Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Simply Sharing: Camera Shopping Ideas

You may already know, I love taking pictures.  I drive everyone crazy snapping, from the kids to the pets.  We once had a horse that never did have much for me after my flash fired about a million times near his face.  Poor fellow.  I didn’t think of that.  I was just so carried away by his horsey wonderfulness, but I am afraid he didn’t share my sentiment.

Well, a grudge holding horse isn’t what I started out to talk about.  Camera shopping is, however.  I don’t have any great wisdom to impart, but here are a few thoughts if you happen to be in the market for one, with the upcoming holiday season.

First of all, do you want a point and shoot,

or do you want a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex)? 

Pictured is my DSLR.  (Isn’t Mr. Bob cute?  He is my 44 year old (at least) Steiff bear that I have had since I was four.)

Nikon & Mr. Bob

Both point and shoot and DSLR’s each have their perks.  A point and shoot may be all that you need, but if you are serious about taking pictures, you may want to invest in an SLR.  Either way, make a list of the features that are important to you, and then jot down notes as you shop and compare.

If shopping online, before you buy, go to a retail store and handle the cameras that you are interested in.  Do you like the size, the feel, the look? Give them a try.  Are they noisy and does that matter to you? It might, for instance, if you are in church snapping a picture of your little one in a quiet scene during a Christmas pageant.  What about the menus?  Are they user friendly?  How quick is the start up speed when you turn the camera on?  Is there a delay between you pressing the shutter button and the actual time the camera takes the picture?  You don’t want to miss your shot because your camera delayed.  A little pause goes a long way in missing the moment.  Does it have optical zoom or digital zoom? (Digital can distort picture.)  Do you want a video feature?  How about a self-timer?….

If you’re looking for an SLR, keep in mind that the quality of the lens is more important than the camera that you choose.  Buy the fastest lens/lenses that you can afford.  Cheap lenses aren’t usually a bargain.  A fast lens would be considered an f 2.8.  An  f 5.6 would be slower and not do as well in low light situations. (I am aiming for a faster one myself.)  Is the camera heavy?  How about the lens?  This can be cumbersome if you are carrying it around for long stretches of time.

What type of lens will you need?  Anything smaller than a 50mm lens is in the wide-angle category and works well for landscape and group shots.   Anything with a focal length larger than 50mm is considered telephoto.  Most average shooting situations use between 35mm and 100mm, but that is not adequate for wildlife photography.  If you do buy a lens, be sure and protect your investment with a UV-haze filter.

There are several good brands out there, but I prefer the two leading brands, Canon and Nikon.  You can’t go wrong with either. 

This is a self portrait with my little point and shoot Canon PowerShot. 


I love the sleekness of this little camera, and how it fits even in small purses. I don’t usually shoot on auto, and for some reason, I keep forgetting how to sort through the menus of this camera.  On the other hand, my SLR is a Nikon and although it has a vast number of features, I just naturally mix with it better and can breeze through the menus with clear understanding.  Hands on shopping may help to get a feel for what brand is right for you.    

Shopping for a camera sure can be overwhelming! But just think of all the fun and memories that it will bring once you find one that you love!

Happy hunting – and shooting!

1 comment:

Little Birdie Blessings said...

What a great post, I have a Nikon SLR and the features are more than I'll ever be able to process mentally. However I really enjoy the quality I get from it. I've learned a lot from your post here, especially about the lenses, so thanks for sharing. I'm interested in a smaller camera to carry in my purse, so am glad for the recommendation. Love the self portrait and the bear with the camera. Have a wonderful weekend. ~ Abby

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