Thinking About Buying a Camera? Here’s What to Consider
Want an Upgrade from Your Phone Camera?
Digital cameras changed the world of photography to make it more accessible and versatile, but choosing the right camera to buy is not an easy decision. While reaching a purchase decision can be daunting, use this article as a resource, keep your needs in mind, and you will be well on your way to a camera that meets your unique needs and abilities.
Cost. The first step to choosing a digital camera is to set your price range. Like most products, digital cameras vary widely in price. Typically, the camera type (whether it is a “DSLR” or a “Point-and-Shoot”) will make a strong impact on price. You can expect to spend under $500 for a dependable middle-range Point-and-Shoot. Alternatively, if you are considering the higher quality of a DSLR, spending less than $1000 can be difficult. That said, there is overlap in both quality and cost between the two, so set a range for yourself and see what the market offerings are.
Size. Cameras range in size, from those you can easily fit into a small pocket, to those sporting longer-range zooms that require their own container. How compact a camera is will determine its convenience and also the quality of photos it can produce. For those seeking a camera that is available at a moment’s notice, a smaller Point-and-Shoot is for you. In general, with larger cameras you can expect increased photo quality and camera versatility.
Availability. Even after reading thousands of reviews, there is no replacement for personally using a camera. Before your purchase, we strongly recommend a hands-on experience with the device: Does the camera feel comfortable and sturdy in your hand, or like it may fall apart? Are basic aspects of use, such as turning the camera on, switching modes, and reviewing photos, easily accessible and practical?
Modes. A camera’s shooting modes allow for easy transition between different shooting situations. Some examples include shooting photos at different distances, lighting conditions, and environments. Common options include “Scene”, “Low light”, and “Action shots”, sometimes called “sports” or “pets and kids”. Here, we recommend that you consider what purpose you’d like your camera for, and confirm not only that the camera has shooting modes that reflect your needs, but that they function well.
Zoom. Digital cameras range in their ability to take quality photos from a distance. Consider how often you’d like to have clear shots of distant subjects. If you expect your camera to take great photos from a distance, look for a larger optical zoom range.
Other characteristics to consider include:
Speed. Slow start-up time and delays between taking photos add up. Some terms to remember here are shutter speed; shots per second; and writing speed. Cameras are getting faster every year, but speed comes with a higher price tag.
Image quality. Beautiful photos require a camera that is capable of shooting in that particular condition. Terms to remember are megapixel count; resolution, which is the camera’s ability to capture fine details; color accuracy, which creates photos that reflect the beauty your eye sees, particularly white and variation in shadows; and ISO range, which impacts how the camera adapts to low light.
While choosing the camera for you takes time, the information above is a great guide for your purchase decision. Without a doubt, you will soon have a camera that is a fun and enriching way to record day-to-day and special events.