Photography Tips: Buying Your First Camera
Buying your first camera can be exciting. However, with hundreds of models to choose from, a range of prices and a seemingly unlimited number of options, it can be a bit confusing, especially if you have never purchased a camera before. Your best bet is to choose a camera that best suits your lifestyle and your budget.
Digital versus Film Cameras
The first big decision that you’ll have to make when narrowing down your choices is whether to purchase a traditional 35mm film camera or a digital camera. Although film cameras are typically less expensive, film and processing costs for this type of camera can quickly add up.
On the other hand, digital cameras that tend to cost more initially don’t require expensive film because they store images on a built in chip, disk or memory card. Similarly, having a digitalized image allows easier manipulation of it by using computer software to alter or improve your picture. For example, Adobe Photoshop can help you eliminate red eyes or crop out unnecessary details of the photo.
How Do You Plan to Use Your Camera?
How you plan to use your camera will determine the type of camera that you need. If you’re interested in simply taking a few snapshots to share with friends and family, a disposable camera might be a better option, instead of lugging along a more fragile digital camera, a compact 35mm or APS film camera.
However, if you want to improve the quality of your pictures, you may want a camera with auto focus and auto exposure. Many 35mm cameras come equipped with these features, making photography as easy as pointing and shooting. Keep in mind that these cameras come in an assortment of styles with a variety of features that range in price. While some cameras have fixed focal length lenses, others have zoom lenses that allow you to zoom in and out on your subject without having to change positions.
The price of digital cameras can be as inexpensive as under a hundred dollars for basic models to several thousand dollars for professional quality cameras.If you plan to take many photos or you’re interested in quickly sharing photos via the Internet, a digital camera will allow you to easily snap, share and delete photos with the touch of a button.
A Look at Key Camera Terms
The following list outlines some of the features that cameras may have. By knowing what they are and how to use them, you can decided whether or not you will need them on the camera you are looking to purchase.
Auto Focus: This is a feature found in both digital and 35mm cameras. Auto focus means that the camera will automatically focus on the subject at which the camera lens is pointed.
Flash: A flash is a sudden burst of light used to illuminate your subject indoors or in poor lit conditions. Many cameras, particularly point-and-shoot cameras, come with a built-in automatic flash.
Telephoto Lens: A telephoto lens makes a subject appears larger on film than does a normal lens at the same camera-to-subject distance. These are especially useful for nature photography or for taking pictures of a subject at a far distance.
Wide-Angle Lens: A wide-angle lens has a shorter focal length and a wider field of view (to include more subject area) than a normal lens. This type of lens is best used to take pictures of landscapes.
Aperture: This is a fixed or adjustable hole or opening formed by the metal leaf diaphragm inside the lens or the opening in a camera lens through which light passes to expose the film. Many 35mm cameras have adjustable apertures. The wider the range of apertures, the more flexibility the photographer has when taking shots.
Shutter Priority: This is an exposure mode on automatic or autofocus cameras that lets you select the desired shutter speed. When the photographer changes the shutter speed, the camera automatically sets the aperture for proper exposure.
Photographic Printing Photographic Printing refers to the process of printing an image onto photo paper from a negative. To ensue with photographic printing, a photographer must take his negatives into a darkroom ...