Photography has become an integral part of our social lives, especially the youth who like sharing their life experiences as they happen. Picking up a decent camera can become tricky when there are so many options to choose from with each claiming to be the best. To make the task easier, we have compiled a list of some basic things young people should consider when buying a camera.
Things to Consider When Buying a Camera for Young People
Image quality is the first thing that comes to mind when buying a camera. But what exactly is good image quality? Today’s cameras have become heavily reliant on software processing and it’s no more just about a sensor capturing light. Different companies have different processing algorithms, resulting in a different image quality and the level of detail. For example, Samsung is more inclined towards delivering punchy, colorful pictures, while SONY likes to keep it as close to the original scene as possible.
That’s why defining image quality has become a subjective matter. Reading reviews and having a look at sample photos of a camera you are interested in is a good starting point and will give you a fair idea if a particular brand produces pictures to your liking.
Ergonomics and Size
Portability, size and ergonomics are also important features to consider when you are looking for a camera for casual photography. Young people are more likely to buy a lightweight, compact camera that is easy to carry and use, instead of a bulky camera that they’ll probably think twice before carrying.
Represented in mm (millimeters), the focal length is essentially the description of the lens being used in a camera and tells us how much angle of view the camera will capture. A longer focal length means higher magnification and narrower angle of view and vice versa. A focal length of 18mm will have a very wide angle of view and will capture a lot of objects, while a focal length of 135mm will capture a zoomed-in picture containing a lot fewer objects in the scene.
A 50mm lens is considered to be the sweet spot for general purpose shooting and cameras with 50mm lens (f/1.8) also tend to be the most affordable these days. However, your needs might vary, so pick a focal length that serves your purpose. In a nutshell, a lens that can fulfill 80% of your needs is the right lens as there is no such thing as a perfect lens for everyone.
Fixed vs. Interchangeable Lenses
Fixed lens cameras work fine for general purpose shooting, but they might not work for people who have to shoot in different situations and need some flexibility. One of the biggest advantages of fixed lens cameras is that they tend to be more portable and compact and force you to get creative with what you have.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on lenses and not have to worry about which one to use. That’s why fixed-lens cameras make more sense for young people who just need a camera for sharing their life stories without getting into technical jargon and the whole which-lens-to-use debate.
Although most people will only use the auto mode to take pictures, it’s nice to have other options too. Granular controls such as exposure, color temperature, ISO setting etc. give you more options to play with and get creative with your photos. The number of options vary from one manufacturer to another, so make sure to compare different models before making a final decision.
Speed and Performance
We have reached a point where speed and performance are not real issues anymore. But it’s still recommended to make sure you are not buying a camera that is known to be sluggish. Autofocus is one of the key factors in terms of performance you still need to consider. A good camera should be able to quickly shift focus and give you the option to manually select where you want to focus.
Gone are the days when the megapixel count was the only thing you had to worry about. A 150 Megapixel camera might look much better than a 16MP camera on paper, but it’s actually about the quality of pixels. High-MP cameras usually also downscale to lower MP to save space, so there is no point in selecting a camera solely based on the number of Megapixels it advertises. A 16MP camera is decent enough for casual photography and good enough for most young people. What really matters is how the software processes that data and how it turns light into pictures.
In addition to the final result, there are some other things to consider too such as battery life, usability, design, ruggedness/IP rating (for outdoors), low light performance and connectivity options. Do you need a port for attaching a dedicated mic for recording better quality audio? Is Wi-Fi necessary or optional? Do you need high-speed file transfers? These additional features increase usability and allow you to make the most out of a camera, but these extras also cost more and might not be something everyone needs.
Should I pic a fixed-lens camera or one that allows changing lenses?
It depends on what you want to do with the camera. For general photography a fixed-lens camera works fine, but if you are into photographing diverse settings, you might want to change lenses according to different situations.
Should I shoot in Raw or JPEG format?
RAW format is primarily meant for those who do post-processing of captured images and want all the information a camera can capture. However, saving in RAW format takes a lot of space and you might quickly run out of storage space while doing so. That’s the reason JPEG is the default option as it gives you the final image in a compressed format, so you can share it right after capturing.
How much do I need to spend on a camera?
Point-and-shoot cameras can be had for a few hundred dollars and they are pretty good at casual photography. Prices only go higher from here and can reach thousands of dollars, which might not be something most young people are interested in.
Which brands make the best cameras?
Brands including Canon, Nikon, SONY, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Ricoh and Samsung make quality cameras and offer a diverse range of products targeting different price points.
There are many factors to consider when buying a camera for young people, but sticking to the basics makes the task easier. Instead of spending tons of money on expensive products, it makes more financial sense to pick a product that can fulfill your requirements. Why spend hundreds of dollars more on a camera with the option to change lenses when all you want is to capture birthday parties? All reputable brands have gotten pretty good at doing the basics right, so it mainly boils down to your own personal preferences, budget and whether or not you can find a good deal for a particular brand.