What's your focus?
So, you're in the market for a new digital camera. You've gone online and maybe into a store or two to check out what's available.
Perhaps you found yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the new features and advances in technology. You're not alone.
Today's digital cameras do more than just take photos. They capture high-definition video, help you share your photos instantly online and automatically adjust settings to take the best possible shot in any situation or lighting condition. And the technology is always changing.
So how do you know which camera is right for you?
Scott and Kelly Schoeberl, of Olive Juice Studios and Apple Juice Photography in Rochester, say it all comes down to the kind of pictures you want to take.
"I think you have to do a real self-assessment of how you're going to use the camera and what it is that you're going to be taking pictures of," Kelly says.
The Schoeberls say most digital-camera users fall into three general categories: those who simply want to document the everyday lives of friends and family; landscape and large group photographers, and nature and sports photographers.
"And depending on which category you think you fall into, there are different technologies and features that will be more or less important to you," Kelly says.
If you want to take professional-looking landscape photos or photos of your kids going to prom or other life events, Kelly says most of your emphasis should be on the camera's lens.
"You'll want to read and learn more about the lenses on the camera, and you're going to want a lens that has the ability to shoot wide angle photos," she says.
If you fall more into the sports- and nature-photographer category, you should be looking at a camera's zooming and light-capturing capabilities.
"Things like, does the camera allow you to take photos in burst mode, or to take multiple shots within a single millisecond?" Kelly says.
Scott Schoeberl says you'll also want a camera with a high ISO, a control setting that helps your camera maximize the amount of natural light.
"You'll want a camera with a high ISO in case you're photographing things like an indoor basketball game," he says.
Most baseline digital cameras also come with other standard features such as automatic image stabilization, auto-focus and facial detection, which the Schoeberls say is now getting so advanced that it can actually detect the very instant that the person you're photographing smiles.
"It can also alert you if it thinks that someone blinked during the photo," Kelly says.
With all the new features and functions to consider when looking at today's digital cameras, the Schoeberls say there is one particular offering that you can pretty much ignore.
"In none of this do we care about megapixels," Kelly says. "For the longest time, everyone kind of thought that the more megapixels a camera had, the better it was. But all digital cameras now have more than enough megapixels. Some even have far more than you'd ever need."