"The most common question prior to any special trip for a photography enthusiast is always about the brand, model and make of camera they should purchase. Having been a part of the industry for over 12 years, my answer has always been based on 3 simple questions. ""BIG QUESTION 1: What is your budget?
Mobile phones aside, the handheld camera segment can be broadly categorised into three parts- point and shoot, mid-level fixed lens cameras and the whole array of digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras that work with a camera body and multiple options of lens. Very clearly, you can get a good point and shoot in the range of
You want to capture life as you walk along; family, friends and colleagues? Will you be doing basic indoor party shots, landscape/outdoor shots, going to extreme light-conditions like beaches and snowy areas, shoot objects as still life, portraits of people, birds and animals, wide pictures of mountains, plains, cityscapes or seashores? It is important to understand what kind of photography interests you, as you do not want your equipment to limit your scope. Few pointers for a basic understanding:
1) Entry level generic photography: Consider a good flash, a good 'optical' zoom (not just digital zoom), pleasing natural colours, easy-to-navigate menu of features, convenient dial/buttons and the comfort of handling in your hand. Extensive shooting drains batteries, so avoid cameras with pencil batteries if you're going to be shooting a fair deal. A LIVE view display is an advantage, but also a big battery drainer.
2) Mid-level: More or less all of the above pointers apply. Additionally think of lens quality, zoom and the picture capturing sensor. Some cameras use high-end branded lens like
3) DSLRs: Spend more time figuring the kinds of lens you want to buy to push yourself as a photographer. For regular street photography, the kit lens (50-80mm range) is enough, portraits and distant objects will need you to invest in a good 'telephoto' lens. If you want to shoot birds in motion, invest in something that allows for 250-300mm or above range. For shooting breathtaking landscapes, go for wider lens, which means lenses with focal length less that 55mm.
BIG QUESTION 3: How do you plan to use the pictures?
A camera of 3 megapixels is sufficiently empowered to give you a magazine-sized print. Optimise the megapixel count if you want maximum details to be captured in the file. You can always zoom in and crop out the part you need from a large file and still have a printable end result.
You have enough resources online and your local camera dealer will be happy to assist, but it is very important you have equipped yourself with the answers to these three questions. Happy Exploring!
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