Vicky Eicher, Virginia


February 16, 2010

Categories: General, Non-Daffodil

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Sara, As you have discovered, there are many choices out there.  One question to ask is what you wish to do with your photographs.  If you want to enlarge them to no more than 8″x10″, then you can get something other than an SLR.  You can do amazing things with high megapixel compact cameras, if you know someone who can teach you.  If you want 8″x10″ and above, tack sharp, look at SLRs.

You need to know the difference between ‘optical zoom’ and ‘digital zoom.’  Both will increase the lens’s apparent reach, but digital zoom greatly reduces the detail and color quality of your photograph.  This is especially important if you want to crop your photograph.

SLRs can be expensive and heavy, but there are some that are lighter and more affordable.
Back in 2006, National Geographic published “National Geographic Guide to Digital Photography:  Take Great Digital Pictures.”  The ads for equipment are out of date, but the articles might help you.  Check your library.  National Geographic also publishes photography field guides.  
And don’t forget “Consumer Reports” which regularly publishes information about some, but not all, digital cameras.
If at all possible, handle cameras that might interest you.  You can get great deals on line, but if the camera doesn’t feel comfortable in your hands, it’s a waste.  Also, some cameras will advertise a ‘macro’ function, but it will not focus close enough for you to get the close-up you want.
Is there a camera club in your area?  Your public library can help you locate it/them.  If so, check out the website, which may have ‘galleries’ of members’ photos.  Find someone whose work matches what you’d like to do and contact that person.  You can also attend a few meetings and ask members what they use.
Photographers are like daffodil people — most are friendly and very willing to share their expertise.

Vicky Eicher

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