How many times have you come home from an event with family and friends and gone through all those photos you took on your phone, only to be disappointed by how poor the quality is? It’s something we know all too well! At this year’s Spring Racing Carnival we’re going to make sure we get the best photos possible by investing in a good camera to capture the fun and excitement of each race day perfectly. We caught up with our camera buyer John Milonas for a mini-masterclass in compact cameras…
Myer: What’s the most important thing to consider when buying a compact digital camera?
John Milonas: First of all, consider what you want to use it for. Then look for a good sensor – you can get everything up to a full frame sensor in a compact body now, which basically means you can get super professional shots in a small body camera. Also look out for a good quality lens – zoom is not really that important to photo quality, but the better the lens the better the shot. And lastly, more megapixels is a myth!
M: I want something easy to use – what should I go for?
JM: All of today’s point-and-shoot cameras are really easy to use, with a number of different automatic modes that cater to the particular conditions you shoot in. They also offer a huge number of filters and artistic in-camera effects to further enhance your shots. Some even have fully articulating screens, which are perfect for selfies! In a nutshell, choose the camera with the biggest and best sensor that’s within your budget, and then the biggest brightest lens with the highest zoom – you can’t really go wrong.
M: How do you make sure you get good quality images?
JM: Making sure you frame the photo properly and use the right settings for the environment will ensure you always get the best shot possible. You also need good lighting and a stable shooting environment. A lot of cameras have built in image stabilisation, which really helps as it means the camera can help reduce blur when shooting a moving subject.
M: For beginners wanting to shoot manually, which settings are best to use?
JM: Every situation is different, but for outdoors during the day, play with your ISO levels– and the rule is the brighter the environment the lower the ISO setting (sensitivity to light) should be. And because during the day there is light around, generally speaking, a faster shutter speed should get the best result. Night shots on the other hand are not as easy but a couple of tricks will make sure you get the best possible image. Try changing your settings to a higher ISO with a slightly longer shutter speed – this will help you capture as much light as possible.
M: What about using flash?
JM: Use a flash when there is simply not enough light. A well positioned flash will mean you can light your subject in the right way allowing for greater detail and less ‘noise’ or grainy photos, something that is common with night photography. Remember with night shooting that shaking is your enemy, so a tripod is a good idea to ensure the shot is stable.
M: What’s the difference between a compact digital camera and a smartphone camera?
JM: Everything!! Smartphone cameras are really only designed for shooting in ideal conditions and for really close up photography. Anything with a moving subject or less than perfect light conditions mean your shots are going to lose quality. Today’s compact cameras offer fantastic image quality and a number of easy to use and simple modes of operation, and it’s easy to connect and download your images on to a smartphone or tablet – some even let you upload directly to Facebook from the camera. A compact digital camera will allow you to get much better quality images that you can keep forever, not just keep in the cloud!
We want people to choose a camera because they want to get creative and capture moments to look back on, and what better time to channel your inner photographer than during the Spring Racing Carnival! You’ll love the shots you’ll get with a digital camera and your new little compact camera will quickly become your new best friend.
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