In my last post I wrote about the first three questions you needed to ask yourself when thinking about what camera to buy.
Cost or what can I afford.
Types of images or what am I going to photograph.
Convenience or how do I want the camera to work.
When looking at cost you have to first estimate how long you think you will have your camera. Back when I got my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 104, everyone assumed the technology was so advanced that you could keep using it for 10 or more years. With today’s technology it seems like something new comes out every 6 months! Are you going to want the next greatest thing? Perhaps you are willing to buy “old” technology, you know something that came out last Holiday Season? (Even if you’re reading this in January)
If you are willing to get a camera that came out just 6 months ago, you can probably find a heck of a deal! With websites like www.amazon.com, www.ebay.com or even Fred’s local camera shop there are great deals everywhere.
Let’s think about what types of images you want to capture. If you are going to be taking pictures of your new puppy, do you want to have to change lenses? Chances are that you may not have time to switch lenses when the puppy is doing something that is just so cute (like peeing on your mother in-law’s new fur coat). However if you are going to be trying to photograph your nephew’s football game from the second level of the stadium you may need to have that reach of a strong telephoto lens. Also consider the differences between landscapes and portraits, or snapshots of the family reunion and street photography.
This leads us to convenience. If you want the puppy peeing, it may be best to have a camera that you can carry in your pocket, the standard point and shoot type camera. In many cases it is in one way, inconvenient to have to switch lenses. Then again, it’s more than inconvenient to miss that great play when your nephew wins the game for his team. With a little planning, switching lenses can be worth that little extra effort.
If after asking yourself these questions you have decided to go with the point and shoot type camera, it’s now just a matter of what features you want or need. If so, keep in mind the utmost important thing when it comes to all cameras: zoom.
In the point and shoot category manufacturers make cameras that have optical zoom and digital zoom. Digital zoom is the biggest marketing ploy there ever was, well other than the cube flashes for that Instamatic I mentioned earlier. Digital zoom is just the act of cropping an image. Cutting it down so that what you see is just the part of the image you wanted to ‘zoom’ in to. You can do the same thing in Photoshop or some other photo editing software. Always opt for optical zoom.
In the next part of our series: a brief overview of the all mighty megapixels and what you need to know about them.
Until then, Happy Shooting!