If you have been relying on your cell phone or a point-and-shoot camera with only automatic or semi-automatic modes, you may have pushed that camera to its picture taking limits. You might be ready for a versatile camera that captures higher quality images of all the sights that you see, the people you know, and the things that you do. You don’t have to invest in an expensive, professional-grade camera. You can find affordable cameras that produce higher quality images and that allow you to expand your photographic skills. With this guide, we want to help you find the best digital camera under 400 for you and help you learn how to use it.
Affordable digital cameras have several easy-to-learn features that can improve the quality of your photographs, especially in photographic situations that commonly make it difficult for digital cameras to get a good reading on the lighting. Some of these situations include very bright scenes, scenes with lots of shadows, backlit people and objects, and indoor scenes with artificial lighting. Among the settings that you can change to help your camera get a better reading on the lighting are the EV or exposure value, the ISO setting, the shutter speed, the aperture or lens opening, and the white balance.
Your camera takes a light reading the same way that photographers have been taking light readings for decades. It uses a built-in light meter.
Photographers used to carry light meters with them. To take a reading, they would hold the light meter to a white object that they intended to include with their subject or that was receiving the same type of lighting as their subject. In certain lighting situations, though, digital cameras can have a problem determining what is white.
When attempting to read the light in a very bright scene, especially when the sun glares off of snow, water, or a sandy beach, digital cameras can have difficulty determining the difference between true white and other very pale colors in the scene. Consequently, it may read them all as white.
The solutions include:
Settings with lots of shadows or little to no light also create a situation in which digital cameras have trouble knowing what is white. In this case, the camera will choose a lighter area to use as white, but instead of white, that area might be a gray or one of the lighter colors in the scene. As you might already be guessing, the changes you need to make to the camera’s settings are the opposite of the ones suggested above. You need to enable the camera to see more of the range of dark colors by lowering the EV setting. You need to use a higher ISO setting to increase the camera’s sensitivity to light. You will need to let more light through the camera’s lens by slowing the shutter speed and choosing a wider aperture setting. When adjusting the white balance setting, choose the setting for a cloudy day or for shade. If the setting is very dark, changing only the white balance setting won’t be sufficient.
The white balance setting not only provides another way to adjust the camera’s settings to the amount of light in the scene but also to the type of lighting present in the setting. When you’re shooting indoors under artificial light, you may notice that the colors in an image look too red or orange or too blue. That’s because, while the camera may have chosen a true white object for its light meter reading, the artificial lighting in the room affected the way the white looked to the camera.
Incandescent lighting from tungsten lightbulbs has a yellow glow. Candlelight and firelight have an even deeper, warmer glow. The camera’s choice of what represents white under those lighting conditions is influenced by that warm red, orange, or yellow glow. The camera then adds that same amount of glow to all of the colors in the scene. The simple way to counteract the glow from incandescent lighting is to change the white balance to the setting for incandescent or tungsten lighting.
Fluorescent lighting, on the other hand, has a cool, blue glow, and again, that glow influences the way true white looks to the camera. Under fluorescent lighting, the camera adds that blue glow to all of the colors in the scene. Changing the white balance to the setting for fluorescent lighting counteracts the influence of that blue glow.
You may find yourself in a situation in which you have multiple light sources. You could have natural light from a window, incandescent light from a ceiling fixture, and fluorescent light from a desk lamp. If you want to compensate for all of these sources of light, then select custom white balance from the camera’s white balance menu. Take a plain white sheet of typing paper and place it somewhere where it receives light from all of the different sources of light. Set the camera to custom white balance, and fill the viewfinder or the display screen with the image of the piece of paper. Depress the shutter, and the camera will store that image in its white balance settings and use it for the custom white balance.
Resetting the custom white balance setting each time you use your camera provides your camera with the most accurate light reading, but if you are in a situation where you need to capture images quickly, rely on the preset white balance modes.
Another setting that digital cameras and most point-and-shoots will let you adjust is the metering mode. These three modes – matrix, multi, or evaluative mode; center-weighted mode; and spot mode – tell the light meter which area of the image to select when taking its reading.
When the camera is set to matrix, multi, or evaluative mode, the light meter reading evaluates the light from the entire scene when it takes its reading. When you are taking a portrait of a large group, a close-up selfie, an architectural image or a photograph of an iconic landmark building, or a landscape or panorama shot, you will want everything in the scene to be clear and well-lighted. You will want to use matrix modes for these types of images.
When the camera is set to center-weighted mode, it takes a reading of the light from the background, but it gives priority to the readings it takes from the center of the image, or to the area surrounding the focus point if you are composing a shot in which the main subject is off-center. This is the mode to use for portraits and still-life photography.
Spot mode takes light readings only from the area where the camera is focused. The reading is taken directly from the subject and its immediate surroundings and is not influenced by the lighting of the background or foreground. This is the mode to use when you focus in tightly on a distant or fast moving subject. When using a telephoto lens with spot mode and focusing in tightly on your subject, keep in mind that, as your camera focuses into the right and left of your subject it also focuses into the front and back. Always check your subject to be certain that the areas closest and farthest away from the camera are in focus. If they aren’t, enlarge the aperture setting or adjust the telephoto lens to focus on a slightly wider area.
The number of megapixels does make a contribution to image quality, but it is only one factor. The size of the camera’s image sensor is another important factor.
Size matters because the image produced by a digital camera is actually captured by the photoreceptors that cover the surface of the image sensor. Each photoreceptor equals one pixel, so if you have two image sensors of the same size, then the image sensor with the most photoreceptors will be the one that captures the most details and produce the better photo. However, a larger image sensor will have larger photoreceptors.
Larger photoreceptors are important for CMOS images sensors, which is the type of image sensor found in most cameras because each photoreceptor on a CMOS image sensor has its own connection to the camera’s image processor. This connection takes up space on the image sensor, and when you have smaller photoreceptors, some parts of the image can fall on the spaces occupied by the connections instead of on a photoreceptor.
The image processors of cameras that use smaller image sensors compensate for the missing parts of the image by comparing all of the adjacent photoreceptors and filling in the space in the same way that Adobe Photoshop fills in pixels when you increase the resolution of an image beyond the resolution of the original.
By contrast, the larger photoreceptors on larger image sensors cover these connections and capture the parts of the image that fall on those parts of the image sensors. So, cameras with larger image sensors may have fewer megapixels but produce higher quality images because the larger photoreceptors capture more of the details from the actual image rather than relying on the camera’s image processor to fill in the gaps.
The Canon EOS Rebel T6 allows you to purchase interchangeable Canon lenses so that you can purchase exactly the lenses you need for the type of photography you prefer. The EOS Rebel comes with a wide angle lens with a range of from 18mm to 55mm that is perfect for selfies, group selfies, portraits, landscapes, panoramas, and architecture, but it’s compatible with Canon’s entire line of EF and EF-S lenses. It also is compatible with a Canon external flash unit. The Rebel includes an optical viewfinder, an LED display panel, and an 18 MP APS-C CMOS image sensor that is larger than the image sensors that you will find in many cameras, including the Sony RX100. The Rebel T6 captures still images in both RAW or JPEG, and it captures full HD movies with sound at a resolution of 1080p. The camera’s ISO sensitivities range from 100 to 6400, and the Rebel T6 offers the standard white balance settings for sun, shade, clouds, incandescent, fluorescent, and a custom white balance setting as well as a setting for sunset. The metering modes also are the standard ones – multi, center-weighted, and spot metering. You also can correct the image to compensate for the temperature of the light source or use the ambient settings to change the color temperature, brightness, and color saturation to adjust the mood and emotional impact of the image. The Rebel T6 also offers face recognition, and it tracks moving subjects. It lacks smile recognition, however. You can shoot in fully automatic scene intelligent mode, shutter priority or Tv mode, aperture priority or Av mode, Program AE mode, or full manual mode. The Rebel T6 has built in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities so that you can upload your movies and images directly to the internet from wherever you have a connection, control your camera remotely from your smartphone or tablet, and share your movies and photographs directly with other NFC devices.
The Sony RX100 comes with a high quality wide angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with an optical zoom range of 28mm to 100mm and a 1” CMOS image sensor that is larger than the 1/2.3 image sensor commonly used in cameras. It captures still images in RAW or JPEG at a resolution of 20.2 MP and movies in full HD with sound and wind noise reduction at a resolution of 1080p. The ISO sensitivity settings range from 80 to 6400. The RX100 includes smile and face recognition, and you can register the faces of up to eight people in the camera’s memory. The RX100 tracks your main subject to keep that person in focus. Sony refers to matrix metering mode as a multi mode. Center-weighted and spot metering also are available. The preset white balance settings include automatic, daylight, shade, clouds, incandescent, four settings for fluorescent lighting, two custom white balance settings, and a setting that adjusts the temperature of the image to correct for both light sources with a warm, yellow glow and light sources with a cool, blue glow. You can choose to shoot in fully automatic intelligent auto mode, shutter priority mode, aperture priority mode, program mode, or full manual mode. The RX100 also automatically captures HDR images. In fact, it has two options for capturing scenes with areas of high contrast between bright lighting and shadow. If you have camera settings that you use frequently, you can store three of your favorite settings combinations in this camera’s memory.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70S comes equipped with an electronic viewfinder, a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens with a range of from 24mm to 720mm, and a 20.3 MP 1/2.3” MOS image sensor that is smaller than the image sensors in either of the two cameras above. The wide range of the zoom lens allows you to use this camera for any type of photography from selfies, portraits, group portraits, landscapes, and architecture to telephoto shots of distant birds and animals or action shots of fast moving subjects. When taking still shots of videos of yourself, such as of a demonstration for your YouTube vlog, the display panel flips up so that you can see the image as you capture it. The display also functions as a touchscreen that allows you to control the camera. The Lumix DC-ZS70S captures still images in both JPEG and RAW, and it captures movies in full HD 4K. The ISO sensitivity ranges from 80 to 6400, and white balance settings include daylight, clouds, shade, incandescent, four custom white balance settings and adjustments for the temperature of the lighting source. The camera does lack a preset for fluorescent lighting, however. The camera allows you to register up to six faces for improved face recognition, and you can categorize your registered faces as adult, infant, or pet faces. You can choose to shoot in intelligent auto mode, aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode, program mode, and full manual mode. The Lumix DC-ZS70S comes with built-in Wi-Fi so that you can stream live video, upload images and videos from wherever you have a Wi-Fi connection, and control your camera remotely from your smartphone or tablet.
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 uses a 16 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor, which is the same size as the one found in the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70S and in many other cameras. The Zoom-NIKKOR lens ranges from 22.5mm to 900mm, which should enable you to capture almost any subject. On the COOLPIX B500, the display screen doubles as the viewfinder, and it tilts, allowing you to capture still and movie shots from new, interesting angles. The B500 captures still images in JPEG format only, but you can preserve the details by saving your photos on your computer in PNG format before editing them to prevent them from losing details due to being repeatedly condensed each time they are saved in JPEG format. The camera captures movies in full HD at a resolution of 1080p in stereo sound. ISO sensitivity ranges from 125 to 1600 in the camera’s fully automatic and scene modes with ISOs of 3200 and 6400 available in aperture priority, shutter priority, program, and manual mode. The COOLPIX B500 offers face recognition, smile recognition, and also warns you if someone has blinked as you were shooting your image. You can use smile recognition to trigger the shutter. The preset white balance settings include sunlight, clouds, incandescent, fluorescent, and custom. You can shoot in fully automatic mode, aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode, program mode, or full manual mode. The Nikon COOLPIX B500 includes built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can upload your images and movies to the internet from wherever you find an internet connection, stream your videos live, pair other devices to your camera, share photos and movies with other devices, and control your camera remotely from your smartphone or tablet.
The Canon PowerShot SX740 includes a 20.3 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor, a zoom lens with a range from 24mm to 960mm, and a display screen that doubles as a viewfinder. The display screen flips up so that, if you are shooting yourself as you present a how-to demonstration for your vlog, you can see yourself as you record. ISO sensitivities range from 100 to 1600 in automatic mode and up to 3200 in program mode. The white balance settings include clouds, daylight, shade, fluorescent, tungsten or incandescent, and custom. You can shoot in the fully automatic modem, hybrid mode, Tv or shutter priority mode, Av or aperture priority mode, program mode, or full manual mode. In hybrid mode, you set the camera to record a short clip of the action just before you depress the shutter to capture a still photograph. The camera saves the short movie clip together with the still photo, and then, at the end of the day, the camera combines all the images taken in hybrid mode into a short highlight movie of the day’s events. The PowerShot SX740 captures still images in JPEG and movies in full HD at 4K resolution with stereo sound. The camera has built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that allows you to upload your movies and images wherever you have a Wi-Fi connection, share your photos and movies with other Bluetooth devices, and control your camera remotely from your smartphone or tablet.
The choice was difficult because all of these cameras are worthy contenders. Our choice, though, is the Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital Camera. It wins because you can pair its larger image sensor with any of Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses. So, you can purchase a zoom lens with a range comparable to the cameras above while having the larger image sensor. Because LED displays can be hard to see in bright sunlight, we like cameras like this Canon Rebel that have viewfinders. We also favor cameras that allow you to capture still images in both RAW and JPEG formats. The camera operates more quickly in JPEG, so JPEG is a good option for shooting fast action or when you are attempting to capture shots of kids, pets, wildlife, and other subjects that could move at any second or when you, yourself, are on the move while trying to capture an image. However, shooting in RAW format allows you to capture and preserve all of the color and details present in the scene. As you develop as a photographer, you will appreciate the control the Rebel T6 gives you over color temperature and the variation in moods that you can create with the ambiance settings. Finally, we are partial to cameras with built-in Wi-Fi because we like the idea of being able to stream live videos, immediately uploading photos and videos to the internet, and using a smartphone or tablet to control the camera remotely. Remote control not only eliminates almost all sources of camera shake but also allows you to film yourself at some distance from the camera and to see the image you are capturing even if the camera lacks a tilting or flip up LED display. For these reasons, we think that the Canon EOS Rebel T6 is a versatile camera that will serve you well.
DSLR vs. point-and-shoot, that’s how it used to be. Professional photographers and aspiring professional photographers used DSLR cameras exclusively. For those who wanted better pictures but who were intimidated by the mystique of DSLR cameras, point-and-shoot cameras bridged the gap between cell phone cameras and DSLRs.
As the quality of point-and-shoot images has improved, though, professional photographers have come to appreciate lightweight point-and-shoot cameras with a versatile zoom lens as a means of capturing impromptu photographs of sights they see as they go about their day. At the same time, DSLRs with fully automatic modes and scene modes make these cameras more user-friendly. So, it’s not necessarily a case of one type of camera vs. the other any longer. Now it’s a question of which one best meets your photographic needs at the moment – a point-and-shoot or a DSLR.
DSLR or digital single lens reflex cameras capture images on the photoreceptors of their image sensors rather than film. However, like SLR film cameras, DSLR cameras use mirrors to reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder. This means that what you see in the viewfinder is exactly what the camera’s lens will capture. That’s the basic definition of a DSLR camera, but there’s more.
DSLR cameras are larger than point-and-shoot cameras, but their size provides more interior space for a larger image sensor. As we’ve already mentioned, a larger image sensor provides higher quality images.
