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What should I know before going in and buying a camera?

Okay so I'm 14 and this is my Christmas present from my parents. I'm looking into it and I have no clue. I had an old film camera and I'm looking for something more, not a point and shoot though. The budget is like $200 and like I mentioned before, I don't have much previous experiance with this kind of camera so I'm looking for something not too complicated.

Okay I need tips and what I shoulkd look for. A side note, it's for pictures outside so if it's not as good inside I'm fine with that.

5 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Which one is a good camera to buy?" gets asked many times every single day here on YA.

    A quick search would have given you thousands of instant replies (without having to wait for answers), but once again here is my 10 cents on the subject:

    I don't really like to give recommendations for particular cameras because there are too many choices and too many variables in what people are looking for. I find it much more useful to help you think this over, then make up your own mind.

    Point & Shoot cameras are wonderfully handy because of their small size.

    When light conditions are ideal, they even take really nice photos - all of them do.

    However, they all DO have limitations - they don't do very well in low light situations (i.e. noisy photos, hard to avoid blur, etc). The little onboard flash is very harsh at close range, and doesn't reach very far.

    Many of them have no manual functions, so you are limited to only very basic photos, you can't compensate for unusual situations, or do many fun "tricks" and special effects.

    P&S's also suffer from frustrating shutterlag and many of them chew through batteries rather quickly.

    If you're ok with all those limitations, then go ahead and pick one, most of them (the same type and same price range) are rather similar. Personally I would pick either a Canon or a Nikon, and would certainly stay away from Kodak and Vivitar.

    A higher end P&S will give you more manual options and better quality. Many of those even give you the option of adding a proper flash (which makes a big difference to your flash photos).

    Don't worry too much about megapixels - all modern cameras have plenty enough, plus there is a limit to how many pixels you can squash into a tiny P&S sensor before you actually LOSE quality rather than gain it. 6 megapixels is about the upper limit for those little sensors.

    Don't worry about digital zoom, in fact, don't EVER use it. It simply crops away pixels, i.e. destroys information. The only real zoom is optical.

    Some people ask for a camera that "doesn't take blurry photos". Blur is the photographer's problem, NOT the camera's. Even the most expensive camera will take blurry photos if the person behind it doesn't know what they're doing.

    Some words about special effect features such as color accent, or even just b/w or sepia:

    About applying any sort of effect in camera: DON'T DO IT !

    Imagine if you just happen to take the best photo you ever took - surely you would want to have it in all its glory, right?

    Always set your camera to biggest size, best quality (and to color).

    That way, you start with the best possible photo as your original.

    Then you make a copy and edit it to your heart's content.

    You have much better control over any editing on your computer, even something as simple as b&w will look MUCH better when it was processed properly instead of in camera.

    You can do all sorts of things to it PLUS you get to keep your original.

    Decide which features are important to you, and look for cameras that have that feature.

    Then go compare a few models on .

    The very best thing you can do for your success is to borrow some books and learn about photography. A bit of knowledge will make a much bigger difference to your photos than your choice of P&S camera can.

    For what it's worth - if I was in the market for a P&S camera right now, my choice would be a Canon Powershot SX40 HS

    If tiny size is attractive and important in your opinion (but you still want a camera that gives you some decent options), I'd suggest looking at cameras like the Canon Powershot SX210IS or perhaps the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10. However, do keep in mind that small cameras have tiny sensors and tiny lenses, so don't ever expect miracles from any of them.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    For point and shoot cameras there's lots to choose from. How large do you want your camera? There's sub compacts, compact, and super zoom cameras which are biggest for point and shoots. Very few point and shoots do well in dim light without flash,

    The biggest bang for your bucks would be the Fuji line of super zoom (bridge)cameras. The Fuji S2950 has lots of zoom, a viewfinder and aperture/shutter priority. On line it's under $200-. $150 + shipping at Amazon. The first step in learning a bit about photography is using a camera's shutter speed/aperture feature. Check out

  • 9 years ago

    In that price range your best bet will be a Fujifilm Finepix bridge camera. Wallymart has one for around $180. A SDHC card will finish the $200.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    That there's more out there than Canon and Nikon.

    I'd suggest finding a specialised dealer, although with your budget, Fujifilm is probably a good place to start.

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  • 9 years ago

    You should go to Best Buy and talk to one of the representatives to find out more about the cameras. The number one thing you should keep in mind is what you are using the camera for. Do you take a lot of close up pictures or far away? Are you taking still life photos or of motion (sports).

    The Nikon Coolpix L810 is very good for still life and zooming in for far away pics.

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