Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Better Christmas Photography - Day 8 - Get a real camera!

This post for 12 days of Better Christmas photography, probably should have been day ONE. I think it's a great first step into better photos. It's also a personal pet peeve.

If your only camera is in your phone, then you have a crappy camera. Now, having said that, I know that there are some apps out there for smart phones that create some cool effects on photos. Period. I even saw recently an article that featured photos in Afganistan taken with the iphone. I'm ok with that.


If you spend .0002 seconds on facebook, you'll see that there's some really crappy cellphone photos floating about.


{We try on funny hats when we go antiquing. It might be funny, but it's still a crappy photo}

I found this great list of questions to think about when shopping for a new camera here.

Camera Type

• Are you looking for a compact point & shoot camera, a DSLR, or something in between? (Or perhaps you haven't decided yet — that's okay!)

• Is this your first camera? First ever, or first digital?

• Are you interested in a high level of control, or would you prefer to let the camera do as much "thinking" as possible?

• If you had to choose, would you prefer a more versatile (large "×") zoom lens, or top-notch image quality with no zoom at all?

• What size of camera do you want? To what degree would you be willing to sacrifice other features for compactness?


• What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.

• Do you plan to spend more on additional accessories now or in the future? (Lenses, lighting, tripods, batteries, memory cards, camera bags... it adds up!)

• How long do you plan on keeping this new camera?


• What will you generally use the camera for?

• Are you going to photograph sports? What sport, and from how far away?

• Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos, or other low-light photos?

• Will you make prints, or primarily view and share images on a computer screen? If you make prints, will they typically be small (up to 5×7") or medium sized (8×10"), or are you interested in larger sizes as well?

• Are you interested in spending time post-processing to make an image "perfect", or would you prefer to use images basically straight from the camera?


• Are there particular lenses or technical features that are interesting or important to you?

• Are there particular brands or models you already have in mind?
Now, I can't personally recommend any one camera if you answer all the questions above. I suggest you write down your answers and talk to sales people, do some research online, ask your friends. Most of all, pick up the camera and hold it in your hands. Does it feel right?
If you decide to go with a DSLR, but have a small budget, don't worry, you can still make that happen. eBay has great deals on used dslr cameras. Look for cameras that have low acutations. shop at night time. Look for buy it now deals. Look at the cameras that you are interested in in the "completed auctions" section and see what they are going for to know if you're getting a good deal or not.
This is how I shop for my equipment and I always pay less than anyone else.


gowestferalwoman said...

DP review has a nice breakdown for finding the right camera for you - it takes you through steps where you selected what is most important to you, then the end result is a few selections for you to compare - even the price ranges are taken into account for us who cannot afford the $14,000

Deea said...

I know this is an older post but TIMELY for me! I need to break down & buy a better camera! I don't feel confident that I'll be able to learn how to use it but I enjoyed reading through your posts on improving your photography! Thanks for sharing!

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