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camera features explained what features you should consider when buying a camera

15 Jan 2020

Dedicated cameras for photography are complex devices which come with a host of camera features and controls. To throw some light on how the components of a camera affect your shot and frame in their own way, here are some of the features you should look out for on your next camera purchase.

Manual mode – enables you to do more and master the craft with greater. Advanced to professional photographers who have a vivid understanding and experience with these features can play around with settings in accordance to their desired shot. It also comes in handy if beginners want to experiment and learn how each change in setting is affecting their photography.

Auto scenes – for beginners who still are not confident enough to manually control each setting, auto scenes, autofocus and its associated features are the perfect shooting modes to take off from.

Megapixel – high megapixels give you better resolution and cropping margins for your photographs. This is very handy for social media uploads, prints and post-shoot edits, but need not affect the picture quality, per se. Check out “Camera Megapixels” for further details.

Shutter speed – this determines how long the camera sensor is exposed to light. Fast speeds freeze the frames and are essential for action shots, whereas low speeds will allow more light into the sensors and will help in low-light and night photography.

Aperture – the wider the aperture, the more light can pass though the lenses into the camera body. Having a wide aperture in the body will allow you to use lenses with larger range of aperture. It greatly influences the depth of field and low light performance as well.

ISO – it measures the sensitivity of image senor. Large apertures make the camera heavy, and longer shutter speeds might not be favourable, especially if the camera is not mounted on a tripod. In such cases having a larger ISO number will make your camera more sensitive to light.

Auto focus – It is an intelligent feature widely popular in modern cameras, which auto-adjusts the camera to focus the subject. The sensor controls direct the electronic motor systems to zoom-in and out the auto-detected object, to help produce the sharpest possible image at the sensed focal length. Simple point-and-shoot cameras come with a variety of automated features, including auto-focus, whereas DSLRs and MILCs may or may not have this feature, again with the added flexibility of disabling it.

Size and weight – any type of camera, be it compact or one with interchangeable lens has to be of the size and weight you find ideal and comfortable for practical use. Compact point-and-shoot cameras are easy to carry for casual photography. DSLRs and MILCs can be heavy due to body size or the type of lenses you have mounted on it. In those cases you have to consider if the weight f camera is manageable and you can get used to it, and also if you need tripods or extra padded neckbands while shooting with them.

Touch screen – it can just be an additional high-end feature to have. Completely depends upon individual users if they find it easier to browse through menu functions on a touch screen or physical buttons.

RAW shooting – JPEG is the standard format for images but higher models may let you shoot in RAW formats. They don’t typically affect the image as seen on screen but carry up to 4 times the image data as high quality JPEG, and helps in post-shoot edits and photo shops.

Image stabilisation – it helps avoid haze and jerky photos, especially helpful with super zoom lenses which have heavy and will also exaggerate the aberration in images. This feature is available in camera bodies as well as lenses. But certain camera bodies like that of Nikon mostly do not have it. In those cases, go with lens attachments which offer this feature.

Image stabilisation – it helps avoid haze and jerky photos, especially helpful with super zoom lenses which have heavy and will also exaggerate the aberration in images. This feature is available in camera bodies as well as lenses. But certain camera bodies like that of Nikon mostly do not have it. In those cases, go with lens attachments which offer this feature.

  • One important factor to keep in mind is the frames per second (fps) of the video camera. 24-30fps is the standard mark, and 60-120fps will help you capture high quality videos of objects in motion too without dropping frames from the motion picture, hence avoiding jerky videos. But it’s advisable to purchase a camera with suitable fps rate, since very high fps uses a lot of storage data and hence is not available in high resolution camera models.
  • Similarly very high resolution like 4K video camera won’t offer such high fps. 4K cameras are comparatively expensive and must only be bought if you have a 4K screen to view those videos.
  • Other features like time lapse, slow-motion (offered in cameras with high fps), focusing and zooming-in and out of object while shooting are offered by different brands series and models.

Check if the mike can collect the sound from the distances the camera can shoot decently.

Frames per second (fps) – the resolution and picture quality will go to waste if you don’t have a decent frame rate while taking photos. It determines how many frames of images it captures per second, where 24-30 is the normal fps range, and 60 fps will give you great videos of sports. Having good fps will avoid frames from dropping which can lead to jerky videos, hence giving seamless videos.

Zoom – most cameras come with a standard do-it-all-zoom range. The larger the in-built zoom provided, the costlier and heavier it will be. For ultra wide or close-up shots you can use dedicated wide-angle or telephoto lenses respectively if you need to capture footage beyond the standard range.

Viewfinder – DSLRs have mirrors which can reflect images from the lens to the optical viewfinders. They give the most accurate and unadulterated frame-view of the image to be shot. On the other hand Mirrorless cameras are ‘mirror less’ in the sense that they don’t have this feature and hence use an electronic viewfinder of LCD screen to frame the images, which again come with a host of benefits of its own. Also, refer to “Viewfinder vs. LCD screen” to gain further clarity.

Connectivity – wired and wireless, especially Wi-Fi is becoming very common in cameras, credited to the generation of social media and the need to make sharing of posts as easy, and in lesser steps, as possible.

GPS – it can be good feature to have for geo-tagging in social media post, or self records.

Weather-shield – weather proof and dust proof cameras will help you shoot outdoors without worrying about rain and dust clogging your device system. Water proof cameras are specially built to shoot completely submerged into water, and withstand the pressure of water under surface.

These were some of the important features of a good camera that you must look for when buying a new camera.

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