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Take a shot at cameras for Christmas

November 20, 2010

Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about photo-related gift possibilities. So far we have talked about having your family portrait taken and we have discussed framing meaningful pictures to give as gifts. Both are great gift ideas, but the most popular gift every year is the camera, and I'm sure this year won't be any different.

Cameras have certainly changed a lot, especially in the past few years, and sifting through all the brands, models and features can be very intimidating. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone to help you figure out which one to choose? Well, I guess that would be me. So, here are a few suggestions to help make your shopping a little easier.

As I've said many times before, stick with brand name cameras. Canon is my choice, but I'm sure Nikon and Sony are both good brands. Off-brand cameras are often a little cheaper, but it is also harder to get support and accessories for them.

I frequently get questions about megapixels. What are they and how many do I need? Megapixels are really not a concern anymore. Most of today's camera models are 10 megapixels or more and 10 is more than enough for great quality pictures.

One feature that I think is important is the zoom. Optical zoom is better than digital zoom and the higher number the better. More zoom gets you closer to your subject when you can't physically get closer to it.

The feature that is quickly becoming a big deal in still cameras is video. The video quality is unbelievable, and, in my opinion, you could easily replace your video camera with one of these. Since video is becoming so popular, the size of the display on the back of the camera is very important. Make sure you get the biggest size display you can get so you can see every detail of your pictures or videos.

Price is the next big thing to consider. Be careful buying cameras on the Internet. It is common practice in the online world to sell cameras with out-of-country warranties, or stripped of the accessories that should be included when you buy from a reputable dealer. It is always best to buy your camera from a camera shop with a professional photographer on staff who can help you when you have questions. I just happen to know of a great place to start. Shop locally.

(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer, certified professional photographer and president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)



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