Buying A Camera — Advice From A Friend

The biggest problem is most people take their camera out of the box and never touch or change anything!

My friend Chris Gampat, a professional photographer, has lifted a great burden off my shoulders. He’s answering a question I’m asked all the time: What camera should I buy? Instead of giving specific models Chris has run through the checklist you should run through: “How to Choose a Point and Shoot.”

The problem with giving actual model numbers is the game is constantly changing. Something new is coming out all the time while older models are retired. It’s impossible for me or Chris to keep up with lines of cameras we won’t ever use.

The biggest problem is most people take their camera out of the box and never touch or change anything! The camera makes decisions while in “AUTO” based on generalizations and assumptions–but they’re not always right.

“AUTO” often produces blurry photos in situations where the same camera could have produced something sharper!

4 thoughts on “Buying A Camera — Advice From A Friend”

  1. I have a Canon Powershot A480 and I’ve taken pretty good pictures with it using the “AUTO” settings. I’m still exploring it, but it has been a good little camera so far.

  2. Depends on the camera… and ‘You get what you pay for’ applies.

    I’ve had several lower-mid end Canon Powershot’s. I would actually advise LEAVING the settings all on AUTO or default to start, as I’ve had unintended consequences with exposure speed after dabbling in changes.

    Read the manual (RTFM). Making use of the most basic functions is the most an average person needs.

    Crank up the resolution. Often the default setting is somewhere in the middle. With an ample memory card, you can take and store loads of the highest resolution pictures that your camera can render.

    Avoid using digital zoom or buying a camera that only has digital zoom.

    ‘MACRO’ mode is often wonderful for close-ups, and absolutely get a $10 tripod. I’ve taken beautiful pictures of diamonds this way, for example.

    Perspective. Without needing to take a photography class, I can safely say that playing with perspective can yield the most varied and interesting pictures. Try to take some that are not from human eye height and angle. The world often looks very different from a short dog’s point of view!

  3. @ Lou: you may want to check my other posting out then, depending on how savvy you are:

    That was written to help people take their camera off auto.

    @Sean: All great stuff. Auto doesn’t usually work when you’re trying to take a photo of your baby brother running around like a cowboy though. Kids mode or sports is usually best.

    @Geoff: Thanks for the link my friend. You’re a god amongst men.

  4. Geoff,

    I purchased a Fuji Finepix 10.0 megapixels a few months ago. It was what I could afford, and far better than the Kodak Easy Share I had been using. I do have a wonderful Cannon Rebel, but film is SO expensive to buy and process, I prefer the digital!

    Some day…I will get the camera of my dreams…but for now I am taking some amazing shots with the Fuji!!

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