Like point-and-shoot cameras, DSLR cameras have an automatic mode and several semi-automatic modes. Both allow you to make some changes to the camera’s settings in semi-automatic mode to adjust for the lighting, for example. DSLR cameras, however, provide more setting choices than point-and-shoots, so they offer more options for making adjustments than point-and-shoot cameras do.
DSLRs cameras also allow you to take full manual control of all of the camera’s settings. In fact, manufacturers design DSLR cameras for easy access to the manual controls because they expect that most users of these cameras eventually will use them in manual mode.
Both DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras may have built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connections. Apps from the manufacturer may allow you to control the camera from your tablet or smartphone. You might also be able to upload photos and videos directly to the internet
The ability to take more control of the camera’s settings as you feel ready to do so allows you to grow as a photographer without having to repeatedly replace your camera with a more sophisticated one.
One more advantage you should consider – unlike point-and-shoot cameras, DSLR cameras have a range of accessories available for specific photographic situations.
Larger image sensors contain larger photoreceptors that enable the image sensor to capture more of the color gradations and details from the image. So, larger image sensors result in higher quality, more detailed images. These more detailed images can be enlarged beyond poster size with no fear that they will become grainy or blurred.
DSLR cameras usually allow you to capture your image in RAW format as well as JPEG. RAW format captures and retains all of the details in the image. Your camera may slow down as it processes all of the information though, so JPEG is the better choice when you need to capture images quickly. RAW also creates larger files that require more storage space on your memory card. On the other hand, JPEG condenses the image when the picture is taken so that it can create a smaller file. It then condenses the image again every time the image is opened and resaved. This repeated condensation eliminates more and more detail from the image, but you can rectify this by saving JPEG images in PNG format before editing them.
DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras function identically in automatic and semi-automatic modes. The camera’s light meter and the scene and face recognition software determine the camera’s settings. However, a DSLR camera’s larger image sensor and a wider range of settings still give it the edge in image quality over a point-and-shoot camera.
Being able to take increasing control of the camera’s settings lets you experiment. You can learn how camera settings can convey emotions that give meaning to the image.
As already mentioned above, DSLR cameras are more durable than point-and-shoot cameras. As also mentioned, accessories outfit your camera for your type of photography.
Purchasing the lenses separately from the camera body allows you to choose high-quality lenses that are specifically designed for the types of photography that you enjoy. Point-and-shoot cameras come with lenses that are fixed to the camera, and the quality and capabilities of the lenses can vary. Generally, though, the lenses of point-and-shoot cameras are lower quality than lenses for DSLR cameras. In addition, some point-and-shoot cameras offer only wide angle or mid-range lenses which you can use for landscapes and individual or group portraits but which lack the range to focus tightly on distant subjects.
DSLR cameras are larger and heavier than point-and-shoot cameras. You will also need to take your lenses with you, which adds to the number of things you must carry as well as to the weight and bulkiness of your camera gear. When switching between subjects or types of photography, you also may need to pause to change lenses.
Learning to use all of the features of a DSLR camera requires time, and the number of options available may feel overwhelming and confusing. Some people may find that this discourages them from trying to learn how to use these cameras.
DSLR cameras are more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras when you add the cost of the camera body and the lenses together.
Point-and-shoot cameras are small, lightweight cameras that you can carry with you in your pocket. They let you capture the photo-worthy sights that you see every day. As with DSLR cameras, however, there is more to know about point-and-shoot cameras.
Point-and-shoot cameras are a step up from the camera in your cell phone. They provide higher quality images than cell phone cameras. While easy to use, they also may have more features than the camera in your cell phone.
Point-and-shoot cameras have fixed lenses that are permanently attached to the camera. They can have an optical zoom lens that extends and retracts, but some point-and-shoot cameras have a wide angle or mid-range lens and depend on an extended digital zoom lens to capture distant subjects.
Optical zooms focus narrowly on distant subjects. Digital zooms repeatedly enlarge and crop distant subjects. Repeatedly enlarging a distant subject can result in an indistinct or grainy image, however.
Manufacturers design point-and-shoot cameras to operate in automatic mode and scene mode. Common scene modes include portrait mode with face detection, landscape mode, and modes for nighttime and low light photography. Scene modes might also include pet mode, fireworks mode, sunset mode, panorama mode, and modes for beach and snow scenes.
Some point-and-shoot cameras do offer full manual control of the camera.
Like DSLRs, these cameras may have built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connections. You might be able to control the camera from your tablet or smartphone and upload photos and videos directly to the internet
The bodies of these cameras consist of plastic to keep them lightweight. To reduce the size and weight of the camera, point-and-shoots may have a digital viewfinder that displays the image from the image sensor, thus eliminating the mirrors that reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder. Point-and-shoots may even reduce their size even further by omitting a viewfinder altogether. If the viewfinder is omitted, the digital display serves as the viewfinder.
Accessories for these cameras include table and floor tripods. They do not have mounts for external microphones or lighting accessories. Choosing the range of the optical zoom lens is important with these cameras. Optical zoom with a range from 25mm to over 400mm should cover most types of photography.
While the picture quality may not equal the images captured by a DSLR, versatility, lightweight, compact size, and user-friendliness make point-and-shoots perfect for day-to-day use.
Manufacturers design many point-and-shoot cameras to compete with the cameras contained in cell phones. Consequently, point-and-shoots are compact and lightweight, but they have more features and better lenses and image sensors than cell phone cameras.
When they are in full automatic mode, point-and-shoot cameras recognize commonly photographed scenes such as landscapes, portraits, indoor settings, and settings with low light. These cameras then select the scene mode that best matches the image. Each scene mode is programmed with the most commonly used settings for that scene. In portrait mode, the camera recognizes the best settings for the background behind the subject while its face recognition software chooses the best settings for the skin tone of the person or persons being photographed. All you need to do is compose your shot and press the shutter button.
Point-and-shoot cameras offer easy access to controls for shooting photos and videos in automatic mode. Point-and-shoots also provides quick access to a selection of semi-automatic scene modes.
With a versatile optical zoom lens, point-and-shoots readily handle most types of photography and photographic situations. The features of these cameras make missing a picture-worthy moment far less likely.
The image sensors in point-and-shoot cameras are smaller than those in DSLR cameras. Consequently, these image sensors have smaller photoreceptors than full-size image sensors. A smaller image sensor means that the camera captures less information from the image. Some of the detail and gradation between colors is lost. That missing information limits the size of the copies that you can make from the image. Enlarging these images too far results in blurred or grainy images.
Most point and shoot cameras capture images in JPEG format because manufacturers expect that most users often will use the camera to capture images of moving objects like kids and pets. They also expect that users will use the camera on vacation or at family events where they will want to take lots of images. As already mentioned, JPEG captures images quickly and creates smaller files so that you have room for more pictures on your memory card, but also as already mentioned, it does condense images and lose detail. Just remember to save your images as PNG files before editing them.
Point-and-shoot cameras may allow only limited manual access to the camera settings. Some offer only automatic and semi-automatic modes.
While some point-and-shoot cameras do allow you to take manual control of the settings, access to these options can be buried deep in menus. Manufacturers expect most people who buy point-and-shoots to use the automatic and scene modes.
The PowerShot G7 uses a 1-inch image sensor, which is larger than the 1/2.3 inch (2/3 of an inch) image sensor found in many point and shoots. The wide-angle optical zoom lens ranges from 24mm to 100mm with an additional 4X of digital zoom. This is a good range for shooting selfies, group selfies, portraits, group portraits, landscapes, and architecture, but it lacks the ability to focus in tightly on distant subjects. Unlike most point-and-shoots, though, you can choose to shoot in RAW format or JPEG. It captures still images at a resolution of 20.1 MP and full HD movies at a resolution of 1080p with stereo sound. Most point-and-shoots film with monaural sound. For better photos of your friends and family, you can register the faces of up to 12 different people with up to four different angles or facial expressions. The face recognition uses this information to recognize these people and optimize the camera’s settings. You can, of course, always shoot in full auto-mode or a wide selection of scene modes, but this camera also offers various levels of manual control. The PowerShot G7 eliminates a viewfinder to reduce size, so the tilt screen display functions as the viewfinder. The screen does flip up above the top of the camera allowing you to see yourself when shooting selfies. This type of flip screen is also useful for vloggers who film themselves as they do how-to demonstrations or product reviews. The camera includes built-in WiFi and NFC capabilities so that you can upload pictures and movies directly to the internet, control your camera with your smartphone or tablet, and share pictures and movies instantly with other NFC devices.
Like the PowerShot G7, the Sony RX100 IV has a one-inch image sensor. It captures still images at a resolution of 20.1 MP and movies in full HD at a resolution of 1080p in stereo sound. The wide angle ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T optical zoom lens ranges from 24mm to 70mm which is good for selfies, portraits, group portraits, landscapes, and architecture. Again like the PowerShot G7, you can capture your images in either JPEG or RAW, and you can captures movies in full HD at a resolution of 1080p with stereo sound. You can register the faces of up to eight people. Unlike the PowerShot G7, the Sony RX100
The Lumix DMC-LX10 also uses a one-inch image sensor. It captures still photos at a resolution of 20.1 MP and full HD movies in 4K with stereo sound. While 1080p remains the standard resolution for posting videos on the internet, some vloggers are switching to 4K. You may or may not be able to see the difference between the two resolutions on the internet, but if you want to play your movies on a 4K TV, you will probably want a camera that can shoot videos in 4K. This camera’s wide angle Leica DC Vario-Summilux optical zoom lens ranges from 24mm to 72mm. Again, that’s a good range for selfies, portraits, group portraits, landscapes, and architecture, but it doesn’t have the range to focus in tightly on distant objects. The LCD display functions as a touch screen and flips up so that you see yourself as you are shooting a selfie or filming yourself as you are doing a demonstration for your vlog. For improved portraits, you can register the faces of up to three people on this camera. You can shoot in
The Nikon D3500 uses an APS-C image sensor which measures 33.5 mm x 15.6 mm. For comparison, the 1-inch image sensors in the point-and-shoot cameras above measures by 12.6 x 9.8 mm and a full-size image processor measures 36 x 24 mm. While the still image resolution of the Nikon D3500 at 24.2 MP may not seem
The Canon EOS 80D uses an APS-C image sensor that measures 22.5 x 15 mm that, like the image sensor for the Nikon D3500, allows room for larger photoreceptors. The EOS 80D captures still images at a resolution of 24.2 MP and full HD movies at a resolution of 1080p. This camera comes bundled with two Canon lenses, a wide angle zoom lens that ranges from 18mm to 55mm and a telephoto zoom lens that ranges from 55mm to 250mm. These two lenses should be fine for most photographic situations. However, if you become serious about wildlife or action photography, you might want to add a telephoto lens with a more extended range. As with the other recommended cameras, you have the choice of shooting in JPEG or RAW format, and you can shoot in full automatic mode, scene mode, or take varying degrees of control of the camera settings. As with the Nikon D3500, this camera has built-in WiFi but lacks NFC capabilities. The accessory shoe allows you to use this camera with an external Canon microphone, a range of external Canon flash units, and assorted lens filters.
In the end, the best camera for you comes down to what you are most comfortable with and what you want to do with your movies and photographs. As with the cameras we recommend here, you can find cameras with wide angle lenses that are great for landscapes and architectural shots of iconic buildings when you’re traveling as well as selfies, group selfies, and portraits of friends, family, and pets when your at home. You also can find cameras with telephoto lenses that add the option of focusing in tightly on fast action shots or distant subjects such as a hot air balloon or a bird on the wing. All of these cameras allow you to shoot in full automatic mode, so you can begin taking photographs and shooting movies right away. Then, if you want, you can learn more about photography and your camera’s controls and settings as you are ready.
As a street photography enthusiast, I like the adrenaline when taking pictures in the public without making people curious. Taking pictures of strangers was often hard; however, I soon discovered that almost everyone likes to be photographed if you respect their privacy and feelings.
Street photography is all about documenting life and our society. It does not have to be shot on the streets as photographers also take pictures inside malls, airport, and many other public places. The purpose of these pictures is to capture human emotions, feelings, and soul.
This guide is written to introduce you to this fascinating art, which can often become addictive as you start enjoying its different themes.
Disclaimer: Because I am not an expert in this matter (or a lawyer). Do your own research into your local laws, regarding the law and street photography. Do not hold me (or photographertouch.com) accountable for what is said here, these are my own beliefs, based on my research. Do your own due diligence, and get familiar with the laws in your area, or places where you travel.
Street photography requires you to consider ethical and moral responsibilities when capturing images in a public place. If you have read about street photography, you may have heard about a model release. A model release is a contract between the photographer and the person who is photographed. In simple words, the contract dictates that you have gained explicit permission of the subject to be photographed.
In reality, getting a model release from everyone around you is not possible, which is why you need to understand what and when to take a photo. The model release also proves a dilemma because you can’t ask every person in Times Square to sign a contract with you only because you will be capturing the image of the bustling activity in Times Square.
Due to these ethical and moral responsibilities, you should understand when you need a model release and when you can take a picture without worrying about formalities. If common sense prevails, you can capture images in the public as long as people around you are not bothered by your activity. On the other hand, it’s not wise to take photos that can annoy a specific subject. For example, I heard about a guy once who took photos of the monks in Thailand where there were many other people around. Suddenly, a policeman approached at him and politely instructed him to take permission from the monks before photographing them.
Similarly, you shouldn’t take a photo of a private apartment when there are people on the balcony. Most of these individuals are in a private place where they have the right not to be photographed. Capturing images of people in their bathing suit or people performing their official duties may also require their permission. If you want to play safe, don’t take any picture that may provoke someone to take action.
You should also be careful in taking pictures of landmarks. For instance, you can’t take a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night because the city government wants to protect its light show. Museums, military installations, airports, and private properties are some of the other places where common sense should prevail.
The equipment you will want to use can vary, depending on the type or style of street photography you are going to take. For flexibility and capturing the image, whenever the opportunity arises, a big lens DSLR can be too heavy and clumsy, and you may want to select a camera that doesn’t make you conspicuous in the public. It means that a smaller camera or prime lens will be much more suitable, even a point-and-shoot camera or your mobile phone camera can work if you know when and how to capture images.
These simple cameras are effective because street photography mostly requires instant decision-making from the photographer. As a street photographer, you don’t have the time to set up your tripod. In fact, some photographers shun zoom lens because they want to capture the subject in quick succession.
Based on the type of street photography, heavy cameras can also provide much better results. For instance, if you’re interested in taking photos of landmarks at a distance, zoom-lens is a better choice. Similarly, 35mm lens may be the perfect choice for someone wanting to capture a rainy day on a village street. Just make sure, you are comfortable with the camera.
For beginners, it’s always fascinating to understand how experts were able to capture amazing street images.Here are some street photography tips and trick for your inspiration, which will help you set your camera from an expert perspective:
Instead of using auto-focus capabilities, expert street photographers used “pre-focus” to capture an image. A pre-focus is a standard point for you to focus your camera. Anyone, who enters the pre-focus range, will be a potential candidate for capturing an image.
Pre-focus can be a great tool for beginners in an area where there is either a lot of activity or you are sure that a large number of people will pass through your pre-focus area. Whenever the subject enters a pre-focus area, you can capture the image, if you like. It is also important to use small apertures such as f/5.6 and f/8, which work seamlessly for a designated range.
