A lot of people make the mistake of buying cameras that are well beyond what they actually need. You should have the answers to the following questions before you go shopping:
• How much experience do you have with cameras?
• What sort of photography will you be using it to shoot? (e.g. sports, macro, landscapes, portraits etc.)
• What do you need it for? (e.g. work use, holiday shots, semi professional photos etc.)
• What features will you require? (e.g. image stabilising, long zoom etc.)
• Do you want to adjust the settings yourself or will you be using the auto mode most often?
• What sort of conditions will you be looking at shooting in most? (e.g. low light, bright light, outdoors, indoors etc.)
• Do you want something small and portable or are you happy carrying attachments etc.?
• How much are you looking at spending?
By answering these questions before you start looking for your ideal camera, you will make the choosing process a lot easier on yourself, as you can narrow down which models will be suitable and which won't, without having to look at many unnecessary options.
Megapixels are NOT everything
When digital cameras started being sold to the public, it was all about how many megapixels the camera had. Nowadays, this is most definitely not the case.
Put simply, the more megapixels a camera has, the larger the size of the photo it will be able to print. An 8.0 megapixel camera will be limited to printing a 8x10 inch photo.
Although cameras with massive amounts of megapixels may look tempting, you do have to ask yourself if you really need the extra pixels, or will you be paying for something you won't even use?
Keep in mind the 'extras'
When purchasing a new camera, you will need to look at the extras as well.
One of the most important will be the memory card. Obviously the bigger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to store on it. Make sure you choose one that will suit the camera you choose.
Other extras to consider include:
• Camera bag: to ensure your camera and equipment are well protected.
• Spare batteries: always a good idea to have one handy just in case.
• Tripod: allowing your camera to be levelled and stabilised for better portraits.
Which type of camera?
Digital compact cameras are, as the name suggests, compact. Great for happy snaps and point-and-shoot photography, compact cameras come with pre-set functions. Some intermediate compact cameras come with the ability to manually control the settings. These intermediate cameras are more versatile compared to the standard compact cameras, without the bulk of a DSLR.
For people who are serious about photography, digital SLR cameras offer the most versatility and control. DSLR cameras offer:
• Larger image sensors (resulting in more contrast and detail).
• Interchangeable lenses.
• Multiple added features to achieve a much more professional result.
Making life easy.
Each model offers different functions which are designed to make life a little easier for you. Some of the more general functions available include:
• Timer Delay: With the ability to delay the shot, you can do things like eliminate camera movement during a long exposure shot on a tripod, or jumping into the family photo after pressing the button.
• Image Stabiliser: Steadying the image eliminates blurry photos. This is done by compensating camera movement within the lens, or with a digital sensor. A great feature for someone with unsteady hands or shots with high movement on the photographers behalf.
• Shooting Modes: Pre-set camera modes can give great results in different situations with the flick of a button. Examples of different shooting modes include action, low light, or portrait shots.
• Continuous Shooting: Great for taking photos of sports or your children playing, continuous shooting will shoot frame after frame. As an end result, you will have multiple photos after pressing the button only once.
• Face Detection: As the name suggests, the camera will automatically make faces in the shot its focus, regardless of how busy the background is. Depending on the camera, you may be able to focus on multiple faces, or one particular face in a big crowd.
• White Balance: Artificial lighting, such as fluorescent lights, can often trick cameras. Adjustable white balance will ensure you achieve natural colours in your photo, with pre-set light modes.
• Manual Functions: Offering greater control over your photography, some cameras will allow you to make manual adjustments to certain settings. These settings can include shutter speed, aperture and focus.
Shockproof and Waterproof
Some cameras are built tougher than others. If you are an adventurer and will be taking your camera along on trips of all kinds, you should definitely look at getting one that is shockproof and waterproof. Some are even freezeproof!
It is also a great idea if you are prone to dropping things, as well as if your new camera will be around children.
Relax knowing your camera is safe.