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Tips on Buying a Camera
PhotographyYou must decide what type of photography you are planning to pursue. A studio photographer's needs are different from a natural photographer. An amateur photographer may only need an inexpensive point and shoot camera whereas a professional may spend a great deal of money on high end SLR Digital or Film Camera to match his or her needs. With the advent of Smart (Cell) phones a new wrinkle has been added, do I want to buy a "traditional" camera or should I just use my phone? Seeing the statistics today I think many are opting out for the Smart Phones, the choice is up to you.

Questions to ask:

How much do I want to spend?
What do I want to do with the camera?
What extra features do I want the camera to have?
Do I want a digital or film camera?
Do I want a Point and Shoot or SLR camera?
Do I want to just buy a Cell Phone and just use it?
Do I want to take classes?

Camera Prices?
Camera prices vary from model to model and store to store. If you are just going to shoot occasional pictures of your children, a cheap point and shoot or cell phone will fit your needs. If you want to shoot more varied pictures, then a high end point and shoot or a low end SLR will probably fit your needs. If you are creative I would advise you invest in a high end SLR, lenses, flash and a tripod. Many of a camera is bought or given as a gift which is too complex for the user and ends up on a closet shelf after many frustrating attempts at shooting! Match your needs with the camera. If you buy or get a high end camera, take a class in photography. You will find your investment in time and money will be worth the effort.
Camera Use
Different cameras can be used for different purposes. A point and shoot or cell phone can take simple snap shots, while a mid range camera can shoot good general pictures. An SLR has a wide range of features that can shoot anything from the simple snap shot to a glorious landscape, portrait, or wildlife picture. Remember what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot and how much time you want to spend should determine your camera use.
Bells and Whistles
Today's cameras have a wide range of extra features that can enhance your pictures. You can buy a simple throw away camera that has no controls, a medium range camera with limited features or a professional SLR camera with a wide range of features. What you want the camera to do is very important in making this decision. If you are just going to shoot some quick snap shots of your kids then a throw away might be what you want. If you want to take high quality pictures move to either the midlevel or professional SLR cameras. The quality of your work will improve as you move up the level of your camera.
Digital or Film Camera?
Today's market offers two forms of traditional cameras, the digital and film. Film cameras come in slide, 35mm and 120mm formats whereas digital cameras use flash cards that come in a variety of forms. Film cameras images are saved on either positive slide film or negative strips. Digital cameras save images electronically on flash cards. Digital cameras have greatly improved their ability to produce outstanding pictures to a point some experts predict that the film camera may go the way of the Beta VHS, the 8 track tape and the floppy disk!
Are Classes Necessary?
If you want to understand how to use the camera properly then yes I would recommend a class. Keep in mind that if you have a low end camera, then a class might not be for you. You will find that a class will usually cover topics that don't apply to your camera. If you have an SLR, then I would highly recommend a class. Contact your local college or community school and see if they have photography classes. One question that has recently been asked concerns the Online Classes now being offered by many schools. I myself prefer classes that involve a live teacher who can answer questions and provide more hands on instruction! Your way of learning should determine the format of your class.
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