How To Choose a Camera

There are many reasons to buy a camera. Some people want a camera to help capture their lives and the lives of their family members. Others make a little extra cash with photography, and need a camera with great versatility and a high level of user control. Photography can be a casual activity or a time-consuming art. Whatever reasons you have at obtaining a camera, it can still be a challenge to decide which camera is right for you. Here are some tips and guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a camera.

  1. Type of camera: Choosing the type of camera is important. There are many brands of cameras but two basic types exist.
    • The 35mm camera. This camera uses film to capture the images taken, usually offering the broadest range lenses, filters and other accessories. The disadvantage is the rising cost of film and film processing.

      Some common functions of a camera include control of shutter speed, film speed and aperture.

      • Shutter speed determines how long the light can enter your camera during a shot. The higher you adjust shutter speed, the better the ability of the camera to take pictures of fast motion.
      • Film speed describes the film's light sensitivity and can affect the color and crispness of the image.
      • The aperture is the opening through which light enters.

      Manipulation of these three variables results in a wide array of photographic possibilities and can help produce a better picture. The 35 mm still has the best control of all these, but the disadvantage is that you have to waste film sometimes getting the right setting and control over these functions.

    • The digital camera. Ever-growing in popularity, this type of camera has the advantage of digitizing photographs, allowing the pictures to be easily manipulated and stored on the computer and other forms of storage such as disks, CDs and portable hard drives. Some digital cameras enjoy versatility in lens choice and other accessories; versatility increases as technological advancements occur. You are easily able to take more pictures and get rid of ones that don't work out.

      A disadvantage of the digital camera is that there are many digital cameras that don't have accessories such as lens filters (for differing situations such as bright light, indoor light and viewing the sky) and zoom lenses that allow you to take pictures of distant objects. Digital cameras continue to improve with regard to controlling shutter speed, film speed and aperture.

  2. Budget: Budget can determine which camera and accessories to buy. The total cost involved really depends on brand name and features, as well as accessory cost and overall quality of the camera.

    Most digital and 35mm cameras are priced in the hundreds of dollars, while some cameras can cost less than fifty dollars.

    Accessory cost is a big influence on cost. With a 35mm camera, the accessories of absolute necessity would be film and film processing. For a digital camera, you will need some form of storage such as a memory stick or flash card that is inserted into the camera instead of film. Cost varies depending on the size of storage bought. Other accessories might include a camera bag, tripod, and digital processing equipment such as printers and ink.

  3. Reasons for camera: Determining the reason for the camera can influence which type you want to buy. If you are a tech-savvy consumer who wants a convenient, user-friendly camera for everyday photos or occasional travel, digital cameras may be the right choice for you. Sending pictures via the Internet (through e-mail, software and other such programs) is getting faster and more efficient. But some will want to choose a 35 mm camera, especially if they have a desire to understand photography as an art form or take high-quality professional photographs.


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