Most people have or want a digital camera and so there is a lot of competition from manufacturers which means a lot of choice. Choice is good, but when the market gets really busy, it can be difficult to know what to buy. In addition, the camera models are constantly updated by manufacturers, which means that there are new and improved models every 6 months. Many of the features marketed by sellers are not that important and the ones that are important you probably won’t find on the box and many sales assistants may not be able to tell you about these because they have been taught to market specifications such as megapixels, etc. This guide is written to help you familiarize yourself with some of the jargon and hopefully help you make a more informed choice. You are reading this guide and so I assume that you are in the market to buy a new camera or at least want to learn a little more about different cameras and specifications. Remember there are thousands of cameras to choose from and so hopefully you can target your messages more (pardon the pun)! I’ve narrowed the selection down a bit for you, and if you’d rather look at a smaller number of great cameras for sale, check out my shop. However, read this guide first. I’ve narrowed the selection down a bit for you, and if you’d rather look at a smaller number of great cameras for sale, check out my shop. However, read this guide first. I’ve narrowed the selection down a bit for you, and if you’d rather look at a smaller number of great cameras for sale, check out my shop. However, read this guide first.
Simple and Pocket Cameras
This type of camera is easy to use, the design is simple in most cases and the cost is between 40 and 80, pocket size can be more expensive. The camera can be stored in a pocket, handbag, etc. and can therefore be taken anywhere. This means that when the photo opportunity arises, the camera is ready. They usually have between 5 and 12 megapixels and the sales pitch will focus on this. They will take decent pictures in good lighting situations, but because of their price, there will be some drawbacks. For most situations, these cameras are sufficient and give good results and good pictures. For the other situations, about a quarter of the time you may have problems with the restrictions below
Problems with low light
These cameras struggle in low light and this means that indoor and dull day photos will become slightly blurry and out of focus. The other problem is that the photos look grainy due to “noise,” a photo term you’ll become familiar with. Photos from mobile phones often have a lot of noise. This is because sensors are small. Sensors are one of the most important functions of a camera because they detect the amount of light, the smaller the sensor, the less light. One of the ways smaller cameras compensate is by using flash, but this is usually too bright and the results can be used in Sci Fi movies! Do you get the picture?
This is the delay between when you press the shutter button and when the picture is taken. The reason for the delay is that the camera calculates focus and exposure and cheap cameras tend to have problems in this area due to the technology needed to speed it up. Shutter lag can mean that the photo opportunity is missed, eg a bird has left the tree, the child has crossed the finish line, the goal has been scored! If you want to take a lot of sports photos, these cameras are not for you, but if the camera is for everyday use, these are usually fine.
Many small cameras have limited zoom, even though they advertise and sell the 3 to 8 times zoom. One important thing you should know is that there are big differences between digital and optical zoom and 3 to 4 times zoom will not give you enough magnification for real distances such as school games, sports days, celebrities etc. As I mentioned, if you When looking at buying a camera, besides megapixels, the other marketing feature that sellers and manufacturers use is the zoom lens. When it comes to digital zoom, it’s almost worthless how much digital zoom it has. If it has a digital zoom 20 times then the actual image will be magnified 20 times and this tends to lower the quality of the photo and you get a lot of camera shake. Personally, I don’t appreciate digital zoom and wouldn’t buy a camera without optical zoom. Optical zoom enlarges the image because the lens zooms in by the amount stated on the box. The higher the optical zoom, the further away you can be when taking the photo, but this increases the cost of the camera and also the size.
The most basic digital cameras tend to produce poor quality movies. Some have no sound and many have very limited recording time. For decent quality recordings, a resolution of 640 x 480 is required at a minimum of 30 frames per second. Cameras are likely to take over the camcorder market by improving in this area year after year, so if you are interested in movies, buy a higher specification camera and use the money you would have spent on a camcorder.
The viewfinder is something that some people have not come across due to the fact that they live in the digital age. It’s the small eyepiece, usually on top of a camera. Many digital cameras do not have a viewfinder and only have an LCD screen; the smaller cameras tend to have smaller LCD screens, although they are getting bigger and bigger. Keep in mind that shooting without a viewfinder will always be a problem if there’s bright light shining on the viewfinder, as it’s hard to see what you’re shooting. By the time you’ve shaded your viewfinder to take the shot, the opportunity may be gone! It is also difficult to take pictures of moving objects like a flying bird because of the time it takes to get the bird on the LCD screen! Again, this will only be an occasional problem and the larger LCD screens will help solve the problems.
Digital cameras are a lot better than they were with batteries, but make sure if you buy a camera with batteries you need rechargeable (NiMH) batteries, they last longer than the normal (AA) batteries which usually last half an hour if you are lucky. One tip to remember is that the more time you spend looking at the photos you’ve taken on the LCD, the faster the batteries will run out, regardless of the type. So watch the screen to see the photos instead of showing the photos when you want to take a lot of photos while out and about all day. The manufacturer’s battery pack or built-in rechargeable battery will usually last longer, but you won’t be able to go to the store to buy another in an emergency. I prefer these batteries because they generally last longer, but I buy a spare battery and keep it charged so that when I’m on vacation and taking a lot of pictures I don’t run out. The last time a battery ran out I was on a dolphin watch and I was really upset. This has never happened since as I always have my spares fully charged with me when I’m away. For examples of cameras that fit the category, see my website where I’ve tried to narrow down the choice for you.
