Customers often ask me what kind of camera to get when they are looking for a new camera or to replace an old one. As I have mentioned in past columns, Canon is my brand of choice, and size and price always need to be considered.
Cameras come in two different types and this decision needs to be made first. The two basic types of camera are point-and-shoot and DSLR, or Digital Single Lens Reflex. A point-and-shoot camera is exactly what it sounds like. It's a small camera that can simply be turned on, pointed in the direction of the subject you are photographing and shoot. Easy as that!
With that said, it doesn't mean they are lacking on features. Even the most basic point-and-shoot has a ton of features that are really cool, but most people will never try to use such as movies and special effects.
A DSLR camera is a type of camera that takes different lenses and can be compared to the cameras normally used by professional photographers. Point-and-shoot cameras are generally priced between $100 and $500 and DSLRs usually range from $600 to $6,000.
With the logic that bigger is better, people often think they need to spend a bunch of money on a DSLR when a good point-and-shoot will do everything they need. People have been known to purchase DSLRs thinking it will make them a better photographer but it often has the opposite effect. They find that the camera is too large to keep with them when they need it, the features are too complicated, they get discouraged and it gets packed away unused.
Today's high-end point-and-shoot cameras have most of the features of the basic DSLR and are easier to use and carry around. Don't get me wrong, DSLRs are wonderful cameras, but the point I want to make is that a great photograph is built on a number of things. The camera is just a tool to make it happen.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer as well as a certified professional photographer.)