One of the most defining features of street photography is to be able to work with any kind of light. In fact, there is no bad light in street photography. You need to embrace every moment, which also means that light and shadows are an intrinsic part of the experience.
Don’t try to adjust the light, colors, and shadows in your computer software. Because people always associate street scenes with natural elements. In simple words, let nature dictate its path while you wait for that perfect opportunity to take the picture.
If it’s raining, it may be better to highlight the blurred effect that naturally comes with the rain. For instance, think of the dramatic effects of light reflecting from street lamps on a rainy night. Overall, you don’t want to fiddle around with the dramatic and mysterious impact that nature creates.
Unlike other forms of photography, it will be a grave mistake to change the environment that we all have become accustomed to. In street photography, lights and shadows are your friends; use them wisely, and you may get a picture of a lifetime.
If it’s the first time you are going to set parameters for street photography, you can always put your shutter speed on automatic settings. Automatic setting allows you to capture images without fiddling around with the camera settings.
If you need a definite answer, then expert recommends that your shutter speed should always be above 1/125th because street action is fast. Keeping shutter speed above 1/125th will allow you to take spontaneous action without losing the moment. For still photography, where the action is very slow, going below 1/125th doesn’t hurt either.
While aperture settings and shutter speed are somewhat easy to adjust, ISO remains a critical element that will take time to learn. For ease of use, experts recommend leaving ISO setting to auto. Automatic ISO settings are preferred for amateurs and starters because it is a somewhat of an art to perfectly align ISO setting with hundreds of different combinations of shutter speed and aperture modes, available today.
In fact, I’ve seen many expert photographers leave ISO setting on auto. If you want to manually set ISO, then don’t let it go beyond 1600.
Here are the seven most well-known street photography tips to compose your photos:
1.Rule of Thirds – The rule suggests dividing the image between three vertical and three horizontal lines. Accordingly, the inner intersections of the grid show the four points that a viewer’s eye tends to seek out. Placing a point of interest at the center is less natural, but placing points of interest at the intersecting points creates a more balanced and has a more meaningful result. For single-subject photos, the left line is also important as viewers are accustomed to reading from left to right.
2. Negative Space – Sometimes, you want both the subject and background to provide a strong feeling. The negative space is the background, which can offer intriguing insights. Too much clutter in negative space can also prove problematic.
3. Depth of Field – Depending on your taste, you may want to highlight specific areas of an image. Using a wider aperture can help focus on the subject; whereas narrow aperture can tell a greater story from a wide perspective.
4. Textures – Human eyes are trained to discern complex textures. As a street photographer, you can include a variety of textures as backgrounds or subjects emphasizing different moods.
5. Pattern – Just as textures, patterns also play an important role in our lives. Street photography is tailor-made for finding patterns on the street. Patterns can come in a variety of colors, shape, and objects.
6. Perspective – Everyone sees the world from a different perspective. The same is true for photography, where you can take a photo from different angles enabling the photographer to find interesting elements that sometimes remain hidden.
7. Color – You can easily create emotions using color. Humans are accustomed to associating colors with emotions; therefore, the choice of particular color can play an important role in offering a more immersive experience.
Learning to take photographs may seem a daunting process because we forget about simple techniques that makes a great photo. The following techniques will help you get out of your shelf and feel the world around you without the camera in your hands.
Try start using your eyes instead of the viewfinder. Sometimes, you can miss the perfect image outside the frame. Likewise, you should embrace spontaneity. It means you should trust your gut feelings to take a photo without thinking how others will respond to the image.
Instead of finding that perfect image, it also pays to find consistent themes in your photography. Working with themes can lead to a collection of photographs fit for full-fledged projects and books. Another tip for great photography is keep taking photos. Regular photos will enhance your mental ability, keep your eyes focused, and improve hand-eye coordination.
Showing emotions and gestures are also a great way to capture great photos. Always be on the lookout for capturing emotions because emotions shown on people’s face can often be the single most fascinating fact of a picture.
Just like some of the advanced street photography ideas, which are very simple, street photographers also continue to make simple mistakes that can easily be fixed. Here are the top five mistakes:
Hopefully, these street photography ideas will help you take the first steps in the right direction. As street photography can be different from other types of photography, try to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t try to complicate matters by learning too much. Keep on taking pictures whenever you get time because street photography is all about learning from your experiences and gut instinct.
The art of vlogging has become a widespread phenomenon. The most common domain for vloggers is YouTube, where you get paid by the views. But what if you’re new and want to give your audience quality content? The only way to achieve this is to go out and buy a camera designed for vloggers. In this guide, we will compare five different products to give you the best vlogging camera under $200.
Before going into greater detail about which cameras will provide you with an affordable vlogging camera, you need to consider the features, benefits, and significance of having one dedicated to this activity.
Many choose to vlog with their smartphone. Sure, there are plenty of tricks to create a better end product, but we believe that using a camera will give you and your audience the best experience.
What experienced vloggers will do is incorporate short clips from their smartphones into the final video. But rarely do you see them use it for the whole content for a number of reasons. These can be found below.
Sifting through different cameras can be overwhelming, especially when they all claim to have some spiffy, revolutionary features. Before looking at our chosen candidates, you should be familiar with what to consider in terms of added gadgets and gizmos.
Vlogger Pro is a site dedicated to those who wish to become better vloggers. They’ve listed some tips for what is essential in a camera of this caliber. To learn from these, check out the bullet points listed below.
With a device as intricate as a camera, it is important to know which features are crucial and what ones should be left out. You don’t want to be conned into buying a spiffy new vlog camera with aspects that you don’t even truly need. Mashable has highlighted a few features that your vlogging camera can do without.
Picking up the camera for the first time is a daunting experience. In fact, many vloggers found on YouTube, started out awkward and progressed into a seasoned professional with dedicated followers. Jeven Dovey, an outdoorsy vlogger, has a thorough manual on how to vlog for beginners. One of his key topics was the importance of choosing a camera for your vlogs (
For those wanting a camera that will provide your vlog with good quality content, then it is best to search for a camera with image stabilization, Wi-Fi and with a wide angle lens. One camera that meets these prerequisites (BUT much more expensive) is the Canon S120 which known for being a good point and shoot vlog camera.
As a beginner, you must decide what your personal style is. Do you want to vlog while sitting down at a certain set, or would you rather take your viewers out and about? Clever Leverage blog reveals that the Canon 80D (again, much much more expensive) is best for stationary vlogs compared to the more mobile Canon M50.
For those wanting to vlog with a budget, it might be best to use camcorders and compact cameras. These are generally much cheaper while retaining a majority of the essentials features that a vlogger would want. They also can be considered among the best vlogging camera under 200.
Now that you have more insights as to what goes on behind and in the camera, you can review our top list of vlogging cameras, with beginners and budget in mind.
This camcorder is easy to use for anyone just starting to vlog their own content. One feature that we liked was how lightweight it is. This means that you can easily take it with you for whenever content finds you. The SD cards are quick to remove for stress-free sharing. SD cards that are removable are also easy to switch out whenever your card becomes too full. The touch panel also makes for a convenient user interface.
As for some of the more technical advantages of using this camera, it does have optical image stabilization and a mode labeled as Highlight Priority. This, paired with backlight correction, allows you to capture moments without loving detail in areas that are too bright. Another useful feature is the slow and fast motion recording options for different and creative content. The battery pack is rechargeable and lasts longer than most cameras.
This Panasonic product is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want a bulky vlogging camera. It has a compact design that is lightweight for you to be able to carry it with ease. The 5-axis image stabilizer will ease any bumps that you experience while filming. This product also has a touch screen for easier maneuvering and operability. It allows you to add filters and compose any images.
The Panasonic Camcorder films with hyper definition 1080p recording, which most vloggers choose to use. Another useful feature is the wide angle lens that measures 28 millimeters across. This is critical for capturing large events such as weddings, birthday parties or holidays. Also included is the two-channel zoom microphone which allows you to have clear audio even when zooming.
One of the more notable features included in this camera is Wi-Fi technology. With this added bonus, you are able to share your videos and sink up to any other devices such as your phone. You can even control your camera with a connection app. With this camera, you can capture 720p high-definition video that is crisp and vivid. For those just learning how to vlog with a camera, the Canon PowerShot has a help button to receive instructions along the way.
The scene modes installed into this camera provide you with fun content that is a joy to edit. These effects include portrait, low light, fisheye effect, monochrome, and movie. There is an ECO mode designed specifically to limit and reduce the power consumed by the camera. This then increases the life of your battery pack.
The YI Action Camera is preferred for a variety of features. Included with this product are a rechargeable battery, USB cable, the manual, and the camera itself. The video that you can capture with this camera is at about 30 frames per second with a 4K definition. There are 9 shooting modes present such as time lapse, timer, slow motion, loop, and burst video. Each can be used for an interesting piece of footage in your vlog. The design itself is made in order to be convenient for the user. This is great for beginners as the touch screen and quick start feature make it easier to operate.
The battery life lasts for approximately two hours and can be taken at around 40 meters under the water before getting damaged. This allows you to explore nautical footage. With the added feature of Wi-Fi, this product makes editing your videos fast. There are two built-in microphones in order to capture your voice against any background noise.
This camera is advertised as a preferred purchase for those hoping to dabble in YouTube video content involving vlogs. The design is compact and easy to carry around. It also comes with a separate battery charger for those moments when you quickly need a device with plenty of juice. As with the other products, it also has a touch screen that can be flipped with a 270 degree rotation. This gives you the option of seeing yourself while vlogging.
The image sensor and 1080p high-definition allow for crisp and high-quality content. There is also a wide angle lens that can widen your field of view of up to 118 degrees. The night vision feature is also a great addition for the ability to record in the later hours of the day. This camera is built with an external stereo microphone, making for clear audio. Having an external microphone as opposed to one that is built-in improves the quality of the audio recordings.
When it comes down to it, there must only be one winner. For the best beginner vlogging camera, we chose the Canon Camera PowerShot ELPH 190. This is because of all the features included for an affordable price. It is easy to use with long lasting battery life, image stabilization, and plenty of different effects to choose from. Every camera you consider for vlogging needs to meet the minimal criteria that we mentioned earlier on. This includes image stabilization, Wi-Fi and external microphones. Also, be sure to remember that certain features such as flash do not matter as much and should not add unnecessary costs. Vlogging is an extraordinary outlet for those looking to be personal and creative. To provide high-quality content for your audience, you will need a trusty camera such as the Canon PowerShot, for a cheap vlogging camera can still be worth the investment.
When you are looking for the best digital camera under 200, you should consider more than how many features the camera has. You should consider the types of photographs that you’re most likely to take and then look for the camera that is best for that type or those types of photography.
Another factor to consider is how much control you want over the quality and artistry of your photography, now and in the future. If you envision wanting to experiment with the camera’s settings to see what effects you can create, then you will want a camera that will allow you to take greater manual control of the settings as you grow as a photographer.
Our Best Digital Cameras Under $200 For 2019:
If you take lots of selfies of you and your friends, then one of the most important features for you is a wide angle lens, especially if you take selfies of large groups of friends. PC.com and Ars Technica recommend cameras that have wide-angle zoom ranges of at least 28mm or 24mm. The lower the number, the wider the angle and the more the camera will include in the photograph from side to side.
For portraits, you will want a camera with a zoom lens that can range from around 150mm or 100mm to the wider angles that are best for selfies. This range lets you capture your photographs from a greater distance so that you can capture candid shots or include some of the background in the image. You can then use the background to tell some of the story of the photograph. For example, a vacation shot with an iconic landmark in the background or a photograph of your child with a newly won award that shows previous awards in the background.
Portrait scene modes give priority to readings taken from your main subject when choosing the settings for the camera, but some also take into account readings from the background so that it also appears sharp and in focus.
Face recognition and smile recognition software comes with most cameras and operates automatically when the camera is set to such automatic scene modes as portrait mode or night portrait mode. Cameras with face recognition choose the face that is closest to the camera as the main subject but some recognize two, three, or more additional faces and use those faces as well as the main subject to determine the camera settings that will produce the best portrait.
You can set the shutter delay button on some cameras to automatically delay taking the photograph until the moment someone smiles. Some cameras with face recognition also can be set to delay taking the photograph until a new face, the photographer’s face appears in the picture.
Some cameras recognize the faces of children separately from those of adults, and some let you choose whether to give the priority for smile recognition to the child’s face or the adult’s face.
Some cameras with face recognition also come with pet recognition or even software that specifically recognizes cat faces and dog faces. Cameras with pet recognition software usually have automatic scene modes for pet portraits. Face and pet recognition software make it easy to capture great photos of fast-moving kids and pets.
An additional factor to consider when choosing a camera for selfies and portraits is whether you shoot most of these images indoors, outdoors, or both. You should refer to those sections of this article to read about other camera features that will help you to capture the best images possible.
To you and your eyes, normal indoor lighting appears sufficiently bright. You certainly wouldn’t regard it as a low light setting, but your camera does.
In low light settings, your camera is less able to distinguish between true white and light gray, so the autofocus may treat a shade of light gray as if it were white, throwing off the recognition of light and dark neutrals and colors for the entire image. That is why indoor photographs can come out so much darker than you expect.
Automatic scene modes for nighttime, low light, and various indoor and low light situations change the camera settings so that the autofocus is more likely to correctly recognize true white instead of substituting a light gray.
While some cameras limit you to the automatic settings chosen by the camera, others allow you to take varying degrees of control of the setting to achieve better focus.
Even within the scene modes, some cameras will allow you to lighten or darken the settings the camera has chosen by up to three settings.
While it may seem the opposite of what you would think, if an indoor setting is too dark, you should darken the image by decreasing the exposure compensation or exposure value by -1 to -3. Darkening the settings enables the camera to distinguish more variations among the darker areas of the image so that it is more likely to distinguish true white from light gray.
Another option that may seem slightly more scary is to take the camera out of autofocus mode so that you have more manual control over the camera. With the camera out of autofocus and scene mode, you have several options without taking full manual control of the camera:
Because low light and nighttime photography requires very slow shutter speeds, look for a camera with image stabilization. Most cameras have it. Optical image stabilization stabilizes the image before capturing the photograph, so it is the best option. Digital image stabilization uses the camera’s image processing software to correct the blur caused by movement after the image has been taken. Once the camera has made these adjustments, it’s difficult to correct them if the camera didn’t quite get the correction right. Some cameras combine both types of stabilization.
Even if your camera has image stabilization, you should consider purchasing either a full size or tabletop tripod for your camera if you take a lot of low light photographs. In most cases, though, if you are using a tripod, you should turn optical image stabilization off because when a camera is mounted on a tripod, the movements of the stabilization mechanism in the lens can cause vibrations that result in image blur.
When you’re working with a digital camera, you can use scene modes or autofocus when you are trying to capture a shot that may last only a fleeting moment, but you can improve your photographs by experimenting with your camera’s settings whenever you know you will be able to retake the image if you don`t like some of your results. You can always use delete so that no one will ever see the ones you don’t like. The more you experiment with your camera, the more you will know about what it can do and which settings you like in different situations.
Sand, water, and snow reflect sunlight which creates the opposite of the issues created by low light. In brightly lit scenes, digital cameras can have a problem distinguishing between white and the lighter colors in the scene, so the lighter colors such as pale yellows and oranges may all appear as white in the photograph. Even though the rest of the sky may be dark, the bright sun on the horizon creates the same problem for digital cameras when you try to photograph a sunrise or sunset.
