How To Select Digital Camera From Different Types Of Camera – Tips to Select Cameras
A camera is an instrument used for capturing images into a form, which can be accessed later. There are many types of cameras. Compact cameras, compact digital cameras, Single lens reflex or SLR cameras, and Digital single lens reflex or DSLR cameras are the most common types. There are also less popular types such as twin lens reflex (TLR). The most popular type among professional and hobby photographers is the SLR. Since it delivers an astonishing photo quality, reliability, control over the shot, and product support, SLR camera has taken up almost 100% of the professional photography field. There are two types of SLR cameras, one is the early model, which uses a 35mm film, and the other uses a digital sensor. Digital SLR cameras are more expensive than the film SLR cameras. But they are very useful since you can actually see the image before it is processed and there is no cost for film. There are several other advantages of DSLR cameras too. You don’t have to carry bulky film roll sets. Any mistake in a shot can be easily corrected by taking another shot. Corrections using computer software is very easy. Photo quality is much higher, and larger enlargements can be acquired. DSLR cameras have much more accurate and easy methods, such as autofocus. Therefore, almost zero film cameras are produced now, and the market is totally occupied by the digital cameras. Main focus of this article is to guide a user to select a good DSLR camera. The first thing a user should look for is a reputed brand. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Fujifilm, Vivitar, Panasonic and Kodak are some of the reputed brands. A user must also look at the quality, mega pixel value, lens properties, sensor type, FPS rate, Image stabilization and various other features when buying a camera.
What is a Resolution of a camera?
Resolution of the camera is one of the main facts a user must look into when buying a camera. This is also known as the megapixel value. A pixel is a single photo sensitive element. A sensor of a camera consists of millions of these sensors built in arrays. The megapixel value of the camera gives the number of sensor elements, in millions, in a camera. For an example, 12.1MP camera has 12.1 million pixels built into the sensor. A high resolution sensor means a high quality photograph. Normal compact digital cameras and entry level DSLR cameras have megapixel values ranging from 7 MP to about 16 MP. Professional cameras may have resolutions up to 28 or 30 megapixels. Another very important factor most of the consumers miss is the sensor size.
The area of the sensor is just as important as the resolution of the sensor. A sensor with a large area can produce very sharp images that would look astonishing in enlarges. Same megapixel value compacted to a smaller sensor area would give low quality images than the high area one. Both the megapixel value and the sensor size must be considered when buying a camera.
What is ISO Performance?
ISO value range is also an important feature. The ISO value of the sensor means how much sensitive the sensor is to a given quantum of light. This feature is very important in night shots and sports and action photography. A sports photographer has to use very high shutter speeds to take still images of fast moving subjects, thus reducing the amount of light incident on the sensor. Therefore, the sensor must be kept to a high value in order to capture the right amount of brightness. But increasing the ISO value has a drawback. In digital sensors, ISO value is increased by amplifying the incident signal. This amplification process also causes the noise in the signal to be amplified. This noise produces a significant amount of grain in the image. This grain is seen in normal images and has a drastic effect on enlarged photographs. This can be reduced using computer software, but it causes loss of sharpness. The best option is to go for the lowest ISO value possible when taking a photo. But having a high ISO value is always useful.
What is Frames per second rate?
Frames per second rate, or more commonly known as FPS rate, is also an important aspect when it comes to sports, wildlife and action photography. FPS rate means the mean number of photos the camera can shoot per second on a certain setting. When it comes to fields like weddings, sports, and wildlife, capturing the right moment is very important. If the right moment is not captured it is passed, and would probably never happen again. Therefore, it’s important to press continuously the shutter, and get as many images as you can of a good moment, if you are not a perfect timer in photography. It also must be noted that high resolution images take longer to store, thereby, increasing the time between two shoots. The RAM of the camera also plays a vital part in FPS rate. The picture format is also important. So the best option is to go for a camera with a good frames per second rate.
What is Shutter lag and Recovery time?
