Make lasting memories with your photographic equipment
Photography is a deeply rewarding hobby. It allows you to express yourself artistically and capture memorable moments in your life that you might otherwise have missed. While the camera on your cell phone does a nice job of capturing the activities and scenes around you, equipment made just for photography take it to a higher level. You have probably said to yourself more than once that you wish you had a better camera or camcorder to use instead of your cell phone. With the wide selection and Every Day Low Prices on cameras, camera lenses, camcorders and accessories available at Walmart, you can go from novice to professional photographer in the blink of a camera shutter.
Getting started as a hobbyist in photography first means determining what camera is right for your needs.
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras These work with a reflex mirror to capture the images you shoot with your camera. The mirror is adjustable and works with an optical viewfinder. dslr cameras work interchangeably with several different lenses, giving you a large amount of freedom when choosing distance, lighting and other options. They also give you the option of shooting automatically or manually.
Mirrorless cameras A simpler version of the DSLR camera, mirrorless cameras also work with interchangeable lenses and can go from manual to automatic shooting. These cameras use an image sensor to capture the image, which is projected onto an electronic viewfinder, which makes them much lighter than DSLR cameras.
Point-and-shoot cameras Sometimes known as a compact camera, these cameras have the flash built into them and use autofocus to create the proper amount of exposure. These are small cameras but still have lenses that zoom to capture images from far away. Some point-and-shoot cameras are also waterproof, meaning that they withstand usage in wet weather or can take photos underwater at depths of several feet.
Instant film cameras Unlike most cameras available, these still use film to capture images, which pops out of the front of the camera for an instant photograph.
Perhaps still photography is not what interests you most. In that case, a camcorder might deliver the memories you wish to keep for years to come. Camcorders capture the action as it happens, whether it is a child's first birthday party, the wedding of close friends or a happy day at the beach. Most also take still photographs. The factors to consider regarding camcorders include resolution, media format, size and features.
Resolution The two choices here are standard definition and high definition (HD). To determine which one is best for you, it depends on how you plan to view the scenes you capture. If you are going to watch them on a cell phone, tablet, PC or non HDTV, standard definition is fine. However, if you are planning to watch what you shot on an HDTV, then HD is the way to go.
Media format The options for recording to here are flash memory card, built-in flash memory and hard disk drive (HDD). Built-in memory is usually limited in how much you can store at one time. Flash memory cards expand on the camcorder's built-in memory. HDD camcorders can record for longer periods but weigh the camcorder down.
Features For the best camcorders, you want to look for ones with lenses that feature high optical zoom, which is measured by "x." A 20x zoom magnifies images by a factor of 20 while a 40x magnifies images twice as much. Image stabilization makes images appear sharper, even when the user has shaky hands or is bumped.
Once you have decided what kind of photography you want to pursue, and have the equipment you need to achieve this, you likely still need a few accessories to tie everything together.
Lenses Once you know what style of camera you want, you should know that many of them require the use of a lens to capture those moments you want to retain forever. When deciding on a lens, brand is a major consideration as you want a lens that fits your camera or camcorder perfectly. Prime lenses are only available at a stationary distance, such as 50mm, meaning it has a range of 50mm from the center of the lens to its focus point. Zoom lenses have a range, such as 35-80mm, which means it can adjust between 35mm and 80mm to its focal point. The other key factor is maximum aperture or the amount of light the lens uses. The lower the number, the more light it can take in.
Tripods Tripods make it easy to capture steady photos and video, especially on uneven terrain. A typical tripod is made of metal, with rubber tips on the legs and stands between 5- and 6-feet tall when set up.
Camera bags A bag is a way to keep all of your camera or camcorder essentials in one space and protect everything at the same time. Many bags are made of metal or hard plastic, with leather and canvas as other available options. Some have foam interiors for added protection for your equipment.
Batteries and chargers Since being near an electrical outlet when using your camera or camcorder is not likely, a battery is necessary. In fact, more than one is ideal. These hold a charge that allows your device to run for several hours. Having an additional battery allows you to pop a new one into your photo equipment when the existing one runs out of juice. Having an additional charger is a good idea, too, especially if you are shooting while on vacation or away from home.
Memory cards These allow your camera and camcorder to hold more pictures and video. Some cameras, like camcorders, have built-in memory, but the number of photos they can hold is limited. Memory cards can add additional memory from 1GB to more than 480GB, depending on the camera.