- What do you plan to take pictures of?
- Do you think photography will become a serious hobby or do you plan to eventually make money with your images?
- What is your price range?
These questions will help me determine what direction I should steer them in.
The first question, “What do you plan to take pictures of?” will let me know whether they want a camera so they can take great pics at family gatherings, get great shots of their daughter in her dance recital or if they plan to take pictures of wildlife (think tiny birds 10 yards away). This will most often let me know whether they will need a simple point and shoot, a long zoom point and shoot or a DSLR.
The second question,”Do you ever plan to take photography to a serious level?” will let me know whether they should look into a DSLR. The DSLR will allow them to change lenses and have full control over the images they create so if they plan take it pretty seriously, a long zoom point and shoot would soon become a waste of money. They’d grow tired of the restraints fairly quickly and want to get into a DSLR. For as inexpensive as these cameras are now-a-days, you may as well start off in the arena you want to be in.
And finally, the third question, “What is your price range?” will let me know what arena they can afford to be in. It will also help me determine whether they can look at used or refurbished equipment as well.
Here are the three main camera body styles I look at when looking for a friend:
- Point and shoot
- Long Zoom Point and Shoot
I’ve heard that Point and Shoot cameras are on their way out due to phone cameras. In my experience, I think we have a while before that happens. Phone camera’s lenses are not anywhere near what a Point and Shoot is capable of. (In fact, I wish I’d had a point and shoot when I took pictures of these cameras!) Many Point and Shoots have up to a 10x optical zoom (optical is the key word here), much more than a smartphone camera can do. They also typically have a larger sensor so the images will be of higher quality. Point and shoots are great if you plan to mostly take everyday shots of friends and family, you want better than what your phone camera is giving you, you want to keep it simple and/or your budget is tight.
The Long Zoom Point and Shoots are perfect for those that want to learn photography so they can take great images but don’t plan to get into it professionally. They often have 30 – 50x zoom lenses that will allow one to zoom in pretty far on the soccer field to capture their baby girl’s awesome kick or capture that bird 10 yards away. These types of cameras typically have automatic modes as well as manual so the photographer can start off in automatic but eventually (typically after they read the manual 😉 and read some beginner photography info online) can move into using the manual modes which will give them much better control over the images they produce. My daughter was 12 when she saved up $400 to buy her very own Canon PowerShot SX30 (30x zoom). They’re now up to a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera – Wi-Fi Enabled
(60x zoom). She loves her camera. And I have to admit there are times when I’d much prefer to carry her camera around than my DSLR which weighs quite a bit more. Choose this style if you want to capture great images of your family or friends but have no interest in going pro. This is a great middle-of-the-road camera style.
If one has an interest in really learning all about photography and taking it further than just shooting family, a DSLR is definitely the way to go. But once they’ve decided they want a DSLR, there are different levels of DSLRs to look at…from beginner, to intermediate to professional. Beginner DSLR bodies are typically made of plastic and have smaller sensors than the upper level DSLRs, which often have a more solid body (metal casing), better quality lenses and larger sensors which result in higher quality images.
I shoot with a Canon 50D which is an intermediate DSLR. It is no longer in production but it does everything I need it to. I have many lenses for it and love the quality of images I get from it. My only gripe at this point is the newer Canon 70D has wifi and I’d LOVE that feature. (If you want to see it, take a look here: Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm STM Lens.) A friend of mine has it and he can send his images immediately to his phone and share them on Facebook. I’m all old school…I have to wait until I get home and connect mine using a cable (gasp!) to a computer. Crazy, right? No one should have to live this way. 😉
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when purchasing a camera. You have to decide:
- what will you be taking pictures of
- how serious do you plan to get with your photography
- what’s your price range
Once you have that determined, you should be able to decide which body type to look at and can then compare brands and models. I often visit Amazon to compare models and packages as well as read reviews. The reviews can tell you so much about a product!
If you’re looking for a camera and have questions, let me know in the comments below. I’ll try to answer anything I can for you.
Until next time!
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