Buying a Digital Camera. For the majority of the camera buying public,there are just 2 main categories that we fall into when starting out or upgrading our equipment in digital photography, the "Absolute Beginner" or the "Amateur" (or serious amateur also sometimes labelled as the semi pro).
Starting with the beginner, or someone getting started in photography altogether (not just digital),the choice when buying a digital camera nowadays is quite overwhelming!
Everywhere you look there are cameras, and not just in the camera shops like the good old days, but on the internet, in mobile phone shops, in the papers, magazines and supermarkets. You can even get given a cheap digital camera as a free gift for buying something else in some places.
Nowadays, you even get reasonably powerful digital cameras in the newer and more expensive mobile phones and they come in all shapes and sizes.
So where do you start,and how do you make the choice for buying a digital camera either for yourself or as a gift for someone else? It is really quite simple and there are 3 criteria you should look into:
1. Quality - Do you want the camera to last at least a few years and not get damaged by a bit of bashing about? Then go for quality. A titanium or magnesium alloy body,not plastic,something that is quite heavy and feels robust in your hands, you can feel quality!
2.Features - Do you want reasonable quality video capabilities? How big will you want to print the images that come from the camera's files (how many mega pixels should it have)? Will you want to have at least some manual features so you can maybe get a bit creative? Or do you just want a simple, easy to use "Point-and-shoot" digital camera?
3. Price - You should have a budget in mind of how much money you want to spend.
My advice is to get the best camera and memory you can afford for your budget, and worry about extras later!Don't be cheap because if you want reasonably good quality prints, you will find that by spending too little on a cheap camera, you may waste paper, printer ink and/or good money at your local processing lab.
If you get a good make and model of digital camera now it will outlast a cheap camera 4 or 5 times.
Please DO NOT be swayed into buying a digital camera that has all these "Non-Photographic" features, gadgets and gizmos. Any unnecessary features that are added means that some quality has been sacrificed in other areas.
Buy a camera to be a camera, and nothing else. I would also suggest buying one of the top brands such as Olympus,Canon,Nikon, Fuji,Sony,Konica-Minolta, etc. even though they may cost a little more the difference in quality is well worth it.
My main camera is an Olympus E620 a digital SLR.
I always carry in my pocket an Olympus FE190 6 m.pixs for those shots that
suddenly present themselves.
Look for good features such as a reasonable optical zoom like 8-10x, NOT digital zoom.
Digital zoom is simply a marketing tool; it is the same as zooming in on the photo once you get it onto your PC.I would say that10-20X digital zoom is acceptable but I have actually seen digital video cameras with 1000X digital zoom, have you ever tried holding a camera steady at these magnifications, even with a tripod?!!
Basically,I would suggest that you write down exactly what you want and need from your camera, go to a reputable dealer either online or street and buy a good branded camera that has what you need for your requirements and budget,don't be swayed by the salesperson into buying more than you need.
Read online reviews that come from people who have actually bought and used the camera.
When you start to look at all the Semi professional digital SLR's or Advanced digital compact cameras on the market, the choice is a little less but no less confusing. I would give the same advice here as in the previous section, think about what you will need the camera for, and how you think you may want to progress in this hobby, and of course, your budget.
The "prosumer" advanced digital compact cameras available nowadays are steadily catching up with the quality of the DSLR's, although in my opinion, they can never catch them because as they get better, so do the DSLR's. The optical zooms are fantastic and the sensors, although smaller than the DSLR, are very powerful and produce some stunning images, some even have "built-in" image stabilisers.
Again, when buying a digital camera, I would advise to go for quality here. These cameras are a bit more expensive anyway and you will want one that will last and put up with a bit of bashing from your "creative photography" moments! Once you have your advanced digital compact camera, don’t be swayed by all the latest upgrades, updates or releases. Just get to know what you have now, learn how to use it well and learn the actual photography side of photography, and not the technical side.
Once you feel happy with your progression and know that you want to move on, have more control and maybe even start to earn money from photography, only then is it worth considering upgrading to a Digital SLR.
The Semi Professional Digital SLR's, such as the Canon EOS20D, EOS Rebel XT or Nikon D50 and D70s,Olympus E range are fantastic things in photography. Many of the "die-hard" professional film photographers are seeing the changes and finally going digital. Many aspects of film are still widely used and may be for some time, as with large format film photography the detail is the finest I have seen.
However, this latest batch of Digital SLR's have now reached the point where, in my opinion, they match or out perform 35mm film. It has been predicted that next year will be a "boom time" for sales of DSLR's as their quality and features increase and the prices start to come down even more. There has never been a better or more affordable way to get stuck into 35mm photography!
