How to Choose a Digital Camera
There are many things to consider when choosing a digital camera. Things like your budget, the camera’s features, what you will use it for, number of pixels and brand names just to name a few.
• It is best to determine your price range BEFORE you start looking. Don’t let a fast talking salesman talk you into something you don’t need! Do you want a “Point and Shoot” camera (also called a compact camera) or a SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera?
• Before you start looking, make a list of features you’d like your camera to have. Remember, what is important to a friend or relative may not a feature you will use. Think through your “must haves”, “that would be nice” and “unimportant” features.
• What you will be using your camera for will greatly influence the features you need. For example, someone mainly taking food photos doesn’t need to pay for a weather-proof camera. But, if you also plan on taking your camera to the beach or taking photos at outdoor sporting events, a weather-proof camera is a good investment. (BTW, cameras do not need to get “wet” to get ruined! The salt air alone can cause corrosion. I saw it numerous times when I worked in a camera store. That is why I never take my good camera to the beach!)
• How many megapixels do you need your camera to have? Is more always better and is it worth the extra money?? Surprisingly, the answer might be no! More megapixels are better only if you are going to be printing out poster size enlargements of your photos. If you just going to be posting them online, or getting standard prints & enlargements made, 5-6 megapixels is plenty. For more information on megapixels, visit: http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/pho ... /1000.aspx
• Nikon, Canon, Sony, Toshiba…with so many choices, how can you choose?? You will find loyal fans of each brand I’ve named and all the other brands out there. Personally, I prefer a Sony camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. I feel my $150 camera with a Zeiss lens produces photos that are sharper, clearer and possess a better color balance than some people’s $500-$1000 camera! Apparently, not everyone agrees with me, since the other camera companies continue to thrive. biggrin So how do you choose? There are plenty of sites with digital camera reviews (listed below). I definitely recommend you doing your research on them or similar type magazines. But, I also recommend you look at the pictures you see posted here and select the ones the photo quality stand out in for you and then find out what kind of camera was used.
• Understand there is a HUGE difference between a digital zoom and an optical zoom. Digital zooms are just the computer in the camera cropping the photo! The more you “zoom” the grainier your photo will be. It is no different than cropping with your editing software afterward. An optical zoom is a ‘true’ zoom. For more information: http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/pho ... 68196.aspx
• For food photography, it is best to have a macro (close-up) setting on your camera. But not all macros are created equally! Make sure you know the minimum distance you can get to your subject and still have it in focus. The smaller the minimum distance, the better. Being able to get within an inch of your subject rather than 6 inches makes a big difference. Without a macro setting, you usually can’t get closer than 3ft. (about 1 meter).
• A lot of cameras have auto focus, but the option to switch to manual focus can be nice when the camera refuses to focus on what you want. However, there are tricks to getting an auto focus camera to focus on what you want. I will touch on those in a later post.
• Another auto/manual setting you might want to take into consideration is the aperture or f-stop. This controls your depth-of-field, or how much of the photograph is in focus. Having the ability to keep your food in focus while blurring out the background or keeping it sharp can make a lot of difference in your final photos. But keep in mind, a lot of editing software now allows you to blur the background on the computer when your camera doesn’t have the ability to do it while taking the shot.
• Last, but not least, pay attention to what kind of batteries the camera takes. If it is a disposable battery, are they easy to find to purchase while traveling? (This is especially important if you are leaving the country.) Find out how much replacements are and about how long they last. If the camera takes a rechargeable, ask if you charge the battery while in the camera or externally. This will affect if you are able to use your camera while charging a batter or not. If it is an external charging batter, I highly recommend purchasing a second one so you always have a “full” battery and never miss a shot!
Digital Camera Reviews:
http://photo.net/ (they also are a photography community)