Camera Basics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 1999

TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / December 11, 1999

One of the most popular questions posed to me by friends and associates at this time of the year 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 in mind that this information concernsmainly 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 photographs.

First, the minimum zoom lens you should consider when purchasing a camera should be in the range of 38 mm to 105 mm lens. The 38 mm range (wide angle)of the lens is great for shooting large groups and outdoor scenery. On the otherend, the 105 mm 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 38 mm and then zoom to the 105 mm 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. The red-eye reducing feature on a camera will fire several smallburst of light from the flash before taking the final picture. The smaller burstof light help reduce the size of the pupil, resulting in less red-eye.

Don’t ever make the mistake of believing that “a dollar saved is a dollar earned” in reference to the purchase of high-quality camera equipment. Spend a fewextra dollars and purchase your equipment from a professional retail store, it will pay for itself in the years to come. Better equipment will last longer andproduce better photos. When purchasing equipment from a quality cameraretailer you’ll receive service after sale that can be priceless in the long run.

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