Many cameras have automatic scene modes for beach and snow scenes, and some also have a scene mode for sunrises and sunsets. If the lighter colors are missing in your photograph and too much of the image appears as white even though you’ve used a scene mode like beach or snow, lightening the image by increasing the exposure compensation or EV (exposure value) by +1 to +3 and retaking photograph in the scene mode may help the camera distinguish more of the lighter tints of color.
As with low light photography, if you are able to take your camera out of auto and scene mode, you gain some manual control of the camera’s settings without taking full manual control.
Again, digital cameras set you free to experiment with the camera’s settings in situations where you can easily reshoot the image.
Beach and snow scenes are specialized outdoor photographic situations that can create problems for digital cameras. If you are primarily interested in outdoor and nature photography, however, there are more general considerations to keep in mind when choosing a camera.
If your favorite nature shots are wide open, expansive panoramas or close-ups of flowers, then you definitely want a camera with a wide angle option. However, if you also like to photograph birds and wild animals, then a camera with a versatile zoom lens that can go from wide angle to telephoto range is your best choice. For telephoto photography, both Ars Technica and PC.com recommend lenses with an optical zoom range of at least 200mm to 400mm, and lenses with longer ranges are available.
Optical zoom lenses focus in tightly, at a narrow-angle, on distant subjects. This helps assure that the light absorbed by the camera for its readings comes mainly from your subject and is less influenced by the background.
Digital zoom can extend the range of your optical zoom lens, but digital zoom functions like the crop feature of image editing software. It simply enlarges the area of the photo that you select and crops the image down to your selection. If the resolution of the image isn’t high enough for the required enlargement, digital zoom can create a blurred, indistinct image. For this reason, it’s better to rely on a camera with more pixels and an extended optical zoom range than on a camera that relies on an extended digital zoom range.
Because of the tight focus, images taken through optical zoom and super zoom lenses can easily be blurred by camera shake from a handheld camera. For that reason, it’s best to purchase a tripod for your camera for this type of photography.
If you are certain that your subject won’t be startled or suddenly decide to leave the area, you should check to make sure that the animal, bird, or object you are photographing is completely in focus from front and to back. Focusing in tightly reduces the depth of field or the area in the foreground and background that is in focus. You may have to widen out the focus of the shot to also widen the depth of field and keep your entire subject in focus.
When considering a camera for action photography, one important feature is the camera’s ability to track your main subject using continuous focus. In continuous focus mode, you focus on the subject, and then the camera uses reading of how far the subject is from the camera, the direction of motion, and the speed of motion to predict where your subject will be and stay in focus. The camera uses color, shape, and in the case of human and animal subjects, face recognition to track your subject.
You can use continuous tracking mode in portrait mode and pet portrait mode. Most cameras also have a scene mode for sports photography.
If you are taking photos from the bleachers as your child participates in a sport, you’ll want a zoom lens with a range of at least 200mm to 400mm.
Action photography requires capturing the image quickly without the opportunity to absorb much light, which is a similar situation to capturing images in low light when there isn’t much light to absorb. Using a high ISO setting increases your camera’s sensitivity to the light that will be available at the faster shutter speed needed to capture a still photo of the action.
When you’re traveling, you are likely to be taking photographs in a wide variety of situations – selfies, low light, bright light, indoors, outdoors, panoramas, telephotos, close-ups, action shots, and shots of architecture. You’ll want a very versatile camera with a wide ISO and zoom range. If you scuba, you may want to consider a camera that has scene modes for underwater photography from a manufacturer who offers a waterproof case as an accessory.
While some vloggers (video bloggers) have switched to 4K for their blog posts and say that they can tell the difference between 4K and 1080p HD on the internet, 1080p HK has been the standard for a while.
Videos shot in 1080p still look fine on HD TVs and on the internet, and they take up less storage space than 4K videos. If you are shooting videos to share on the internet, you don’t have to rush to begin shooting in 4K. The resolution of videos shot in 1080p will still look professional when posted on a vlog.
If you share videos with family and friends by email, you will want a camera that shoots videos in 720p. Videos shot at this resolution have smaller file sizes which means that they upload and open more quickly when your recipients receive them.
When you are capturing video, you will definitely want continuous tracking of your subject, even if you are moving with your subject. If you are moving with your subject as you shoot, you will need optical image stabilization. You will also want a camera with a zoom lens so that you can vary your shots, showing the overall scene some of the time and then closing in on a smaller group or just on your main subject at other times.
Because the camera’s built-in microphone can pick up the noise from the zoom lens as it operates, you should look for a camera that either has noise reduction or a jack for a separate microphone. If you shoot outdoors, look for a camera with wind noise reduction.
Built-in Wi-Fi allows your camera to connect to the internet from anywhere where you have or can find a Wi-Fi connection. That means you can upload your photos or videos to your social media accounts or cloud storage while you’re out and about, clear your internal storage, and take more photos and videos.
Built-in Bluetooth lets you connect wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices so that you can share your photos with others or print them directly from your camera.
Built-in NFC (Near Field Connection) lets you instantly share photos and videos with other NFC devices by simply touching the NFC connection points together.
Built-in wireless connections also can let you control your camera remotely from your cell phone or tablet so that you can, for example, put yourself in the photograph without having to rely on the camera’s timer delay or face recognition features. Taking control of the camera remotely also eliminates the chance that pressing the shutter will cause the camera to move and blur the picture.
If you are more comfortable relying on the camera’s autofocus and scene modes and you have no desire to use some of the tips for taking even partial control of your camera’s settings, then a fully automatic camera is for you.
If you think that you or some member of your family might want to experiment with your camera’s settings at some point, then you should look for a camera that gives you the option of taking both partial and full control of your camera’s settings.
Scene modes and built-in filters may provide the option of, for example, enhancing the mood of a picture by applying warmer or cooler tones or more vibrant colors. If you have full manual control, however, you have more choice over the degree of the changes that are made, whether it’s changing the warmth, coolness, vibrancy, brightness, contrast, or some other adjustment that creates an image that conveys the feelings or message that you want to convey.
Full manual control frees you to become an expressive artist. Full manual control allows you to develop as a photographer without having to replace your camera or thwart your development as you are learning.
Neither choice is superior. The choice depends solely on why you take pictures.
The Canon Powershot ELPH 190 IS takes photos at a resolution of 20 MP. You can enlarge photos with this resolution to poster size to frame and hang on your walls or give them as gifts without worrying that the images might become blurred or pixelated. You might even be able to sell your photographs.
The zoom lens has an optical zoom range from 24mm to 240mm with an additional optical zoom or 40x which is equivalent to 960mm. This is a good range for selfies, landscapes, architecture, and mid-range portraits and still life photos that include some of the background. If you want to shoot more distant subjects, you should look for a camera with a greater optical zoom range.
This Canon Powershot also offers scene modes for portraits, backlit subjects, and low light situations.
The ELPH 190 includes optical image stabilization, a continuous focus for tracking your subject, and face recognition. You can use the settings for the shutter delay timer to tell the camera how many faces should be in your photo so that the camera waits to snap the shutter until the right number of faces are in the photograph. You can also select the camera’s ISO speed, shutter speed, or aperture setting or use P mode to take full manual control of the camera.
You can use the ELPH 190 to capture video in HD at a resolution of 720p. While 1080p is the standard used by vloggers, you can share videos of this resolution on the internet, and it is the best size for videos shared by email.
The ELPH 190 has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities which means that you can upload your images directly to the internet from your camera, share photos with other NFC devices, control your camera remotely from your smartphone or tablet, and print directly to PictBridge printers.
All of this makes the ELPH 190 a versatile camera for most photographic situations. However, if you want to use your camera for vlogging,
Like the ELPH 190, the Sony Cyber-shot DSCH300 takes JPEG photos with a resolution of 20 MP, but it has a greater optical zoom range, from 25mm to 875mm. Its ISO sensitivity ranges from 80 for brightly lit scenes to 3200 for low light, night, or action photography.
The Sony DSCH300 offers face recognition as well as smile recognition. You can set the shutter delay button to wait until it recognizes a smile on your subject’s face, and when you are photographing an adult and a child, you can set the smile recognition shutter delay to give priority to the child’s smile or the adult’s smile. When you use smile recognition in portrait mode with Intelligent Scene Recognition, the camera chooses the best settings for the faces in your portrait but also uses scene mode to ensure that the background behind your subjects is well focused and well lit.
Tracking focus tracks a moving subject for you.
The Sony DSCH300 also lets you take 180° or 360°panoramas by sweeping the camera horizontally or vertically.
As already mentioned, this Sony Cyber-shot has a portrait and sweep panorama scene modes. It also has scene modes for night portraits, landscapes, night scenes, pets, fireworks, snow and beach scenes, and a high sensitivity setting for shooting in low light settings without a flash to capture candid shots, images of sleeping children or pets, or shots of wildlife. Gourmet mode adjusts the colors to show food at its most appealing while party mode optimizes the flash and color settings to capture bright, vibrant colors.
P mode lets you take partial control and select, or program some settings while letting the camera adjust the rest, and M mode gives you full manual control of the camera.
When shooting movies, you can choose between HD at a resolution of 720p for videos you want to share by email or full HD at a resolution of 1080p for videos you want to upload to social media or show on your TV.
Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization lets you walk and move to follow your subject while shooting still images or videos.
The DSHD300 does not have built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or NFC connectivity that would allow you to control the camera with your phone, share photos and video instantly, or upload videos and photos to the internet from the camera anywhere you had a Wi-Fi connection. However, you can upload photos wirelessly by purchasing an Eye-Fi card separately.
The Kodak PIXPRO AZ421 offers a resolution of only 16 MP, but it has an optical zoom that ranges from 24 mm to 1008mm with an additional 4x of digital zoom. It includes optical image stabilization.
The AZ421 adds wink detection and pet face recognition to face recognition and smile detection, and you can set the shutter delay to delay releasing the shutter until it recognizes a wink, smile, or human or pet face. You can use wink detection to control the camera remotely by delaying the shutter until the camera detects a wink and then deliberately winking after you have positioned yourself in the scene. Setting the shutter to activate when it recognizes a pet face makes it much easier to get photos of your active pets. The camera also will track moving subjects.
The camera has scene modes for capturing portraits, night portraits, landscapes, sunsets, night landscapes, panoramas up to 180°, sports for capturing high-speed action, children, pets, and snow scenes.
This Kodak PIXPRO lets you shoot videos in HD at a resolution of 720p, which is fine for sharing by email or on the internet. If you want to attract viewers to a vlog, though, you should choose a camera that lets you shoot in HD at a resolution of 1080p at the minimum.
If you want to take partial control of the camera, you can select P mode to change the exposure value, S mode to select the shutter speed, or A mode to select the aperture opening. Selecting M puts you in full manual control of all of the camera’s settings.
The AZ421 lacks built-in wireless connection, so you will not be able to control your camera remotely with your tablet or cell phone. However, you can upload photos wirelessly with an Eye-Fi card which can be purchased separately.
The Sony DSC-W830 Cyber-shot captures images at a resolution of 20 MP. Its zoom lens ranges from a wide angle of 25mm to a telephoto range of 875mm with an additional 8x of digital zoom.
Like the Sony DSCH300, the DSC-W830 offers face and smile detection, and you can use the smile timer to delay the shutter until the camera detects a smile. Use tracking focus to keep moving subjects in focus.
Optical SteadyShot image stabilization keeps your images in focus.
Scene modes include portrait, backlit portrait, night portrait, backlit subject, landscape, night scene, beach, snow, fireworks, pet mode, and high sensitivity mode for shooting in low light without using a flash. The high sensitivity mode can help you capture the ambiance of the setting as well as help you capture candid shots of people, shots of wildlife, or shots of sleeping children or pets.
Macro mode lets you shoot small subjects up close, and sweep panorama mode lets you easily capture 360° and 180° vertical or horizontal panoramas simply by sweeping the camera across the scene.
Program mode (P mode) lets you take partial control of the camera settings you choose while letting the camera adjust the others, but when your ready, you can gain full control of the camera’s settings in M mode.
The DSC-W830 captures HD video at a resolution of 720p which, again, is acceptable for sharing videos with friends and family by email or on social media, but to establish a vlog, you should choose a camera that shoots video at a resolution of at least 1080p.
The DSC-W830 does not have built-in wireless connectivity so you cannot upload pictures or video to the internet directly from the camera or control the camera remotely from your tablet or cell phone. However, you can purchase an Eye-Fi card separately and use it to upload your images wirelessly.
While other cameras on this list have features we like and some may be better choices for certain uses, for a best digital camera under $200, we choose the Sony Cyber-shot DSCH300 for its overall versatility.
This camera lets you shoot in fully automatic mode or choose from scenes modes with preselected settings for shooting portraits, night portraits, landscapes, night scenes, snow and beach scenes, pet, fireworks, and low light scenes without using a flash. The camera offers face and smile recognition, and you can set the shutter delay button to wait until a smile is detected. The DSCH300 tracks moving subjects, and when you pair portrait mode with Intelligent Scene Recognition, the camera selects the best settings for both your main subject and the background.
As you develop as a photographer, you can take increasing control of the camera’s settings, so you can continue to grow with this camera.
The optical zoom range from 25mm to 875mm gives you the wide angle you need for selfies, landscapes, and architecture as well as the telephoto range you need for long distance subjects and tightly focused action shots. It also gives you a range of focuses for your videos so that you can capture an overall image, close into mid-range to capture a small group, or focus on a single individual.
With this camera, you can capture vertical or horizontal 180° or 360° panoramas simply by sweeping the camera across the scene.
You can capture video in your choice of HD at a resolution of 720p or full HD at a resolution of 1080p. You’ll have the more compact resolution that’s best for sharing videos by email with family or friends, but you`ll also have the standard resolution that will let you start a vlog inexpensively while you learn and build an audience and income.
With the purchase of an Eye-Fi card, you can upload your images to the internet directly from this camera. If you don’t want to purchase an Eye-Fi card though, you can use the USB cable that comes with the camera to connect the camera to your computer, upload your photos and videos to your computer, and then upload them from your computer to the internet. It just takes a few extra steps.
So, for an inexpensive camera that provides you with a versatile list of photographic options, we choose the Sony Cyber-shot DSCH300.
Chinese Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday – November packed with special promotions on the net and in stores around the world. We have collected all the information for you.
The big shopping celebration of November is already here, and it seems that you are ready to take out your credit cards and storm the various shopping sites – in order to take advantage of the big deals. Just before you get lost between everything offered on the Internet, we decided to make things a bit more organized for you: what to expect and when, what discounts can be found, and most importantly – how to keep sanity and make no mistakes in this huge shopping celebration.
The temptation comes from the East. This is the Chinese Singles’ Day, which takes place every year at 11.11 (this year is coming on Saturday), during which all sites in China, known for their low prices, offer even bigger and more profitable deals. On this day it is recommended to browse sites such as Alibaba and Aliexpress.
About two weeks after this celebration ends, on November 23, comes Black Friday. In recent years, this day has become a worldwide demand, with most online and offline stores offering huge promotions.
This is a good day to go shopping in general for those who want to save but beware of the hustle and bustle of shopping centers in the entire Western world. If you focus on online shopping on the same day, you will find huge deals on American and European shopping sites such as eBay, AMAZON, NEXT, ASOS and a host of other sites.
