Camera Basics

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 13, 1999

TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / September 13, 1999

Other than being asked what type of film should be used, the next most popular question posed to me by friends and associates is “which camera should I purchase?” This isn’t always an easy question to answer because cameras seem to offer a variety of features, some a little more important than others. Keep inmind that this information concerns mainly automatic, point and shoot cameras only.

I feel that having a moderate zoom lens, fill flash, and red-eye reduction are the three most important features to consider when purchasing a camera. Each ofthese three features can greatly affect the final outcome of your photographs.

First, the minimum zoom lens that you should consider when purchasing a camera should be in the range of 38mm to 105mm lens. The 38mm range (wideangle) of the lens is great for shooting large groups and outdoor scenery. On theother end, the 105mm range (telephoto) of the lens allows you to move in closer without crowding your subject. For example, while standing in the sameposition, you can take a full length photo with the 38mm and then zoom to the 105mm range of your lens to get just a close-up of the face.

The next feature to consider is fill flash capability. Automatic cameras willnormally only fire the flash during low-light situations and not in the bright sunlight. The fill flash feature allows the flash to fire and fill in the shadowareas created by taking pictures in direct sun light. It’s normally best to placethe subject with the sun to its back when using fill flash.

Last but not least, try to purchase a camera with a red-eye reducing feature built into the camera. Red-eye occurs when photos are taken with the camera’sflash is positioned very close to the lens and at the eye level of the subject being photographed, causing the subject’s eyes to have a bright red appearance in the photo. Red-eye reducing feature on a camera will fire several small burstof light from the flash before taking the final picture. The smaller burst of lighthelp reduce the size of the pupil, resulting in less red-eye.

Even though I am not under legal oath, I would be the first to honestly testify that I take very few perfect pictures, but I do believe that a moderate zoom lens, fill flash, and red-eye reduction are camera features that help get me closer to that point. But then again, that also depends on the legal definition ofwhat is considered honesty and a perfect picture.

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