At last, I am happy to report that my free guide on “Choosing the Best Digital Camera for You“ is complete.
I’ve been asked to create this mini eBook for some time now as I am constantly getting asked which digital camera I would recommend.
My aim is to guide you through the process of defining what exactly it is that you are looking for in a camera and how to go about making your choice.
It covers –
So if you’re thinking about buying a digital camera this holiday season, either for yourself or as a gift be sure to sign up for this guide!
P.S. I plan on doing lots more of this type of information ebook so please let me know if there is anything you would specifically like to see!
Over the last few weeks I’ve been promoting my new online photography course – “Master your DSLR,” and it was brought to my attention several times that many of you might not be sure what exactly a DSLR is. For many beginners in photography this is where you take the leap from just taking snapshots to being a little more creative with your photos. As part of my Digital Camera Buying Guide series let’s look at the “Big Daddy” which is the DSLR.
A DSLR camera (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) consists of two parts – a camera body and an interchangeable lens. The body houses the camera sensor (where the image is made), all the electronics and a mirror system that allows the photographer to see exactly the image that the camera is recording. This camera body also has the ability to add on additional flash through a hot-shoe on the top of the camera but on most entry level DSLRs there is also a pop up built-in flash unit.
The interchangeable lens is what really makes the difference between an DSLR and and compact camera. Usually a DSLR will come with a standard “kit” lens which will allow you to take a variety of shots at various focal lengths, from wide angle to telephoto. If you require additional lenses for a specific purpose, these are purchased separately and they usually don’t come cheap!
There is also a plethora of other accessories that can be used with your DSLR to enhance your photography such as tripods, lens hoods, filters, lighting systems to name a few.
If your someone who feels stifled by their Point and Shoot’s lack of creative control or someone who wants to really understand photography then a DSLR is really the only way you are going to learn and will ultimately be what will take your photography to the next level. The size of the lens alone should be an indication to you of how much better your pictures can potentially be. The beauty of today’s entry level DSLRS is that you can use them in full auto mode where the camera still does all of the thinking for you, through semi-manual shooting modes where you begin to have creative control, right through to full manual setting where you can control every aspect of the photograph.
One of my pet peeves is to see people wielding these big DSLR cameras only to switch them into Auto mode and use it like a big hefty point and shoot camera. Why bother? They are using about 10% of the camera’s functionality and paid a nice price for the privilege. If this is you I suggest you get out of your comfort zone and start experimenting! Sure your gonna end up with a few dodgy pics in there along the way, but it’s only with this experimenting that your gonna LEARN anything about photography and eventually you will improve.
Buying a DSLR is a considerable investment so it’s important to do your research and find the one that’s going to be best for you. The two top brands that are always competing head to head are Canon and Nikon. Personally I’m a Canon girl – always have been always will be I think!) but that’s only because that’s what I started out with. Nikon are equally as good and in some models boast superior features.
1. Has anyone in the family/ friends got either a Canon or Nikon.
This is important to consider as you might be able to swap and borrow lenses from them and they might be able to help you out with technical problems
2. What feels good in your hands?
Some say Canons are for girls and Nikons are for boys. While this is not true, some of the entry level Canon cameras may feel small in a guys hands and where the buttons are etc. will have an effect of the cameras ease of use for you. So although I’m a great advocate of shopping online, I also feel that its a good idea to get your hands on a few cameras before you buy. Ask a friend or go to a specialty store to get a feel for the different models. You might be surprised at their weight or by how light they are. Some people like a lightweight and others want to feel they are getting their money’s worth by the pound!
3. Special deals or twin lens kits.
In some stores you will see cameras bundled as twin lens kits with the standard lens bundled together with an additional zoom lens and sometimes a kit bag, a book, a card etc. These can be really great deals but this depends on whether or not you really think you’ll need that particular zoom lens. For example, landscapes might be your thing so in that case it might be more prudent for you to invest in a super wide angle lens at some point. Be aware that just because a lens has a huge focal length – i.e can zoom in really far away, it doesn’t mean its a great lens. There are lots of factors to consider so only buy what you need for now and buy the best you can afford – it should last you quite a while.
4. Finally, think about factoring in the cost of some education to learn how to work the thing.
There is no point in spending a lot of money on a fancy DSLR only to stick it in Green Auto and to try and learn about photography from the user manual. You will drive yourself batty! Buy a book, read a blog, take a course for some direction but put some effort into learning about your camera and you’ll be rewarded with unique photos for the rest of your life!