If you did not have the time to stock up on that day, do not worry: all of these sites will also offer big deals on the following Monday – “Cyber Monday” which is a direct continuation of Black Friday.
So how do you manage to buy smart and keep yourself in the sea of temptations?
Here’s how to do it right: Make sure that the site you are purchasing from is shipping to your location, preferably free of charge.
Measure yourself in advance: make one good measurement and write down all the measurements so that you can continue shopping all year long without getting out of bed. While shopping, pay attention to the composition of the fabric that may affect the fit on the body, as well as images raised by other buyers.
Make sure to compare prices and note that many sites offer a special coupon code that sometimes appears only at the checkout or newsletter of the site. If you are planning a large purchase from a particular site, it pays to be updated and prepared in advance. Check the seller’s return policy in advance and know the consumer protections available to you. People indicated that they did not return a damaged or broken product due to the return process and the shipping costs.
Take into account shipping time and special delays around the holiday seasons and shopping, and note that there are various shipping options. People indicated that they ordered a product for a specific event but received it late so there was no longer any need.
People said they ordered a product on the Internet and regretted buying it when it arrived. Before buying, learn a little about the seller, read other customer testimonials, check how the seller is rated and how many purchases have already been made. Did you buy them anyway? Know that you can always change your mind. As long as you take care to protect yourself in advance: buy only on secure sites and use secure payment methods.
It is also important to follow certain safety precautions related to your safety. ESET says that just like at any other time of the year, transactions that seem to be too good, are probably not really like that. Because if it looks too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true. Make sure that the site you purchase is secure: Check if the URL begins with https since most shopping sites encrypt traffic. In addition, on secure sites, there is a green lock on the left side of the address. Notice that the padlock appears in the URL line and not on the site itself – it can indicate a fictitious site. Also, make sure that your operating system is up-to-date and has the latest security fixes.
This is how secured URL looks like
Pay with a credit card or PayPal – Credit card companies allow buyers protection if something goes wrong while shopping. Bank transfers are usually not returned – be suspicious if the website asks you to make a bank transfer instead of paying by credit card. Set up alerts via your credit card company, they will send you an SMS or e-mail on every purchase made on your credit card. Set alarms starting at a low amount for each purchase. Also, set alerts for total purchases above a certain amount to protect multiple purchases of low amounts. Do not click unfamiliar links to sites that advertise promotions, coupons, etc. It can reach you via email, social networks, and even Google ads.
Finally, keep your personal and financial information. If you apply these tips during the upcoming shopping period, you can definitely significantly reduce your security risks.
Design of the Case
Thanks to cell phone cameras, small, versatile cameras are becoming ever more available and popular. Action cameras are among the smallest and most versatile cameras, and they have features developed for photographing and filming action sports that also are useful to those who photograph less extreme situations. GoPro is the top name in the action camera category, and the GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition is a best buy in that category.
The GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition records video in full HD at a resolution of 1080p with monaural sound. To improve video and sound quality, the camera is equipped with distortion correction and wind noise reduction.
The Hero 4 Silver records still images with a resolution of 12 MP, and you can capture video and still photos at the same time.
Use time lapse photography to record a series of images. Night Photo and Night Lapse let you take still photos at night, and Auto Low Light automatically changes the frames per second settings to adjust as you move from brightly lit areas to darker areas.
QuikCapture allows you to use one button to quickly turn on the camera and start filming, and HiLight Tag lets you mark the best parts of your videos so that you can locate them easily later.
While you can continue to use the Hero 4 Silver in automatic mode, you can use Protune to take more control of the camera’s functions as you become more experienced as a photographer.
Unlike many GoPro cameras, the Hero 4 Silver incudes a built-in, fixed video display that doubles as a touchscreen.
The Hero 4 Silver also offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
The Hero 4 best buy is both shockproof and water resistant.
In general, action cameras are cameras used outdoors to film or photograph extreme or action sports. They are smaller than standard cameras so that they can be worn or mounted on sports equipment. Because they are most often used in rugged environments, they also are more durable than standard cameras. They are shockproof and either weatherproof, weather resistant, waterproof, or water resistant.
When you’re considering an action camera, it’s important to know how far the camera can fall, how waterproof or water resistant it is, how weatherproof or weather resistant it is, and the range of temperatures in which it can continue to operate.
While we were unable to find information about how far the Hero 4 Silver can safely fall, it is shockproof. Other cameras provide this information.
It’s also waterproof when it is inside its case with the waterproof door attached. It comes with the case and the case includes three interchangeable doors -- a touch screen door, a skeleton door which leaves the back of the camera open, and the waterproof door that protects the camera to a depth of 131.2 feet (39.99 meters).
Many action cameras list maximum and minimum operating temperatures, but we couldn’t find the officially listed maximum or minimum operating range for the GoPro Hero 4 Silver. GoPro cameras, however, are designed to automatically save your files and shut down if their internal operating temperature exceeds 120°F (C).
Recording at high frame rates, controlling the camera remotely with the GoPro app, and using BacPac accessories with the Hero 4 all increase the operating temperature. So to keep your camera from shutting down during hot weather, don’t use BacPac accessories, shoot at slower frame rates as much of the time as is possible, and use the GoPro remote to control your camera rather than the GoPro app. The remote can be purchased separately.
On the other hand, meet the barbecued GoPro in this YouTube video from fishycomics entitledGoPro Cooked Medium Well 350°.
The official word from GoPro regarding cold temperatures is that cold drains the battery, but that the operating temperature of the camera provides enough heat to keep the camera warm and operating. If you really want to know how well a GoPro withstands cold, though, meet Frosty the GoPro and his siblings in this YouTube video from TheKingofRandom.com entitledWill a Recording GoPro Survive Liquid Nitrogen?
If you’re wondering how cold liquid nitrogen is, it exists in its liquid state between the temperatures of -320.44°F and -346°F (-196°C and -210°C). When it’s exposed to temperatures above -320.44°F, it boils and becomes a gas, as it does in the video when the warm, operating GoPro cameras are immersed in it. At temperatures below -346°F, nitrogen freezes, like water does at 32°F (0°C), and becomes a solid.
While some vloggers (video bloggers) are beginning to record in 4K, the resolution of 1080p that is used by the Hero 4 Silver is the most common resolution for vlogs. Some people claim to be able to notice a difference in the quality of a video recorded in 4K versus one recorded in 1080p on a computer monitor or an HD television, but others say that, unless you have a 4K television, you have to be very close to the screen to see it.
Most people still sit the same distance from their television as they have for decades, so shooting videos in 1080p is fine.
If you share videos by email, though, recording in 720p or saving a video shot in 1080p in a 720p version reduces the size of the file so that it sends faster for you and opens more quickly for your recipient.
The video display screen can be used as a viewfinder while you shoot others in action or while someone shoots you in action. You also can replay your movie immediately to be sure that you captured exactly what you wanted to capture in the way that you wanted to capture it.
If you want to show off a trick that you or a friend has mastered, the video display lets you see how well it was recorded and gives you the chance to try again if you’re not happy with the first attempt.
The video display also functions as a touchscreen that you can use to review still photos and to access and navigate the camera’s menu instead of using the camera’s select button.
When you are wearing your GoPro or when you have it mounted while you are participating in some activity, you aren’t likely to have access to the touch screen, though. The video display on any camera adds to the drain on the battery, so use the option to turn off the display when you don’t need it.
The built-in Wi-Fi connection allows you to upload your photos and videos to social media, your internet cloud storage account, or to an email anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. You also can use either a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection and the free GoPro app to access all of your camera’s controls and operate it remotely from your smart phone or tablet. In addition, you can use these connections to share your videos and photos with other devices. You can upload your photos and videos to your computer wirelessly with a Wi-Fi connection.
When the Hero 4 Silver is set to Time Lapse mode, it takes a series of still images that can be set from one second to 60 seconds apart. So in effect, it captures the action in freeze frames.
Night Photo automatically adjusts the cameras settings to absorb more light. This includes slowing the shutter speed, increasing the lens opening or aperture, increasing the ISO setting or the camera’s sensitivity to light, and adjusting the white balance so that the camera does not identify a light gray as white, causing the image to be too dark with too little differentiation within the darkest areas of the image.
If the image still appears too dark in the viewfinder, adjusting the camera’s exposure value downward by half steps (-0.5, -1, -1.5, or -2) will cause the camera to recognize more differentiations in the darker areas of the image and bring it closer to distinguishing between white and light gray.
Conversely, in cases where you are shooting in normal, daylight mode and the image is so brightly lit that too much of the image shows as white, such as when your shooting in snow or near sand or water, set the exposure value higher by half steps. The exposure value setting actually simultaneously changes the three most important settings that determine the exposure of your image – the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings.
Auto Low Light is to filming what Night Photo is to still photography, but when you are using or wearing a GoPro, you are probably moving at the same time that your subject is moving. So for example, if you are visiting the sites while on vacation, you may leave a bright, outdoor scene to enter a museum, an historic building, or an exotic shop or restaurant. With your GoPro in Auto Low Light mode, the camera switches from a higher frame per second film speed to a lower one to allow it time to capture more light in each frame.
Protune lets you take over from the camera’s automatic settings and adjust them manually. It gives you access to the camera’s ISO, shutter seed, and aperture settings; the white balance setting; and the color settings.
The ISO settings for the Hero 4 Silver range from 100 to 6400, and they correspond to the light sensitivity of photographic film. Use lower numbers in brightly lit settings where the camera can easily capture plenty of light and might capture too much. Use the higher numbered settings for low light and nighttime settings where the camera needs to gather every bit of light available to capture the image. Also remember that, while your eyes may tell you that there s plenty of light, to your camera, any indoor setting is a low light setting.
The color settings allow you to use color creatively to add emotional impact. For example, you could emphasize the quiet solitude of the mountains or the ocean by shifting the colors to the cool or blue side of the spectrum while filming a lone skier, surfer, snowboarder, or rock climber or a small group of mountain climbers against the wall of the mountain. You could even film in gray scale to create the look of an old black and white movie or news reel. However, if you want to emphasize the fun and comradery of extreme sports, push the colors to the warm, red side of the spectrum.
If some exciting action breaks out and catches you with your Hero 4 turned off, just hit the QuikCapture button. It immediately turns the camera on and starts filming the scene.
Not everything that you capture with your Hero 4 Silver is going to be something that you want everyone online to see. You don’t want to bore viewers with rides on a ski slope lift or waits in line to enter a concert or sporting event. When you’re editing, you don’t want to see all of that stuff again either. The HiLight Tag is the remedy to all that. Just tag the most interesting bits of your video, and then you can skip directly to those sections when you’re ready to upload, share, replay, or edit your video.
The Hero 4 Silver comes with a dual battery charger, but you may not be using your GoPro where you have a USB port for charging. You can purchase a portable charger to take on camping trips that will allow you to charge your camera and other devices several times, but eventually, the charger will need to be recharged. You may also have USB ports in your car, SUV, truck, or camper, but you might not be near it when your battery starts running down, and you also might not want to stop to recharge. So, bring at least three extra batteries with you, more depending on how you are filming.
The video display is not the only feature that consumes battery power. Using the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections use more energy. Also, shooting at higher resolutions and higher film speeds consumes more energy than filming at lower resolutions and film speeds. Since you most likely will be filming at 1080p and faster daylight film speeds most of the time, you might want to bring more than three batteries, especially if you plan on using your video display or Wi-Fi connection to control your camera.
The Hero 4 Silver accepts Micro SD, Micro SDHC, Micro SDHC UHS-1, Micro SDXC, and Micro SDXC UHS-1 memory cards with up to 64 GB of storage. When you are going to be using high film speeds to capture fast moving water or snow skiers, snowboarders, or racing cars, dune buggies, or boats at 1080p, you should purchase the highest speed memory card with the largest amount of storage you can afford, and as with batteries, you might want to purchase extra cards.
Look for cards with reading and writing speeds of at least 90 MB per second. Cards that are too slow can cause the camera to shut down or stop filming or cause TimeLapse mode to fail.
The Problem With Pairing a Rolling Shutter With a CMOS Image Sensor
In short, the problem with pairing a rolling shutter with a CMOS image sensor is that both capture images in ways that are so similar that pairing them accentuates a distorting effect in both still photography and video, especially when you’re attempting to capture fast moving objects or short-lived phenomenon like lightning.
There are two types of image sensors – CMOS and CCD. CMOS sensors are less expensive to produce, so they are commonly found in cameras intended for mass marketing to the general public. While some mass marketed cameras have CCD sensors, these image sensors are more expensive to produce, so they are more often found in advanced cameras that are marketed to professional photographers.
The difference between the two lies in how they are wired to the camera’s image processor, and that effects how they capture an image.
The surface of each image sensor is covered by a certain number of photoreceptors, and each photoreceptor equals one pixel.
On a CCD image sensor, all of the photoreceptors are most commonly wired together and connected as a group to the image processor at one corner of the image sensor. So, all of the photoreceptors on a CCD image sensor capture the entire image in a photograph or a frame of a video at the same moment, and then the entire image is transferred as a whole to the image processor.
On a CMOS image sensor, each photoreceptor is connected to a separate image processor, so each pixel of the image is captured independently. They aren’t quite processed independently, though, because the camera’s image processing and correction software does make comparisons between the images received by adjacent photoreceptors to sharpen the image, eliminate overlap, and fill in any gaps between the parts of the image captured by each photoreceptor. Photoshop uses this same procedure when you enlarge an image that was taken at a low resolution.
There are two types of shutters, global shutters and rolling shutters.
Like CCD image sensors, global shutters open and then close. They capture the entire image at the same moment.
Rolling shutters, however, whether they are mechanical or digital, quickly roll horizontally or vertically across the image sensor in the same way that the sensor in an office scanner glides across below the object it is scanning. Then the image captured by the photoreceptors is reconstructed from the segments and displayed as a whole in the same way that a scanner reconstructs a scanned document, image, or object and displays it as whole.
Rolling shutters capture the image from the photoreceptors row by row or column by column, and that allows the photoreceptors more time to capture more light from the image. This increases the amount of detail that the image sensor is able to absorb, but the process also creates a very tiny time lapse between when the first, middle, and final sections of the image are captured. This time lapse, however, is long enough that it can create distortions in images of objects moving at high speeds or events of very short duration, and it can be aggravated by the way CMOS image sensors operate.
Some of the effects created by a rolling shutter include:
Skewing -- Skewing shifts the image to the right or the left as the camera pans or as the subject moves from one side of the image to the other because different parts of the image were exposed or captured at different times.
The Jello Effect -- The image in the video appears to be wobbling like jello due to camera movement. This can occur when you shoot video from inside of a moving vehicle of objects that are outside the vehicle.
This wobbling look can also occur when you focus tightly on a distant object while holding the camera in your hands. Because telephotography uses a narrow lens angle and limits the foreground and background to a narrow depth of field these images are particularly susceptible to the effects of movement by the photographer or the camera. It’s best to use a tripod or to stabilize the camera in some other way for this type of photography.
Aliasing – The term aliasing, in effect, makes a verb of the word “alias.” It comes from the idea of someone substituting a different name for their real name. Both images and sounds can suffer from aliasing. It occurs when the recording device incorrectly records the image or sound and substitutes the incorrectly recorded version for the accurate version that should have been recorded. Images can suffer from spatial aliasing and temporal aliasing.
