Day +101: One Hundred Days of Blogging!

Today’s post marks the 101st day that I’ve blogged about my adventures in photography. I’ve really enjoyed blogging, and I hope you enjoy reading my blog too.

Today’s headline image is the single-blossoming port wine magnolia amidst the dead of Winter, a sign that new growth is just around the corner. It may even be a metaphor for life- that even in the bleakest and darkest moment, life lays dormant, just waiting to be awakened from its deep slumber.

The other image I’m posting today is the trophy that our daughter won for being the Most Valuable Player in netball this week. Considering that this is her first year of competitive team sport (and having to get up at 6am on Saturday mornings), she has done brilliantly!

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Today’s photography topic is: CAMERA SELECTION.

With all the different options, it can be very difficult to find the one that suits your needs best. The current crop of consumer cameras can be broadly divided into the following categories:

  1. Smartphones: Everybody has one, and take decent snapshots in good conditions. In bad light, with moving subjects, and when a flash is needed, forget about it
  2. Point & Shoot: Ranges from $100 to over $1000, they are highly variable in quality. Some come with enormous zoom lenses, and are still relatively pocketable. The problem is images quality for most of them. The sensors are small, and the longer the zoom, the worst the image the image quality. These cameras might be fine for the anybody who has little more than a passing interest in photography, with the main aim of taking snapshots. However, if you are into action (whether that be sport, animals, or children), these P&S cameras will likely not be able to deliver.
  3. Cameras with interchangeable lenses (ILCs): These can range from $400 to well over $5000, just for the camera body and NO lenses! But, they do deliver the ultimate is flexibility (the ability to control all the photographic options) and image quality. The FULL FRAME cameras are the ultimate, whilst most consumer cameras are APS-C (“cropped sensors”). The major difference is better low-light capability (full frame) and telephoto reach for a comparable lens (crop). These ILC’s are split into 2 categories, the traditional “DSLR” and the newer “mirrorless” cameras. As the name suggests, the difference is whether there is a mirror or not. The trade off between DSLR vs mirrorless used to be size and image quality (the former being both bigger and better), but the line is much more blurred now.

Ultimately, your decision should be based on cost, the type of photos you’re interested in, and the amount of learning you’re prepared to undergo (there really isn’t a great deal of point spending a bunch of money on an expensive camera just so you can leave it in automatic mode). My only piece of advice to you is, whichever type of camera you choose, pick the best one you can afford (taking into consideration the cost of lenses in the third option). If you spend $100 on a camera, you’ll get photos that look like you took them on a $100 camera. One quick way to be discouraged from pursuing the hobby of photography is not being able to get the type of photos that you want in the first place. A $300 zoom lens is not going to get you decent pictures of your son on a football field, at least not consistently. If anyone wishes to chime in on this topic, please leave a comment.