by: Joe Leech
It wasnít long ago that digital cameras were
essentially for the rich and the geeks; if you spent just a few
bucks you didnít get anything worth having, and if you really
wanted something good.. well, youíd better be in the book about
the Rich and Famous.
Technology and costs have changed drastically
in the last few years, and it seems as if today that digital
cameras nearly outnumber all the classic film cameras, and to
all but the classic photography buffs, digital is the way to go.
Even traditional photography studios use
digital, often in combination, with film.
Why? Whatís the attraction? Instant
availability and the ability to discard unwanted photos without
cost penalty is one main attraction. The second is the ability
to share, publish, store your pictures.
The purist will still argue that for
professional grade photography and the widest range of effects
that film is the only way to go. If he were shooting today, it
is doubtful that Ansel Adams would be using digital.
For the rest of us, digital seems to be the
way to go.
Now assuming you have not yet made the plunge,
the biggest question is "Where Do I start?" or "What do I buy?"
or "How Do I Compare?"
Articles have been written on just these
subjects and if we were to expand on all, this article would be
a text book instead of just a primer. You can do a search on any
of the popular article sites to find many articles just on that
subject, (one site for example is ArticleCity.com, but not to
promote one over the other.. chances are you may be seeing this
on an article based site). You can also use search engines.
But sometimes itís nice to have interactive
expert advice. We suggest you read and research for background,
but then for selection, visit you closest specialty photography
or camera store. One where thatís all they sell.. not a general
all purpose discount or department store that probably has that
department "manned" with part time help.. but go to the
specialty store. The person will know what to ask you and how to
Your biggest question will end up being an
ethical one: After you have been taught and guided, do you buy
from that store, or take your knowledge and model to the
internet or a discount store and make your buy. If you do, keep
in mind that the full service store may offer just that..
service after the sale; maybe an upgrade trade in policy, and
other intangibles that must be assigned value.
Before you venture out, choosing the right
camera begins with asking yourself "What do I want this for?"
"What kinds of pictures do I expect to be taking?" "How many at
a time?" (Addresses memory and storage issues). "What kind of
light will most of my pictures be in?" "Will I be carrying this
camera for long periods of time?"(Think of weight). And lastly,
and this is important.. What kind of batteries does this camera
use; how available are they, and what do they cost? Most digital
cameras are real battery hogs, so it is important that batteries
are readily available.. and possibly rechargable.. but if you
are on a 3 week safari in Africa and you donít have chargers
handy.. what are your options? How many pictures? Memory cards
available easily? Or do you have to dump and download often? On
a long vacation you donít want to shoot all day and fill up..
and then not have a computer handy to dump into?
Compared to film where itís just "pop a new
roll" digital cameras purchased that donít match the
photographers needs can be a detriment, not an asset.
Once you choose, then you need to know how to
compare pricing and benefits.. but thatís the subject for
Choose wisely and youíll love your new camera!