Spatial aliasing occurs when an object that is being filmed moves horizontally at or close to the same speed as a rolling shutter that is moving vertically. When the object moves from right to left or left to right, it is skewed in the direction in which it is traveling.
Objects that rotate counterclockwise, such as the blades of a fan, are not only skewed, but they also will appear to be thicker on the left side of the image, and they may appear to float in the image as if they were never attached to the hub. On the other hand, the blades on the right side of the image will appear to be much thinner than they actually are.
The appearance of objects rotating clockwise will have this effect reversed.
Temporal aliasing occurs when quick, short-lived bursts of light or extremely fast movements occur within the time it takes a rolling shutter to pass over all the photoreceptors on a CMOS image sensor. The light or the movement will be captured by the photoreceptors being scanned by the rolling shutters when the burst of light or the movement occurs, but it will not be recorded by the photoreceptors scanned before or after the flash or movement occurred.
When temporal aliasing occurs, you may capture part of an object in motion, but not the entire object, or part of the image may be effected by a flash of light, but not the entire image. Partial exposures result when the rolling shutter moves too slowly to capture an entire image taken under low light or at night at the same time as your flash illuminates it. In this case, one section of the image will be illuminated by the flash from your camera, but other portions of the image will be dark.
Some cameras with rolling shutters have automatic corrections for the effect included in the image processing software built into the camera, but be certain that the camera does make that correction. While the Hero 4 Silver does have built-in distortion correction, some still find that their videos suffer from the jello effect.
To correct the rolling shutter effect when shooting with the Hero 4 Silver, stabilize the camera and protect it from vibrations when shooting with Sorbothane, a pad which is sold in music stores because it’s used by drummers; shoot at a higher frame rate or shutter speed, which means using Protune to take manual control of the camera’s settings; and/or use an ND (neutral density) filter. In addition, look for image and video editing software that allows you to correct for the rolling shutter effect on your computer. Shooting at a higher frame rate forces the camera to use a higher shutter speed, and a faster shutter speed means that the rolling shutter is capturing the image in a shorter period of time. That brings the camera closer to capturing the entire image at once as global shutters and CCD image sensors do.
You can set the Hero 4 Silver to wide for wide angle shots, close-up portraits, group portraits, and selfies; to medium when you want to capture a portrait or an object while also showing part of the background; or narrow when you want to capture a more distant subject or object.
While the Hero 4 offers only spot metering, which causes it to read or meter the lighting directly around your subject, having these settings roughly corresponds to the matrix, center-weighted, and spot metering settings offered by standard cameras.
Matrix metering is used for wide-angle shots in which you want the camera to choose the best settings for capturing the entire image.
Center-weighted metering is used for portraits and photographs of objects when you want the camera to choose the best settings for your subject, but you also want the background to be well lighted, sharp, and clearly visible.
Spot metering in standard cameras is used for telephoto images that focus in tightly on a distant or fast moving person or object so that the camera chooses the best settings for the subject without being influenced by either the foreground or background.
When you use the wide setting with your Hero 4 Silver, however, you may notice a slight fisheye lens effect. While the Hero 4 Silver captures a more panoramic view of the scene to the right and left thanks to this effect, if you want to eliminate it for certain videos or still photos, set the camera to medium. The medium setting crops the amount of the scene that you will capture in the foreground, background, and to each side, but it does eliminate the fisheye distortion.
The GoPro Hero 4 best buy stands up well against competitors in the action camera ring.
In addition to the JPEG format, GoPro added the RAW photo format to the Hero 5 Black and the Hero 6 Black. The Hero 4 offers only JPEG, but that is not much of an issuee when you have to save JPEG files before editing them anyway.
JPEG formatting compresses files every time they are edited and saved to conserve storage space while RAW captures and retains all of the details within the image, creating a larger file. Because of this, it’s best to wait to edit JPEG files until you have uploaded them to your computer and saved them as either PNG or TIFF files. Neither PNG or TIFF formatting will continue to further compress your files, eliminating more details with each compression.
On the other hand, while you should b able to edit RAW files with your photo editing software, you will have to save your files as PNG files before uploading them to the social media or other sites. While most sites accept either JPEG or PNG files, RAW files are too large and can take too long to upload, so most sites will not accept them.
The Hero 5 Black shoots video at resolutions of 1080p, 1440p, and 4K30 while the Hero 6 offers resolutions of 1080p, 2.7K120, and 4K60. Some say that videos shot at higher resolutions do look sharper, even on televisions, monitors, and displays with lower resolutions. However, 1080p remains the standard resolution for vlogging. It creates smaller files when you’re out shooting so that you have more room on your storage media to capture more of the action, and those smaller files upload more quickly.
GoPro has improved image stabilization on the Hero 6 Black. However, even though the rolling shutter effect is a potential problem for these cameras, GoPro’s cameras wouldn’t have become known for their spectacular videos if that effect consistently contributed to poor videos.
Both the Hero 5 Black and Hero 6 Black respond to simple voice commands, so that you can, for example, tell the camera to start filming just as you’re about to start your run down a slope or navigate some rapids while kayaking. This hands free feature is a useful one in such situations, but even though simply leaving the camera on and filming everything consumes more storage space and battery energy, if you’re on a budget and want an action camera, the Hero 4 Silver is more affordable. You can, after all, use the HiLight Tag to mark the most interesting sections of your videos.
The Polaroid Cube+ is Polaroid’s update to their Cube. Those who find the GoPro Hero 4 Silver and its functions intimidating may prefer the simplicity of the Cube+. The Cube+ chooses all of the camera’s settings automatically.
Although the Cube+ doesn’t have the range of mounting attachments that are available for GoPro cameras, it does have one advantage that’s not available with other action cameras. It has a strong magnet in its base that allows you to mount it on any metal surface. No other attachment device is needed, but it does come with clip mounts.
The Cube+ comes with an 8MP CMOS image sensor. It captures video at resolutions of 1080p and 1440p. It supports Micro SD cards up to 132GB, giving t more storage space than the other cameras, and with the app installed, you can control the camera from your phone or tablet and use it as a viewfinder. The camera itself does not have a viewfinder.
While the Cube+ comes with digital image stabilization, the jello effect can be visible along the right and left edges of videos, and some feel that the colors are over-saturated and too vivid.
It could be a good beginner’s camera.
The EK7000 comes with a 12MP image sensor, and it captures video at resolutions of 1080p, 2.7K, and 4K. It can use GoPro mounts. You can control the camera from your cell phone or tablet, but it comes with a number of accessories that GoPro sells separately, including two batteries, a remote control and a helmet mount, a bike mount, and a variety of other mounts and tethers. The EK7000 supports Micro SD cards up to 64 MB.
While these two cameras offer a variety of shooting modes, they lack many of the functions offered by the GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition. The Hero 4 retains its status as the best buy.
Point-and-shoots are finding a place among the tools of professional photographers, so if you are considering upgrading from your cell phone camera to a point-and-shoot, you have good reason to do so. Advances in technology have improved image quality, and professionals now affirm in interviews that they carry point-and-shoot cameras with them on a daily basis. For capturing spur-of-the-moment occurrences, point-and-shoots are convenient, lighter in weight, and much more compact than their professional gear. In addition, a point-and-shoot with a versatile zoom lens eliminates the need to carry multiple lenses.
One of the issues with the autofocus system of any digital camera, not just a point-and-shoot, is that certain photographic situations make it difficult for the autofocus system to operate properly. Some of these include scenes with an off-center subject; scenes with bright lighting, low light, and nighttime scenes; and scenes with repetitive patterns. You can help the autofocus system achieve a sharp focus with a few adjustments.
Because most photographs are composed with the main subject at the center of the image, autofocus systems are set by default to focus on the person or object that is closest to the camera at the center of the image. However, to create a more interesting composition or for the sake of the story or emotion that you want the image to capture, you may want to compose your photograph with your main subject in one corner, to one side or the other, or at the top or bottom of the image.
There are two ways to change the camera’s default focus. You can change the camera’s focal point, or you can you can lock the camera’s focus on the subject.
Digital cameras divide your image into a grid with three rows and three columns. By default, the focus point is set to the center rectangle of the grid. You can use your camera’s menu to display this grid. If your camera’s LED display doubles as a touch screen control panel, all you have to do to change the focus point is to tap the rectangle on the grid where your main subject will be in your composition. Your camera then automatically focuses on the person or object that is closest to the camera in that section of your image.
If your camera doesn’t have a touch screen, then you will use the up/down and right/left directional arrows you use to navigate the camera’s menu to move the focus point to the rectangle where your main subject will be.
To lock the camera’s focus on an off-center subject, move the camera so that your subject is in the center of the image and push the shutter button halfway down. The camera will focus on your subject and adjust its settings. Then, continue to hold the shutter button halfway down as you move the camera so that your main subject is where you want it to be in your photograph. Now, you can push the shutter button the rest of the way down.
Locking the focus of the camera is the older method. It’s the solution created for capturing off-center subjects with film cameras before digital camera’s were invented.
If you might want to learn still photography with a film camera, you will need to become proficient with locking the focus, because it will be your only option. Practicing with a digital camera is easier because you can see immediately if you released the shutter button while moving the camera or if you depressed the shutter too soon.
However, moving the focus point is the easiest way to capture an off-center subject. Moving the focus point instead of moving the camera while trying to hold the shutter button halfway down eliminates any chance that you will accidentally release or depress the shutter button as you move. Nevertheless, there will still be some situations in which locking the camera’s focus is the only option that will work.
While some autofocus systems are better than others, if your camera’s manuals list settings in which your camera will have difficulty focusing, bright, low light, and nighttime scenes will be among them. However, most point-and-shoot cameras allow you enough control of your camera’s settings that you can assist your autofocus system.
The helpful settings that you most likely will be able to adjust include:
The autofocus assist lamp sends out a brief pulse of light to assist as the camera focuses. While some point-and-shoots use the camera’s built-in flash for this purpose, a separate infrared assist lamp is better. If you are trying to take a picture of a wild animal, a pet, or a sleeping child, the camera’s flash can startle your subject. An adult who is startled by the flash, even if they are knowingly posing for the picture, can become annoyed. The brief pulse of infrared light generally goes unnoticed.
Switch from autofocus to scene mode and choose an appropriate scene mode. Some of the common low light scene modes include indoors, party, nighttime portrait, and nighttime landscape. More specialized lowlight settings, such as museum, adjust the cameras settings for taking lowlight images through glass cases.
Scene modes for brightly lit settings include beach and snow. Setting for sunrises and sunsets also help the camera adjust to the brightness of the sun even though the areas of the scene beyond the rising or setting sun might be a dark or lowlight scene.
The white balance setting helps your camera make adjustments for the type of lighting in the scene. Most point-and-shoots will let you choose a setting for outdoor settings in bright sunlight, outdoor settings on a cloudy day, indoor scenes lit by incandescent bulbs, and indoor settings lit by fluorescent lights.
Some will let you set a custom white balance setting. To do this, with the camera set to white balance, focus the camera on a white sheet of paper or a photographer’s white board under the lighting in the setting where you will be taking pictures and press the shutter down. The camera uses that image to set what it recognizes as white in the photograph. Setting a custom white balance is especially useful in settings that are lit by two or more different types of light. For example, you may have energy saving fluorescent bulbs in a frequently used light, incandescent bubs in light you use less often, and sunlight coming in through a window.
The ISO settings in point-and-shoot cameras range from at least 100 to 800. Some have lower and/or higher settings. These settings are the equivalent to the films used in film cameras, and in digital cameras, they adjust the cameras sensitivity to the light it receives as the shutter is activated.
The lower settings are for brightly lit settings. These settings reduce the camera’s sensitivity to light, allowing it to capture a wider range of pale colors in the lighter areas of the image.
The higher settings are for capturing action shots or lowlight or nighttime images. They increase the camera’s sensitivity to light. Obviously, this is important in a lowlight or nighttime setting when there isn’t much light. To capture a person, an animal, or an object like a race car in motion, though, the camera will use a very high shutter speed. That means that, even though the scene may be a brightly lit daytime scene, not much of that available bright light is captured in the short exposure time allowed. So, taking an action shot at a high shutter speed is, in effect, the same as taking a lowlight photograph.
The meter settings tell the camera what area of the picture should have priority when it takes the light meter readings that it uses to choose its settings. Regardless of the type of camera you have, you will have three choices – matrix, center-weighted, and spot focus.
Matrix is used for landscapes and other images that you want to be equally well lighted from objects in the foreground to objects in the background. It tells the camera to use a light meter setting that is an average of readings taken from all areas of the image from the darkest to the lightest.
Center-weighted metering is used for portraits and still life mages. The weighting can be adjusted by changing the camera’s focus point or locking the focus on an off-center subject, but this meter reading gives priority to the readings taken from the area of the image where the main subject is located while also providing sufficient lighting so that background objects are also focused and distinct.
Spot focus metering is used for action shots and long distance subjects. The camera takes the meter readings from an area that is tightly focused around the main subject. Spot focus prevents the meter readings from being influenced by the lighting of the foreground or background because the lighting in those areas can be very different from the lighting directly around the subject.
Within the scene modes, you may see that you have the option of changing the camera’s settings up or down by three settings. These settings are the exposure value or EV settings.
In autofocus mode, your camera takes a reading of the light levels from different areas of the scene, and it selects a midpoint between the lightest and darkest areas and uses that midpoint as if it represents white.
In brightly lit scenes like a snow scene where the darkest areas might actually be a light gray, your camera may select an area to represent white when that area actually contains a range of very pale colors. In this situation, the camera fails to distinguish between these pale tints, and those colors are lost from the image. In the photograph, that entire area of delicate tints appears as white.
Conversely, in dark scenes where the brightest areas might be the mid-tones of the various colors in the scene. In a case such as this one, the camera might select a light gray to represent white. In the photograph, the areas of mid-tone colors will look like darker shades of the colors.
Using an appropriate scene mode helps to tell the camera to adjust its settings to detect very pale colors in brightly lit scenes or to detect mid-tones in a lowlight or nighttime image. In either case, the camera shifts the area it selects to represent white. In some situations, the adjustments made by the preset scene modes isn’t enough to completely correct the problem. Changing the EV settings can help.
In a brightly lit scene, the camera is choosing an area of the image to represent white that isn’t bright enough. The image needs to brightened in order for the camera to detect more of the range of lighter colors in the image. So, if the image still lacks the lighter colors even after you have switched to scene mode, change the EV setting to +1, +2, or +3.
In a dark scene, the camera is choosing an area of the image to represent white that is too dark. The image needs to be darkened so that the camera can detect more of the darker colors within the shadows of the image. So, if the colors in the image still look dark and muddy even though you have switched to a lowlight or nighttime scene mode, change the EV setting to -1, -2, or -3.
This tip is not only useful for helping your camera to focus on scenes with repetitive patterns but also for helping your camera to focus on nighttime scenes.
An image with a repetitive pattern can include a building with a series of identical columns or windows, a mosaic or a section of tiles on a wall or floor, or a still life with a row of identical objects. When shooting a scene with a repetitive images, without moving your zoom lens in or out, lock the camera’s focus on a part of the image that is the same distance from you as the part of the image that contains the repetitive image, such as a door of the building that has the windows. Then, recompose your image to include the repetitive pattern and take your photograph.
