Choosing a Camera - Page 2
SLR or Compact?
All the cameras on the market can be categorized into a few simple groups. The most important two groups are fixed lens and interchangeable lens. The fixed lens cameras tend, with a few exceptions, to be smaller, lighter and more pocketable, therefore you are more likely to have it with you when you need it. Well that's the theory anyway but I think we can say that you are more likely to be bothered to take it with you on that outing to the beach or the zoo.
However even with today's zoom lenses, which are pretty wonderful, you will often find that you are too far away or too close to get the picture you want so you need to be able to change the lens for a longer telephoto or a wider angle. The other major advantage of these single lens reflex (SLR) cameras is that you are actually looking through the lens instead of a separate viewfinder so what you see is what you get, although this is less of an issue now that we can review our photos on the screen of the digital camera. The down side of these SLR cameras is that you very soon end up with quite a heavy bag of gadgets and are less likely to carry it everywhere with you. However much I yearn for a compact camera for it's handiness I know I would be frustrated by it's shortcomings so for me the choice is SLR every time.
Digital or Film?
Do they still make film cameras? Oh yes they do and I wouldn't mind betting that they continue to do so for many years and I wouldn't mind betting that at some time in the future there will be a retro backlash and a large number of 'serious' photographers will return to the darkroom. Some will probably claim that they have never used digital at all, ever.
You might think from the remarks above that I am a diehard supporter of film. Nothing could be further from the truth actually, I am now fully converted to digital and loving it. I am going to make the pros and cons a separate discussion that will be posted soon but, for now, I'll just say that I am completely sold on digital and do not feel that I have lost anything significant by changing.
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Other tutorials in this section
A short introduction to the types of cameras available and a discussion on what you need to look out for when buying a camera.
What you need to know when choosing a new lens.
Confused comparing 35mm lens focal lengths to the new DSLRs? This will make it all clear.
What you need to know before you go shopping.
More of a 'why you need a tripod' than a buyers guide, but it does include some tips on buying and using a tripod.