs
Disadvantages of a mirrorless system camera
- Higher battery consumption through the electronic viewfinder
- Lesser choice of lenses compared to DSLRs, but this is getting better
Is a mirrorless system camera the right choice for you?
If you're interested in exploring the manual features of a camera and want more than holiday snapshots, then a mirrorless system camera is a good choice.
If the high weight and the size of a DSLR disturb you, but you still want to use the luxury of different lenses, then a mirrorless camera is the ideal alternative.
In terms of image quality and operation, the mirrorless cameras of a single-lens reflex camera are in no way inferior and many experts agree that the future belongs to these cameras.
Which mirrorless system camera is recommended?
In the mirrorless system cameras, the top dogs Nikon and Canon have completely overslept the development.
Leading in this area are other manufacturers such as Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus. We show you in our camera buying advice again three models for beginners and advanced, which we can recommend.
Mirrorless system cameras for beginners
Price level : 500-800 Euro
The price of mirrorless system cameras for beginners is slightly higher than comparable SLR cameras. From 500 euros you get a system camera including lens.
Sony Alpha 6000 and its successors
Sony is the star among manufacturers in the field of mirrorless system cameras and regularly sets standards in this segment.
The best known and most popular model is the Sony Alpha 6000.
Although the Alpha 6000 has been around for a few years, it is still an excellent choice. We have used this camera ourselves a lot and still like to recommend it. With kit lens, the Alpha 6000 costs just under 550 euros.
Meanwhile, Sony has launched two successor models of the Alpha 6000: the Alpha 6300 and the Alpha 6500. Both models offer some improvements, but are also more expensive.
The Alpha 6300 costs about 200 euros more than the Alpha 6000, the Alpha 6500 costs more than double. The 200 Euro more for the Alpha 6300 is worthwhile in our opinion, for the Alpha 6500 we personally would not spend more than 1000 Euro. If you have that much budget, we'd recommend you to the Alpha 7ii, which we'll introduce below.
Meanwhile there are also for the Alpha 6000 a considerable number of lenses. To get an overview, we have written a detailed article:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G81
In addition to Sony Panasonic is also known for its very good mirrorless system cameras. The DMC-G81, which comes in a kit with the 12-60 mm lens, offers great value for money.
The lens offers a large zoom range and is suitable for almost all situations. In the kit with the lens you get the camera for about 800 euros.
For Panasonic also speaks a large number of lenses, in case you want to retrofit in the future. An overview of our lens recommendations can be found here:
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Even Olympus makes very good mirrorless cameras and does not have to hide behind Sony and Panasonic.
A super entry-level model is the Olympus OM-E E-M10 Mark III. The E-M10 offers some very handy features like touch screen and swivel display.
In the kit with the 14-42 mm lens, the camera is currently available for about 700 euros. Also for Olympus, there are a lot of lenses, because the same connection as in Panasonic is used.
Mirrorless system cameras for advanced users
Price level : 1.000-2.500 Euro
Even for advanced photographers, with higher demands on the technology, there are suitable system cameras without mirrors. The following three models leave nothing to be desired.
We use such a camera for years and have never regretted the switch from the mirror reflex. But on the contrary.
Sony Alpha 7iii or Alpha 7ii
The Sony Alpha 7ii we use for several years and are absolutely excited. The camera is equipped with a full-format sensor, makes pin-sharp photos and even at very high ISO hardly any picture noise can be seen.
The autofocus is excellent and we can not say anything negative about the good piece. OK, a disadvantage is the relatively expensive lenses, but you'll be rewarded with crisp, wonderful pictures.
The Alpha 7ii you get without lens for currently about 1,100 euros.
Since the end of 2018, there is a successor to the Alpha 7iii. Unfortunately, the price is about twice as high, but the new model also offers some significant improvements.
The already very good picture quality has been improved again, the autofocus is faster and more accurate and the battery life is much better.
Whether you the 1,000 euros is worth more, of course, the question. If we buy a new camera, we would take the investment and opt for the Alpha 7iii.
An overview of all available lenses for the Alpha 7 series is available here:
Fujifilm has also been offering excellent mirrorless cameras for years. The company is aimed primarily at professional photographers and therefore mainly serves the high-priced segment. This includes the X-T3.
We would rather resort to the Sony camera for the price, which at least offers a full-format sensor. Nevertheless, you do not go wrong with this choice, because Fujifilm simply stands for the highest quality.
Canon EOS R and Nikon Z6
For a long time, Nikon and Canon completely ignored the market for mirrorless cameras. The whole world of photography has watched in amazement as Sony Co. have chased the two former top dogs more and more customers and market shares.
Both of them woke up from their slumber in 2018 and launched a mirrorless camera in the premium segment.
Both the Nikon Z6 and the Canon EOS R are priced at around 2,500 euros, without lens mind you. Therefore, we would not recommend both cameras for newcomers.