PS If you feel like your someone who could benefit with a little guidance on using your DSL R to it’s potential, check out www.CameraShyClasses.com for my online courses which will help you do just that!
I’m lucky enough to teach a wide variety of students in person and get my hands on so many different cameras. Lot’s of my students are DSLR users and some people just have a compact camera that they want to get the most from. But a trend I’ve been beginning to notice is the popularity of the bridge camera.
A bridge camera is not a DSLR – it doesn’t use the mirror system that a digital SLR uses, you can’t change the lenses and the sensor size is much smaller – but it’s not quite a compact either.
Bridge cameras usually have lots more features and mainly lots more controls than you get with the average point and shoot. The biggest bonus is usually the inclusion of a super dooper telephoto zoom lens. In the following article I’ve taken one of the very popular bridge cameras by Nikon – the P100, and reviewed it for you so you an get an ideas of what I mean by a bridge camera and if you’re thinking of buying a new camera, perhaps this is the next step for you.
As you can see from the picture below, on first look, the Nikon P100 is a really compact little machine.
It weighs in at a mere 3lbs which means it’s perfect if your going to be traveling or out walking or even dare I say it fit, to into your diaper bag! It’s packed with really useful features, most of which you’ll find on most bridge cameras but some are unique to the P100. One of these is the 3 inch vari-angle LCD screen with you can pull out and adjust to suit your shooting position.
The camera comes with a brilliant Lithium ion battery and charger which, by all accounts, really holds it’s charge for a long time. I’m not really an advocate of buying a spare battery as they can be quite expensive. Instead I suggest that if you are going on a trip, just take your battery charger with you and charge up every night. Of course if your climbing in the Himalayas this might not apply…
As you can see from the image of the mode dial below, the P100 has many of the manual modes you would expect to see from a DSLR camera.
This means it’s the perfect camera for giving you an introduction to shooting in manual modes and enables you to really get creative with your shots. For those times when you don’t want to think too much about what your shooting, flip it to one of the 17 scene modes and you’ll be assured of a great result.
Of course the best thing about the P100 as far as I’m concerned the lens. Not only do you get a 26mm wide-angle lens which will give you a much wide angle of view than most compact cameras, you also get a whopping 26 x optical zoom lens. If you wanted this type of magnification on your DSLR you’d have to pay a LOT of money, not to mention tote a massive bag around! And to have a 26mm wide angle in there as well means that scenery, big group shots or anything where you need to get more of the picture in, is a breeze.
Something which I’m usually not that into as I’m definitely a stills kinda gal is the High Definition 1080i video capabilities of this little camera. It is awesome! You even get stereo sound. This really would cut down on the amount of gear you’d need for a big trip.
I would say that this is a great camera for anyone who wants to challenge themselves a little more than what they can do with a simple point and shoot camera. It is definitely more bulky than a compact but what you get squeezed in there is that massive, high quality zoom lens. If wildlife, or travel is you thing – then this camera is definitely for you. Not ready to commit to a DSLR? Try out this bridge camera for lots of the manual control without the added bulk. If however you don’t think you’ll ever use the big zoom then maybe this isn’t the camera for you, although truthfully once you get used to a zoom this size it is difficult to adjust to not having one. I also think this in some ways this camera is ideally suited to females. The small size and grip might make it a little awkward in a guys hands – perhaps a little too small for them.
So just to give you an idea of what it is exactly I’m talking about when I say BIG zoom we took some pictures to show you what you can achieve without having to move your feet! Watch for the monument way far in the distance in the first shot.
As you can see that’s pretty powerful! The P100 also has the added bonus of an VR or Vibration Reduction – which means that every shot should be steady as a rock – really important when you have a big zoom like this.
The one negative I see with the this camera is the electronic viewfinder as opposed to an optical viewfinder. Being a traditionalist I still like to use this type of camera by peeking throughout the viewfinder and the digital display just doesn’t do it for me. I guess it’s probably because I’m used to a DSLR. This probably wont make a difference to most of you though because most people are totally comfortable using the LCD screen to frame their shot.
So all in all I would give this camera very definite thumbs up, for the right person. As I have said many times there’s no camera where one size fits all and it’s important to choose the best camera to suit your own specific needs.
But if you like to travel, nature, birds or just the all round flexibility of having the convenience of a large telephoto zoom in a small package then the Nikon P100 is for you! Get Free Shipping from ordering here through Amazon.
P.S. Still not convinced? Check out what other consumers have to say about the P100 here.