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The best DSLR camera or digital camera can be confusing.
If you’ve arrived here, then you’re probably scratching your head, wondering what is a digital camera? Not more than a few decades ago, they were considered a novelty, especially at their introduction. Serious photographers didn’t take them, well, seriously, figuring digital cameras could never approach the image quality of the film. Modern cameras like the Canon Rebel T6i (Editor’s Choice) continue to prove them wrong. And at that time most photographers, regardless of skill level, probably couldn’t have even answered the question: what exactly is a digital camera?
Little did anyone realize that digital cameras would completely flip the world of photography. Continuous technological improvements not only allowed digital cameras to equal and then surpass film cameras in performance and quality, but they basically eliminated film as a photography option and more importantly a necessity. Add in the simplicity with which you can record, edit, review, and share digital photographs, and it’s easy to understand why digital cameras now dominate the world of photography, even among professionals. Today’s best video cameras would look like magic to someone from 50 years ago.
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In the most basic sense, a digital camera works a lot like a film camera. But, in the case of the digital camera, the film is replaced by an image sensor. And unlike film, an image sensor can both measure and be sensitive to light. This is to say, that one component is needed to perform two tasks; measure light and capture an image. Moreover, an image sensor doesn’t need to be kept in complete darkness until used or developed, as the film does.
Quite a few other advantages exist for digital cameras, whether you’re comparing them to film cameras or smartphone cameras.
Modern digital cameras are great pieces of equipment, providing a wide range of photography features available at dozens of price points. While smartphone cameras are chipping away at the lower end of the camera market, there have never been more choices and great options in the intermediate and upper levels of the digital camera market.
Most of the major camera manufacturers are those that migrated over from the world of film, and the eight top digital camera makers are:
When seeking a digital camera, you’ll want to pay particular attention to image quality, which is determined in large part by the physical size of the camera’s image sensor. A larger sensor typically yields better image quality, as explained in our Best Digital Cameras of 2015 list.
Then you need to think about whether you want a big zoom lens, a camera that’s easy to use, WiFi connectivity, waterproof capabilities, and/or a touch screen display.
Stick with major manufacturers while seeking out models that fit those desires and that fit within your budget, and you’ll end up with a great digital camera!