Starting point -which camera?

I need to move on from my trusty Samsung S7 phone camera, but what to choose? Bridge camera, mirrorless, DSLR - I need to do some research...

Camera phones have certainly improved over the past few years and the latest phones boast cameras which can produce excellent images. But it's time to move on to discover what photography is really all about.

What do I want? That is the question. What do I want to do as I embark on my new hobby? Do I want a good 'point and shoot' that I can use to share images online? Do I want to get out and about and take more landscape photography or become the 'family photographer' as I perfect my skill in portrait photography? Or am I up for a completely new challenge, willing to embark on a steep learning curve and master the 'art of photography' in all it's glorious forms? The real answer to this question will decide the next steps.

Doing the research

One of my favourite pastimes - doing research - yielded some pros and cons of each camera type.

Firstly I considered bridge cameras. They sounded like a good compromise; with their good zoom abilities they offered more than 'point and shoot' and still gave options to share and use images. My verdict - too similar to point and shoot/phone cameras, without offering enough opportunities to develop photography skills. The next option to consider was the mirrorless camera. I have to confess I hadn't come across these cameras before and wasn't really impressed by the look of them (pathetic, I know!) or the feel based on my visit to a camera shop. They were also a tad expensive for my budget considering that I wasn't sure that I would keep up the hobby. So they were out! Which left the inevitable choice - the DSLR camera. I liked the look and chunky feel of these cameras but knew also that if I was going to invest in one I would have to commit to getting out of auto mode! Again, lots of choices - should I go for entry level or more advanced? Canon or Nikon? Sony or Pentax

? Numerous reviews, both professional and user, listed some 'cons' to every option and on balance I opted for the Nikon D3400, a reasonably priced entry level DSLR, with generally good reviews and 'cons' that I could live with.

Now for the real stuff...

Now I can answer the question, What do I want? I want to take good pictures, to learn new techniques, to challenge myself as a photographer by experimenting and using my own techniques, to be creative and to enjoy wherever this new journey takes me.

Camera bought, battery charged, the adventure begins...