But if you already have some Nikon or Canon lenses and want to switch to a mirrorless model, both models are a good alternative. Through adapter, you can then use your old lenses without great restrictions.
Bridge cameras bridge the gap between SLR cameras and small compact cameras. They combine features of both camera types and therefore have their name.
Bridge cameras do not have an interchangeable lens unlike the first two camera types. Nevertheless, these cameras have a very large optical zoom range.
Often the zoom range is even much larger than with the lenses commonly used on a SLR camera or a mirrorless system camera.
The zoom range for bridge cameras is usually not the same as the focal length of a lens in millimeters. Instead, one speaks of a 30x or a 50x zoom instead.
So you have a comparison: A 50x zoom with a bridge camera corresponds to a lens with a focal length of 1200 mm. That's a decent house number.
Unfortunately, many bridge cameras have problems with image quality in the large zoom ranges. Without a tripod is not much at such a zoom anyway.
Advantages of a bridge camera
- Smaller size and lighter weight than a DSLR (there are of course exceptions here)
- Large optical zoom range
- Good compromise between easy operation and manual adjustment options
Disadvantages of a bridge camera
- No interchangeable lenses
- Reductions in image quality compared to DSLRs and mirrorless system cameras in certain scenarios (eg low light, low depth of field)
Is a brigde camera the right choice for me?
Above all, a bridge camera is a good option if you only have a very small budget.
If a small compact camera is not enough for you and you have no ambitions to experiment with different lenses, then a bridge camera is also a good option. It can also be an advantage not to have to constantly change lenses.
For a bridge camera in the higher price range, we honestly see only a few arguments, since the price of a good bridge camera is hardly less than that of a mirrorless system camera. In our opinion, you have to make too many compromises.
Which bridge cameras are recommended?
Even though bridge cameras are not as popular among photographers as cameras with interchangeable lenses, the market is still not very clear. Nearly all known camera manufacturers offer bridge cameras in all price and performance classes. Here are our buying tips.
Bridge cameras for beginners
Price level : 250-400 euros
A simple bridge camera you get for less than 200 euros. To get started in photography, you do not have to dig deep into your pocket with a bridge camera.
If you only have a small budget, but still want to deal more intensively with photography, then a cheap bridge camera for entry is a good choice.
Canon PowerShot SX540 HS
The PowerShot SX530 HS is a highly recommended entry-level model from Canon. The bridge camera has a 50x optical zoom and image stabilizer, so your pictures are better protected against camera shake.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS costs about 250 euros and thus offers an excellent price-performance ratio.
Nikon Coolpix B500
Also Nikon offers with the B500 a cheap bridge camera for beginners. The Nikon Coolpix offers a 40x optical zoom and is available in different colors.
However, the camera does not support manual adjustment of aperture and shutter speed. So if you want to learn how to shoot properly, you should choose a different model.
If you like the different automatic modes, this camera is a good choice. Price is between 250 and 300 euros.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72
Panasonic offers an excellent entry-level bridge camera with the beautiful sounding name Lumix DMC-FZ72. The camera is a bit more expensive than the other beginner models, but offers a real plus in image quality and features, including a 60x optical zoom.
If your budget is a bit higher, we highly recommend this camera.
Bridge cameras for advanced users
Price level : 600-1500 Euro
For a long time, Brige cameras were only for beginners, but there are also some really good models for ambitious photographers.
Sony DSC-RX10 and DSC-RX10M3
With the RX10 series Sony offers probably the best what you currently find in the market of bridge cameras. The picture quality is very good. No wonder, because the Sony DSC-RX10 does without a typical superzoom for bridge cameras.
For this purpose, lenses made by Zeiss are installed on these cameras. There are four models in total. The cheapest of them is the Sony DSC-RX10 for about 700 euros, the most expensive is the DSC-RX10M4 for just under 1,700 euros.
The best value for money in our opinion offers the cheap camera for 700 euros and the DSC-RX10M3 for about 1,200 euros, which is also our personal favorite in this segment.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000EG
The Lumix DMC-FZ1000EG from Panasonic is also a bridge camera of the upper class. Priced under 600 euros, it is equipped with a Leica lens with a focal length of 25 to 400 mm and a light intensity of f / 2.8 to f / 4.0.
Also in the field of video recording, the Lumix DMC-FZ1000EG is strong and offers recordings of 4k and Full HD videos.
With a small compact camera, many have taken the first steps in photography.
The big advantage of a compact camera is of course the low weight and the minimum size.
Meanwhile, compact cameras have disappeared a bit from the general perception and were largely displaced by smartphone cameras.
For us, a compact camera is still a sensible investment if you decide on a high-quality model. Günstige Kompaktkameras sind hingegen tatsächlich überflüssig, da Smartphones mittlerweile genau so gut fotografieren können.