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It’s a Snap: How to Pick a Digital Camera

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

by Tech News Daily

It’s hard to keep track of all the digital cameras and high-tech features out on the market, but according to experts, shoppers should be wary of all the bells and whistles offered with new devices that don’t actually enhance the quality of the photographs.

Tom Cavalieri, a student adviser at the New York Institute of Photography who works with aspiring photographers, believes digital cameras often include fancy-sounding features at higher prices that aren’t essential for taking great pictures.

“There are tons of high-quality models out there that aren’t too expensive, so people shouldn’t fall into traps of paying more for features they don’t need,” he said.

For example, Cavalieri said selecting a device that has the ability to take very high-resolution images isn’t as important as one would think.

“If you can save a couple of dollars deciding between a 10-megapixel camera and a 18-megapixel cheaper, go for the cheaper one,” Cavalieri said. “You don’t need 24 megapixels to take decent pictures, especially when so many images today are just being viewed online.”

High definition video capabilities are also making its way onto more digital cameras: “If all you want to do is take pictures, you don’t need a built-in microphone and video technology that will just add more dollars to the overall bill.”

As for picking the best one to fit your needs, Cavalieri advises avid travelers to seek out digital cameras that take batteries instead of those that rely on a plug-in charger.

“The last thing you want to worry about when traveling is finding a place to recharge your camera,” he said. “You can buy batteries almost anywhere or pack more ahead of time, so you never have to wait on your camera to be ready to go.”

Although the Internet is a key tool for researching and finding information about digital cameras, Cavalieri also suggests shoppers go into retail stores and test out different devices before making a purchase.

“Some digital cameras are heavier than people think and if it’s not comfortable and easy to hold, they might not get used,” Cavalieri said.

Camera expert Ken Rockwell, who runs the photography tip site KenRockwell.com, also encourages people to get their hands on digital cameras to make sure they can find all of the features.

“Lenses, zoom rates and resolution are basically all the same, but if you can’t figure out where all of the features are, you’ll miss capturing what your kid is doing or what funny thing is happening at a party,’ Rockwell told TechNewsDaily.

Rockwell also said that compact digital cameras have reached a mature state over the years and haven’t actually gotten better.

“If you already have a digital camera, you most likely don’t need another one to take better pictures,” Rockwell said, adding that it’s more about being a good photographer than having a high-quality expensive camera. “A pianist will be able to play a toy piano much better than someone with limited piano experience playing on a top-quality piano model.

Cellphone cameras

Rockwell believes that digital cameras are expected to slow in the next five to ten years, as more people reach into their pockets for cellphone cameras to take pictures.

“In most cases, cellphone cameras are just as good as compact digital cameras you would buy at the store,” he said. “The iPhone has a very strong built-in camera, and coupled with apps that help you edit and fine-tune colors, you may not even need to buy a new camera.”

There are a few ways to optimize an iPhone to take better pictures, Rockwell said. For example, when taking a picture of someone’s face, tapping the device’s screen showing that area will tell the camera which part of the picture is the most important and what you want to see in detail.

Meanwhile, before taking a picture on the iPhone, users can also tap a button on the bottom of the screen to adjust the brightness level. However, one drawback to cellphone cameras is that they don’t take pictures very quickly.

“If you are trying to capture something such as a sporting event in real-time, it will be difficult on a cellphone,” Rockwell said. “But missing the shot also happens at times on compact cameras. Most people don’t realize you have to push the camera button halfway down at first to preset it for exposure, focus and other key reasons.”

Pushing down the button again a few seconds later will ensure that it will go off in time to get the shot you want, Rockwell said.

The bottom line: “It doesn’t matter if you are using a camera that costs thousands of dollars,” Rockwell said. “If you aren’t using your camera right and are a bad photographer, you will just keep taking bad photographs.”

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at smurphy@techmedianetwork.com. Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN

via It’s a Snap: How to Pick a Digital Camera | Tech News Daily.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in Featured, Inspiration, Worth a Look

 

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Some Macro Inspiration and Equipment

Image by Clicksy from Flickr CC: BY

I just found this incredible article on LightStalking that shows incredibly detailed macro photos taken using a Macro Rig and a house fly. 

