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Choosing a Camera – Beginners

When I was very young, I wanted to take pictures. I was always intrigued by photos and I wanted to take my own. Choosing my first camera was easy, one of the adults in my family just gave me one. To be honest, I don’t remember much about it. It was an old Brownie box camera that would have taken adequate pictures if I had been a better photographer.

Fast Forward

Fast forward a few years and now it was time for me to buy my first camera. I had no idea what was out there. No idea of how to go about choosing. There was no such thing as the internet to search on. All that was available to me were TV commercials and what I saw in the old five and dime stores of the day. I did look into some photography magazines, but was daunted by the look of those big 35mm SLR cameras, various lighting and flash gear, and all of those big words that meant nothing to me. Focal plane, F-Stop, Kodachrome, Ektachrome, ISO, and Film Speed among other things which were alien to me.

Choices

As I was a beginner, I decided the best way to go was to keep it simple. I chose a Kodak Instamatic camera. It was easy to use, load the film and then simply point and shoot, advance the film to the next frame, and your ready to take another picture. When the film was used up, unload the camera and bring the film to be developed. Four or five days later, pick up your prints and wallah, nice little pictures and the negatives to boot. It was a good idea to keep those negatives because you never know when you will need more copies of those precious pictures to share with family and friends.

New Things

I grew a little older and new things were coming out, and guess what I found? Gadget cameras. Specifically the Polaroid instant camera. What a cool little thing, and quite novel. This was another form of point and shoot with a whole new twist. It used a film pack which you would load into the camera. The film pack held 10 undeveloped pictures. When you took a picture, the undeveloped photo would automatically eject through the front of the camera and self develop in a matter of minutes. The film pack contained the film and the batteries used to power the camera, what a great novel idea. A bit spendy to use if you were an avid burgeoning photographer.

Kodak had a cool idea, a mini pocket camera. It was sold as a pocket 110 and used a small film cartridge. It was a point and shoot, but a novel idea none the less. I purchased a few of those over the years when they were still in production. They were wonderful, easy to use, and very convenient, though you still had to go through the whole film developing thing. That little camera took excellent pictures and could even be used as a macro camera to within an inch or two. I know this because my Grandmother (who knew less about photography than anyone) wanted to take a picture of us at some family gathering or other. She was so excited that she took the camera, held it about an inch away from her eye and snapped a photo. When developed, I had a perfect picture of her nose. She was holding the camera backwards. How she and the rest of us all laughed when that print was shown.

Digital Photography

Things are so much different in todays world. Things have come a long way in the last few decades. Digital photography is the way to go for most people, and digital cameras can be found for as little as $40.00, and they go up from there. Anything from the most basic digital point and shoot, to high end digital SLR cameras. There is almost no end to the number of manufacturers. So, how to choose? Beginner, novice or advanced. For a beginner I would recommend a low end point and shoot such as the Vmotal Mini Digital Camera. This little gem is a great starter for around $40. It uses an SD card (not included) for storage, has an 8x optical zoom, can take video clips and has a built in flash. The camera comes with a USB cable and a wrist strap. It uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery which is included. Resolution is 12 mega pixels. A great little starter camera, easy and fun to use for a beginner regardless of age, and a great idea for a stocking stuffer.

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10 Comments

  1. Hey thank you for the awesome post!  I love to take photos, and my wife and me like to travel a lot.  We have thousands of photos on our SD cards.  I actually highly recommend everyone get SD cards when they get digital cameras.  These help make sure that you get the amount of photos you want!

    • I too have tins of photos scattered around on various cards. I’ve recently started cataloging and saving to a 1TB external drive dedicated to photos. 

  2. Hello Greg, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I plan to start video marketing so your article helped me in my decision. I am definitely a beginner and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on camera. Can you recommend to me some proven places where can I find cheap cameras?

    • Cheap cameras can be had online in a lot of different venues. The first question to be asked is, what type of camera are looking for? There are a range of different cameras that I’ll be featuring in upcoming articles. If I can be of any assistance, feel free to contact me.

  3. It is amazing how far cameras have come in a relatively short time. I remember everybody had those Polaroid cameras, it was so cool to print out the pictures immediately! If not you had to take the film up to the store and wait a few days to get them back. Now with the advancement of cell phones and the cameras on them you almost don’t need a camera unless you are a professional photographer! Thank you for the nice trip down memory lane! 

    • It was my pleasure to provide a small link to the past. Growing up with these types of cameras was an experience that i cherish to this day…

  4. Hello; much to inform about an old fashioned camera in a brown case. I was looking to read about it, but I missed it all. Being a novice or a beginner photographer is fun to remember, once you have become an expert. Digital cameras are all over the place these days. But I believe that the HD cameras are making photo lovers breathless! What do you think?

    DorcasW

    • The HD cams are definitely a worthwhile tool. I personally own a couple of them, and one of the them is actually a HD night vision capable video camera. With high end digital SLR’s, you have studio quality at your finger tips. 

  5. Thank you for sharing the tips on how to pick the camera. I remember I used to have Kodak too. Good memories, I remember to have to go get the film develop and you just have to roll the film, good old days. I feel that nowadays all the digital cameras have such an amazing pixel. No matter what you will get a good picture and it is awesome that you can see the pictures and delete the one that you don’t want. I am glad that good camera is super affordable now.

  6. Just found your site. I’m just now starting to learn about taking pictures and I think your ideas are great. I hope to learn more on your site.

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