Posted on October 18th, 2009
The most important factor in photography is choosing a camera. Cameras usually fall into three categories: hobbyists, amateurs, and professionals. You might be taking pictures of your latest vacation or family during the holidays or maybe you are taking shots to build a portfolio. You will also want to consider quality and portability as cameras can range from large professional cameras to small portable cameras. Cameras can be broken down into groups which include ultra-compact, compact, hobbyist, and digital SLR. Most cameras will fall into the middle two categories.
If you are looking for a camera only by the megapixel rating means you will miss out on the other features of the camera like accessories, portability, and a good quality flash, but is still one the most important considerations. Cameras that are less than 3 megapixels are good for basic snapshots. These cameras are good for your standard size pictures but the images won’t be as clear if you want anything bigger. Cameras that are between 3 and 5 megapixels are good for everyday use and vacation cameras. Cameras in the 5 to 10 megapixel range are usually more serious cameras for hobbyists. These images will take up more hard drive space but are perfect for printing out in larger sizes. Anything over 10 megapixels is overkill for casual use. If you are using a 10 megapixels camera then you are probably a professional and expect to be paid for your work.
Zoom is another important consideration. There are two kinds of zoom, optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom relies on the lens itself magnifying the light coming in so that what is distant appears larger and closer in the image. Digital zoom takes the resulting image and magnifies it after. Optical zoom usually produces better results.
Another factor to look at when choosing a camera is storage media. Some camera manufacturers have proprietary storage systems that are icompatible with cameras of other makes. Commom formats are Compact Flash, Secure Digital cards, and Sony Memory stick. The storage sizes can range from smaller 8mb cards/sticks to larger 32GB cards/sticks. Prices are quite reasonable these days so the selection of larger sizes is quite affordable.