As nothing is ever permanent in this world, capturing those special moments in life are crucial. Reasons for this can range from something as simple as an artistic sentimental minute to a crucial turning-point in society that needs to be recorded by photojournalists. Cameras have made this possible for everyone who have different purposes in mind, however, these multiple reasons have given birth to the development of specific features for different cameras. It’s not surprising that one would be so confused about which camera or which setting would best suit his or her needs. Below are what could be considered as the ten basic issues to consider before selecting the right one. After all, no one would want to make a rash decision about something that can immortalize fleeting events.
The first issue to be tackled are the different types of cameras that have been invented so far. The classic point-and-shoots and dSLR’s are commonly known, yet the mirrorless cameras can make many people tilt their heads in confusion. Millennials have also popularized the use of action cameras and the simple camera phones. Among all these, there are so many things to consider but the basis of choice would be the purpose of your photography. More experienced professionals and photography enthusiasts would opt for dSLRs due higher qualities and broader ranges of the camera’s settings, as well as convenient customization. Mirrorless cameras would also be best for those knowledgeable in photography but want easier portability. Action cameras are best for adrenaline junkies or the generally more active population who would refuse to miss out on a single second of their adventures. Point-and-shoots have long been around for the convenience of taking pictures without the bulkiness or the infinite number of features that can make one’s head spin. However, these are slowly being rivalled by the cameras that are installed in smart phones, which many would prefer since it is one less thing to carry around.
The second topic would be the issue of lenses. Lenses, of course, play a large role in how a person would like their photos to look. The more convenient cameras such as point-and-shoots and camera phones do not have the option to replace lenses at will, but there are attachable mini lenses nowadays that can aid the user to obtain the desired effect they want such as fisheye. If changing lenses for artistic shots or quick sports events are necessary but require much higher quality, then the dSLRs and mirrorless cameras are the way to go. One must, however, consider the bulkiness of having to carry around all those lenses around if multiple options are required.
ISO and White Balance
ISO and White balance are important features that a camera must be able to adjust properly. The ISO, which was originally known as the “film speed ,” is the light sensitivity of the camera’s digital sensor. The higher the ISO, the brighter the image is rendered due to the adjustment of the information that is collected during the photo’s exposure. This, however, is also responsible for the “graininess” or noise in some pictures when the ISO is pushed to its limit in the darkest settings. Regarding the color of the light, this is where white balance comes in. Usually set on automatic for less confusion, the white balance can be adjusted to suit the kind of light being used for the shoot, such as incandescent, fluorescent, and alike, for better pictures.
Shutter Speed and Aperture
It’s not unheard of to hear the shutter speed and aperture setting go hand in hand. Shutter speed is self-explanatory. Unfortunately, if the subject is not properly light, possibly due to the time of the shoot or a dark room, the shutter speed would have to compensate by taking longer. This would affect the photo severely if one doesn’t have a tripod or anything stable for the camera to rest on. If the shutter speed setting of the camera can reach greater levels, one would be able to capture an event as fast as a Formula 1 racing competition. Aperture, on the other hand, has confused many people. It is basically how wide your lens can open to allow light in. The lower the number, the wider the opening of the lens becomes. This allows many photographers to capture things in macro, or subjects with blurry backgrounds for optimum focus of the subject. The higher the number is, the sharper everything on the photograph appears. This is best suited for landscapes, in comparison to portrait photography with the lower setting as previously mentioned.
As there are quite a number of people who enjoy taking landscape photos to admire the general scenery, there are others who wish to capture greater details of their subject. This is where the topic of zoom comes in. Many cameras have digital zoom built-in that digitally enhance the photo, while others do not have the zoom feature at all. For those who would like to zoom in on their subjects without the digital intervention, the dSLRs have the option to purchase specific telephoto lenses for that specific outcome. These long lenses are what many usually find during sports events or public conferences.
The thought of those large pieces of equipment may, however, affect a person’s decision when it comes to purchasing a camera. The portability of the camera is another important factor that one must consider. For example, those who are always on the move such as hiking or surfing, would never be able to photograph all those quick passing moments with something that weighs almost 5 pounds. This is why they would opt for the very small action camera that can fit in the palm of their hand or may even be attached to their equipment such as helmets. For those who travel around and desire to take as many photos as possible without overloading the memory of their phones or carrying such heavy items, the point-and-shoot will always prevail.
Focus and Image Stabilizers
No one would like to have blurry images. This all depends on the focus of the camera and the “Image Stabilizer” feature that some have. Normally, the focus setting is set automatically by those who would want one less thing to fuss about. However, the more experienced enthusiasts cannot survive on just a single setting. They’d love to take multiple photos on different focal settings to ensure they’ve captured the subject’s essence in its entirety. The “Image Stabilizer” is surprisingly not available in all cameras just yet but this feature is a gem for photographers everywhere. Another self-explanatory setting, this relieves photographers of the headache they get from the blurry photos they have captured due to shaking hands or unstable terrain.
LCD vs Viewfinders
One would think that with the development of the camera’s LCD to preview a photo, the classic viewfinder would cease to exist. The LCD screens, after all, do have an advantage in terms of on-the-go shooting. Nevertheless, the option of having a view finder is still popular for those who truly enjoy photography. Many claim that this allows better view of what the photo is supposed to, not only look like, but supposed to feel like. After all, the image of the classic photographer is nothing without that look through the viewfinder.
Only recently has the camera included video taking features, much to everyone’s delight. Back then, a camcorder had to be purchased separately to record full events. With today’s technology, not only do camera phones and point-and-shoots have recording capabilities, but now full dSLR’s have too. Some movies nowadays have even opted to record using dSLR’s. A classic example was the use of the Canon 5D Mark II to shoot Marvel’s Iron Man 2 and the entirety of the series, House M.D.
Brands and Megapixels
Listed above have been all the necessary things to consider before purchasing a camera. The topics of Brands and Megapixels, however, are some things you do not have to dwell too much on, contrary to popular belief. The higher the megapixel capability is, the bigger your image is without having to adjust it digitally and, in turn, lose quality. For practicality, only photography professionals, that have to print out their images, would have to consider this. Most, if not, all cameras nowadays have proper megapixel features, including camera phones. Brands are also something that does not have to play a huge role on whether the camera is objectively great or not. All the different cameras available have their strong points and their issues. This boils down to personal fondness.
It is no lie that photography online classes are not exactly the most affordable hobby in the world. Yet, the world knows its significance to the general population today. Without it, no one would have anything to look back on, bring the feeling of nostalgia, and create permanence to otherwise fleeting moments. Whatever reason for the purchase may be, it would be hard to deny the fact that to obtain the quality to suit one’s personal preference, one would still need proper reflection and research in order to choose the right camera.