January 12, 2011

#2 - Buy a decent camera.

It’s best we get this out of the way early. Yes your phone will take a passable snapshot (see the slightly blurry image above), but it leaves you at the mercy of the camera. To take great shots every time, you need more control.

You’re going to need a decent, mid-end camera – nothing crazy like a monster DSLR. Just a good, dependable point-and-shoot like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 (cheaper) or the Canon Powershot S95 (spendy). These cameras have settings like M (Manual) or P (Program) that give you more control over making a good photograph. We’ll cover these terms and settings in upcoming posts, but believe me – they’re easy to understand and easy to use.

In the meantime, if you’re on the market for camera, these are the four most important features you want:

Better Low Light Performance
You’re going to take a lot of photos in awful-to-impossible lighting situations. Having a camera that can focus and shoot decent quality pictures in low light will be a lifesaver.

Faster Shutter
Nothing worse than your little one making a cute face and having to miss it because you press the button and … wait. And wait. And wa—click. Find a camera that can turn on and take a photo as fast as it can.

If it’s too big and bulky, you’re probably going to leave it at home. Find something that’s easy to stash.

Good Image Quality
Do a bit of homework (and don’t ever buy a camera on impulse). Review sites like dpreview.com and cnet.com can give you a sense of what cameras take natural photos without a lot of digital noise.

Know what you don’t see here? Megapixels. That’s not a good benchmark for a camera these days. Any point-and-shoot has enough megapixels to satisfy your giant printing needs.

What To Do 
  • Look for a camera with settings for “M,” “Tv,” “Av” and “P” settings (bonus: it shoots the “RAW” file format)
  • Get a camera with good low light performance, a fast shutter, small size and good image quality
  • Worry less about megapixels, zooms and frivolous features like colour settings

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