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Buying a camera below 120K: everything you need to know

When it comes to digital cameras, the only thing we often know is that they no longer work with the film . This is undoubtedly true, their greatest feature is having replaced the film with a sensor capable of transforming their photographs into digital format. The advantage: you can take lots of photos, the number of which is no longer limited to that allowed by the film roll, the photos can be viewed immediately, before they are sent to print and, if the photo is not liked or has gone bad, just take another; not only that, you also save on the cost of the roll. In this guide, we will deal with three different types of digital cameras: reflex, mirrorless and bridge cameras; compact cameras also exist but we will not cover them. At first glance, we note that they differ from one another in size: it is true, but the shape, we will discover, is also substance; so, with this guide, we will understand the differences but also the similarities between the three. To help you purchase, we have decided to set a maximum spending threshold of 120K LKR and we will understand which cameras can be found below this range. In the final part of the guide, however, we will fine tune the substantial differences that can lead to the purchase of one type over another.

Before buying: do you have clear ideas?

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a camera, below are the main characteristics to be evaluated that will lead to prefer one camera over another. The first one we set ourselves is the objective price, the others concern all the internal components of the cameras.

The price

The price is often the first element that we evaluate when we want to buy something, that's why it is of fundamental importance to fix your spending budget: both to keep in mind what is the maximum expenditure that can be incurred and to have an orientation in the choice. For example, if, as in our case, we have set ourselves a maximum budget of 120K, it will be useless to waste precious time going to look at digital cameras that cost more. We have divided them into three price ranges and we will discover that in each range you can find different types of cameras.
 

Digital photography

Photography was invented several years ago and became mass with film cameras; although there are still some models on the market, we will guide you in choosing a digital camera that uses an electronic sensor instead of the photosensitive film.  

Reflex cameras

Reflex cameras, also called SLRs, or single-lens reflexes, are a type of digital camera consisting essentially of three main elements which are the lens, often interchangeable, the mirror and the pentaprism. Generally, they have a high cost but we will find that there are some with a price for everyone.  

The bridges

The Bridges are in fact the bridge that connects the reflex to the compact cameras. Often they are called "super zoom" precisely because their peculiarity is that of having a fixed lens that from a standard focal length reaches that of the telephoto lens.  

The mirrorless

Halfway between reflex cameras and bridges we find mirrorless cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-T20. From the English term, "without mirror". In fact, they have neither the mirror nor the pentaprism: they therefore have dimensions similar to bridges but are capable of preserving, and sometimes exceeding, the quality of the reflex cameras.  

The sensor

We can define it as the heart of the camera and it can be said that it is the substitute for film. It is a photosensitive device, made with photodiodes (capable of recognizing wavelengths) that manages to capture the image and then, thanks to a chip dedicated to it, convert it into an electrical signal.  

The objective and the focal length

The lens is the eye of the camera: it is able to collect light making it reach the focal plane. The focal length is the distance between the maximum extension of the lens and the focal plane; we will discover that the lenses can have a fixed focal length or they can extend it by being able to zoom.  

The focus

In a photograph it is essential, you often hear people say "the photo went wrong, it is blurred, you can't see anything". The focus is used to sharpen the photograph: it can be manual or automatic; in the second case we speak of autofocus.  

Exposure

It is nothing but the amount of light that passes through the lens and is measured with the exposure meter. It can be automatic but also set manually. To better understand what it is, just have fun taking some photos by changing this value: you can take almost dark photos and others so bright that you can't see anything!  

The diaphragm

It is a hole inside the machine body that opens and closes to allow light to pass through, it can be very small and therefore little light will pass, or larger to allow more light to pass through. You will have read f / 3.5 or f / 5.6 at least once: these values ​​indicate precisely the aperture.  

The flash

When there is a beautiful sunny day there is no need to use it, but if we are in the penumbra or in a dimly lit room then we must resort to its help: it can be integrated into the camera body or it can be mounted externally.  

The memory

It is the place where photos are saved. More or less all cameras use the SD card whose most used format ranges from 16 to 64 gb. The memory must be inserted in the appropriate slot and some cameras, generally the most advanced, even have two.  

