Hard to pic and choose

Here are the ques­tions you should ask yourself be­fore snap­ping to a de­ci­sion about the new­est cam­eras to hit the mar­ket, writes Alex Kid­man

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH -

Do I need an­other cam­era?

Of the top five cam­eras used on the on­line so­cial photo shar­ing site Flickr, the top four are iPhones. How­ever, that doesn’t mean you should only ever shoot with your iPhone ( or any other smart­phone), be­cause pop­u­lar­ity isn’t a to­tal mea­sure of qual­ity.

There are shots that would be near im­pos­si­ble to get with a smart­phone cam­era due to the dif­fer­ences in lenses, sen­sors and ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Should I bother with a com­pact cam­era?

Com­pact cam­eras have been hard­est hit by the smart­phone revo­lu­tion and that’s not sur­pris­ing, as they’re of­ten func­tion­ally close to smart­phone cam­eras.

Where they still can shine is in of­fer­ing fea­tures such as op­ti­cal zoom, al­though man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Sam­sung, with its zoom-en­abled K Zoom Cam­era/ Smart­phone hy­brid, are knock­ing on the com­pact cam­eras’ door rather heav­ily.

Aren’t DSLRs big, heavy and ex­pen­sive?

They can be, but they’re also pop­u­lar for the flex­i­bil­ity of shots and pho­tog­ra­phy skills they can teach you. While fig­ures sug­gest the to­tal ship­ments of dig­i­tal cam­eras world­wide is go­ing down, DSLRs have been buck­ing that trend, with more than 16 mil­lion DSLRs shipped in 2013 alone.

If the heft of a DSLR still puts you off, there’s a fresh crop of in­ter­change­able lens cam­eras ( ILCs) to con­sider. These are typ­i­cally lighter and smaller than a full DSLR, with many of the same ad­van­tages.

Do I need lots of lenses or will the kit lens do?

The kit lenses that come with cam­era bun­dles are never the best glass, but in­dus­try fig­ures sug­gest many DLSRs and ILCs are never up­graded be­yond the kit lens.

I want my im­ages on In­sta­gram straight away. Isn’t that im­pos­si­ble with a fixed cam­era?

Not at all. Vir­tu­ally ev­ery new cam­era in 2014 comes with in- built wi- fi for easy pair­ing to a smart­phone or tablet.

Viewfinder or rear panel?

Viewfinders suck up less bat­tery and can help to elim­i­nate cam­era shake, but rear screens can be eas­ier to use. It’s worth check­ing if the cam­era has a viewfinder built in, or if you can add one as an additional part.

Which ac­ces­sories do I need?

We’d sug­gest a de­cent lens cleaner, be­cause grubby im­ages aren’t worth keep­ing, and per­haps a spare bat­tery.

I only want a smart­phone cam­era. Which one should I buy?

Prob­a­bly the one that’s al­ready in your pocket. Ap­ple’s iPhone 5s has a nice cam­era built in, as does HTC’s One M8. Still, if you’re buy­ing a smart­phone purely for the cam­era, it’s hard to over­look the Lu­mia 1020 with its 41MP sen­sor and op­tional cam­era grip.

Do I re­ally need to re­place my cam­era?

It’s of­ten tempt­ing to think that new cam­era gear will make you an in­stant ex­pert, shoot­ing crisp, clear im­ages with­out a care. A cam­era up­grade can help you ex­pand your hori­zons, but make sure you’ve got the most out of your ex­ist­ing cam­era, be­cause pho­tog­ra­phy is so much more about your skill and se­lec­tions than your cam­era gear.

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