Even once you've narrowed a choice down to a specific manufacturer, the decision as to which model to buy can still be complicated and overwhelming; in fact, I'd say it's probably harder to pick the right camera from a particular lineup than it is to decide which manufacturer's wares you like best. Here's my take on Canon's current dSLR offerings and when and whether I think it's worth the extra bucks to buy higher up the … Read more
Not everyone approaches the dSLR buying decision as a tabula rasa choice. If you've already chosen Nikon -- whether it's because you already have some lenses, your friends are enamored of the brand, or you simply have had good experiences with the company's point-and-shoots -- here's some help selecting the right dSLR model.… Read more
Back before Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the company had strayed a bit from its core products. One of those misfit toys was the QuickTake digital camera.
Released in May 1994 for $749, the first model, the QuickTake 100, was made jointly with Kodak and worked only with Apple computers. The fully automatic digital camera was one of the first available for consumers. It was followed by the QuickTake 150 that added Windows support, and the 200 (made by Fujifilm), which added focus and aperture control as well as removable storage.
The QuickTake was killed in 1997, and while the … Read more
Compact megazooms, also known as travel zooms, are some of the most popular cameras on CNET. That's likely because they offer wide-angle lenses with long zooms, giving you a lot of shooting flexibility, but without the bulk of larger dSLR-style megazooms.
This roundup only features the flagship compact megazooms from each of the manufacturers. Most of the category is filled with models that are at or around the 20x-zoom mark. Sony is the biggest exception, out in front this year with its HX50V, which packs a 30x, f3.5-6.3, 24-720mm lens. It's also the priciest in the category thanks in part to a deep feature set.
You've opened the box, charged the battery, and oohed and aahed over your shiny new toy. Now what?
Scan your manual No, you don't have to read the whole thing, just the important stuff. In the beginning somewhere there will be a diagram showing you the parts of the camera. That's the really important stuff. Then turn to the index, providing the manual has one (there are some utterly heinous examples of manualcraft that don't include an index); if there isn't, use the table of contents instead. Run down the index or TOC, and look at the page in the manual for every term you don't understand. … Read more
Let's be clear about one thing: there is no "perfect" camera. What you're looking for is a camera that will do most of what you need, do it well, and make shooting enjoyable. Anything beyond that is a big bonus.
Why do I stress that? Because if you really go searching for the perfect camera, you'll end up with purchase paralysis, and miss lots of great photo opportunities along the way. My corollary to Chase Jarvis' maxim "The best camera is the one that's with you": The best camera is the one … Read more
Smartphone adoption has seemingly killed off interest in picking up a cheap point-and-shoot camera for holiday gifting. Unlike in past years, there aren't a lot of compacts at ridiculously low prices.
There are some out there worth considering, though, especially if you know what to look for. Understanding a few key specs could make the difference between picking out an inexpensive camera you'll want to take with you everywhere or something that ends up back at the store.… Read more
It's a common complaint: you want the photo quality of a dSLR but find you're leaving the camera at home because it's so large.
The compromise is a compact camera with a sensor larger than a typical point-and-shoot's -- sometimes even the same size as a consumer or midrange … Read more
Call them bridge cameras, longzooms, superzooms, or megazooms (as we do), they're all pretty much the same thing: a large lens slapped on the front of a point-and-shoot camera.
While that's a bit of an oversimplification, the fact remains that though these are full-featured models with digital SLR-style bodies, they still have the shooting performance and photo quality of a compact camera. That said, if you're after a long lens, point-and-shoot simplicity, and an affordable price (at least more so than for a dSLR that has comparable lenses), you've come to right roundup.Editors' note: This post was originally published October 26, 2011, but is updated frequently. It was updated May 8, 2013, to include the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300.
Everyone out there who leaves their camera set on full automatic, raise your hands.
Automatic is great while you're learning your camera, and I frequently recommend it to people who want to step up to a dSLR but are too intimidated by all the settings on the camera. But like any crutch, ultimately you're better off without it. Here's some guidance about all those other modes you could be shooting in.
If you're frequently unhappy with your photos shot in Auto, it's time to substitute some of the camera's decisions with your own. Auto can only guess that you're shooting sports, but you know. Why leave it to chance? Choosing from these modes is the way you provide important information to the camera to help it make better decisions. Yes, it'd be nice if the camera could just take perfect pictures without any thought on your part, but most technology simply isn't that smart yet.
I'll start with some basic terms, then move to the core shooting modes -- ones that have been around forever and that you really should try (if your camera has them) when you're ready to take control of your photography. If you're not ready for these, then jump below to Typical scene program modes and Less-common scene modes. … Read more