Ready to Buy Your First Digital Camera?
What to Know Before You Go
TEXT AND IMAGES BY HELENE DELILLO© Helene DeLillo. Model: Brooke/Click NYC.
Canon D30 Capture
The digital transition can be challenging, however, it's a rewarding and necessary step in today's photography market. Here are some tips to get you up and running:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Let's begin with the most frequently asked question: "What digital camera should I buy?" Ask yourself the following:
- Why are you buying a digital camera?
- How often will you shoot?
- What lenses will you need?
- Want red-eye removal?
- What ISO: 100 or 2000?
- Power requirements?
- Need to sync with strobes?
- Budget and expected ROI?
- Subject: portrait, product, fashion, beauty, concerts, travel?
- Lighting environment: on location, home, studio?
- How much portability?
- Shooting weather conditions?
- End use: prints, website, email?
- How soon do you need to be up and running?
Then do some research. Test cameras and talk to people who actually purchased the cameras. Many stores that rent digital cameras later apply rentals fees to the purchase price. Be wary of online reviews; not everyone online who owns a digital camera is a photo expert. And check camera warranties.
AVOID DIGITAL MYTHS
One of the big misconceptions is that digital cameras don't have enough resolution. Wrong. Professional cameras can actually have too much resolution! We often need to retrain makeup artists so they understand how much detail the cameras see.
Another misconception is that digital cameras can't handle dark lighting environments. Not so. Some cameras are specifically designed for certain lighting environments. In the October SP&D, we showed a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night with amazing detail.
Technology is evolving all the time. At PhotoPlus East, many new cameras were announced and more are coming. In the last six months, resolution from one manufacturer doubled, while the price dropped 50 percent. Make sure you're buying a camera that meets your current needs and is affordable. You don't want to pay it off over 10 years, because soon there'll be a better solution for our needs.
Don't have much time to learn digital? Purchase a 2.1- or 3.1-megapixel prosumer camera: they're usually under $1,000. Be sure the camera has features you like and isn't too bulky. Go out and "play with the technology" on weekends. You'll quickly become familiar with the workflow processes. And purchase one of those photographic printers that let you print without a computer.
Soon you'll be ready to start testing the professional digital SLRs and digital backs.