For some reason, December is a popular time for buying cameras. Thus, it’s the time of year when folks are generally asking for camera buying advice. Here’s a recent one:

Would you give any thoughts on these cameras or any other camera suggestions you might have? Do you have a point and shoot you enjoy? – Melodie

Melodie is a mom who was wanting to buy a camera for her daughter for Christmas. The cameras in question were the Samsung NX100 compared with the Nikon Coolpix A900 and Sony Cybershot DSC-WX350

camera decision

Before I give an answer, let me ask you a question of my own:

How would you make this decision?

Regardless of what the answer may be here on this blog, the real question isn’t so much which camera is better . . . the question is about how to make a decision between one camera and another. And this can be the question for any camera combination!

Most likely you will never face this particular choice between these three particular cameras. But I wouldn’t be surprised (especially since you are reading this post) if you had some sort of camera decision to make in the future. And if not now, than in the eventual future. Thus the real question that we all have is, how do I make make that decision?

My answer to this is pretty simple: break each big decision into series’ of small decisions.

“What camera should I buy?” is a big decision. But what if you broke down that question into smaller, more easily answered questions? Before answering the big question of knowing what camera to buy, you have to make smaller decisions in at least 10 different areas, like budget, brand, camera functions, how you plan on using it, etc. By making micro-decisions in each of these areas one at a time in logical sequence, you will be surprised at how easy it is to make that final, big decision! And you’ll feel good about that big decision too.

There’s not enough time or space here to step you through these 10 different areas of figuring out what camera to buy. But it is in an ebook. The Photography Buying Guide, 10 principles that will help you decide how to buy the equipment that’s right for you, is available here on the Lenspiration Store. It’s a good place to start before shelling out hundreds of dollars on that new photography purchase.

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But now, back to Melodies original question! The following answer comes from Benjamin, a photographer friend of mine whose wedding I shot last May [A Few Ways To Improve A Wedding Photoshoot].

The biggest difference between the Samsung vs. the Nikon/Sony is that the Samsung has what’s called an APS-C sensor. That refers to the size of the sensor and is the biggest factor in the quality of the images produced by the camera. APS-C is the size of most DSLR cameras (with the exception of “full frame” DSLRs, which are not as common and have 35mm…same as film…sensor size, which is even bigger than APS-C). An APS-C sensor is HUGE compared to most compact camera sensors like the Nikon and Sony cameras in those comparisons. (It is 2500% the size of those, or 25 times as large.) This larger sensor size coupled with a lower MP (15 for the Samsung vs. 18 and 20 for the other two) means the quality of the pictures coming out of the Samsung will be way way better than anything you could get out of the other two. (In small cameras, it is pretty much always true to say that smaller MP—megapixel—count will have better quality. MP is a marketing gimmick. 🙂 )

So I would probably recommend the Samsung for sure out of those you suggested…but it all comes down to what the purpose is. The other two have really long zooms, which is a cool feature to have. They are able to do that at a low cost because of the miniscule sensor size…you would need a big hunk of glass to do the same on the Samsung. If she is wanting to get into photography more, keep in mind the lens lineup that’s available with the brand you get. Samsung is one of the newer players in the mirrorless world so the their lens selection may not be very wide. It may be that lenses she buys now could be used later on down the line, perhaps even with DSLRs.

Just some thoughts….hopefully it wasn’t too much. FWIW, I have really enjoyed my Sony RX100 M3 (mark three; third version), which is kind of a cross between an APS-C sensor and the tiny compact camera ones…and it is also built like a compact camera without the interchangeable lenses, so it is more durable being sealed and such…so that’s another avenue to look into as well.

Ask more if this all is confusing! There’s lots of options and it mostly matters what she wants to do (e.g. learn photography…want a flash hotshoe; capture memories…fast aperture is good; versatile for all situations…long zoom is good.)

Hope that helps. 😛

– Benj

As you can see, Benjamin brought up a lot of different areas to consider and make decisions on. Sensor size, purpose for which the camera will be used, zoom, future considerations, camera features, etc. It may seem overwhelming at first, but when considered in logical sequence, it all makes sense. If you’re ready to take the next step, I hope The Photography Buying Guide will be of help to you. And if you happen to be a PRO member, it will be discounted 50% off when you use your special membership coupon, which you can view here.

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