What Camera For Me?
A friend recently asked for my recommendation on what camera she should buy. This is a frequent question and the flippant answer could be, "It depends..." But that's not very helpful, so let's discuss this question today.
First three guidelines, then a few questions to narrow the choice.
1. Digital Camera. I certainly recommend a digital camera for many reasons. After the purchase, they are very economical to use. Most people have a computer which is required for image post-processing. But if not, you can go to the photo department at your neighborhood retailer, e.g. Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Sams or Costco, edit your images on their computer and order your prints. They will also help you get started.
2. Point 'N Shoot (or Automatic Mode). Almost all digital cameras now have automatic settings that do a great job of auto-focusing, setting the correct exposure and the correct shutter speed. Use the Point 'N Shoot feature and your frustrations over poor photo results will be history. Even more feature-rich digital cameras have an automatic mode that practically insures good results.
3. Viewfinder. The camera's viewfinder lets you aim and focus the camera on your subject. We often see people holding their cameras at arms length to line up the shot through the camera's LED display. Which do you think gives your camera more stability, holding it close to your eye or at arms length? Right, hold it close to your eye. That's why cameras have traditionally had viewfinders. Many Point 'N Shoot cameras today do not have a viewfinder but compensate with image stabilization, a new feature to reduce "camera shake". I recommend getting a camera with a viewfinder and image stabilization to eliminate "camera shake" and the resulting blurred pictures.
Now three questions...
1. What is the level of your interest and skill in photography? A Point 'N Shoot camera is the ideal choice for those who want really good photos with little hassle. A few Point 'N Shoot cameras are available with manual settings options that appeal to people interested in expanding their photographic skills over time. However, a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is better match for individuals with more advanced skills and expectations.
2. What subjects do you shoot? Both Point 'N Shoot and DSLR cameras take great pictures and come with pre-programmed settings for portraits, landscapes, sports and close-ups. A key feature of DSLR cameras is the ability to change lenses. Multiple lenses of high quality glass enable photographers to get great results in special shooting situations of sports action, low-level lighting and portraiture. The DSLR's versatility can enhance your photography results.
3. What is your budget? If you're a Rockefeller heir, go to directly your local camera store and buy a DSLR and some great lenses. If not, you'll want to know that Point 'N Shoot cameras are typically less expensive ($100-$300). DSLR's start at around $600 and go up from there.
What's the best camera for you? I hope this helps you make the right camera choice for your needs. All the major photography brands offer good cameras. Each brand has features and marketing messages designed to differentiate them from the competition. Using these guidelines, I think you will select the best camera for you.
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