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¿How to choose the right camera? - Part 1

Most people believe that the more sophisticated and expensive the camera, the better photos they will achieve. Yes, certainly a good camera helps to achieve more surprising effects and take better images in difficult conditions, but in the end it is not the camera that takes the photos, that is done by the person who presses the button. The photographer is the one who chooses the subject, decides the composition, the moment and the adjustments needed to achieve the expected effect. In short, the camera does not make the photographer, there are photographers who do wonders with a cell phone or a pocket camera.

Technology has advanced a lot and there are many options on the market, but they are basically divided into two categories: small ones or fixed lenses and large ones or interchangeable lenses.

Today I am only going to talk about the small or compact ones, these are the ones that have the lens included in the camera body. In this category are cameras that are called “point and shoot” in the market, cell phones and tablets.

The main characteristics of this group are:

- Size: They are usually small, easy to carry in your purse or pocket. The sensor is smaller, and therefore, the resolution (or number of pixels captured by the sensor) is lower, making the memory needed to save each photo less. As the images captured are lighter, they are faster to upload to the cloud and share on social networks, however they have sufficient resolution to use on an internet page.

- Image format: Another important characteristic of these cameras is the format of the final image, normally it is JPG or some relative of it, which for those who are not very technical is not worth going into the subject in depth, it is just It is important to say that they are smaller files, but they lose a little quality each time they are manipulated, edited or recorded on a new disk or medium.

- Automatic Mode: Generally these cameras only have or are used in automatic mode, this means that the camera decides the appropriate aperture, speed, ISO and white balance settings for the lighting conditions. The photographer decides the subject, the moment and the composition, the camera takes care of the rest, you don't have to know anything technical about the process.

- Scenes and modes: These cameras have several scenes and modes to choose from. These are programs or algorithms with predetermined settings and post-processes to achieve a specific effect. For example, if you are taking a portrait of someone (Portrait), the camera will take into account that you want to have a blurred background, so it will choose the largest aperture possible with the light conditions of the moment; or if, on the other hand, it is a photograph of something that is moving and the sports or action scene is chosen, the camera will decide the fastest speed to prevent the photo from being blurred.

Some of these algorithms also add filters to the image, that is, doing “Photoshop” to the photo in the camera. They are programs that, depending on the scene or mode chosen, add more or less contrast, more or less saturation, and change the balance. of whites or temperature of the image, in order to have a ready image in the camera.

- Zoom: These cameras do not have the ability to exchange lenses, as I mentioned before, a compact camera is an all-inclusive box, so when choosing it is important to analyze the quality and capacity of the lens. We must differentiate between optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom is what is achieved with the lenses, the crystals inside the camera, the greater the optical zoom, the greater the ability to take photos of distant things. Totally different is the digital zoom, which is achieved by digitally enlarging the pixels; It is more or less as if we stretched a plastic photo, the image looks larger, but quality is lost, it looks blurry. I personally like to take photos from afar, so I was always looking for the camera that had the largest optical zoom within my budget.

- Autofocus: Currently all cameras have autofocus. This is that the camera decides which is the sharpest point in the image. There is usually a small box in the center of the image that indicates where the camera is focusing. Some have the option to choose the number of focus points or if it is just one, move it around the scene depending on the composition we want in the image.

- Face and smile detector: The face and smile detector assumes that when there are people in our photo we want the faces to be the focus point, so it gives priority to the focus of the people. When we have the smile detector activated, the camera does not shoot until it detects the smile.

- Screen: These cameras have a screen.

- Video: Most also have the ability to make video.

- Connectivity: Some have the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network, some have GPS, which includes the coordinates of the place where the photo was taken among the file information (metadata).

- Price: In reality, there are all prices, it all depends on the brand, the number of programs or scenes they have, the type of sensor, the zoom, the design, the connectivity and other features and functions it offers.

The category of small cameras includes cell phones and tablets, which currently have better resolution than the first digital cameras from the beginning of the century. There are countless apps to use the phone camera that provide manual operation, that add filters to the image, etc. They also sell lenses that can be adapted to cell phones to have more optical zoom, or to have a greater viewing angle.

Every day companies invent more and more functions to facilitate the use of digital cameras and also programs and applications that manage and edit photos.

In the next blog I will do a more detailed analysis of cameras with interchangeable lenses, but now I just want to highlight the main differences with compact cameras.

- They are bigger and heavier.

- They have larger sensors and produce larger files.

- They are generally more expensive.

- They require more time to learn to handle them.

- These cameras have all the options of compact cameras and plus full manual control over the settings.

- The lenses are sold separately, with a wide variety of options to choose from. There are also a large number of accessories to use with these cameras, such as filters, flashes, remote controls, tripods, etc.

- Another difference is that compact cameras normally only have a screen to see what the sensor is capturing, they do not have a viewfinder, while those with interchangeable lenses have both functions.

- They can record in RAW and JPG format, I will explain this in more detail another time.

In the next I will do a more in-depth analysis of the features and options of interchangeable lens cameras, trying to help you find your suitable camera.

If you have any questions or any topics you would like me to include in my future blogs, please send me a message or leave a comment. If you think that the information contained was useful to you, you can like it or share it with your friends.

Thank you and see you soon!

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