How To Choose The Right Camera For You

How To Choose The Right Camera For You

Do you know how to choose the right camera for you?  I had no idea and because I had signed up for a photography class, I thought I better find out!  I have always been the photo bug in our family which is evident by my lack of showing up in any family photos!  I was thinking the other day how sorry I felt for my kids when they want to reminisce over their life and they can’t find a single picture with me in it!  I have also been one to just buy a cheap camera thinking it would do the job since I was just taking fun family photos.  I understand cheap is not the best choice in certain areas, and I am pretty sure choosing a camera is one of those areas.  Before my photography class started, I decided to do research on what my options were and if they were right for me.

When you are shopping for a camera, you should consider several factors before you jump into buying one.  You first need to decide why you want to buy a camera and what you plan to use the camera for.  It will make a big difference if you are going to be taking pics of the kids at the park this spring or if you plan to start a business as a photographer. When you compare these two very different needs, you can guess there will be a big difference in the camera you need for each instance. Once you have made that decision, you must do two things: research the accessories you need and how much they cost.  If you don’t know what you need for your camera and how much the average cost will be, you can’t make a solid and informed decision.  Once these decisions have been made, you can determine which camera is best for you; a point and shoot or a SLR camera.  Here are the main pros and cons of each type of camera:
Cool Depth of Field
Point And Shoot Pros:

  • Size: Most point and shoot (POS) cameras are small and can easily fit into your pocket or bag.
  • Weight: Virtually all POS camera are very lightweight and are therefore easy to carry around and travel with.
  • Fixed Lens: All POS camera have one fixed lens and therefore there is no need for additional lenses and changing them out.
  • Depth Of Field: A POS camera cannot differentiate between the background and the foreground, so what you see is what you get!  If you focus on a particular item, the background will still be in focus as well.

Point And Shoot Cons:

  • Picture Quality: Most POS camera have a lower number of megapixels and has an auto focus, the quality of the picture will sometimes be of poor quality
  • Upgrading: If you want to up your game and take more professional looking pictures, you can’t add any features to a POS camera.  Again, what you see is what you get.
  • Low Light: POS camera do not take pictures in low light or in the dark.
  • Accessories:  You can find camera straps and bags at affordable prices.  Some POS camera is also made to accept a tripod.

DSLR or SLR:  First let’s be clear on the difference of these two types of camera.  A DSLR is a digital single lens reflex camera that takes digital pictures while an SLR is a single lens reflex camera that you would use good old fashioned film you will need to have developed.  For this comparison, we are talking about the basic features, which will be virtually the same for these two styles.

Kelly Taking Pics

  • Image Quality: A POS camera has a small sensor compared to an SLR camera, which has a larger sensor, which allows for a wider and better image.  This makes the pictures come out much clearer and sharper.
  • Light Sensitivity: With an SLR camera you are able to take pictures in all kinds of light, not just bright light like a POS camera.  With the SLR camera, you have the ability to adjust to your lighting whereas a POS camera has very little control in this area.
    • Speed: With an SLR camera you have a faster shutter speed which allows you to take many pictures of live action in a matter of seconds.  With a faster focusing ability, the SLR can quickly adjust to the speed with which the object is moving.  So, if you are at a track and field event and want to get pictures of the pole vaulter going up and over the bar, you can literally take photos of each sequence.  With a POS camera, you get one picture..period.
    • Self-Timer: Although all SLR cameras have a self-timer, not all POS cameras do.  This is where the rubber meets the road in the area of who is in the picture and who isn’t!  If you have been the picture taker who is never in those family photos, you can change that with an SLR camera.  You can usually set the timer from 1-10 seconds, giving you plenty of time to set the camera and run and jump into your family photo.
    • Accessories: If you want to take more professional, high quality pictures, you can buy lenses, filters, and many other cool items to make your photography look like a pro.

Pretty Plant


  • Price: a good DSLR/SLR camera will cost you anywhere from $300 to thousands of dollars whereas a POS camera can be found for under $100.
  • Accessories: This is a pro as well as a con as the accessories for these cameras can cost a great deal of money.
  • Weight: This type camera weighs more and is larger than a POS, so carrying it is not as convenient.  With a DSLR/SLR camera you will need a good camera strap as well as a bag that has enough room for the camera as well as your basic accessories.

Which Camera Has The Best Quality

Now that you know the pros and cons of each type camera, now you need to decide which camera brand has the best quality for the price.  In my opinion, Vivitar fits well into this category.  Vivitar, who has been in the business since 1938, was taken into the Sakar International family, who has been in the consumer electronics field for 33 years, in 2008.  The focus (hee hee) of Sakar is to bring their customers the best product possible at the most affordable price.  If you take a look through the wide variety of cameras and equipment from Vivitar, you will see right away how very affordable their products are.  I was sent the Vivitar V3800-50 SLR ($229.00), which includes the 35mm SLR camera, a 50mm 1.7 lens, camera bag and strap, and multi-exposure cap.  This fantastic camera is perfect for a novice of SLR cameras like me.  The instructions for the camera are straight forward and easy to follow and with it being an SLR, it was perfect for my class.  I was able to learn about and use all of the features in less than an hour and I think the pictures I took (as shown above) for my class turned out pretty well.  Our first assignment was to take some outdoor pictures and play with focusing techniques. For instance, in the 2nd picture I was focusing on the branch so the background was blurry. In the last picture, I was focusing on the whole plant while trying to blur the background. I am still learning, but with my Vivitar V3800-50, I am having fun learning to become a better photographer!

One reader will win a Vivitar S529 Point and Shoot Camera ($99.00)


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