The BIGGEST thing to consider when buying a digital camera or your new DSLR kit, is to choose your brand loyalty. Take a look at Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Konica-Minolta and Kodak etc., and then make your choice? Because as you progress and become more serious and enthusiastic, you will no doubt want to add more lenses to your kit. Zooms, Telephoto, Wide angle, Macro, Standard….there is a huge choice.
With the way technology is moving, you are much more likely to want to upgrade your camera than your lenses and believe me, it will be a lot cheaper to do so once you really get into this hobby! A decent lens should, with care, last you a lifetime. There is only a certain level of quality of its glass that you can obtain with optics so remember this when you are buying a digital camera.
Once again, when you have made your choice of camera, BUY it, ENJOY it and LEARN from it! If the sensor (i.e. 8MP of bigger) produces nice, big, high quality prints, why be tempted by the newer, latest upgrades? Photography is all about "learning" and enjoyment, don't be intimidated by all the technological jargon, so long as your camera has the features that you need, the quality to match and you can build a nice set of lenses over time, who cares if the latest release has 0.1% better white balance control, or flashing lights?
Finding New Angles-
Don't just stand there—sit, squat, lie down.The angle from which you make a photograph can make a dramatic difference.
Early Morning Light-
In the early morning, when the sun is still low in the sky, the light is clean, white light. This is a good time for landscape photography because the extra length of the shadows adds a three-dimensional effect to your pictures.
The way to get the best photos from a digital camera is to do it right from the start. Yet there is an idea that you do not need to devote much effort when you have the computer to "help." This idea has sometimes reached almost surreal proportions. A couple of years ago, a digital photography article in a major news magazine said software was available that would automatically transform amateurs' photos into images that would rival the best of pros. That software never existed, nor will it, because good photography has always been about art and craft; about understanding the tools of the craft and using them well; and about perception and the ability to capture an image that catches an audience's attention and communicates well.
Just remember that digital photography is still photography. The most common mistake people make is camera shake. When you move the camera inadvertently at the time you press the shutter, you risk the chance of blurring your image or reducing the sharpness of the image. Keep it steady!
Most point-and-shoot cameras have a simple exposure override facility, normally allowing you to overexpose or underexpose your picture. So if the subject is predominantly dark, experiment by overexposing to compensate. If the subject is predominantly light, then underexposure is the way to go. Try taking a test picture, look at it on the screen on the back of your camera, check the histogram, and adjust your exposure compensation. Don't be afraid to shoot four or five versions, as the LCD screen is not always accurate. You can delete the bad pictures later.
A very basic rule of composition is known as the rule of thirds, or the tic-tac-toe rule. Imagine your viewfinder or LCD monitor divided into nine equal-size squares, like a tic-tac-toe grid. Compose your picture with your subject centre-positioned at one of the four intersecting points. This should help you compose more aesthetic portraits.
Your point-and-shoot camera will probably have an autofocus zoom lens. You will discover that the ability to zoom in on your subject is fantastic. Get bold. Use your zoom lens and compose your picture with the subject filling your frame. To start with, I'd be surprised if you don't get a lot of pictures that are small in the frame. When you look through the viewfinder, look at the whole picture frame and how big the subject is in your picture, not just into the eyes of the person you're photographing.
Another thing to consider when taking your picture is your point of view. A picture can be more interesting when taken from an unusual angle. Don't be afraid to lie down and look up at your subject, a particularly dynamic approach when photographing pets or children and also less threatening to your subject. Equally, you could try climbing up to a higher viewpoint and looking down on your subject. Better yet, try both and then delete the one you like less.
Many photographers have tried to work with image-processing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and found the whole process difficult, intimidating, and tedious. One big reason this occurs is that much of the instruction in books and classes takes the wrong approach for photographers: It dwells on the software and not the photography.
The photo "rules." This is an important thing to remember. When the software is "in charge," the focus is not on the image; it is on learning and memorizing all the functions of the program. Many photographers have sat through classes that taught them about such things as selections and layers long before they had any idea why they might want to have such knowledge. This was simply because the instructor thought these things were key elements of Photoshop.
As a photographer, you know your photos and what you want them to do. Sure you might not know everything you can do with an image in the program, but that is less important than why you took the photo. Only you can know this, and your photographic intent will guide you, even through Photoshop, on a sure-and-steady, craft-driven journey that is not obsessed with technology.
Experimenting without fear is another key idea for using the digital darkroom. Often, photographers have had to pay a price for experimenting, and many have gotten cautious and brought that caution with them into the digital darkroom. Just remember that there is little you can do to an image in the computer that can't be undone. Let yourself go, and don't be afraid to experiment.