For nighttime photography, lock the camera’s focus on the edge of an area where there is a sharp division between dark and light that is the same distance from you as your subject. Then, turn back to your subject to recompose your image and take the picture.
The reason that you should not zoom in to focus on one section of an image with a repetitive pattern and then zoom out again to capture the entire image is because zoom lenses are now designed to automatically refocus the image whenever you change the zoom.
Some point-and-shoot cameras offer P or program mode. This mode lets you fine tune the preset scene modes to better suit the photographic conditions of your setting. Depending on the camera, P mode may allow you to change the metering and the preset ISO, EV, and white balance settings.
When you are ready to take more control of you camera’s settings, you can set your camera to shutter priority mode to select a slower or faster shutter speed or to aperture priority mode to select a wider or narrower lens or aperture opening. These settings help you better control the amount of light your image receives. In shutter mode, the camera selects the aperture setting and ISO sensitivity that correspond to your chosen shutter speed. In aperture mode, the camera selects the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity.
If your camera offers M or manual mode, you will be able to take full control of all of your camera’s settings, including selecting your own combinations of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity.
While that may be an overwhelming thought if you are just beginning to look at point-and-shoot cameras, having a point-and-shoot that offers manual control means that you have a camera that you can grow with as you become a more accomplished photographer. You don’t have to use any of these advanced settings right away, but when you are ready to experiment them they will be there waiting for you. You won’t need to invest in another camera to have them.
Another feature that your point-and-shoot may offer is the ability to save one or more custom settings. If you take a lot of photos of similar subjects under similar photographic conditions, you can save the setting you use for that type of photography. Then, when you want to shoot more of those similar subjects, you can simply set your camera to custom mode, and it will be ready to shoot with your saved settings.
To find a camera and begin experimenting with the tips suggested above, choose one from our list of the best point and shoot cameras under 500.
The Panasonic Lumix ZS60 features an 18.1 MP 1/2.3 High Sensitivity MOS image sensor, and a Venus Engine image processor. High sensitivity MOS image sensors reportedly use more power than CMOS image sensors but are more sensitivity to light and produce pictures of more uniform quality by suppressing areas of uneven color and brightness. Panasonic’s five-axis hybrid O. I. S. (optical image stabilization) system reduces camera shake vertically, horizontally, and toward and away from your subject. The ZS60’s Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom lens features a range from 24mm for wide angle shots to 720mm for narrowly focused long distance and action shots.
Intelligent Auto Mode and Intelligent Auto Plus Mode can be set to track moving subjects with Auto Focus. Both modes automatically recognize portraits, baby photos, night portraits, landscapes, nighttime landscapes, hand held nighttime shots, sunsets, food shots, and macro photography. The camera uses HDMI Mode to compensate for scenes with high contrasts between dark and light areas.
Compensation for backlit subjects activates automatically, so there are no specific scene modes for backlit portraits or objects.
Intelligent Auto Plus Mode allows you to adjust the brightness from EV -5 to EV +5 and to adjust the color tone to make the colors warmer and more golden or cooler by adding more cyan.
In P Mode (Program Mode), you can use Program Shift to adjust the automatically selected paired combination of the shutter speed and aperture width to a different paired combination within a limited range of allowed combinations.
In S Mode (Shutter Priority Mode), you can select the shutter speed, and the camera will automatically select a corresponding, complementary setting for the aperture opening and ISO sensitivity setting.
In A Mode (Aperture Priority Mode), you can select the aperture setting, and the camera will select a corresponding, complementary setting for the shutter sped and ISO sensitivity.
In M Mode (Manual Exposure Mode), you can completely control the camera’s exposure settings by selecting the shutter speed, aperture opening, and ISO sensitivity independently of each other.
While most point-and-shoots only allow you to save one custom setting at a time in C Mode, the Lumix ZS60 saves up to three custom settings.
You can use Preview Mode to see the effects of the settings you choose in most of the camera’s recording modes.
Other scene modes are available, such as Glistening Water, Vivid Sunset, and Bright Blue Sky. Many of these achieve their effects by automatically applying some of the cameras artistic or special effects to the image.
Panorama Mode provides two options. When set to standard width, you can take 180° panoramas, but when set to wide, you can take full 360° panoramas.
For Time Lapse Photography, you can choose to start the photography up to 23 hours and 59 minutes from when you setup the camera. Then, you can set the time over which the camera will record images from 1 second to 99 minutes and 59 seconds at intervals of 1 second. You can also set the number pf pictures to be taken from one to 9,999.
When you are shooting movies in Intelligent Auto Mode, the camera automatically recognizes portrait shots (close ups), landscapes, low light settings, and macro photography. You can use the Lumix ZS60 to create slow motion movies by setting the camera to High Speed Video. Set the camera to Silent to minimize the camera’s operating noise while filming.
With the Lumix ZS60, you can use either the digital image finder or the touch-sensitive LCD screen to compose your image. You also can use the LCD touch screen to trigger the shutter.
You can use up to three photos to register the faces of up to six people on the Lumix ZS60.
The Lumix ZS60 captures still images in both RAW and jpg file formats, and it captures movies in full HD with stereo sound at resolutions of both 4K and 1080p.
The ZS60’s built-in Wi-Fi connection allows you to upload 1080p and lower resolution movies and jpg images to the internet and stream movies live as you shoot. You can also control the camera with your Android or iOS device using Panasonic’s Image App. However, some features of Image App, such as Snap Movie, aren’t compatible with iOS as of the date of this review.
While 4K movies and RAW photos can be displayed on HDTVs directly from the camera, whether or not the TV is 4K compatible, these movies and images can be uploaded only to a computer. They can’t, as yet, be uploaded to the internet. Before uploading photos, convert them to TIFF format as this format saves all the details and color gradations. It does not continually compress images with each new save as jpg does.
While some YouTube hosts are converting to 4K videos, most sites still accept only 1080p MP4 files or smaller. Also, while you can burn 4K movies on a CD, you can not save them to a Blu-Blu-Ray disc. So, for sharing movies by email or on most social media sites and for transferring movies to Blu-Ray, you will need to convert them to 1080p. You can use the Image App to make this conversion in your camera, though. This camera is just a bit ahead of the curve.
The bundle that comes with this camera includes a replacement battery and an AC/DC Rapid Charger, a SanDisk 32 MB SDHC memory card, both a full size and a table top tripod, a micro HDMI cable, a DigitalAndMore cleaning cloth, and a carrying case.
Canon’s PowerShot G9 X Mark II comes with the company’s 20.1 MP 1-inch high sensitivity CMOS image sensor and pairs it with Canon’s Digic 7 image processor and an optical zoom lens that ranges from a wide angle 28mm to a mid-range 84mm. In macro mode, you can get as close as 5mm or 2 inches. The digital zoom adds an additional 4x of magnification to the 3x of the optical zoom.
The G9 X Mark II also employs Canon’s optical Intelligent Image Stabilization which selects the type of image stabilization required for the photographic situation. It adjusts for movies made while you are walking and holding the camera, movies and images taken while using a tripod, nighttime images taken while you are holding the camera, and panning scene mode that allows you to move the camera as your main subject moves creating a blurred background that suggests speed. In this latter mode, the camera allows for movement in the direction you are panning, but adjusts the image stabilization to correct for movement in other directions.
In addition to panning mode, the Canon PowerShot G9 offers portrait mode, nighttime mode, fireworks mode, and a nighttime portrait mode for starlit backgrounds that shoots the portrait shot first with the flash and then takes two more shots without the flash to capture the stars. You will need to use a tripod with this mode, and you should tell the person whose portrait you are taking not to move until they have seen the focus assist lamp flash three times.
High dynamic range or HDR mode is another option. In HDR mode, the camera takes three successive shots at different EV or brightness settings and blends them into a single image. When you are taking a photograph of a scene with both very bright and very dark areas, HDR mode helps the camera distinguish the areas that are truly black and truly white so that it accurately captures light grays and pale colors as well as dark grays and very dark colors.
The PowerShot G9 also offers a fish eye lens effect, a miniature model effect, a toy camera effect, and artistic modes that give your photographs the look of oil paintings, water colors, old photos, and vivid illustrations.
One handy feature that will help the camera focus on people who are moving or who may not be facing the camera is the ability to register up to 12 people on the camera. Take a photo of the person as he or she faces the camera, press register, and then enter the person’s name and birthday. Entering the person’s birthday lets the camera recognize infants and young children. You can add a total of five images of the person, so add a photograph of the person looking away from the camera at a slight angle, a photograph of the person smiling or not smiling depending on whether or not they were smiling in the first photograph, and indoor and outdoor pictures. You can register up to 12 people in this way.
When you are taking photographs, the camera will recognize up to three of the people whom you have registered and optimize its lighting settings for the best image of them. It will also record their names on still photographs, so if you don’t want the image labeled, you will need to turn that feature off before taking the photograph. To keep up with the facial changes of growing babies and toddlers, you should re-register their images frequently.
Canon’s Servo Autofocus enables the camera to track a moving subject. The LCD screen of the PowerShot G9 functions as a touch screen for easy access to the cameras features. If you want to change the focus point of the camera, all you have to do is tap the object or the face of the person whom you want to be main subject.
The PowerShot G9 X offers P mode, Tv mode (shutter priority mode), Av mode (aperture priority mode), M mode (manual mode), and C mode (custom mode).
The G9 X captures still shots as either jpg or RAW files. In addition to capturing still images, the G9 X captures movies in full HD at a resolution of 1080p in MP4 format so that you can show your movies on a big screen HDTV. The G9 X also can be set for time lapse photography, and it has a hybrid mode that stores two to four seconds of the action prior to the activation of the shutter. When you’re done shooting the event, the camera will meld all of the images into a highlight reel for sharing with others.
The PowerShot G9 can connect to Wi-Fi networks and hotspots and Bluetooth and NFC devices. You can upload your movies and images directly to the internet, print directly to PictBridge compatible printers, and when you have the CameraConnect app installed, you can control the camera remotely from your cell phone.
The bundle that comes with this camera includes a camera case, a Hi-Speed SD USB card reader, a SanDisk Ultra SDXC 64GB 80MB/S C10 Flash Memory Card, a tri-fold wallet to hold your memory cards, a 12 inch table top tripod with flexible legs, a bubble lever and quick release plate, LCD screen protectors, a lens cleaning pen, and a five piece cleaning kit.
The Sony DSCHX80 contains an 18.2 GB 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor, which is the size commonly found in point-and -shoots. It comes with a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar optical zoom lens with a range from 24mm for wide angle photography to 720mm for narrowly focused, long range photography. In macro mode, you can shoot from as close as 5 cm.
The camera offers two fully automatic modes, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto. Both modes recognize the scene and automatically choose an appropriate scene mode. However, you should use Superior Auto when you are shooting scenes in low light or when your subject is backlit.
When the camera recognizes either of these two photographic situations, if it is set to Superior Auto, it takes multiple shots of the image and blends them into a composite image to capture all of the highlights and shadows. When the camera takes multiple images of the scene, it displays an overlay icon that resembles three stacked sheets of paper. To avoid camera blur, you should use a tripod or avoid moving until the camera has finished shooting.
In either Intelligent Auto or Superior Auto, the Sony DSCHX80 recognizes and uses scene modes for landscapes, night scenes, low light scenes, photos of backlit objects, and photographs of spotlit objects.
When face detection is turned on, it also recognizes and uses the scene modes for portraits, backlit portraits, night portraits, and photos of infants. You can register the faces of up to eight people in the camera.
If you choose to select the scene mode yourself, you can choose from these modes plus iSweep Panorama, Advanced Sports Shooting mode which tracks the main subject, sunset mode, anti-motion blur scenes which allow you to take indoor scenes in the available light without using the flash, twilight scenes photographed without a tripod, pet mode, gourmet mode for photographing food, snow scenes, beach scenes, photographs of fireworks, a skin-softening mode for portraits, and a high-sensitivity ISO mode for shooting scenes in very low light which is especially helpful for capturing movies.
In Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto mode, the camera can tell if you are using a tripod or if you are moving, moving while shooting a brightly lit scene, or moving while shooting a scene in low light. If you have SteadyShot set to Active mode or Intelligent Active mode while shooting a movie, the camera can tell if you are walking while shooting. The camera subsequently adjusts the image stabilization and camera settings to compensate for the movement and lighting.
As with the Canon PowerShot G9 X above, P, or program mode, lets you adjust settings such as brightness or EV settings and the ISO sensitivity in Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto, and scene mode. If you want to adjust the shutter speed, set the camera to S mode. To adjust the aperture, set the camera to A mode. Setting the camera to M for manual mode allows you to take full control of all of the camera's functions. If you want to save custom settings, set the camera to MR, or Memory Recall.
If you are shooting a moving subject, using a faster shutter speed keeps your subject in focus as if frozen in motion. A slower shutter speed displays a trail behind your subject showing its path during the movement.
The aperture setting affects the depth of field. A wider aperture setting or F number keeps more of the foreground and background in focus. A narrower aperture narrows the depth of field and focuses more tightly on your subject.
With the Sony DSCHX80, you can choose whether to compose your shot using the pop-up digital viewfinder or the flip-up LCD screen. The LCD screen offers advantages when you need to hold the camera high or low to take your photograph. You can also flip the screen clear up so that you can see your own image as you take a selfie.
The Sony DSCHX80 captures still images in jpg format and movies in full HD at a resolution of 1080p in stereo sound with the ability to reduce wind noise. It can connect directly to Wi-Fi hotspots and upload your images and movies with an Eye-Fi card. You also can control the camera remotely from your cell phone with the PlayMemories Mobile app and share images with NFC compatible devices.
The Canon PowerShot SX730 includes a 20.3 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor and an optical zoom lens with a range that extends from 24mm for wide angle shots to 960mm for tightly focused action and long distance photography. The digital zoom adds an additional 4X of magnification. The SX 730 does not have a viewfinder. It uses the LCD screen for composing shots. The LCD screen flips up to approximately 180°, however, so that you can see your image on the screen as you compose a selfie. A flip out LCD screen also lets you see your shot when you are holding the camera up high, down low, or to one side or the other.
The timer delay on the shutter can be set to wait until it recognizes that a new face has entered the photo or until it detects a wink, as well as waiting until it detects a smile. Face detection and wink detection both allow the photographer to enter the picture, and wink detection could be used to trigger the shutter to capture the subject’s immediate reaction to a surprise.
As with the Canon PowerShot G9, when you shoot in Auto mode, the camera takes full control of the camera’s settings. In Hybrid Auto Mode, the camera captures the few seconds of action that occur just before you depress the shutter. When you are finished shooting the event, the camera uses the movie/still hybrid photos to create a newsreel highlight of the event that you can share on social media.
In Auto mode, the camera automatically adjusts the settings for shooting people, pets, and objects under normal lighting, when they are backlit, when they are in low light settings, and when they are under a spotlight. It adjusts the settings for shooting moving adults, children, pets, and objects when they are under normal lighting or when they are backlit. It also adjusts the settings when it detects shadows on a person’s face as well as photos of people and babies when they are sleeping or smiling under normal light or when they are backlit. It adjusts the settings for objects shot in the light of a sunset, and it can adjust settings in macro photography mode for normal lighting, for backlit subjects, and for subjects under a spotlight.
