Finding the perfect camera for you

There are a lot of things to consider when figuring out what kind of camera works best for you. Do you need something small in size but big in performance? Or are you looking for a camera that can guarantee quality images? What about features like ease of use, control, picture quality, video capability, and size?

Weighing all these different factors may seem daunting, which is why we’ve created this handy guide. From point-and-shoots, known for their simplicity and compact size, to DSLRs, which guarantee stunning picture quality, we’ll break down what’s out there, what qualities to look for, and what to buy.

We’ll help you decide which features are important to you—whether you’re a pro looking for more control, or a novice who wants an upgrade from their iPhone—and ensure you get a product that works with your unique lifestyle.

Point-and-shoot cameras

The classic fits-in-your-pocket camera, point-and-shoots are known for being small and light, easy to use, and great for travel. Point-and-shoot cameras take better photos than the camera in your phone and new models can help you turn important moments into high definition movies. Many point-and-shoot cameras also come with Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can update your Facebook page—or YouTube channel—on the go.

This camera is perfect for:

Parents and grandparents who want to take advantage of the automated settings to snap quality shots before the little ones run off on their next adventure.

Photography novices who are new to digital cameras, or just haven’t handled a camera in a while. You’ll be able to take beautiful photos without having to page through a massive manual.

Frequent travelers who don’t want to worry about a bulging backpack or carry-on—these cameras can easily be slung around the neck or put in a pocket.

We recommend: The Canon PowerShot G7 X. This camera has intuitive controls, weighs in at just under 11 oz—so you can tote it anywhere—and captures beautiful images along with HD video. With a bright f/1.8 – f/2.8 lens, this camera has an incredible shallow depth of field for a pocket-sized camera to give you that great background blur.

Superzoom cameras

These cameras are easy to use but offer better quality images than a point-and-shoot camera without getting too complicated. These cameras are built with flexibility and durability in mind: they capture stunning images in low light and can take full HD Video. They get their name from their workhorse lenses that offer superior zoom capabilities, allowing you to capture landscapes, portraits, and detailed close-up shots without having to lug around a bunch of equipment.

This camera is perfect for:

Avid travelers who want to take amazing photos of the landscapes they’re traversing, portraits of the people they’re meeting, and detailed shots of the cultural artifacts they’re viewing.

Nature lovers who want to capture the environment they’re exploring and the wildlife they’re watching. The high-resolution viewfinder ensures what you see is exactly what you get.

We recommend: Canon G3 X. This camera’s simple automatic and manual controls allow you to quickly adapt to any setting. The 3.2’ multi-angle touch screen lets you take photos from any angle, while the bright f/2.8-5.6 lens and 25x optical zoom range let you take photos from any distance. Plus, with its dust and water resistance you can face the elements when wanting to capture that perfect shot.

High-End Advanced digital cameras

These compact cameras take quality photos comparable to those taken with DSLRs, but their simplicity and automatic settings make them a more straightforward alternative. They also come complete with DSLR-like manual controls for those who want to take their photos to the next level. Perfect for shooting video, these cameras tend to have better audio recording capabilities than other point-and-shoot cameras, so they’re great for YouTube and Vine addicts.

This camera is perfect for:

Point-and-shoot users who feel it’s time to take things to the next level. You’ll get a little more control with this upgrade, but can still use this model for quick, everyday shots.

DSLR owners who want a lightweight, good quality camera to take with them when they have limited space. You’ll get amazing image quality without feeling weighed down.

We recommend: Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II. This camera comes with a quality 24mm wide-angle lens that takes photos with DSLR background blur, and can capture everything from stunning landscapes and cityscapes, to gorgeous portraits and still life photography.

Digital SLR Cameras (DSLR)

DSLRs will ensure you capture your moments the way you remember them. These cameras are designed for one thing and one thing only: quality images. The cameras come with comprehensive manual controls, as well as easy to use automatic pre-sets, giving you complete creative control. Their comfortable, built-in viewfinders ensure what you see is what you get, and the fast shutter speeds make sure you always get precise shots. Best of all, these cameras are incredibly versatile. There are extensive lens options for everything from cramped interiors, to landscapes, to portraits, distance details, and very close macro subjects.

This camera is perfect for:

Ambitious photographers who want to have complete control and take the perfect photo every time.

The family memory keeper who plans on sharing their images with all the important people in their lives.

Artists who want to print out gorgeous, large photos that can hang in homes and galleries.

Adventurers who want to wow their friends by posting amazing images from their travels online.

We recommend: EOS Rebel T6i for beginners and EOS 70D for more advanced or ambitious photographers. Both cameras take amazing photos, allow you to shoot remotely from your phone, and let you share images and videos easily. The EOS Rebel T6i is ideal for photographers who are trying out DSLRs for the first time but still want to sure the highest image quality possible, while the EOS 70D is great for more seasoned photographers who want to personalize every shot.

Adventure Cameras

Created to be waterproof, dust-proof, shockproof, freeze proof, and heat resistant, these cameras can go wherever you do. Built specifically for accompanying photographers on extreme adventures, they’re next-level durable, compact, and able to survive in sub-zero temperatures, deserts, and waterlogged areas. Plus, many of these cameras can tell you exactly where and when photos were taken by using GPS tracking.

This camera is perfect for:

Explorers who want to take their camera with them everywhere. Want to take a video of your friend ripping down the mountain on their snowboard? Capture the sea life on a diving excursion? Photograph the rolling desert vistas you’re seeing while cruising on your dune buggy? Then this camera is for you.

We recommend: Canon PowerShot D30. This camera can go 82 feet under water, is shockproof to 6.5 feet, and can take a photo from -10 to +40 degrees Celsius.

Hopefully this guide gives you a better sense of what your options are—and what will work for you. The important thing is to take the time to decide what situations you will be using your camera in most. Will you be driving through the country capturing gorgeous sunsets and landscapes? Or exploring a new country with only a small bag? Figure out what your priorities are, and check out Canon’s awesome selection of cameras and camera accessories.