There are so many cameras on the market these days that it is almost overwhelming to have to make a decision as to the correct one to buy. This difficult task is made even more daunting when the camera is for a gift, thus putting even more pressure on the customer to find the perfect match for the recipient. Below are some of the major categories and options available for cameras that will hopefully take some of the guesswork out of the camera purchase, and make the task a bit more pleasant.
Digital Camera vs. Film Camera
This debate will go on forever, but the choice is really quite simple if the recipient is not a professional photographer. If this camera is a gift that is going to be used to capture memories of special occasions and other important events, digital is the only way to go. It is more convenient, there are no film costs, and the amateur photographer gets the gratifying experience of being able to see the pictures immediately instead of having to pay and then wait for them to be developed. If the recipient of the digital camera becomes a full blown shutterbug, and wants nothing more than to make a career of taking photographs, that would be the time for them to get a film camera. Unless that happens, digital is always the way to go, as the advanced technology in cameras makes them practically error-proof, ensuring that the person taking the pictures will be able to depend on the digital camera recording the special event for posterity.
Choosing the Right Digital Features
Just when the task of purchasing a camera seemed so simple, the realization then becomes startlingly clear that digital cameras offer many features, thus ranging in price from very reasonable to the price of a slightly used vehicle. Now what? Decide which features are the most important to the recipient and use the information regarding available features in the following categories to help guide the purchase in the right direction.
Resolution or Mega pixels
In all digital cameras, the resolution, or clarity of the picture depends on the mega pixels. However, higher mega pixels does not mean better quality pictures, it simply determines how large the picture can be made or printed without losing clarity and becoming excessively grainy. The higher the mega pixels, the larger the picture can be made while still being as clear as it appears on the little camera screen. Mega pixels do not determine the quality of the image; rather they determine the quality of the print size. The more mega pixels, the bigger the enlargement can be without losing clarity. For example, a three-mega pixel camera will print images up to 8 X 10 without sacrificing any of the clarity. This is probably the largest image most people print anyway, but a few more mega pixels are never a bad idea, so it couldn’t hurt. However, if the person who is receiving this lovely gift is probably only going to use the camera to post pictures online, then a camera with less mega pixels will work perfectly for such use.
Cameras come in all different sizes, and all price points offer these different sizes. A smaller camera that is easily carried in a pocket or purse is probably the best idea for this type of gift. Large, bulky cameras that need bags in which they are toted around tend not to be used nearly as much as cameras that are easily concealed on one’s person. However, if the camera is being purchased for Dad, he might enjoy a larger camera that he can tote around, with more features so he can capture kids’ sports and family vacations, as well as other larger or more active objects.
If this is the recipient’s first camera, and he or she is going to use it for snapping quick shots of friends and family, then a camera with a permanent lens is the way to go. The 35mm cameras with interchangeable lenses tend to be more bulky and difficult to manage. Not to mention, cameras with interchangeable lenses are much more costly. The only exception to this suggestion is if the person for whom the camera is for has a keen interest in photography, then the interchangeable lens camera is the only way to go.
Easy to Use
If the recipient is a point and shoot type of person, then the more automatic features on the camera, the better. They are more likely to enjoy cameras that snap perfectly focused pictures nearly every time, then missing photo opportunities while trying to get the camera in focus and deciding if the flash is needed or not. However, if the person enjoys new technology and likes to try out every setting on anything he or she receives, then choose a camera that gives the photographer a little bit of leeway to make some manual adjustments now and again.
Digital cameras come with a plethora of options to choose from. There are some options that are advisable to get when purchasing a camera that will be useful, and enable the photographer to take clear pictures with ease.
Features to include:
- Lens: optical zoom and glass lens
- Uses both rechargeable and regular batteries
- Memory card, removable as well as camera memory for image storage
- ISO range to 400; more if pictures likely taken in dim light (Note: ISO determines camera’s light sensitivity)
- Built in auto flash with red eye reduction
- LCD screen on camera to view pictures
Features to consider:
- Ability to set camera to manual mode
- Ability to take short videos
- Super close-up mode
- Timer so photographer can get in picture
Ability to hit shutter close once, and camera takes series of several pictures in seconds(Note: This is useful for someone who photographs sports activities.)
Now all the information needed to make an informed camera purchase is laid out, and all that needs to be done is to actually do the physical purchasing.
Research camera prices and take particular care to find websites that will compare different digital cameras and their prices. Another smart thing to do is ask someone who has a digital camera what they like and don’t like about it. Also find out what features they never use, as well as what features they could never live without. This will be the best way to make a final decision on which camera to buy and what features to opt for. Lastly, stick with brand names you trust, and look at what comes in the total package and at what price. Also, make sure the recipient will be able to exchange the camera if it happens to be missing a feature that they have decided they cannot live without. Go to a store where you can see the cameras in person and lift them up, as this will help to decide which is more comfortable to hold and carry. It will also help to see the physical sizes of the different cameras, and the look of the camera as well.
Young people who just want to snap photos, but have no real interest in photography are more apt to like a camera that is sleek and looks cool, as opposed to a top of the line camera that may look big and bulky, no matter how good the photographs are. Take all of the above information into account and make the best choice possible, with the information that is available.
Hope this helps in some way,