What camera should I buy? Use our step-by-step guide

From simple point-and-shoot compacts to full-frame DSLRs, we explain the differences

You only have to go into a high-street retail store go get an idea of the sheer number of digital cameras on the market. There are so many brands, types and technologies, each one claiming to be the best (of course!) that it's hard to make sense of it all.

But it's possible to break all these competing cameras down into a few basic types, and once you do that it becomes much easier to figure out the kind of camera you need. That's what we've done with our guide, and you can follow the links at the bottom of the pages to find which is the best camera currently available in each category.

So we'll start with the basics and work up through the more advanced cameras to the types the professionals use. But you don't have to stay with us all the way. Treat this guide like sightseeing tour – when you've got to where you want to go, just step off the bus!