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.

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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



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