So you have a new baby on the way and have decided that now is a good time to upgrade your camera. There are so many options that you can go with, but which one is the best one to go with?
What Types of Cameras Are There?
There are a number of different types of cameras that you can get these days. Starting with the simple, you have the camera on your smartphone. More advanced is a pocket camera which is small and easy to use. If you want to go the whole way you also have Digital Single Lens Reflector (DSLR) cameras. Which one you get will depend on your requirements and budget, so let’s have a look at the options in greater depth.
Pretty much all phones these days come with a camera of some sort. Some are better than others (you’ll notice the difference most in low light conditions). Some have an LED flash, some don’t, some have plastic lenses, some have glass (better).
The benefits of a smart phone camera is that you’ll pretty much always have it on you. You may not get the results of dedicated cameras, but you will almost always be able to catch that spur of the moment event.
- Always on you – Capture every moment
- Share with the world – Many apps on smartphones such as Instagram, Camera+ and Hiptsamatic allow you to instantly share you photos with family and friends
- Low Light – Shooting in low light won’t give very good photos, may be improved if the phone has an LED Flash
- Fixed Lens – The only zoom on a smart phone is digital. This means that as you zoom in, you loose quality
Next in the range of cameras, pocket cameras are designed to be small but also take good quality photos. Most of the time you’ll use one of the pre-defined modes, or even just leave it on the Full Auto mode and let the camera decide the best thing to do.
- Small – Fits in your pocket so you can take it anywhere
- Battery – A lot of Pocket Cameras take standard batteries, so when they run out you can grab some more at almost any store.
- Optical Zoom – Many pocket camera have at least 10x optical zoom
- Can be slow – After taking a photo, a lot of pocket cameras can take a while before being ready for another shot. Check the time between photos in the specs before buying.
- Fixed Lens – You don’t have the option to change to a zoom or wide-angle lens on most Pocket Cameras. You’re stuck with what it came with.
The top of the line “Prosumer” camera, a DSLR is fast becoming the choice of new parents. The recent drop in price of these cameras has brought them to the attention of consumers. This type of camera gives you the most control in how you take your photos.
If you are going to get a DSLR, you may also want to spend some time online learning a bit about photography basics such as Aperture, ISO, Shutter speed etc…
- Multiple lenses – The ability to change the lens depending on the situation. Add a zoom lens for long-range shots like swimming lessons and sports, or a wide angle lens to capture more of the scene.
- Full Control – Have as much control over the photo as you like
- High Quality – DSLRs are at the higher end of the megapixel range. Megapixels aren’t everything, but they sure do help with those cheap enlargements and framing options.
- High Speed – The time between taking shots is very quick. Most DSLRs will take at least 3 photos per second in multi-shot mode, and the larger batteries mean the flash will be ready quicker. This is great for baby photos where you need to catch the moment quickly!
- Bulky – Most DSLRs are at the larger end of the camera spectrum. You’ll probably need a dedicated bad to lug the things around
- Overkill – A DSLR may just be too much for your needs. If you want a camera that you can give to anyone and not have to explain how to use it then one of the other options may be better.
- Expensive – DSLR are pricey. If you’re on a budget you’re probably better off looking for a good quality pocket camera. Plus you’ll start wanting all the other accessories that come with a DSLR such as more lenses, filters, remotes and more!
Each of the different types of cameras suit different occaisions. Most likely you’ll have a camera phone and one other type. If you’re serious about photography, splash out and get the DSLR, you won’t be disappointed. But that doesn’t mean that a pocket camera isn’t going to give you great photos either. Work out your budget and buy the best camera in your price range.
What did we choose?
Aussie Geek Dad went for a DSLR. The Canon EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i / Kiss X3 Digital) to be specific. It came with two lenses (18-55mm & 55-150mm).