Buying a Point and Shoot Camera

buying a point and shoot camera

When you want to memorialize everything that happens in your life the first place you turn is to your camera. If you are going to buy a new camera so that you can keep track of all those things you want to get the best camera that you can. To help you figure out which is the best camera for you there are some things that you want to think about.

The Glass. That’s the lens. You want to make sure that you are buying a camera that has the best lens possible. A bad lens means bad pictures. Think Nikon and Canon.

Modes. Are you going to be shooting friends and family, or are you going to be shootings a lot of outdoor pictures or action shots? All cameras have several different modes that can let you shoot different things. Check out the modes on the cameras to make sure that they suit your purpose.

The User. Are you buying yourself a new camera, or one for your teenager or younger child. If it’s for a child get one that is made especially for children. They aren’t the best quality, but they are extremely durable. Your teenager doesn’t need the best camera on the market, no matter how much they want it.

The Budget. Generally the higher the cost, the better the camera. Even on a limited budget you can find a good camera. Buy the best quality camera you can. This isn’t the time to cheap out. However, keep an eye on sales to see if a better camera comes into your budget range.

Frames Per Second. FPS is the wait time in between taking pictures. Look for something that is 1.5 fps or faster. You might also look for continuous drive. That’s when you take multiple pictures by holding down the button. The camera doesn’t save the pictures until you finish shooting.

Batteries. Do not buy a digital camera that runs on AA batteries. You will burn through them. You want a Li-on rechargeable battery. It’s lighter and lasts longer.

Zoom. Everyone wants to get close to the action. Most people don’t realize is that there are two kinds of zoom. Optical zoom moves the lens to bring your subject in closer. Digital zoom just enlarges the picture and cuts out the already existing information. It isn’t a true zoom.

LCD Screen. This is the viewfinder in the back of the camera. They are generally 1.5-2 inches. That may not sound like a big difference, but it is. If you get a flip out screen you can get a different perspective than without one.

Resolution. It is getting easier to get good resolution. Even the least expensive cameras are general 5 megapixels. Five mp will give you a good picture all the way to 8×10. The more mp, the better.

Your Instincts. Go to the store, pick it up, kick the tires, see how it feels. You might find that once you pick it up and try it out that you change your mind as to which one you want.

These tips can help you pick out a great point and shoot camera. Then you will be ready to go out and take all the pictures you want.

Photography Questions Answered

If you’re a bit new to digital photography, this overview should answer your most common photography questions.

Megapixels

What are Megapixels?

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In digital photography, a pixel is one minute point of a photographic image. One megapixel is equal to one million pixels. The larger the number of megapixels in an image, the more detailed the image and the sharper the printed image.

How Many Megapixels Do I Need?

How many megapixels you need depends on what you’re going to do with a photograph. If you do mostly digital photography and do not make a lot of prints, you can get by with a 1-7 megapixel resolution. If you’re looking to print a large majority of your images, you’ll want a higher megapixel resolution.  Photographers who print poster-sized prints will need a megapixel resolution of 100 megapixels or above.

Does More Megapixels Give More Digital Zoom Range?

A higher megapixel resolution means sharper image quality in a digital zoom so yes, the higher your megapixel resolution, the sharper your digital zoom range. Also, the higher your megapixel resolution, the more you can “blow up” and crop the image in photo editing software.

Camera Zoom

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What is Digital Zoom?

A digital zoom works much like enlarging an image on a computer screen. Instead of using the lens to bring the image closer, the digital zoom takes the image in the lens and enlarges it.

What is Optical Zoom?

Optical zoom is called ‘true zoom’ because it uses the lens within the camera to draw the image closer. With optical zoom, quality remains the same and the full resolution of the camera can be used on the zoomed image. Different levels of optical zoom are achieved by changing the distances between the lenses.

How Much Optical Zoom Do I Need in My Digital Camera?

This depends on what you shoot. Simple snapshots shouldn’t need more than a 2x or 3x zoom. Photographers who shoot scenery and landscapes should opt for a 5x zoom to capture images of far-away scenery without sacrificing quality. Photographers who shoot wildlife and sports need a 7x zoom to get the photos they want.

What is the Difference Between Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom?

The major difference between optical zoom and digital zoom is that in optical zoom, the lenses of the camera are moving the image closer to your eye and in digital zoom, the image is static but enlarged.

ISO

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What Does ISO Stand for in Photography?

International Standards Organization.

What is ISO?

It’s a standardized industry scale for measuring sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to light. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive to light. How you use it will depend on what you want to shoot. You can use your digital camera’s aperture priority mode to set your ISO higher to capture low-light situations such as shooting a full moon. (High apertures need the use of a tripod to prevent camera shake from blurring the photo.)

High Definition

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What is High Definition Video?

High definition video refers to any video system that has a higher picture resolution than standard definition video. Display resolutions for HD video are commonly 1,280×720 pixels (720p) or 1,920×1,080 pixels (1080i/1080p).

Will a High Definition Movie Video Show in HD on HD TV?

The high definition movie you shoot with an HD underwater camera will show up on an HD TV if you plug the camera directly into the TV and playback from there. You can also burn the HD movie shot with the digital camera to a DVD using your computer’s DVD burning software and it will play on your HD DVD player.

How Much Hard Drive Space for One Hour High Definition Video?

On average, one hour of high definition video will take up approximately 4-5 gigs of hard drive space on your computer.

Better Pictures

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Taking better pictures is a matter of a few basic steps:

  • Get Out of the Center – Many beginners put their focal objects in the center. Instead, pan to the left or right of your subject before shooting for a more dynamic, eye-pleasing photo.
  • Use Macro Settings – If you have a macro setting on your digital camera, you can get in real close to flowers, buildings and other objects to take impressive shots.
  • Get Down – When shooting kids and pets, get down on their level instead of shooting from above. This makes the photo more personal and natural.
  • Stay in Focus – To focus your shot before taking it, frame up your subject then press the shutter halfway to adjust the focus then press it down all the way to snap the photo.
  • The 10-Foot Rule – Most flashes will only work on subjects up to 10 feet away. If you need to use your flash, move closer.
  • Keep Backgrounds Simple – In portrait shots, minimize background “noise” by having your subjects stand in front of solid backgrounds.
  • Watch the Sun – Some photos can be taken any time of day but in the case of portrait and macro shots, its best to shoot in the morning or evening to avoid harsh sun glare.
  • Get Close – To avoid the need to crop during editing, move closer to your subject. Just like getting down, getting close adds intimacy and power to an image.
  • Orient Yourself – Try taking a shot from several different angles to see which works best. Also, experiment with horizontal and vertical shots.
  • Frame Up – Make use of naturally occurring “frames” such as a doorway, window or a canopy of trees to add depth and drama to your shots.
  • Go Abstract – Move away from the idea that photography is all about people, pets and scenery. Zoom in on the warped side of a barn, a pile of pebbles on the beach or the foam on the ocean’s tide.

Taking a professional-quality photo isn’t as complicated as it seems. It just takes some know-how, patience and a little creativity to turn average snapshots into frameable works of art.  These are some of the most asked photography questions that we get on our blog.