Things to consider when buying a camera

 

A camera is a huge investment for most people. As such, it is important to choose the right camera for your needs since you are going to have it for a long time. There is no “one size fits all” camera in the world.You have to ask yourself what you are going to with the photos you take. Are you going to enjoy your photos on your PC? Are you going to make them part of a slide show on a large plasma screen? Are you going to make custom gifts with photos? What you are going to do with the photos you take will dictate to a large extent the type of camera you should choose.

Types of Cameras:

cameraDifferent cameras are going to offer you different capabilities. This is very important for camera industries as they can comfortably produce a wide array of cameras. The types of cameras include:

  • Point-and-shoot cameras- these are very basic and only serve the purpose of a digital camera. They cost around $200.
  • Megazoom cameras- they are a step above point and shoots because they have a closer zoom (up to 10X). Apart from this, the other components are similar to the point and shoot camera. Megazoom cameras cost under $500.
  • Mirrorless cameras- these are semiprofessional cameras which is still in development phases. They offer much more in terms of lenses and have few manual operations. One can get a mirrorless camera at about $600.
  • DSLRs- these are currently the best digital cameras. They are very pricey with an entry level camera costing a minimum of $600. They produce high quality photographs and have a lot of manual operations. DSLRs are popular with professional photographers.

What are your needs?

We touched on this a bit above, but let’s go into some detail now. The first question you need to ask yourself is what will be the purpose of the camera. Do you want a camera to film home videos, take photographs of a concert or start a photography career? If you, for example want to start professional photography, it would be redundant to buy a point-and-shoot camera.  If you want to take family pictures and relive holiday memories, it would not be advisable to buy the DSLR. This is because you may find the manual operations hard to follow. Also, buying the appropriate camera will save you a lot of money.

Lenses are very important

Lenses are a very important part of cameras. It is one of the things you can look out for when buying a camera. However, this does not apply to all digital cameras. For instance, the lens for a low level digital camera such as the megazooms and the point-and-shoot cameras do not matter a lot as they are almost similar. With mirrorless and DSLRs however, lenses are crucial. What determines the quality of a lens is the quality of the glass and the image it produces. This might be difficult to distinguish so here is an easier way. Look for a lens with a wide aperture and a good focal length (zoom).

Don’t worry about megapixels and zoom

Most people emphasize the megapixels of the camera as a vital consideration. However, there is very little difference in the megapixels range of digital cameras. Having a camera that can take a stunning photograph is more than enough. You could opt to go for the megazoom camera, by all means, do so. But you may end up using more cash than the amount recommended for a camera that is suitable for your use.

Lighting considerations

moon in an odd lightPhotography is all about light; how much light gets into the lens, how much light is allowed through by the shutter, the quantity of light you are working with, the brightness of light, backlighting all these are factors that affect a photo and they all pertain to light. As a budding photographer, it is important to appreciate the effect of light on a photograph. This will help you improve a lot when it comes to finding the right light.

Adjusting light

The reason why there are studio lights for photography is as simple as this; good lighting improves the quality of your picture. Since we are humans, we can manipulate a light source to provide lighting for a good photograph. These manipulations include projection of a wider or narrower light, moving the light source further or closer and even setting the direction from which light comes from. Here are some other fundamental considerations for taking pictures in good light.

Diffusion of light

Diffusion of light makes light spread out from the light source. This causes the light source to disperse and the lighting becomes wider and softer. A good example of diffusion is the way clouds come up in front of the sun. The shadows made are softer. Mist and fog also produce such results.

Light projection

Projecting light from a light source also influences the result of the photograph. For instance, casting a narrow light produces hard light and very sharp and crisp shadows. Manipulating the light source to project a wide light produces softer light and hence soft shadows

Distance from the light source

The distance that light covers from the camera to the subject is a consideration for the hardness and softness of light. The light produced when the source of light is far away is very hard and narrow. Shortening this distance produces a wider and softer light.

Exposure

The exposure is another consideration when taking a photo. Exposure is determined by the amount of light being let through the hole in the aperture. The camera, however, is not able to adjust a wide range of light quickly. It is therefore advised to wait for a while as it adjusts itself. One can also use the +/- buttons on the camera to reduce and increase the exposure compensation.

Soft light and hard light

All in all, it finally comes to the question of brightness. “Which type of light produces the best photos under what conditions?” This is the question that photographers should ask themselves. A hard light will produce sharp shadows hence making it useful in landscape photos because of a deep depth of field. A softer light causes light to disperse making it perfect for use in taking photographs with a shallow depth of field.

10 photography tips for beginners

The first time practicing photography can be daunting to many a photographer. Here are 10 tips that can help you along the way;

1. Wait for the right light before shooting:

In photography, you have to think about the quality of light, the direction it is coming from and how much light there is. It will take some time to know which lighting is the best in different situations. You can experiment with backlighting to really grasp the importance of light. Also avoid your shadow creeping into the picture.

2. Focus on the subject:

Focusing on a particular object in your picture makes it appear crisp as it highlights the edges and color tones. It is easy to focus using a smart phone but for a camera, it is more complicated. If your camera has a physical shutter button, press it halfway and wait for the camera to focus. A green box will be displayed when in focus.

3. Experiment with perspective:

Get on high ground, lay down on the floor, Look for different angles to take photographs and you’ll see the amazing results of changing your point of view/perspective. In photography, you can always experiment new stuff, new angles, new everything.

4. Beware of exposure:

The world has striking contrast in terms of light and dark. A camera cannot quickly adjust such sharp differences in brightness. This is the main cause of dimly lit photographs. Use the +/- button to regulate “exposure compensation”.

5. Adjust your camera’s aperture accordingly:

Exposure is primarily caused by the aperture of your camera. This is the hole behind the lens. It allows light to get into the camera. It however, allows more light to get in when the aperture is reduced i.e. less light is allowed in when the aperture is expanded i.e. the hole becomes smaller.

6. Mind your shutter speed:

Your camera shutter will decide how much light the photograph uses after being allowed through the aperture. A shutter speed of 1/250 of a second will be convenient to prevent motion blur. Higher shutter speeds of up to 1/4000 seconds is applicable for sports photography

7. Depth of field:

Shooting in low light conditions requires one to widen the aperture to allow more light into the lens. This invariably causes a shallow depth of field. A shallow depth of field is not suitable for landscape photography and can only be used when the subject is close to the camera.

8. Observe the rule of thirds:

The rule of thirds is crucial in composition. It involves dividing the camera’s frame into boxes and then planting the key objects onto those lines.

9. Keep your balance:

Balance affects how one feels when he/she looks at a photo. A balanced photo can make you feel relaxed while an unbalanced photo has the opposite effect on the viewer.

10. Know which shooting mode you are using:

There are a variety of shooting modes available such as full-auto, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and so forth. Research on the uses of each mode i.e. to which conditions can it be applied.

 

Michigan Photo Enthusiasts

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