It’s the hottest selling camera now. Hybrid cameras, also called mirrorless or compact-system cameras, are compact like a point-and-shoot camera but offer a larger image sensor for better-quality shots. Plus, like more expensive DSLRs, you can change lenses to fit the scene you’re shooting.
It’s no wonder hybrids are a favorite of hobbyists and professionals alike. Before you head to the store, here are five things you need to know about buying the perfect hybrid camera.
1. Know your image sensors
The image sensor is what captures the light from the object you’re shooting. The two main sensor sizes for hybrids are Micro Four Thirds and APS-C.
The smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor is great for portability, but can sacrifice some picture quality. The larger APS-C sensor will add bulk, but can provide better image quality and low-light shooting.
Along with size, you have to consider megapixels, or the number of pixels the sensor can capture. Hybrids typically have 14MP to 24MP. For standard-size photo printing, any amount will work. If you’re printing large posters or doing detailed photo editing, more megapixels is better.
If you need a big sensor and lots of megapixels, consider Sony’s NEX 7 ($1099 with 18-55mm lens) with its 24.3MP, APS-C sensor. For a Micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix and Olympus PEN lines are popular options.