Dimensions and weight

The weight of an SLR, for example, starts from a minimum of 500 grams to reach 2 kilos, and the lens that has been mounted can make it vary widely. Generally, bridges and mirrorless models weigh less. As for the dimensions, the reflex cameras are the largest.

Accessories

This is a world in constant evolution. Bags and shoulder straps are the most used accessories, but then come the filters, the tripod, the hood, the remote control, the microphone, the battery. We will discover that all these accessories, for some types of digital cameras, are completely useless while, for others, they become almost fundamental.
What are the cameras for less than 120K LKR?

What are the cameras for less than 120K LKR?

The prices of digital cameras can reach high figures, even higher than 1.2 Million Rupees: they are professional cameras, generally of the SLR type, used by great professional photographers for work or by great lovers of photography. If, on the one hand, there are digital cameras with figures that can appear very high, on the other, it must be said that even with 40K LKR or 80K LKR you can take home a good camera. Good cameras have a long life and are bought with the unconscious desire that they can last as long as possible. For this it is necessary to choose it carefully keeping in mind that at each price range we can find different cameras. We have decided to stop at the maximum range of 12K LKR: a figure that is certainly not high, especially in relation to the first mentioned above, but that is not even so low for an impulse purchase.

Economic range (within 60K LKR)

We wanted to set the maximum threshold of the economic range at 30K LKR, recognizing that there are still digital cameras on the market that cost around 1,600LKR like the Nikon Coolpix or Canon Ixus: they are the so-called compact cameras that we will not cover in this guide . Among reflex and mirrorless cameras it is rare to find a wide range of models within this range. Among the reflex cameras, in fact, we find the Canon EOS 2000D: a model with a 24.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and an ISO sensitivity that reaches 6400 points: it is positioned among the entry level reflex cameras and is perfect for those who want to approach the world of reflex cameras ; it is usually combined with a standard interchangeable lens which is Canon's 18-55 III. Among the mirrorless models we point out the Olympus PEN E-PL8 sold without lens; this means that to enjoy its use either you already have some lens for mirrorless or you have to estimate the purchase. The bridges are the ones that dominate this price range and among many others the Sony Cyber-shot DSCH300 has an excellent quality / price ratio: it has 20.1 MP, automatic focus and a 35X optical zoom; Also valid is the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS with 20.5 MP, with the image stabilizer and a zoom that reaches 45X. Among the Nikon bridges is the COOLPIX B600 with an optical zoom of 60X and a wireless connectivity that provides both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: so the photos are shared in an instant.

Mid-range (60K to 90K LKR)

Moving into the range from 60K to 90K LKR the purchasing possibilities are expanded. Canon cameras include the EOS 3000D and the EOS 1300D, an entry level with Wi-Fi connection with the DIGIC 4+ processor; all sold with the third generation 18-55 DC lens. Among the Nikon there is the D3500 with 24.2 MP and a 3-inch LCD screen combined with an 18-55 mm lens while it is possible to buy the Sony Alpha 68 model with CMOS sensor and a 24.2 MP resolution, only the camera body. Among the mirrorless models, the Olympus OM-D-E-M10 Mark III stands out only body or sold with the 14-42 mm lens: it has 16 MP, the integrated 5-axis image stabilizer and shoots up to 8.5 frames per second. Canon in this segment is included with the EOS M100 which allows you to photograph and share your images on social networks thanks to Wi-Fi. Among the bridges there is the Panasonic GX80 sold with only the body, equipped with many pre-installed creative shooting programs and a resolution of over 16 megapixels, and the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS with 65X optical zoom capable of creating extraordinary videos in Ultra High Definition 4K.

