As flowers emerge from a long winter’s nap, the promise of new, useful technology is already in full bloom. Spring is the time that many of us shake off our seasonal affective disorder to embrace the sunshine, all while capitalizing on the opportunity to add to your personal arsenal of gadgets in your quest for technological dominance.
Not sure you have the chops to step into this gladiatorial arena? Our 4-part series this week will give you what you need to know to help friends and family win that fight. First off – Cameras.
With forests regenerating, cherry blossoms coming into their glory and young adults graduating (finally!), there is no better time to upgrade your camera. Whether you are a crafty veteran looking for a DSLR, or an up-and-coming photographer looking to just point-and-shoot, the world of digital photography has radically changed how we take and share pictures. Most cameras currently on the market make taking consistently good snapshots very easy. So how do you know what you need? Here’s the breakdown.
Digital Single-Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR)
Traditionally, single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras have always had the connotation of “only-to-be-used-by-professional-photographers-with-art-degrees”. With the growth of digital photography, the SLR has become much easier to use.
Film-based SLR cameras of yore (Nikons, Canons, Pentax, etc) were complicated to use mainly because the film that captured the picture was sensitive to light and temperature. Good photography required a darkroom, special equipment (chemicals, space, more chemicals), knowledge of how to mix developer and fixer, , skill in “dodging and burning” in the darkroom – in short, time, skill and patience.
Digital photography has made it much more simple. Gone are the vats of chemicals and expensive equipment, replaced by computer programs like Photoshop and GIMP. Cameras have gotten much smarter, with some of the photo processing effects that used to be achieved in the darkroom now living on-board the cameras themselves. These techniques include aperture and exposure adjustments, white balance, and even special effects like gray-scale, sepia tone, point-of-focus effects, and cropping.
Because DSLR cameras use an actual mirror mechanism and a dedicated sensor to capture the image, pictures processed on-board will be of a superior quality to a point-and-shoot. This comes in handy when watching your child (or grandchild, niece or nephew) walk across the stage to collect their diploma, as you now have the ability to capture the moment almost exactly how it looks to your eye.
But what about all those settings? Don’t I need to know how to set it up to get it to work right?
One of the best things about new DSLR cameras is most of them have an Auto setting! With all those advanced settings on the camera, someone who knows how to use them can create some unique effects on their photos – but for the complete beginner, Auto can handle those decisions for you, enabling you to take a beautiful picture with just the click of the shutter button.
Point-and-shoot. Taking a photo can be that simple. With the right camera and accessories, your biggest photographic challenge could be figuring out how to get your pictures uploaded to your favorite social network.
Point-and-shoot cameras are designed to produce top-quality photos with absolutely no effort. Using the technology developed for their DSLR cameras, Nikon, Canon and other camera makers have simplified the process of picture taking. Using on-board sensors and data capture techniques, these cameras are built to make all the decisions for you. (Best of all, the camera is smaller, and you don’t even have to set it on “Auto.”)
Modern digital cameras have made taking good photographs easier than ever. The main difference between DSLR and ‘point and shoot’ cameras is the ability of the photographer to adjust image-capture setting on the device. Though they don’t require it, DSLR cameras allow users to adjust exposure and other factors to give photos special effects. But if you don’t see yourself playing with those kinds of setting, a point-and-shoot camera is likely your best choice.
We hope this helped you understand the differences between DSLRs and Point-and-Shoot cameras, and how both can help meet your needs at any upcoming family reunion, vacation, graduation, or other special event. Check out the DIY section on geeksquad.com for tech tips and videos on how to get your photos off of your camera and make basic edits, and tune in tomorrow (May 5) for the next post in this series: fitness tech!
Agent Salvatore A.
Deputy of Counter-Intelligence, Precinct 1129 (Maryland)
Deputy Salvatore has been fixing computers for 12 years, and policing technology at Geek Squad since 2009. He is “Chuck”: one minute he is working in the black and whites, and the next minute, he dons a tuxedo and heads to a concert (14 years on the violin, with a Master’s degree in Music) to play for Ambassadors and Dignitaries. Finally, he returns to his computer, and gives wisdom to the world through the Counter Intelligence Blog.