Medium Range Digital Cameras
These cameras are a step up from the smaller pocket-sized cameras and have some better features than the simpler models. They offer additional controls, such as manual exposure and possibly shutter and aperture priority modes. Manual exposure lets you manage the settings so you can take the shot you want instead of the one the camera instructs you to take. Megapixels will range from 6 to 15 in this category. The optical zoom will be much stronger and they often include a viewfinder so that the problems with LCD screens can be overcome.
The cost usually ranges from 90 to 300. Zoom lenses can be up to 20x in this category and therefore make it easier for you to take pictures on the school sports day, wedding, sporting event, concert etc. Some cameras also include macro settings that allow you to capture insects, flowers and the like at very close range. The color photos taken with some of these cameras are truly remarkable. Other features include control over ISO values and flash for enhanced photos in low-light situations.
Face recognition and smile detection are becoming more popular, so your photos of people are better. Many of them have a flash that pops up, which provides better flash results by not burning the photo with too much white light. Some have rotating LCD screens, so you can take pictures around corners or from a difficult angle.
The movie quality is probably the recommended speed and you should be able to zoom in and record sound. These cameras are for people who want to do a little more with their photography and get good photos and movies in most situations. You can experiment with manual settings and still have a camera small enough to carry with you most of the time and at a reasonable price. Keep in mind that if you buy this type of camera with a fairly long recording time, you may not need a camcorder. Cameras on the lower end of the price range may have less of the features, but also keep in mind that you might pay more for the brand name on the higher end.
For examples of these cameras I have selected a number of popular camera brands.
Single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras
If you like photography and want to see it as a hobby, then an SLR is for you. If you just want good photos and decent movies, pick a camera from the selections above. Personally I have both, I have a Sony Cyber-shot that is always with me and produces excellent quality photos and my trusty Canon SLR. Don’t be influenced by me, camera choice is personal preference and I have been very happy with Pentax, Olympus and other brands in the past.
SLRs are for the camera enthusiast and I bought my first film SLR many years ago and even then it was a hefty 350, it was a store brand and had no auto settings at all. When digital SLR cameras first hit the market, they were incredibly expensive, around 1000 or more. Now they are much more affordable and you can get a really decent one for between 350 and 800. I bought my Canon EOS a few years ago for around 850 GBP and the latest Canon model now only costs around 620. SLR cameras usually have megapixels from about 10 to 12. The main features of photography with this type of camera are the controls and the interchangeable lenses.
This article is not a photography class, you’ll need to buy a good book or some of my photography guides for that, but suffice it to say that the photos taken with a DSLR should always be superior to the photos taken with any other type of photo made digital camera. The lenses are usually the most important and expensive items, so you can keep your lenses and upgrade your camera body in the future, but to do this you have to stick with the same manufacturer. Even with today’s prices, it can be an expensive hobby, but once you’ve owned a DSLR, you’re probably hooked.
Benefits include the speed at which they take high quality photos, there is no shutter lag, they can give you full manual control where it is needed. They run for days and weeks on a single battery charge. The feel of the camera is that of quality and they fit in the hand like a camera should. Lenses include zoom and telephoto (distance shooting), macro (close-ups of insects, etc.) and wide-angle (fit in a large building if you are only a few meters away). I’ve sat in what appears to be the Outer Hebrides and shot pictures of Dolly Parton, Shirley Bassey, Cliff Richard and Roger Federer that are as sharp as if I were only 10 feet away with a zoom. I took pictures of some historical monuments from across the street and managed to get the whole building in with a wide angle lens. I have photos of bees feeding on pollen that would look great in a magazine shot with a macro lens. However, keep in mind that as good as these cameras are, you still need to know how to use them and take good pictures. See some of the guides on my website for tips.
The only drawbacks of these cameras are their increasing cost and size. You’ll never fit one in a pocket for heaven’s sake, but mine goes in my handbag! Again, I’ve picked out a number of SLRs to buy.
Cell Phone Cameras
I don’t even know why I’m mentioning this one! Most tend to produce poor quality photos but they are a useful substitute if there is nothing else to use but please don’t think they take the place of a camera! In good light you may get a good shot if you follow the tips in my photography guides or in a photo book, but if you want photos that last, get a camera.
Most marketing is based on the number of megapixels a camera has. A general rule of thumb is that if you are going to print up to ‘A4’ size, a 3 megapixel camera is sufficient. I know this sounds small because the blurb there says you need at least 5, 10 etc, but it’s not true. If you want poster prints, you may want a higher megapixel camera, especially if you’re going to crop the image. The higher the megapixels, the more memory the photos on your memory card and computer will take up, but don’t worry or let them get too carried away, most computers and cards can handle the pressure now. Most cameras usually have more than enough megapixels for any type of photo, but don’t spend a fortune on megapixels alone or you’ll be wasting your money, check out the other features mentioned in this article.
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