This tip is directed to those of you that are looking to buy a new digital camera soon. More people ask me what type of camera they should buy more than any other question so I thought it would be a good thing to cover in my blog.
First thing you need to do is decide what is more important to you, portability, quality, or a little bit of both. Point and shoot cameras are easy to pack up and carry around anywhere you are going while SLR cameras are a little more work to carry around but can make a huge difference in image quality when used in the right hands.
If you are going to be taking most of your pictures outdoors in bright conditions then a point and shoot should be able to fit most of your needs. If you are going to be indoors a lot in low light there are about a million reasons to go with a SLR. Well maybe not that many reasons but you get the point. Chances are that you probably already know if you want a SLR or a point and shoot so I wont waste any more time talking about that.
Point and Shoots:
The biggest misconception about any digital camera is that the more mega pixels you have, the better the image image quality will be. I'm most cases it is actually just the opposite, but explaining that could be an entire post of its own. In fact, if you only plan on printing 4x6 images from your photos, 2 mega pixels is more than enough to make a great print!
One of the main things you should look at is who the lens is made by. Canon, Nikon, and Carl Zeiss all make great quality optics and that is a key factor in image quality.
Personally I would recommend the Canon Powershot series or the G9 if you have a larger budget. All of those have manual modes that can be great for someone trying to learn more about photography but doesn't want to lug around a large SLR camera.
A lot of new cameras are also coming with image stabilization which can be great for those of you that get your pictures back only to find that they are all blurry.
SLR (Single Lens Reflex)
For SLR cameras all of the same tips from above can be applied. If you are looking to get into the world of SLR cameras then be prepared to spend more than you expected to. Most people will start with the camera and a kit lens and then they will realize that most kit lenses are worthless, only to discover that a good lens costs more than you paid for the camera body! Although a good quality camera body is important, it isn't nearly as important as the lens you put on it so make sure you plan that into your budget when shopping for a SLR camera. You will want to choose a system that has a wide variety of lenses available for it such as Nikon or Canon. If you are used to the zoom range of a point and shoot you will find that just because a lens is big doesn't mean it has a large zoom range. You will need to get at least 2-3 good quality lenses to cover the range that a normal point and shoot covers.
A great site to look at to see reviews on lenses and different quality ratings is http://www.slrgear.com . In addition to that link, a great site to look for ratings and comparisons between camera bodies is http://www.dpreview.com . If you are on a budget you should take a look at some of the Tamron lenses available for Canon. They are known to produce some great quality lenses at a great price.
The last bit of advice I can give is to look for deals on used equipment. Photographers like me are always upgrading their equipment so you can find some really great savings on places like craigslist and Ebay.
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