15 Tips for Camera Buying Success

cameras

To people of all ages and backgrounds, there are very few items more valuable than a camera.  Whether it is used for vacations, family get-togethers, nights out on the town, or even “selfies,” camera’s have been a must have item in nearly every household for years.

In addition to the continual development of cell phones with built in cameras, stand-alone cameras continue to evolve, adding features and terms that all seem like a foreign language.  How are you supposed to understand which camera is the best for YOU?

Within cameras, there are five major criteria you should focus on:

  • Price
  • Photo quality
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Design

Determining the most important criteria for your usage is the most important factor in buying a new camera.  Very few cameras will excel in all five of the above criteria.

First we will focus on Price.  While the styles of cameras are vast, there are 5 main price groups for typical consumers:

  • Point & Shoot – $50-$300
    • Basic camera for consumers who want more than a camera phone.  Features basic zoom, portability, and great for snapshots and vacations
  • Compact Megazoom – $200-$350
    • Step-up from Point & Shoot that allows increased zoom with slim design.
  • MegaZoom – $350-$500
    • Middle price point camera that is a great transition between casual cameras and professional cameras
  • Entry-Level DSLR – $500-$1,000
    • Best for consumers who desire interchangeable lenses and greater speed and quality than all-in-one cameras.
  • Prosumer DSLR – $1,000+
    • Great for consumers who have a passion for photography or professionals who have a tight budget or want an extra camera body.

Now that you know your desired camera type, what do all those extra terms mean? In a similar fashion, here are the five most important factors for typical consumers incorporating photo quality, performance, features, and design:

  • Resolution – This is what the number of megapixels means.  Generally the more MP, the clearer the photographs, but it often comes with a price.  Be weary of low priced cameras with high MP ratings.  It is likely the extra MPs come with slower processing speeds.  Most modern cameras have more than enough megapixels than needed.
  • Image Stabilization – Sick of uploading your photographs only to find them ruined by blurriness?  Look for cameras with Image Stabilization features such as an in-camera sensor shift or an in-lens optical to help prevent displaying camera shake.
  • Battery Life & Type – Make sure you verify the battery life of your camera.  Nothing is worse than running out of battery mid-trip or mid-photo shoot.  While some entry-level cameras still operate on AA batteries, lugging around extra batteries is rarely preferred.  Check how many shots a camera’s battery is rated for to get the most out of your battery life.
  • Video – For those looking at capturing basic video, 1080/30p should be sufficient. Higher frame rates such as 60fps and above allow for slow motion shots.
  • Lens – The Lens quality comes down to two main terms, aperture and focal length.  Aperture refers to the size of the opening that lets in light, often rated as the f-number. The lower the f-number the larger the aperture, leading to sharper and deeper photographs. Focal Length (mm) is the magnification of the image and the amount of the scene covered.  Larger focal lengths are for shots with more of the frame covered while smaller focal lengths are best for wide angled shots.

 

At the end of the day, the best camera for YOU depends on your needs, desires, and planned use.  Hopefully our 15 tips can prepare you for your next big purchase.

What type of camera do you prefer?  Any tips you use in purchasing cameras or using your camera of choice? Let us know!

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