Thursday, October 2, 2014

How to Choose a Camera
There are many factors involved in choosing a camera. The first factor you need to decide is size/convenience. Does size really matter?
Yes, it does. It will do you no good to have a top of the line DSLR with multiple lenses if it sits in a corner at home because it is too heavy to carry, or you feel self conscious carrying it around. The opposite point being you don't want too little a camera if you have a goal of getting involved in photography becaue you may quickly find it has limitations such as poor focusing, slower speed, and poorer images than the DSLR which will cause you to have to upgrade to meet your needs. Once you decide this question, it will direct you to either a DSLR with interchangeable lenses (larger camera) or to the smaller cameras which involve point and shoot types, mirrorless cameras or possibly smaller DSLRs.
The next question to ask yourself is what kind of quality do you want. Do you plan on printing your photos or are most of them going to stay on your computer? If you will print them out, then how large? If you are going to print your photos and they will be bigger than 8x10, then you will want a camera with more megapixels and better noise performance (less grainy pictures). If all you are going to do is put your photos on Facebook, email or your computer, then you can pretty much go with any camera or even your phone.
Another question to ask yourself is what kind of photography are you going to make your focus. For instance, if you are planning on taking sports photos of your kids, you will need a camera with a high maximum frame rate (greater than 5, at a minimum) and a great ISO performance, at least 3200 iso or better yet, 5000 iso plus good focusing ability or else you will find you are missing a lot of shots or they are blurry. These cameras tend to be the most expensive DSLR ones out there.
If you are mainly interested in landscape photography, then maximum frame rate is irrelevant, but the quality of the camera sensor is very important, these tend to be a full frame sensor. If you will primarily be taking photos of family and friends, then you can probably can't go wrong with most cameras but you should look for a pop up flash or good noise performance because many of your photographs will be taken indoors or under low light.
The most important factors to consider when choosing a camera are sensor size, megapixels, low light performance (noise), and focusing. There are three main types of sensors available: full frame, crop sensor and micro 4/3. Full frame sensors are the same size as the old 35 mm film negative. They are believed to have the highest resolution images and tend to be bigger and heavier cameras. Crop factor sensors are smaller so image quality is reduced and they tend to have greater noise. Their advantage is that the cameras are smaller and they magnify your images, ie, if you put a 100 mm lens on a crop sensor camera, it will act as a 160 mm lens. This can be an advantage if you are shooting sports or nature/animal photos.  The third sensor is called a mirco 4/3 sensor and tend to be associated with mirrorless cameras. Many people are going to these cameras because they are much smaller and supposedly have excellent image quality. But their disadvantage is that noise performance is not nearly as good and they tend to have poorer focusing.

Megapixels are about the resolution available in a photograph. The higher the megapixel, the more information available in your photograph. With this comes the ability to print larger photos or the ability to crop and still have enough resolution to print at larger sizes. Today, most of the cameras available can print to 11x14 without a problem. I see the main advantage of higher megapixel cameras as giving you the ability to crop aggressively and still have great images.

The current rage in photography is high ISO performance. High ISO performance provides you with the ability to shoot in lower light without a flash. It is very valuable for shooting sports or indoors where flash is not allowed or when you are too far away for a flash to be effective. It is a very valuable asset but it should not be the only factor involved in choosing a camera. Much of the current camera advertising seems to act like it is the only factor.

One of the most important factors in a good camera is its ability to focus. Nothing will aggravate you more than finding those great photos you thought you took are blurry. This is where the DSLR shines and where the mirrorless cameras tend to fall short. If you are going to be doing any sports or nature photography, this will be your most important factor.

Where can you find more information? is an excellent site for information. B&H Photography is also one of the best photography sites for information as well as purchasing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My name is Jim Kuhn. I am a self trained landscape photographer, who has spent many years reading and educating myself on the art of photography. I am frequently asked questions about photography so I have decided to share some of my knowledge to help others in their quest to become better photographers. Well, I am not the most knowledgeable or best photographer out there but I have spent many hours reading about the subject and my hope is to help you obtain this knowledge in a quicker and easier way. My plan is to share each week something to help improve your photography skills. My subjects will run the gamut  from how to choose a camera to how to take better nature photos. I hope that this will be helpful.

If you have a suggestion for a blog topic, please let me know. I want my blog articles to be focused on what is most helpful for you. You can e-mail me your suggestions or questions at: Jim Kuhn