Buying a New Camera
Vacation time has arrived and once again you ask yourself if this is the year you upgrade to one of those “fancy” digital SLR cameras. While the draw of all those buttons and dials may have you thinking this is the year, there are a few things to consider before you run out and start spending a lot of money on a camera you may not really need.[pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]Today’s point and shoot, or compact cameras, have come a long way in the past few years.[/pullquote]
Today’s point and shoot, or compact cameras, have come a long way in the past few years. Compact cameras produce quality prints and are easy to use with little or no experience needed. Compacts usually offer numerous settings to help the user with most lighting and photographic conditions from sports to close ups of flowers. The sensor in compacts, the area of the camera that captures the image, is much smaller on a compact limiting you to smaller prints. Prints larger than 10×13 or 11×14 may show a significant loss in image quality. Compacts are small enough to tuck in a shirt pocket or handbag making them convenient to carry just about anywhere. With retail prices between $200.00 and $300.00 for a complete system, they are much easier on the pocketbook compared to $1000.00 for a digital SLR camera body that doesn’t even include a lens.
If you are a serious amateur, or if you are thinking of going pro, you will most certainly want a higher end camera. With a digital SLR you are able to control almost every aspect of your photograph. Unlike a compact, SLR cameras offer manual controls allowing you to set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO giving you more creative freedom and control. You are able to change lenses depending on the subject you are shooting, and the sensor is much larger yielding higher quality prints even at very large sizes. The RAW setting on today’s digital SLR’s provide the user with a digital file that is much higher quality similar to a film negative. Although digital SLR’s do offer an automatic setting, to take full advantage of the additional features of an SLR, you really should shoot in manual mode.
While there is definitely a steep learning curve involved with owning and operating a digital SLR, as well as a much higher price tag, if you are serious about photography, it is well worth it. I personally own both a point and shoot camera, which I carry in my handbag, and a digital SLR. I like to be able to take a picture anytime, but I also need to make sure my paying clients are getting professional quality photographs that only a high end camera can produce. Both camera styles have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end the decision will come down to the intended use of the camera, your skill level, and the amount of money you are willing spend.
By: Kelly Ann Jones
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