Camera Basics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / January 8, 2000

Now that Santa has made his delivery of that new 35mm camera or video camera, there will be some much-needed accessories that should be purchased to complete your camera system, or at least that’s the excuse I use.

Items such as a flash, tripod and camera bag (carrying case) are just a few of the accessories that can help improve photos or protect your expensive camera equipment.

At first, you might have thought this to be an easy task, but buyers beware! Having the right information before you make your initial purchase may provoke you to spend a little more money now, but it will save you hundreds of dollars in the end. I’ve been involved in photography for about 16 years, and I have investeda great deal of my hard-earned money in inferior products due to bad judgments and the lack of good information.

Keep in mind that any future equipment purchases should be made on the premise that, “your buying other equipment to enhance your photographic ability or to protect the equipment you already own. “Cameras have changed a great deal in the last few years, many of the new 35mm cameras are autofocus and operate on an infrared focus system with a small built-in flash. This flash unit will normally function fine when keeping yoursubject to 10 to 15 feet from the camera, but as the distance increases or as you try to shoot larger groups you will find that it doesn’t really have enough power to due the job properly.

You need a new flash, right? Well, before you run out and buy the least expensive unit available, there a few things to consider. First, look at your flashshoemount on the top of the camera. See all those silver pins or contacts? Your flashmust have the exact same number of contacts in order to work properly with your camera. Secondly, if your camera has infrared focus, the flash should alsohave infrared capability.

Buy Jordache! That means purchase a flash manufactured by the same camera company as your camera.

Tripods are normally used to keep the camera steady and reduce the effect of vibration from body movement, wind or shutter mechanisms. It’s simple. Thetripod must weigh two to three times as much as the camera or video unit that will be mounted on top of it.

Camera bags, on the other hand, must have dense foam cushioning, about 1/2- inch thick, that encases the camera and all the other equipment your carrying in individual compartments, and a hard bottom with padding would be even better.

The shoulder and handle straps must be sown and extend completely around the entire bag for protection.

Most 35mm cameras now cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 to $400, and video cameras are even higher. So, with keeping that dollar figure in mind,why chance the purchase of the most least expensive equipment on the market? I regard these items to be similar to good insurance policies. Why buy a flashthat doesn’t operate 100 percent of the features you’ve already paid for in the camera? Why place a $500 to $1,000 camera on a $29 tripod? Better yet, why put $2,000 to $3000 worth of camera equipment in a $29 camera bag? You’re going to ask yourself why, why and why quite a few times after something gets damaged. Buying a $150 tripod or camera bag cost a lot less thananother $1000 camera. Get the picture now?

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