Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Choosing A Camera

If one is a casual photographer or a professional photographer choosing a camera is easy. A casual photographer just needs a basic functional camera. A professional photographer simply buys a camera that is capable of fully supporting the needs of current clients. For everyone else buying a camera it is a bit more complicated. I think it is best to buy a camera that is comfortably affordable. The extra features included on higher priced cameras are great fun for anyone regardless of their level of experience.

So begin by deciding what is a comfortable price. Then go to the website Digital Photography Review.


This is a very large site. Within in the site go to


The cameras are arranged by year. The quality of digital cameras changes very quickly. If possible - choices should be limited to only cameras designed during the current year to minimize the possibility of getting a camera that quickly becomes obsolete.

The least expensive cameras are point and shoot cameras. They are good for a camera that is to be taken anywhere but they offer the lowest image quality available and are not very good for photographs where motion is an important part of the composition. They are also not very good for photographs where some of the photograph is in focus and some is out of focus. These cameras also offer very limited perspective control because the lenses are not interchangeable.

The most expensive cameras are mirrorless cameras. They are very lightweight although much bulkier than point and shoot cameras. They are cameras where how motion is rendered is fully controllable, focus is fully controllable as well as perspective by changing lenses. Low quality mirrorless cameras always cost more than equivalent point and shoot cameras because of these 3 features.

The middle range is SLR (single range reflex) cameras. In a way it is inaccurate to call them the middle range because some SLRs cost less than mirrorless cameras and some cost more than a mirrorless cameras. All SLRs cost more than all point and shoot cameras. As with mirrorless cameras these cameras have fully controllable options for motion, focus and perspective. They are much heavier and bulkier than either point and shoot or mirrorless cameras. What makes these cameras most unique is the size of the sensor. The size of the sensor determines the clarity of textures, the brightness of color, and the clarity of spacial detail. SLR sensors are bigger than those in other cameras. SLR sensors come in two sizes. Cameras with the large sensors are widely used by serious photographers. Unfortunately cameras with large sensors start at $3000 without a lens. No camera is functional without a lens. Adding in a lens adds at least another $500.

In conclusion, learning about general composition only requires a working camera. If motion being fully controllable, focus being fully controllable and perspective are important factors, a point and shoot camera is a poor choice regardless of one's level of experience. If size and weight are significant factors, buy a mirrorless camera. If motion being fully controllable, focus being fully controllable and perspective are important factors but price is more important than weight choose an SLR.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved