When is it time to upgrade your camera?

When is it time to upgrade your camera?

by: Angela Banchi
Angela Banchi

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Angela Gail Banchi found her passion in photography at the early age of 16. From the moment she picked up a camera she knew this was what she wanted to do for a living.
Let’s all admit it; almost everyone has fun taking pictures! Who doesn’t love being behind the camera and demanding smiles and funny expressions from the one standing before them? It is the thrill of the “capture” (no pun intended, well, maybe it was intended). We look for the perfect moment, the best expression and a perfect likeness of our subject all captured in a single shot. This task alone can keep a budding photographer occupied for years!

But, how do we know when it is time to take our interest to the next level? I often hear from others those pained phrases such as “I had the perfect shot but the moment was over by the time the flash fired!” or “It was a gorgeous naturally lit scene but my point and shoot ruined it by flashing!” It is to these budding photographers that I address these thoughts.

Jumping to the next level in developing your craft and interest most likely must begin with using some better equipment. A point and shoot camera (PS Camera) can be a wonderful tool but it is essential to upgrade to a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (DSLR) in order to take better pictures and have more control over your exposures. A DSLR is a digital camera which features the main body and you may choose from a variety of lenses to attach to the body. Some benefits of the interchangeable lenses are: you can get closer to your subject without having to invade on their personal space with a telephoto lens, if you purchase a “fast lens” (f2.8 at any focal length, for instance) you can use natural soft light in low light situations, you can capture the entire scene with a wide-angle lens – even beyond what we naturally see peripherally if you invest in a fisheye lens.

Not only does a DSLR enable more choices in the lens department but using a DSLR also enables the photographer to completely control the exposure, the lighting, the depth of field and the shutter speed. For example, you are inside a candle lit room and want to capture the beautiful warmth of the room in front of you. With a point and shoot camera the entire scene becomes a flatly lit cool tone with the automatic flash. Where is the ambiance? With a DSLR camera, you can choose to work in a high ISO like 1600 paired with a wide open 2.8 lens to capture the ambiance of the scene even while just hand holding the camera! Digital cameras these days are so wonderfully made that you have virtually no “noise” (digital “grain) at higher ISO’s.

Example 1 Flash Used (Flat Looking Photo Example 2: No Flash (Creates Depth and Visual Warmth

Have you ever tried to capture a 2 year old running around a playground with your PS camera? Chances are by the time the camera releases the shutter you end up with the blur of a behind in the shot or more likely, no child in the shot at all! PS cameras are just not quick enough. They shoot with a lengthy delay. Your solution to this common issue is to invest in a DSLR. The moment you press the shutter, that is when the photo is taken! This will be absolute freedom to your soul! Not only that, you can also shoot continuously with 3 frames per second. No more missing that best moment your 2 year old gives you again!

Example 3: Point&Shoot: Missed The Moment Example 4: DSLR (Always Gets The Moment)

If you are wondering what a good entry-level DSLR is, I highly recommend the Canon Rebels. There are many versions of this camera but I am quite certain any of them will suit you just fine. Canon makes wonderful cameras, lenses and flashes and their reputation precedes them. You can also find kits out there with a basic everyday zoom lens and the body for a very reasonable price. After all, isn’t feeding into your passion for artistic capture worth it?