Your next digital camera

Standing at the crossroads trying to work out if your next camera should be a DLSR or MILC? Don’t know what either of those things are but just know your phone camera isn’t going to cut it anymore for capturing life’s best moments?

Don’t worry – we’re here to get you through this. We’ll explain exactly what you’d be upgrading to and talk through great entry level and high-end options currently available on the market.

So, it’s an interchangeable lens camera, which means…?

It’s easy to get lost in a search for a new camera, but if you are looking to up your game you should be considering an interchangeable-lens camera and you have two main choices: DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) and so-called “mirrorless” or MILCs (mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras). Both of these camera types do essentially the same thing, but have a few key differences.

DSLR cameras use a mirror to divert the light from the lens into a viewfinder so you see exactly what the camera sees. When you take a picture, this mirror flips up out of the way, a shutter in front of the image sensor opens, and the sensor captures the image.
MILC cameras don't use a mirror, instead, the light passes through the lens and falls right onto the image sensor, as it does in P&S (point and shoot) and phone cameras. To preview the image before you press the shutter button, you look at a screen on the back of the camera.

Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (MILC)

Here we have a new breed of cameras that bridge the gap between compact P&S cameras (digicam, compact, ultracompact, your phone camera) and the high-end, bulkier, feature filled DSLR cameras. MILCs give the user the high quality camera features of DSLRs, like image quality and interchangeable-lenses, in a smaller package.

The basic

Our pick for an entry level option is the Olympus PEN Lite E-LPL3. Here’s why:

  • High quality, small and very portable. 
  • A three-inch tilt LCD screen for maximum visibility and flexibility in shooting and playblack mode. 
  • It boasts the world’s faster autofocus by using Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology that features tighter focus points and improved tracking, plus an auto focus illuminator light makes shooting in low light a problem of the past.
  • A new 12.3 megapixel High Speed Live MOS Sensor with full HD movie capability and the latest TruePic VI image engine means a dynamic range, impressive colour reproduction and high ISO 12800 sensitivity.
  • Clip on flash with wireless control capability.
  • Six popular art filters with advanced variations and effects built in.
  • Advanced image stabilisation for photo and video to avoid shake and blur-free content.

The best

Our pick for a high-end option is the Sony Alpha A7R. Check it out:

  • Weighs only 465 grams, bolstered by a lightweight magnesium alloy chassis that provides comprehensive dust and moisture resistance.
  • A whopping full frame 36.4 mega pixel Exmor CMOS image sensor with Sony’s cutting-edge BIONZ X image processor, can capture crystal clear stills at four-frames per second and grab stunning 50p AVCHD video. 
  • A 2.4 mega pixel Tru-Finder viewfinder uses advanced XGA OLED technology to make framing your desired subjects easy.
  • Sony Alpha A7R's integrated LCD display monitor gives you a three-inch viewing area with rich colour and deep blacks.
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity makes transferring your pictures and video quick and efficient.

Digital SLR Cameras

These are digital versions of your old film SLRs that have been around for 100 years. These cameras tend to be bigger and bulkier but they have the best image quality of all the cameras and help you to get great photos by providing an incredible range of features.

The basic

Our pick for an entry level option is the Canon EOS 1100D DSLR. Here’s all the good stuff it’s got going on:

  • We’re talking a12.2 megapixel DSLR with a Canon developed CMOS sensor to help get the best image quality with true-to-life colour and very low noise.
  • 2.7-inch LCD monitor for reviewing shots and video.
  • HD video recording (1280 x 720p) with optional manual controls so you can really get creative and unleash your creativity by utilising the manual controls.
  • Nine-point auto focus for sharper images, both as a movie and still images.
  • A superior DiG!C Processor means super-fast processing.
  • Live Face Detection auto detection mode.
  • Canon 18 – 55mm lens, which is light, compact and has superior zoom range.

The best

Our pick for a high-end option is the Nikon DF DLSR Camera. Let’s just say, it’s the Ferrari of this lot:

  • You can’t go pass the classic Nikon design and this DSLR packs all the modern tech into a stylish vintage package with black grip and metallic mechanical dials.
  • Weather resistant magnesium alloy build offering robust performance with superior dust prevention and control.
  • 55mm lens
  • The glass pentaprism optical viewfinder offers almost 100 per cent frame coverage at 0.7x magnification in FX format providing you with a live pre-view of your subjects and scenes for the best shots possible.
  • 16.2 mega pixel high-speed image sensor (expandable to 204,800 MAX ISO).
  • EXPEED 3 image processor with full-time servo auto focus with subject tracking to capture and produce images with unsurpassed clarity and colour fidelity.
  • 3.2” high definition LCD monitor with scratch/shock resistant glass that gives you vivid, clear images to review no matter what the overhead light is like.