Body – housing for your camera
Lens – eye of the camera
Sensor – records digital exposure
Flash Card – storage of images
Battery – self-explanatory
It’s important to choose a camera that feels comfortable in your hand.
If it feels awkward to make dial adjustments, you may want to consider a different model.
You should test the camera fit to make it feels right before making a costly purchase.
Not all lenses are created equal!
Two different types: prime and zoom
Prime lenses are fixed focal length, lighter, smaller and cheaper.
Zoom lenses are variable focal length, larger, heavier and more expensive.
Focal lengths: wide (<35mm), standard (35-50mm), medium (60-100mm), telephoto (>100mm), ultra-telephoto (>400mm).
The sensor captures the light exposure filtered through your lens and sits behind the mirror.
Sensor size does matter!
Larger ones provide better low-light performance, depth of field and higher resolution images with less noise.
The more megapixels on a sensor doesn’t always produce higher-quality images.
The Flash Card
Flash cards come in different sizes and types, typically SD or CompactFlash (CF) variety.
Pay attention to the speed! Cameras are very fast and the card needs to keep up.
Point-and-shoots use SD cards. Look to buy a Class 6 card with a high write speed.
Higher-end DSLRs use the larger CF cards. Pick up a card rated at 233x or higher for video.
Most DSLRs use a battery that will last all day.
Consider carrying backup(s) if you’re using a point-and-shoot camera.
When judging battery life, keep in mind what scenarios you’re using the camera.
Understanding Shooting Modes
Shooting modes range from full automatic (beginners) to full manual (advanced).
Six different shooting modes:
Program sets your aperture and shutter speed automatically.
Provides control over other settings like ISO.
ISO is the rating that affects how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light.
Higher ISO levels result in brighter images with the drawback of more noise. Use Auto ISO if you’re not sure about all this noise.
Allows you to set the shutter speed and ISO but automatically sets the aperture.
This mode is useful when capturing motion or long exposure photographs.
Increasing the shutter speed exposes the sensor to more light and causes motion blur. Useful in low-light conditions. You may need to use a tripod for shutter speeds higher than 1/60th second.
Allows you to set the aperture and ISO but lets the camera set the shutter speed automatically.
Aperture is most important for depth of field.
A lower number (f/1.8) represents a wider aperture, allows in more light and results in a shallow depth of field. Useful in low-light conditions.
A higher number (f/22) denotes a narrow aperture and provides a deeper focus but lets in less light.
Manual mode lets the photographer control aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings.
This is a more advanced mode and especially useful during shoots in low light.
Don’t confuse the shooting mode with Manual Focus. They’re completely different.
In manual mode your camera will let you know if you’re over- or under-exposed by providing a meter at the bottom. Your goal is to get the pointer in the middle.