HOW TO.....

Beginners Guide to Buying a Camera

First, there are 3 main types of cameras:

SLR (Single Lens Reflex)- A camera that uses a mirror system to direct light, and can offer more accurate framing and depth of field. Because of this, what you see in the viewfinder is exactly what your picture will be. The user can manually adjust the lens' focus, and many other features.

DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)- The same as an SLR Camera, however this camera stores your images in digital format on a memory card.

Point and Shoot- An easy to use camera with limited functions. Most use autofocus, with flash units that are built in.

Now onto the features that you should look for, or know about in a camera:

AC Power- Your camera will be charged in a wall outlet or computer USB port rather than by traditional batteries.

Aperture- How much your lens opens through which light will pass.

Aspect Ratio- The ratio of your images' horizontal and vertical dimensions. Most cameras have an aspect ratio of 4:3, but if you are looking to be able to print perfect 4X6 images, then look for a camera that offers 3:2 ratio mode.

Aspherical Lens- A lens that is not perfectly spherical, but creates superior images by reducing or even eliminating aberrations (lighting imperfections).

Digital Image Stabilization- Used to minimize the effect of blurring or shaking while the camera is in the process of capturing video.

Digital Zoom- Magnifies the center of an image, keeping the same aspect ratio, while reducing the amount of pixels.

Exposure- The amount of light that reaches the photographic film, and is determined by the shutter speed and aperture.

Frame Rate- How many image frames are shown per second. The higher the Frames per second, the more "real" or "in person" the imagery looks.

Image Resolution- Amount of pixels in the length of an image- Referring to the detail of the image. The higher the resolution, the more detailed your picture will be.

Macro- Offers the ability to focus really well on small objects that are close to the camera.

Megapixel- A measurement to describe how many dots or pixels are in an image. The more pixels contained in an image will mean more detail, and more detail in an image means you can make large prints from your images.

Optical Zoom- Allows the camera to zoom in on an object without affecting the detail or resolution of the image. It uses the lens to draw the image closer, much like binoculars.

Pixel- One Pixel refers to one spot on an image. Pixels combine to make up the resolution of an image, and as with most everything, the more pixels you have, the better your image is going to look.

Shutter Speed- How long the camera's shutter stays open to capture an image.



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