This started me wondering exactly what a Macro Rig would contain and what it would look like. Do macro photographers have enormous elaborate setups or compact small items? What are the crucial pieces to have? So I went off searching the Internet to find the answers. Firstly I read a few forums but they were very out of date (2006) and then I discovered a fabulous article by Microscope UK and another from the Up Close and Personal Blog . There are some great images to be viewed at the Pentax forums and the ones at Talk | Photography go on for pages so there is plenty of inspiration out there. What impressed me most was how much of this stuff is duct-taped together using thrown together bits of DIY. You certainly don’t seem to need to spend a fortune on equipment (except the initial lens).

The general gist so far seems to be that the following items are MUST-haves:

  • Tripod – Small or Large
  • Ring Flash or Independent Slave Flashes or Lamp with bracket.
  • Macro Lens on a zoom
  • +10 magnification lens plus other magnification lens for stacking
  • Remote Trigger

Even if you are not a huge macro lover, the items listed really can be used for so many different types of shots – not just macro and really these do form a staple of a photographer’s diet. It’s certainly something to aim for, isn’t it!

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Link to Light Stalking article: http://www.lightstalking.com/photographs-of-flies

Link to Microscopy UK article: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artoct05/bjmacro.html

Link to Up Close and Personal Blog: http://orionmystery.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-macro-rig-then-and-now.html

Link to Pentax Forums: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-field-accessories/108162-post-pic-your-diy-macro-rig-flash.html

Link to Talk | Photography: http://www.talkphotography.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=132158

Image by Clicksy from Flickr – Licensed through Creative Commons: BY

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2011 in Worth a Look

 

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Why Should I Bother?

Why Should I Bother?

When first considering leaving that nice safe Auto Mode, start by thinking about why you want to do this. No doubt, it’s because there are just some times that you can’t take the type of photo you want to take. You line it up, and press the button and the result pretty much sucks. 

The reason for this is simple. The camera simply has no idea what you’re trying to take a photo of, and whenever it’s set to auto, it will just try to guess and give you the best shot it can. Now this is often good enough for quick family snaps, but there are times when it just won’t cut the mustard and you need to really work with the camera to achieve the shot you are looking for.

There are two major things to look for in a camera: the ability to go from Auto Mode to other, more manual, Modes and an eye viewfinder. You need to be able to put that camera right up to your eye and look through to see how you’re framing the image. This isn’t just some blurb, but some really good advice, but we’ll go into that more a little later. But right now, if you have a point and click camera with just a big screen on the back and no opportunity to improve your skills, the time has come… Time right now, to invest in your photographic future, and purchase something with a little more bang for its buck.

So why bother going off auto mode? Well, firstly anything in auto mode gives all the control to the camera… you have no actual input as to what type of image you want to take. So you’re basically saying that you don’t really care what the image is like, and if the lens is pointed in the general direction it will have to do. Secondly, you don’t allow yourself any creativity with a photo when you are asking the camera to choose what settings are best suited to your situation. I don’t think I fully understood that, until I found some amazing images I really wanted to emulate and couldn’t!

So don’t just accept a gadget determining how your images turn out – especially when it isn’t nearly as scary to turn off that Auto Mode as you might expect!

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Graduation Image by Harry Keely via SXC
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Featured, General

 

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You can be Anti Auto too!

Are you frustrated by forever using the Auto Button on your camera and want to break out but don’t know where to start? Do you want to start experimenting but everytime you begin, it all goes terribly wrong? Sunday Photographer is all about showing you the tips and tricks that will help to get you started. Consider this the Photographers Cheat Sheet.

One of the hardest things when you are a point and click photographer, is turning off that Auto button and trying to manually adjust the settings yourself! Not only can it be daunting, but often the results leave a lot to be desired. When I first began attempting photography without Auto Mode, I had no idea where to start. I searched the Internet for some magic chart that would show me what settings to use but to no avail.

The point of this blog is to inspire, create, inform and engage you to finally have the courage to turn that Auto Button off. Learn more about composition, what all those settings mean, and more importantly, what setting should you have them on! But this site isn’t just about what I think, but about the things I’ve learned and will share with you. Sites to explore, creative images to try and to aid your creativity with suggestions and inspirations.

Enjoy. Because I know I will.

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Camera Back Image by smitty1770 via SXC
 
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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Featured, Inspiration

 

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