Photography as you know is the science of images with a camera. There are many professional photographers out there, but additionally there is also a growing number of amateur photographers too.

Part of the remit of being a good photographer is about possessing the right techniques and skills, but that’s only part of the story. If you want to be able to take awesome photographs, as opposed to anything mediocre, then having a decent camera for the job is a necessity.

Here is a guide to the different types of camera on the market, and the best overall models in each class, to help you brush up on your photography skills.

Compact Camera

Also referred to as a “point-and-shoot” camera, a compact camera is perhaps the most basic type of camera that an amateur photographer can use. Designed for simple photographic operations, they tend to incorporate either fixed-focus or autofocus lenses, fixed lenses, and have built-in flash units.

These are by far the most popular types of camera available on the market, as they are inexpensive and are normally used by people at social gatherings like parties or holidays for example.

Superzoom Camera

Offering more advanced features than a compact camera and a much cheaper price than a digital SLR camera, a superzoom camera boasts more advanced options such as full manual control over shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, aperture, metering and colour balance.

You can change the lenses on a superzoom camera, and these cameras boast more flexibility thanks to smaller image sensors, which allow for greater zooming detail.

Digital SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) Camera

Digital SLR cameras are the most complex (and expensive) cameras on the market. Aimed primarily at professional photographers, they are growing in popularity with amateur photographers who are prepared to put the time in to learn about all the different aspects and techniques required to operate such cameras.

These cameras combine the optics of film-based single-lens reflex cameras with a digital imaging sensor, and like their film-based counterparts you can use different interchangeable lenses with them.

Best Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot A4000 IS

The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS compact camera has an 16.0 megapixel resolution, 8x optical wide-angle zoom, an automatic mode with 32-scene selection, and it can even record HD (high definition) videos in 720p!

It is the perfect starter camera for the budding amateur photographer, and is ideal for those who want to get to grips with the basics of photography before moving on to more advanced cameras.

Best Superzoom Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40 superzoom camera has a 18.1 megapixel resolution, an ultra wide-angle 20x optical zoom Leica lens, 40x digital zoom, and also boasts Wi-Fi and NFC (near field communications) technology.

This camera is great for those who already know the basics of photography but want to develop their picture-taking skills before investing in high-end equipment.

Best Digital SLR Camera: Nikon D3100

Although you could get yourself a more expensive and higher end Nikon camera, the Nikon D3100 represents fantastic value for money and a more than adequate feature set in the digital SLR camera world for the amateur photographer that wants to build on their skill and expertise.

With an effective pixel rate of 14.2 megapixels and a 11-point autofocus system, you will be taking photographs like a pro in no time!