High end (90K to 120K LKR)

In the latter segment, we reach the maximum ceiling that we initially set ourselves. As we have noticed more or less in all the bands there are good models to buy, in some, however, only the camera body without lens was sold. Among the reflexes there is the Nikon D5600 sold with Nikkor 18-55 VR lens and with the 70-300 mm: it has a 24.2 MP CMOS sensor and the variable angle screen. For the first time we find the Pentax brand, a historic Japanese brand that has always stood out in the photography market, with the Pentax K70 camera with a standard 18-55 lens. With this budget available you can have really good mirrorless like the Canon EOS M50 and 24.1 MP CMOS sensor or the Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GX80W sold in kits with two lenses: 12-32 mm and 35-100 mm. Among the bridges, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 deserves a mention, a valid bridge with a 20.1 MP Live MOS sensor and an intelligent zoom that reaches 32X, the lenses are Leica which together with Carl Zeiss are the best lens manufacturers.
What features to evaluate?

What features to evaluate?

As we have seen, within the 120K LKR and, in particular, in the three identified price ranges, the three types of digital cameras alternate. Furthermore, within the three bands, we have mentioned several now historic brands in the world of digital photography such as Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, Kodak and Pentax. Within 120K LKR, both Nikon and Canon offer at least one model for each type of digital camera, Olympus with the OM-DE line stands out among the mirrorless ones, Kodak and Panasonic focus on bridges while Pentax has always had mainly reflex cameras. Assuming that all brands are valid, we will leave the final choice to you since, in the purchase phase, everyone can be attached or not to a brand, its history or its forms. Following, however, there will be an in-depth focus on the three types of cameras, on the lenses that can be mounted, on the connectivity of the devices, on the functionality of the screens and on the accessories with which to enrich your own photographic kit. We will then pay attention to the intended use of your camera and guide you in understanding which camera is the best depending on the kind of photography you are interested in.
Reflex, mirrorless and bridge: what changes between size and weight

Reflex

SLRs are the largest digital cameras in size and weight. The camera body must be sufficiently spacious to contain all those elements that allow you to observe the frame of what you want to photograph. From the viewfinder, which is the device from which you choose the frame, to the lens, which is instead the real eye of the camera: the road that allows you to see the shooting area is complex. In fact, the image enters the lens, with a 45 ° inclined mirror it is reflected towards the pentaprism which in turn reflects and directs the image towards the viewfinder; at that point, the image is visible and you decide to take the photo or not. During shooting, the mirror rises towards the pentaprism to allow the passage of light and in the meantime the viewfinder darkens. That's why the reflex cameras are bigger, they must contain the pentaprism. The lens that is interchangeable thanks to the bayonet mount must necessarily be added to the camera body of the reflex cameras. So, in addition to the weight of the camera body, called the "body", which averages around 800 grams, we must add that of the lens which, however, depends on its focal extension: on average they weigh around 500 grams, but there are some , like super telefoto, which have such a complex optical scheme that they even weigh 1.5 kg.

Mirrorless

The dimensions are explained by their name: "mirrorless" is an English term that means "without mirror". As with the Canon EOS M200, they have dimensions similar to the compact ones since they have neither the 45 ° inclined mirror nor the pentaprism; the quality of the photographs is really high as there is a high technological content, constantly at the forefront. The sensor of these cameras is usually not full frame but it is a micro four thirds, therefore a little smaller than the SLR cameras. Their weight is around 400/500 grams to which must be added that of the lens, also interchangeable here. Usually the lenses have a bayonet mount but the filter has an average diameter smaller than that of an SLR.

Bridge

This type of camera acts as a "bridge", between compact cameras and reflex cameras. As the Nikon Coolpix P900, in fact, they have slightly smaller dimensions than a reflex but the quality is higher than the compact ones. The lens is fixed and compared to reflex cameras and mirrorless cameras it cannot be changed. In any case, they always have lenses with a large focal extension and that allow stratospheric zooms that sometimes go beyond 40X. For this reason, bridges are sometimes called "superzoom" and with a single lens you can switch from wide angle to super telephoto. The manufacturers pay particular attention to the lenses that are often built by Carl Zeiss or Leica: two leading companies in the world of optics.

