Main features to consider
Most cameras have their own integrated (rechargeable) batteries and include a charger. Most will last for hours, but if you’re going to do full day of shooting then it’s a good idea to buy a spare battery.
Monitor, viewfinder, and WYSIWYG
While many cameras come with a decent-sized screen on the back, the viewfinder is the best way to see what you’re doing. For a start, you don’t need to worry about glare off the screen. It’s also easier to read the on-screen text, and see what the settings are and where the focal point is. It can also save battery power.
If you’re using a compact camera, then adjust the brightness and contrast can be adjusted on many monitors – a handy feature if you’re struggling to see it in bright sunlight, or a dark room.
The monitor on most DSLRs is for reviewing images only – you can’t use it for previewing a shot. This is where a good viewfinder is essential.
A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) system is an advantage of a mirrorless camera. When you point the camera at something and focus, the image in the viewfinder is what the final photo will look like. WYSIWYG gives you more freedom when shooting as you can adjust the settings with confidence before snapping off a shot – a real timesaver for new photographers and experts alike.
The sensor is a grid of pixels that captures incoming light and converts it into a photograph. Generally, the bigger the sensor the better the picture. You may have heard of a “full frame sensor” – this refers to a full frame of 35mm film. The X-T30, like many mirrorless cameras, has a smaller APS-C sensor. Despite being smaller, you can still print images up to A0 poster size with no worries – something you definitely can’t do with pictures taken on a phone.
Nearly all cameras have a movie mode to let you record video. Typically all you have to do is switch the camera to movie mode, press the shutter button and the camera will start filming. Press the shutter button again to stop recording.
The high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras can capture 4K resolution video and have replaced camcorders in the market.
While red-eye reduction is present on almost all models, it’s still a good idea to learn exactly when to use flash and when not to. Some higher-end models don’t even have a flash and require an extra flash via the “hot shoe” connection.
PASM stands for the various shooting modes found on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that are simplified for compacts: program mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes. Program mode offers partial control over shutter speed and aperture. Aperture priority and shutter priority allows you to control either the aperture or shutter speed while the other, along with ISO sensitivity, is calculated by the camera. Manual mode allows you to control everything.