Photography is much more than learning how the camera works, it involves informed choices and learning to see
and understand rather than simply viewing what is in front of you. Using a camera is about recording memories and
communicating your ideas and thoughts. The unique ability to freeze forever a single instant of time is why there
will always be a universal appeal for the art of photography.

Choosing your camera The question you must ask yourself when purchasing a camera is what will you use it for? Are you simply looking for better quality shots of your dog, children and all those special family moments? Or do you want more from your photography when it comes to landscapes, sports and special events. If the latter describes you best, and you want to take your photography a little more serious, the purchase of your first DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) may be just around the corner. Now for the sake of this article your decision has been made to buy a DSLR camera. But, how do you decide which DSLR to buy? There is an increasing array of them on the market so you have a real “battle for choice” ahead of you. Here are a few factors to consider when looking for a DSLR:

A good place to start when thinking about buying a DSLR is obviously price. DSLRs range in price from some quite affordable deals at the lower end to extremely high prices at the professional end. Set yourself a budget for your purchase early but be sure to keep in mind that you’ll need to consider the “add on” expenses, such as Lenses, bags, filters, tripods and memory cards. For beginners it is recommended looking into kits, then upgrading as you expand on your skills. Most technology retailers will offer great deals on kits that include “whole solutions” rather than just the basic camera.

What will you use it for?
When you head into a camera store to purchase any type of DSLR, the first question most sales people will ask you is, “what type of photography do you want to do?” Similar to the question we asked ourselves earlier, though this question will help you decide the initial model, features and accessories you’ll need. Will this be a general purpose camera for recording ‘life’? Are you wanting to travel with the camera? Is it for sports photography? Macro Photography? (Close up) Low Light Photography? Make a realistic list of the type of photography you will use it for. It is best to always pick the camera that suits the most complex needs you have. This means that your new camera should do that very task and everything less complex, with ease.

DSLRs are all more sizeable than compact point and shoot cameras but there is a fair bit of variation in size between them also. Some photographers don’t mind carrying around weighty gear, but if you’re going to use it for “on the go” photography (travel, bushwalking etc), then small and light models can be very handy. An appropriate bag to carry it in, is also important when considering the size of the camera.

‘How many megapixels does it have’ is a question that is often the first to be asked about a new camera. While I think ‘megapixel rating’ is sometimes over emphasised (more is not always best) it is a question to consider as DSLRs come with a wide range of megapixel ratings. Megapixels come into play as you consider how you’ll use your images. If you’re looking to print enlargements, then more can be good – if you’re just going to print in small sizes or use them for e-mailing friends then it’s not so crucial. Another factor to consider when looking at megapixel rating is the storage capacity of your memory card. The higher the Megapixel rating, the higher the storage capacity required to store those “large” images.

Choosing & using lenses
There are many lenses to choose from and there are many ways to use them. The ability to change lenses brings a depth to your work. With an array of options when it comes to picking a lens, the results gained depend on your choice of standard, wide-angle, zoom and telephoto lens. Standard lenses are ideal for general purpose shots, landscapes and half length portraits. These lenses are light in weight and great for travel, with no zoom functionality, they are the photographers point and shoot choice. Your standard lens on a 35mm format DSLR will be 50-55mm Wide-angle lenses are again perfect for landscapes, the ability to create shots such as; panoramas, over head sky effects and crowd scenes. Another great aspect of the wide-angle lens is the results gained in cramped spaces, especially indoors. Wide-angle lenses start at 35mm and go down to 21mm, anything lower and you will notice distortion on the edges of your images, also known as “fish-eye”.

If you are a photography enthusiast and want to share your experiences as well as learn from fellow photographers, the Penrith RSL Photography club is for you. They are a friendly club, open to anyone and everyone with a interest in photography no matter how experienced you are with the lens.

Membership is only $25 per year, and renewable each December. For further details please phone Peter Thorpe on 0416 070 512, or check out our website
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