Hawaii Photographer- Tips

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Certainly, the most obvious question that users have is what kind of camera they should choose. Camera users normally fall into one of three main categories: amateurs, hobbyists and professionals, and knowing where you fit can help you identify what features might be important, and what type of camera would make sense for your needs. Are you looking to just take a few pictures of family and friends, capture memories from vacations, or produce shots of nature and landscapes to build a portfolio? Also think about how much quality you are willing to trade away for portability, as cameras can range from large and bulky professional quality SLR cameras (Single Lens Reflex) to small ultra-portable cameras, some of which may not even have a flash.

camera categories

Cameras are typically broken down into groups: ultra-compact, compact, prosumer or hobbyist, and digital SLR, and most manufacturers build units in several categories to capture more of the market. On each end of the range, the ultra-compacts are designed to be the most portable, often fitting into pockets easily and used as key chains, while the digital SLR cameras are professional quality tools that have the widest range of options, such as external flashes, lenses and tripods (but are also often the largest and most cumbersome to carry). Most units fall into the middle two categories, with compacts having a good range of quality, resolution, and options, and the prosumer range including higher quality and greater control over manual options and accessories.


Buying by only the megapixel rating will mean you will miss out on the other features of the camera – portability, accessories, a good quality flash, but it is one of the most important considerations. Less than 3 megapixel cameras are suitable for basic snapshots; the camera will be small and good enough to take basic ‘I was there’ shots, but the images won’t be as clear if you want anything larger than standard 4×6 prints. Between 3 and 5 megapixels, you will find the best range of everyday use and vacation cameras – you can fill your photo albums with shots from cameras in this range or use them as desktop images, as you will generally find the images are good enough that you don’t need any more and will be able to make good quality prints at a variety of sizes. From 5 to 7 megapixels, you will find serious cameras for hobbyists that want to explore photography as an art or those that are looking to stay ahead of the curve – the images will take up more hard drive space but will be perfect for manipulation and printing out in larger sizes. Choose a camera of 7 megapixels or more if you are a professional and expect to be paid for the work you produce, as these cameras are overkill for casual everyday use, but ideal for professionals who need the highest resolution for larger prints, and more flexible cropping options.


Zooming is another important consideration with digital cameras – there are two kinds of zoom: optical zoom and digital zoom. An optical zoom factor is one that relies on the lens itself magnifying the light coming in, so that what is distant appears larger and closer in the resulting image. A digital zoom factor is one that takes the resulting image and magnifies it after the fact. Needless to say, an optical zoom factor is much more important than a digital zoom factor (and produces better quality results).

storage media

The way the images themselves are stored can be a factor in your decision, as some camera makers have proprietary storage systems that are incompatible with the cameras of other makes. Some common formats are Compact Flash (a fairly common format across both compact and professional cameras), Sony Memory Stick (unique to Sony cameras, but also supported by Sony computers, televisions, and other devices), and SmartMedia. Storage sizes can range from the smallest 64K card/stick, which can hold about three dozen three megapixel images, to the larger 1G cards/sticks, which can hold more than 500 of the same images. Prices have come down on most of the memory cards/sticks making selection of the larger sizes more affordable and a smarter choice. Choose the largest size you are comfortable with, and ideally select a second smaller stick as a backup in case the first one becomes full – a combination of a 256K with a 64K card/stick is good enough if you move all your images onto your computer on a regular basis.