Photo tips – cameras

I have decided to do a new weekly post about photography, since it is something I love and hopefully know a little bit about.  Feel free to chime in if I am ever wayyyy off base.

Today I will focus on cameras, specifically what I use and why I love it. 

When I first went to digital I was pretty dissapointed with the quality of photos.  Although I loved the ease of seeing the pictures right away and not spending loads of money developing photos that didn’t turn out, my 35mm film camera had given me much better results.   The problem with the camera was party due to the fact that the image stabilization technology was not out there when I bought it.  Basically, digital is pretty susceptible to camera shake, thus make images appear blurry and out of focus.  There is also a significant amount of digital haze in the photos, since digital picks up everything.  It was also SLOW in taking photos so I missed so many pictures.  If I didn’t want to take a photo with the flash inside, it was even slower. 

That camera was an Optio Si.  Here is an example of a photo I had taken with that camera.


Beyond having the inability to take photos without a flash (which tends to give pinpoints in the eyes, red eyes, and tends to make features a bit hazy), my biggest gripe was just missing photos.  The little ones are only this age once and I got so frustrated by my camera.

Last June I finally reached my breaking point and Ritz Camera had one of those interest-free financing offers.  I had done a bit of research and it seemed that Nikon and Canon had the best entry-level DSLR camera’s within my price range.   The Nikon D50 seemed to be the best value for the camera.  I got the kit lens since I didn’t know what else to get (basically, you can buy the camera body separate without a lens, but you need to have SOME lens in order to take photos).

The kit lens works well for learning to use the camera.  The camera has some automatic settings so it is pretty easy to just start taking photos right away.  Once you get the feel of the camera, then you can start going into the scary territory of shooting manual, where you choose all the settings.

Here are some photos I took the first time shooting my brand spankin’ new camera.  I took this in one of the automatic settings:

first photos 

Outside the pictures were pretty decent, but inside the house I couldn’t get any photos without the flash:

Flash out

Lovely flashed out features on my little boy, right?  So…into the realm of manual I went.  First I wanted to get the outside picture-taking down before I tackled doing it inside:

 first manual tryfirst attempt

I didn’t get catchlights in the eyes but my exposure was pretty decent.  When I tried setting my exposure inside that was where my kit lens limitations finally showed through.  There are basically three different things that you need to focus on when taking pictures with manual.  Those are the “holy trinity” if you will: aperature, ISO, and shutter speed.

I’ll go into that in my next post.

In the meantime, this is a good website to use if you want to research what type of digital camera you want to buy.  It is an independent review site and they have really good, detailed reviews of cameras.

DP Review

Feel free to post the camera you use in the comments and what you think of it.  I am curious about what others like/dislike about their cameras.