Fixed or rotatable display for selfies

If it is an accessory for reflex cameras, the same cannot be said for mirrorless cameras and bridges; during the purchase phase, it will also be necessary to evaluate the characteristics of the screen which is located in the rear part of the machine body and usually has a size of 3 inches and is either an LCD or touchscreen type. The display in reflex cameras assumes primary importance when used to adjust some settings such as shutter speed, exposure time or focus area or when you want to view the photos taken that are saved on the memory card; you have another use of the display when you prefer the Live View mode to the viewfinder which allows you to have the shooting area in real time directly on the display. In mirrors and bridges the situation is reversed: since they do not have the traditional viewfinder, the display is of considerable importance since it is the only means by which it is possible to view the shot; secondly, it can be used to adjust some shooting settings and to view photos in memory.

When the sun prevents you from seeing

Apparently it may seem that in one way or another you can always see the shot: it is not so. It often happens that on sunny days, the sun's rays hit the display of your mirrorless or bridge, not allowing you to see well what you are framing: it is not a problem to be underestimated because often or you take a picture at random, hoping that it will come as the you want or, in the most extreme case, you avoid shooting. In order to avoid this unpleasant situation, in some cameras, especially in the mirrorless ones, the manufacturers have decided to additionally also mount a traditional viewfinder that can come in handy when it is difficult to use the display.  

Fixed or tilting screen?

The latest cameras released on the market have more or less the screens that tilt or rotate so as to allow you to take photographs from unusual angles that cannot be reached with a normal fixed screen. Some displays rotate 180 ° thus allowing you to take excellent selfies, others rotate so that with the self-timer mode you can take a picture in which the subjects can see if and in what position they fall within the frame. The rotating screen is certainly an extra point for your camera.  

The touchscreen

You are now all used to the touchscreen type, intuitive because, with a touch, you can choose one of the modes available for shooting or set some particular function. Recently, the touchscreen in digital cameras has taken on an additional function: with a simple touch you can choose the area to focus on and the area to be left slightly out of focus for a pleasant artistic effect. If you want this function check if the model you have chosen has it.

Traditional or wireless connectivity

All cameras have a USB input that allows both to recharge the lithium battery of the device and to connect the machine to the PC to transfer the photos you have just taken or the videos taken; it should be said that some of this more secure practice prefer to extract the SD memory from the slot of the machine and then insert it into the PC for the same purpose. There is also an HDMI input that can be used to listen and ses the audio and videos on the screen of your TV; if the TV supports the HD format, you will be able to enjoy your photographic results even better. To complete the inputs there is the one reserved for Jack-type audio: it is used to connect an external microphone to better record the audio.
 

Wireless and dedicated APP

Next to the traditional inputs just seen, there is the wireless connectivity, i.e. wireless, which can be via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or NFC: it can be appreciated both for quickly downloading photos on your PC and for transferring them to the dedicated application of your mobile device and then share it on social networks. Another factor of choice is therefore the possibility given by the manufacturer to have a dedicated application for managing photos; not only that, some applications even allow you to remotely manage your camera by setting some parameters such as exposure time or focus area directly from your smartphone or tablet.
The objectives: fixed for bridges
Another aspect to watch out for when choosing a camera is what type of lens is mounted on the camera body. We have seen that all bridge cameras have the characteristic of having a fixed lens, it is good to reiterate that that lens can never be changed with another; they certainly offer a really powerful zoom but if, for example, you want to make a photograph with the fisheye effect, in which the images appear deformed with the horizontal and vertical lines that curve outwards, remembering precisely the eye of a fish , it cannot be done. With mirrors and reflex cameras, on the other hand, you can install the lens that best meets your photographic needs. However, each lens has a cost and, in the case of reflex cameras, if we want to stay below 120K LKR, we will certainly purchase a kit which in most cases consists of the camera body and a standard type lens with a focal extension of 18- 55mm which will give a visual similar to the human eye. The same happens with mirrorless cameras, you can buy the camera with at most one lens whose focal length is 12-32 or 14-42 millimeters. So, if you have a maximum budget of 120K LKR but want to have the opportunity to use a lot of zoom, it is better to lean towards the purchase of a bridge; if, on the other hand, you are satisfied with a standard lens and you want to defer the purchase of a lens with a more powerful zoom to the future, you can purchase a reflex or a mirrorless lens.
An infinity of accessories
The world of photography is not limited only to the purchase of the camera and the lens: they are the starting point of your photographic kit that can be enriched very much. Let's start by saying that this premise does not apply to bridges since they can be considered as a finished product that cannot be further enriched: at most, you can buy a tripod for making more stable photographs. For mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, you can buy external flashes and you can indulge yourself in choosing the most suitable lens.  

