Sure, smartphone cameras are getting better and better and the devices are nearly always to hand.
However, there are occasions when only a real camera will do the job and when that happens a system camera is a good option.
System cameras are cameras with interchangeable lenses. Unlike digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, they don’t have a reflex mirror or an optical viewfinder.
This makes them more compact and lighter than a DSLR. They do have a viewfinder, but it’s usually a high-resolution mini-monitor that shows the live image from the sensor.
The lens you choose determines what you can photograph. Long focal lengths (measured in millimetres), for example, allow you to zoom in on faraway objects.
Light intensity determines how well photos taken in low light turn out and that depends upon the lens’ maximum aperture.
The smaller the number next to the letter ‘f’, the more light is allowed in. Beside the lens, system cameras differ mainly in their sensor format. Full-frame cameras have the largest sensor and thus the largest area for recording image information.
The smaller formats APS-C and Micro Four Thirds are also widespread. ”Most smartphone photographers will not need a system camera,” says Markus Bautsch, a photography expert with German consumer goods tester Stiftung Warentest.
As long as you view, edit and send your pictures solely on your smartphone, you’ll hardly notice any differences in quality.
However, if you’re photographing distant subjects such as wild animals or sports events, or taking pictures in low light, most smartphones will quickly reach their limits.
For mirrorless system cameras, prices start at around US$500 (RM2027.25). They generally come with simple standard zooms.
These are lenses that cover the most frequently required focal length range, between 18 and 50 millimetres.
Whatever model you buy you should check beforehand whether it is compatible with lens made by other manufacturers.
”The lens collection can be worth many times that of the camera housing,” Bautsch says. And you can’t just screw a branded lens on to every camera.
Those who want to delve deeper into photography not only need a s lightly larger camera budget, but also a willingness to learn. ”It is a misconception that you only need a camera for 600 euros (RM2,942) and then it takes good pictures,” says photographer Matthias Halthof. – dpa