Christmas camera ideas #photography
If you're interested in photography, you might be thinking of buying a camera to take photos over Christmas or asking for one as a present. What should you get?
Type of camera
This picture was shot in quite good light and most cameras will take a reasonable picture in good light. I probably had an advantage taking this shot with a DSLR because I needed a fast shutter speed for the moving car, but without that, a cheap point and shoot camera would have been quite adequate.
The Nikon A10 is a fairly simple point and shoot but still has some of the features of Nikon's more expensive cameras like TTL metering for flash photography. It uses AA batteries which do keep the cost down but you could use rechargeable AA batteries. There is no viewfinder on this camera, you have to use the live view which is the main disadvantage. The advantages of this camera are it is light and very portable. Nikon, like Canon and Fujifilm, makes great cameras. It costs 59.99 on Amazon.
There are lots of bridge cameras available with great specifications. I like the Nikon cameras but there are lots more to choose from. I have the older Fujifilm S5600 which still takes quite good photos. It is better to choose a camera made by a good camera manufacturer and try before you buy to see how it feels when you hold it. Bridge cameras are great with amazing zoom lenses, buy one with a viewfinder. Using a viewfinder will help you get much sharper pictures because you hold the camera closer to your body so it is steadier. A slight movement at slower shutter speeds or on full zoom causes blurred photos.
Most phones have decent cameras and the high-end phones like the Samsung S6 and S7 are very good, as is the iPhone 6. The slight blur you get can be an advantage giving a softer image compared to the sharper image you get with a DSLR. The disadvantages are no viewfinder and they aren't as good as a DSLR in low light. You will get better pictures if you practice and set things like white balance.
CSC smart cameras
Many dedicated photographers have switched to compact system cameras because they are small and light. I have to be honest, I don't like them. The big advantage is they have Wi-Fi connectivity but so do many DSLR's like the Nikon D7200 now. I would much prefer a Nikon D7200 to a CSC. Given the choice between a CSC and a high-end bridge camera with a viewfinder, I would choose the bridge camera with its amazing zoom.
If you're getting serious about photography then you're probably looking at a digital single reflex camera (DSLR). There are two basic types, in the Nikon range they are the FX and DX. The FX is the professional and very expensive camera for the professionals and DX for semi-professionals and advanced amateurs. I use the Nikon D3200 which is a DX and uses DX lenses, etc. I take photos for the internet and for newspapers. If I was taking photos for high-end magazines then I would buy an FX camera but there is no point in me having that quality now. With a DSLR you find it much easier to control all the camera settings and changing aperture between shots is quick and easy. You can also buy different lenses for different types of photography and shoot amazing portraits and landscapes. A better camera won't solve all your problems, there is a lot to learn and you never stop learning.
I took this photo of the new Manor Hospital just after it opened in 2011. I took this with my Fujifilm S5600 which cost less than £200 including an expensive memory card and a case. Framing the shot and editing are important, as well as choosing the right camera.
When you are choosing your new Christmas camera, don't go for the latest one that is being pushed with lots of hype. Look at the best sellers and the most popular ones. Cameras like the D3200 are popular for a reason, they get recommended because they are good cameras and quite rugged too. Fold out screens are great when you're shooting video but make the camera less rugged. The D3200 has been out for a while and the price has dropped so it is now more affordable even though the lower value of the pound has increased the price this year.
Finally, you might want to consider video when choosing your Christmas camera. My camera shoots video using live view and a DSLR with a longer lens is heavy, so shooting video isn't easy. My D3200 shoots HD video with stereo sound. A sample of the video I shot last summer can be found on YouTube, just click that link. I used a fence to steady the camera. I also have a slide show of a photo-shoot on YouTube too. Those photos were taken in poor light but are quite sharp with no blur.
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