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The best way to explain cameras and the choice available is to see not what they will do but what they are not very good at.

The problem  is that they will all take  photographs, videos, some sort of zoom capability and have flash-unit built in.
So in theory anything will do for casual snaps and holiday photos. The thing is what sort of photographer are you, or what do you practice allowing do you want to be.

In the days of film cameras a 36mm roll film was the most popular,  and it was easy to categorize the photographer.

The casual

A casual did very little photography it was often said that they bought a film and when the 36 photographs were collected from the developers the first and last photo was a different Christmas tree! Often to be found at weddings or on package holidays or coach tours.
Clearly not even a keen amateur!

The keen amateur

These are easily spotted they normally have a large camera bag, often with a tripod attached to the side; Some are good photographers but most just love taking photographs for the joy of it.

The professional

These are easily spotted they often have an assistant carrying a large camera bag, They look like they know exactly like someone who knows what they are doing. Often carrying a nice camera in a casual way like its an extension of their arm. They are absorbed in their surroundings looking for something that attracts their attention.

So the first and most important question to ask yourself is, “What sort of photographer am, or what do I want to be?”

Now do not take this the wrong way! If you have the money, desire or just wanting to look good go ahead buy an elaborate, expensive camera. But it will not guarantee success.

There are three types of digital cameras and they can all get superb results, the fun of photography is having the correct camera in the right hands. And the point of this entry to help you choose well. There are generally 4 types of cameras.

Pocket cameras

The first are the small pocket cameras, easy to handle, quick and simple to use and for general photography excellent. This is where many people start with and stay as this type of camera it is perfect for family, holiday and general photography. Like everything you get what you pay for, try and find one with a good digital zoom. This type of zoom is done in the camera enlarging the image digitally, as opposed to an optical zoom which is done by the lens.  These are great cameras for casual use they fit in most pockets and so there is no excuse for going out without a camera. Do not look down on them they are fantastical useful for casual general photography and the picture quality is much better than a mobile phone.

Fixed lens Digital SLR

The most popular and most common because they are the easiest to use. They have excellent lenses with optical zoom and digital zoom. Also they generally have a macro or ultra close up capability.

Optical zoom is normally achieved by simply pressing a button the cameras body. There is a good range but it will not get as close to your subject as a more expensive camera, (See Digital SLR) but the results can be very good. If you do not get satisfactory results but remember after 6 months the camera will be no better, but you will be, why is that?

For a start you will get used to your camera it will become an extension of you and the results will show that. At this point you will begin to be happy with your photographic talent or will want more than the camera will be able to give you.

There is a good tip here. Do not get rid of your camera at this point. The main reasons are, your faithful Fixed lens Digital SLR will still be useful.

You will still use it whilst you are getting used to its replacement and you will want to use it for a back up why?

Digital cameras seldom run out of film, but they can run out of battery. They are also more discrete if you plan to get candid shots and their smaller size and the fact they are not as heavy make a first choice for a casual day out!

That is why they are the most popular as they are very capable and so easy to use it becomes second nature. They normally have good flash as standard ans so it is a good value package. The results are normally excellent unless you push the camera to its limits, then some loss of quality will be seen.

Next Time The Digital SLR and The Medium Format Camera

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