A DSLR would not take the picture as soon as the shutter release is pressed. In most of the conditions, the auto focusing and auto white balancing would take place after the button is pressed. Therefore, there is a time gap between the press and the actual photo taken. This is known as the shutter lag of the camera. If there is high shutter lag, we might not be able to capture exactly what we want. This is not very important in fields like landscape, portrait or macro photography, but it is very important in action, sports, wedding, and wildlife photography. Recovery time is the time taken to shoot a second photo after the first one is shot. This is very important, if you are not a good timer. So the best option is to go for a camera with less shutter lag, and good recovery time.
What is Number of autofocus points?
Autofocus points or AF points are the points, which are built into the memory of the camera. If the priority is given to an AF point, camera will use its autofocus ability to focus the lens to the object in the given AF point. Most compact cameras only have 1 AF point at the center. But DSLR cameras have large numbers of AF points, up to 45 or even more. AF points are important in framing a shot. If you want the object, which is in focus, to the side of the photograph, you can use the relevant AF point to focus on the side instead of the center. But too many AF points also tend to clutter the display and make it harder to select the right point. Best option would be to select a model with a moderate number of AF points.
What is High definition movie recording?
High definition movies or HD movies correspond to movies having resolution higher than standard definition movies. HD movie modes are 720p and 1080p. 720p has dimensions of 1280×720 pixels, while the 1080p has dimensions of 1920×1080 pixels. A 1080p video is more sharp and clear than a 720p video. But it takes a lot of processing power to create a 1080p video than a 720p video. Some DSLR cameras have 720p video; some have 1080p video, and some only have motion jpeg, which is not a HD video mode. If you are a professional photographer, you would not need video recording at all. If you are a regular user, you might want to check if the HD videos are available in the camera. Even 720p family videos will look amazing.
What is Live view and Flexibility of the display? Most of the modern DSLR cameras come with live view. Live view is the ability to use the LCD as a viewfinder. This can be convenient because the LCD gives a clear preview of the picture in good colors. So it is good to go for a camera with live view, if not the viewfinder must be used all the time in order to compose the image. Most of the modern DSLR cameras have a vary angle LCD, which can be very handy when taking extreme angle photographs. The rotatable display can be very helpful in composing difficult news and artistic shots.
Weight and Dimensions
A product weighing too much would mean heavy luggage. That’s one thing we try to omit in our regular trips. But most of the high performance cameras weigh more than what we might anticipate. So the best option would be to go for a camera that has what you need, and the weight is tolerable. When it comes to the dimensions of the camera, both too small and too big are bad. A camera body too small means the buttons are all cluttered, and the camera is too hard to hold. A camera too big would cause more problems with limited availability of space, when going on a family trip. It might be wise to select a camera that has a medium sized body.
Storage medium and capacity
In DSLR cameras, the inbuilt memory is almost negligible. An external storage device is required to hold images. Some cameras support only specific brands and models of memory cards. But most of the cameras are made for universal SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. It is always good to go for a SDHC or SDXC card since they can have high memory capacities and faster read / write speeds. The maximum storage the camera can handle is also important, since it decides what the maximum number of photos you can store in a single card. A good photography practice is to go with a blank card on a new shooting. And it is more probable that you would run out of power before storage. If the storage of one card is not enough, it is advisable to have a backup storage card. A very high capacity storage card would also cause a recovery time loss, and will slow down the camera.
Battery life and Flash
The battery life of a camera is very important. It tells us the approximate number of photos that can be taken in a single charge. This is really important in outdoor photography where power is not readily available. If the camera can use over the shelf batteries such as AA batteries, it would be convenient to have an extra set of batteries. A spare battery for any camera can also be purchased but it is much expensive than the AA batteries. It is also good to check whether there is an internal pop up flash and a shoe for an adaptor for an external flash.
Selection of optimum camera
It all depends on what you want from your camera. An amateur would be good with a camera that is moderately priced but key features such as resolution, ISO, FPS, shutter lag having good values. But this would mean a cut back on weight and looks. A professional would be good with a camera that has all the key features coupled with a medium body size and a good battery life. One of the main things you have to check is, whether there is a good after service and what are the parts available for that model. Most of the lenses within a brand are interchangeable and can be used with any model. But some lenses are made for specific camera bodies and cannot be used with others. Another point that must be checked is whether the body contains a sensor cleaning mechanism; otherwise, dust particles would settle on the sensor and images will be useless.