How to enrich the photographic kit of reflex cameras

SLRs, on the other hand, can have many more accessories that make their use more complete. For lenses for reflex cameras of different formats, for example, the hood can be mounted which eliminates unwanted light effects or polarized or UV filters. which eliminate ghost images; then there are the colored filters of yellow, green, orange or red that allow nice artistic effects. The remote control can be connected to the body of the SLR to take photos from a distance and the microphone for better definition of the audio. Many reflex cameras have a built-in flash but if you want you can mount an accessory for a more powerful light beam; there are different types, from the classics, to those with an articulated head to have the light reflected up to those that have light along the diameter of the lens. If you make intensive use you can buy extra batteries or a battery grip that improves the handle of your machine. You can then buy extension tubes to be placed between the camera body and the lens which allow closer focus and at the same time a higher magnification. It is right to know at the outset that if you want to have a complete kit, reminiscent of that of photographers, you can do it only by purchasing a reflex camera; if instead you do not have the desire to have many accessories then it is better to prefer a bridge. However, you have to be careful to respect your budget, in our case, for example, you could decide to buy an entry level reflex camera at 60K LKR and allocate the remaining part to the purchase of accessories.

Cameras for each photographic genre

Potentially every camera can be used for any kind of photography and at the same time a photographer, both professional and novice, can experiment with different types, preferring one first and then, perhaps, moving to another genre. By photographic genre, we mean the category that groups the different photographs taken based on the subjects or the intended use of the photo: by way of example, in the first case, we can insert naturalistic photography, portraiture or landscaping; in the second, however, the reportage or the wedding. In the purchase choice you have to take into account what you want to photograph because each photographic genre requires a certain equipment and the three types of cameras that we have seen respond differently.  

Nature photography

If you are a nature lover and your desire is to photograph it, you have to understand which part of nature you want to photograph: there are terrestrial landscapes, astronomical and underwater photography. To photograph a seabed it is necessary to have a waterproof camera or a case that makes it so; if, on the other hand, you want to photograph a solar or lunar eclipse, by setting some parameters of a reflex well and with UV filters you will be able to do it. Mirrorless and bridges are good for any type of landscape: be careful though, if you want to capture a large portion of the panorama you are observing, you will need an interchangeable wide-angle lens. If you are passionate about flowers, you must move towards the purchase of a macro type lens that has a short focus distance so that you can get close to it.  

Photographic portrait

It is certainly the most used genre, perhaps even just to document a family event such as a birthday party and, in this case, a bridge is the perfect camera: practically automatically you can immortalize all relatives and friends around a cake. However, if you want to photograph the exact moment when you blow the candle then the reflex is the best since you will have the possibility to change some parameters such as the shutter speed. With some mirrorless cameras it is possible to select the subject to be focused on the screen and which part of the background to leave out of focus.

Travel

When you travel you meet new landscapes, new cultures, new animals and maybe even people with the somatic features of the face different from their own: here the desire to photograph all these news is strong. During the trip you want to be comfortable and have small dimensions: without a shadow of a doubt the mirrorless is the ideal camera. It has compact dimensions, weighs little and the lenses are not only interchangeable but are smaller in diameter. If your trip includes a photographic safari, perhaps in Africa, however, the reflex will allow you to have a greater shooting readiness: remember, however, that it weighs more and takes up more space. Finally, if you have no particular needs and want to take a picture every now and then, maybe to the group of friends with whom you are, even a bridge camera is not to be excluded.  

Sports photography

Whether it is a football game or a car that rushes at high speed, to photograph them, you need a powerful zoom, a valid image stabilizer and a fast shutter adjustment. The camera indicated for this type of photography is definitely a reflex with a telephoto lens. If, on the other hand, these are slightly more static sports, mirrorless could also be fine.