Monday, August 2, 2010
Choose Between Two Cameras—08/02/10
Deciding which camera features matter most to you- ISO. The 50D offers a default ISO range up to 3200, and it’s even expandable to 12800. At first glance this looks to be a lot like the T2i, but notice that the T2i’s basic range goes all the way to 6400. That implies the manufacturer deems the maximum usable ISO to render “normal” photographs at 6400—a full stop higher than ISO 3200 in the 50D. That extra stop also suggests lower noise across the spectrum, so not only do photographers who work in low light (or where super-fast shutter speeds are required) want to pay attention to ISO capabilities, any photographer who prefers low noise at every setting may want to factor it in to her decision.
By this point, chances are good that most photographers now have formed a preference based on just these few distinctions. They want video or they don’t. They want to shoot fast or they don’t. They want to shoot at high ISOs or they don’t. The camera choice is obvious based on the features they value. But what about in other situations where other features differ? Here’s a list of those features and what they might mean to the average camera buyer.
- Flash. For a photographer who prefers working with external strobes, the pop-up flash on a DSLR could actually be an annoyance rather than a benefit. Travel photographers, though, or those who don’t like to haul around extra gear, might not even consider a camera that doesn’t include a built-in flash.
- Resolution. Comparing 15 to 18 megapixels may not make a whole lot of difference in the finished images, but what if your camera choices include a 15-megapixel model and a 22-megapixel model? Should you invest in the extra resolution? For a professional shooter, chances are good that every bit of resolution is appreciated. But what if you’re just trying to take nice pictures of your kid’s soccer games to post on Facebook? Does the resolution race really matter? For that photographer, no it doesn’t. For the photographer shooting wildlife where the ability to crop significantly into the frame is a big benefit, resolution can be quite valuable. When in doubt, just do the math. At 300 dots per inch, a 20-megapixel image (4,000 x 5,000 pixels) works out to prints at more than 13x17 inches. If you’re not printing that big, why pay for all those pixels?
- Form factor. Until now all of these comparisons have pertained to interchangeable-lens DSLRs. But many photographers also consider smaller cameras—from point-and-shoots to advanced compacts. I always suggest that photographers who aren’t interested in multiple lenses seriously investigate compacts. Those who want interchangeability but not the bulk of a DSLR—perhaps because they travel frequently and want to do so easily—might be best served by interchangeable-lens compact cameras. Those who value carrying a camera all the time may be most interested in a compact point-and-shoot because it can be tucked in a pocket or purse.
There’s no single answer to the “what camera” question, but there are lots of ways to figure it out for yourself. Just look at what you shoot and how you do it. What’s important is that each photographer understands his or her own shooting style and preferences and applies that to the appropriate features for their perfect camera.
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