As with the PowerShot G7, you can register up to five images of the faces of up to 12 people. The process is identical on both cameras. The SX730 also has the same scene modes and shooting modes – P mode, Tv mode, Av mode, Servo AF, and M mode -- as the G7.
The SX730 also can connect to Wi-Fi networks and hotspots and Bluetooth and NFC devices. You can upload your movies and images directly to the internet, print directly to PictBridge compatible printers, and when you have the CameraConnect app installed, you can control the camera remotely from your cell phone.
The bundle that comes with this camera includes a Canon NB-13L battery, Canon battery charger CB-2LH, a 64 GB Ultraspeed SDHC/SDXC UHS-1 memory card, a tabletop tripod with an ergonomic handgrip, a camera case, and an 8-piece starter kit with a blower and lens pen.
The Canon PowerShot SX620 combines a 20.2 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor with Canon’s DIGIC 4+ image processor, Canon’s Intelligent IS Image Stabilization, and an optical zoom lens with a range of 25mm for wide angle image to 625mm for action and long distance photography.
For those who feel overwhelmed by all of the features of the above cameras, the PowerShot SX620 is a simpler, more basic camera. It offers Auto mode, Servo AF for tracking moving subjects, and P mode that allows you to adjust some of the scene mode settings. It omits shutter priority mode, aperture priority mode, and full manual mode. The SX620 also omits face registration. It can connect to Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth and NFC devices. If you install CameraConnect on your Android or iOS device, you will be able to control this camera with your cell phone. All of the features that it does have in common with the G9 and the SX730 function in the same way on all three cameras. The SX620 comes with the same bundle as the SX730.
We actually have two winners for the best point and shoot camera under 500.
For those who want a camera they can continue to use as they become more skilled at photography, we recommend the Panasonic DMC-ZS60. You can start using Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto Mode and advance to P-Mode, A and S mode, and finally M Mode. The ZS60 offers a zoom lens that ranges from 24mm to 720mm. It provides automatic scene modes that are comparable to those offered by most point-and-shoot cameras. It shoots still photos in both RAW and jpg formats, and it shoots movies with stereo sound in both 4K and 1080p formats. You can capture time lapse images, 180° and 360° panoramas, and slow motion movies. While the LCD screen is fixed and doesn’t flip up, it does function as a touch screen and can be used to trigger the shutter. This camera also saves up to three custom settings and registers the faces of up to six people. Bluetooth and NFC connectivity would be nice features, but the ZS60 does have built in Wi-Fi. With all the other features it includes, we can forgive its limited shortcomings.
For those who want a simple to operate point-and-shoot camera without a lot of confusing options, we recommend the Canon PowerShot SX620. The range of the zoom lens, from 25mm to 625mm, allows the versatility needed to capture landscape, long distance, and action shots. Servo AF tracks moving targets, and P Mode enables some minor adjustments to assist the camera with difficult photographic situations. The camera offers Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity so that the camera can upload movies and images directly to the internet. The CameraConnect app allows you to remotely control the camera from your Android or iOS device, which is handy when you want to include yourself in the picture or trigger the shutter without touching the camera to avoid causing camera movement.
It’s easy to say that the best camera for YouTube or the best video camera for YouTube depends on your reasons for wanting to create and post videos. It’s true, but . . . . At the same time, anyone who wants to post videos on YouTube will share a common desire for sharp, clear, well-lighted videos with clear sound or audio. So, whether you‘re posting family videos to share with distant relatives, sharing your knowledge through how-to videos, supporting a cause, reviewing products or services, starting or promoting a business, or recording life as it happens, quirks and all; you’ll want certain basic features, but you will need other, more advanced features to create a professional aura that enhances confidence in the information you present if you’re starting a vlogging business.
YouTube videos and vlogs cover every topic that can legally be posted online.
These videos might be shared on YouTube, but they are probably more commonly shared on Facebook or by email. They might be made at a scheduled family event, such as a birthday party or a reunion, but they also might be made on the spur of the moment when a child or pet does something that simply has to be shared. Whether it’s a scheduled event or spur-of-the-moment happening, these videos are usually shot on the move as the person taking the video follows the action. They might be captured under any kind of lighting, from incandescent or fluorescent indoor lighting, to a mix of indoor lighting types combined with sunlight from a window, to bright sun, or to scenes where bright sunlight is compounded as it reflects off of snow or water.
You will definitely want optical image stabilization, and possibly digital image stabilization as well.
If the event is a scheduled one, you’ll have a better idea of what the lighting will be, so you might want some access to the camera’s settings so that you can choose the settings that best match the lighting. If you really don’t want to learn that much about the camera settings, you can choose a scene mode that matches the lighting that you expect.
If you shoot a lot of impromptu videos, you might not have time to change the camera settings. In that case, you can use the camera’s auto-focus mode and let it choose the settings from its light meter readings.
For capturing spur-of-the-moment videos, you’ll want a small, lightweight camera that you can easily carry with you wherever you go.
An attached or fixed zoom lens will serve you better than removable, interchangeable lenses.
If you plan to share these videos by email, you’ll want small size files, so a resolution of 720p is sufficient. HD video at 1080p has become the standard, though, and you will want at least this resolution if you want to show your videos on an HD TV.
That’s Life and travel vlogs record life, or a vacation, as it happens.
For this type of vlog, you might wear an action type camera like the ones used by action vloggers who capture videos of themselves as they surf, snowboard, ski, parachute, or participate in some other activity. These cameras operate hands-free and use the camera’s autofocus system to adjust the settings.
You also might carry a small, lightweight camera to selectively record the things and events that you encounter. Don’t necessarily dismiss anything because it’s commonplace.
Photographer Peter Funch went to the same location in Grand Central Station every morning between 8:30 to 9:30 from 2007 to 2016 and shot the scene from exactly the same location. Eventually, he realized that he was repeatedly capturing the same people walking alone or in the same group and creating a record of their morning routine.
Another photographer stepped outside the door of either his house or his studio at the same time every morning to photograph the street over a period of years. When he reviewed his images, he realized that he had captured the subtle changes in the street, the houses, and the people that had occurred day-to-day over time.
For this type of vlog, if you’re not using an action cam and you’re shooting impromptu scenes, you’ll want the same features that someone would want for capturing impromptu family videos – optical image stabilization, small size, and a fixed zoom lens.
If you are planning a study like the ones described above and you want professional, artistic quality, you’ll want manual access to all of the camera’s settings. You will know when and what you are going to shoot and the general type of lighting you will have, so you’ll be able to adjust the settings in advance for the highest quality images.
For a travel vlog, you will most likely need a camera with an optical zoom lens that ranges from 24mm or 28mm for landscapes and architecture to 200mm to 400mm or higher for focusing on distant subjects such as wild animals or a castle on a mountaintop. A fixed zoom lens saves you from having to pack and tote multiple interchangeable lenses with you wherever you go. Because you will be carrying your camera with you, you’ll want a small, lightweight one. Depending on the type of vacation you prefer, having scene settings for shooting in museums or through glass might be important. On the other hand, if you engage in active sports, you might want a waterproof camera, a camera with a waterproof case, or even a hands-free action camera with settings for taking photographs underwater.
If you are vlogging video of yourself in action, you’ll want an action cam that you can strap to yourself or attach to a helmet or some of your equipment. Some of these either are waterproof or have waterproof containers available so that you can use them in, on, and around water.
If you are shooting others as they participate in a sporting event, you’ll want a zoom lens with an optical zoom that ranges from wide angle shots of 24mm or 28mm for capturing the entire scene to narrowly focused shots of 200mm or even 400mm or higher for close ups of individuals. Long range zoom shots magnify camera shake, so you will need optical image stabilization, even if you are watching from your seat and not following the action on foot. You can use the camera’s action or sports scene setting, but to ensure the highest quality images, you’ll want to be able to adjust the camera’s white balance, aperture, and ISO or film sensitivity settings yourself.
While these blogs have very different topics, most of the time, they are shot indoors and consist of the vlogger talking into the camera or, possibly, interviewing a guest. For professional lighting and sound, look for a camera with jacks or hot-shoe attachments for connecting external lighting and an external microphone to the camera. Set the camera on a tripod, and look for a camera that allows you to control the camera’s functions remotely from an app on your cell phone or tablet. For the best quality video, you will want to be able to create a custom white balance setting and select the camera’s ISO setting.
If you are shooting your video on location, such as for a review of a store or a restaurant or a how-to sports, gardening, or repair video, it’s best if you have manual access to the camera’s settings so that you can adjust them, especially for low, indoor lighting, but you may have to rely on choosing one of the camera’s scene options or using autofocus.
The main difference between the best camera for YouTube and the best video camera for YouTube is that DSLR cameras can take still photos as well as videos while most video cameras still shoot only videos. However, some manufacturers do have video cameras that can take still images. For that reason, both can be discussed together.
Both DSLR cameras and video cameras use either CCD or CMOS image sensors to capture video. Both of these image sensors use photoreceptors to capture the image, and each photoreceptor equals one pixel.
The main difference between these two sensors, as far as capturing video is concerned, is that CCD image sensors are wired so that the photoreceptors are connected to the camera’s image processing software as a group. So all of the information from that group, which might even include all of the photoreceptors on the image sensor, is processed at the same time.
CMOS image sensors are wired so that each photoreceptor is surrounded by its own network of image processing software. This individual processing creates an effect called shutter roll in video captured by video cameras. It’s similar to what you see when the picture on your television rolls when you are trying to receive an over-the-air signal that’s not quite tuned in clearly. It’s more pronounced in some cameras than others. Most video editing software has a built-in correction for the effect however, just as there’s a correction for red eye.
Another point to keep in mind is that image sensors come in several sizes, and, in order to make DSLR cameras smaller and easier to carry with you everyday, manufacturer’s tend to use smaller image sensors. Video cameras, however, may have larger image sensors, which means that the image sensors can have larger photoreceptors than the smaller photoreceptors on the image sensors in DSLR cameras. Larger image sensors may, then, have fewer photoreceptors than smaller image sensors and fewer megapixels per inch. If all you see is the smaller number of megapixels per inch, you could think that video cameras have much lower resolutions than DSLR cameras, and that is misleading. The larger size of the photoreceptors on the larger image sensor means that video cameras can produce video at resolutions of 1080p, 1080i, or 4k with fewer megapixels per inch.
The best autofocus system will use a combination of phase detection and contrast detection. Phase detection tracks your subject’s movements and uses the subject’s current direction and speed to predict where the subject is most likely to move next. Contrast detection compares the information from adjacent photoreceptors to reduce the overlap in the image falling on each photoreceptor until each photoreceptor has a distinct part of the image to record, thus sharpening the image. Your camera also uses contrast detection to recognize human and pet faces.
Some DSLR cameras record video in very short segments while other DSLRs and some video cameras record in 10-minute segments because that is the limit YouTube sets on uploaded videos. However, to be certain that you have captured the best images or content for your vlog, you might want to record longer segments and edit them down to 10 minutes. So, when you’re buying a camera for vlogging, see if the camera limits the length of segments.
The built-in microphones will pick up extraneous noise that you won’t notice. Built-in microphones also can pick up the sound of the zoom lens as it operates. So, for the best sound quality, you should use an external microphone. If you purchase one that attaches to the camera’s hot-shoe, you can treat the microphone and camera as if you’re carrying one piece of equipment, not two.
While most cameras record monaural sound, some record stereo.
If your camera has a built-in Wi-Fi connection or is compatible with Eye-Fi storage cards, you will be able to upload your videos to social media sites like YouTube anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. If your camera has built-in Wi-Fi and an app that allows you to control at least some of your camera’s functions remotely from your smart phone or tablet, you can set your camera on a tripod and include yourself in your video. With NFC or Near Field Communication, you can share videos between phones or tablets by simply tapping them together. Bluetooth allows you to connect accessories to your camera wirelessly.
If you are recording while holding your camera above your head, to the side, or down low, a flip-out LCD screen will let you see what you are recording. Some act as touch screens so that you can use them to control your camera as you shoot.
It can be difficult to use LCD screens in bright sunlight, but many manufacturers are eliminating them to produce slimmer, lighter weight cameras.
You’ll find two kinds of viewfinders, optical and digital.
Optical viewfinders use mirrors to transfer the image as seen through the lens of the camera to the viewfinder. This is the type of viewfinder used in film cameras when the image captured by the camera was the image seen through the lens.
Digital viewfinders, however, display the image as it is captured by the image sensor, just as the LCD display does. In digital cameras, it’s the image from the image sensor that is actually recorded.
It’s your preference as to whether you would rather see the image from the lens or the one from the image sensor.
You’ll want to shoot the highest quality video possible, which means HD or full HD at 1080p or 4k video. Shooting high quality video means large files, though. So, you will want to buy the storage cards with the largest capacity that your camera will accept.
Shooting video can drain batteries quickly, especially if you are starting and stopping, turning the camera on and off, using the zoom lens, or using an external microphone or light source that uses your camera’s battery as a power source. You don’t want to drain a battery in the middle of shooting, so have extra batteries on hand.
This camcorder is easy to use for anyone just starting to vlog their own content. One feature that we liked was how lightweight it is. This means that you can easily take it with you for whenever content finds you. The SD cards are quick to remove for stress-free sharing. SD cards that are removable are also easy to switch out whenever your card becomes too full. The touch panel also makes for a convenient user interface.
As for some of the more technical advantages of using this camera, it does have optical image stabilization and a mode labeled as Highlight Priority. This, paired with backlight correction, allows you to capture moments without loving detail in areas that are too bright. Another useful feature is the slow and fast motion recording options for different and creative content. The battery pack is rechargeable and lasts longer than most cameras.
GoPro’s Hero6 includes a 12 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor and GoPro’s advanced digital image stabilization.
As with the Hero 2018, the Hero6 has an LCD touch screen that you can use to control the camera or to playback your videos.
Like other GoPro cameras, the Hero6 also responds to voice commands.
It is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters).
Unlike the other cameras on this list, the Hero6 shoots video in full HD 4k as well as 2.7k and 1080p with stereo sound.
As with the Hero 2018, you can set the Hero 6 for narrow, standard, and wide angles. The Hero6 also captures time lapse images, but it shoots burst mode at 30fps.
The Hero6 has three microphones, and the external microphone is designed to reduce wind noise.
The Hero6 captures both still photos and video, and it uses both JPEG and RAW file formats. This gives you the choice of capturing and preserving all of the details in your images, resulting in larger files taking up storage space, or allowing the camera to compress the image, sacrificing details but saving storage space. The JPEG format is designed to compress files each time you save them, so before editing them on your computer, you should save your still photos as PNG or TIFF files.
Like the Hero 2018 and other GoPros, the Hero6 comes with a frame, flat and curved adhesive mounts, and a mounting buckle. With the GoPro app, you can control your Hero6 from your iOS or Android phone or tablet. When the Hero6 connects to the GoPro app and the Quik app, it can automatically edit your videos and add special effects and music to transform them into QuikStories.
Like the Hero 2018, the Hero6 has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth which allows you to upload your videos to the internet, share videos with other devices, and connect other devices to your Hero6.
One pro photographer reports attaching the Hero6 to the hot-shoe of a still camera and setting it to narrow focus and 1080p at 30fps to capture video and still photographs at the same time.
As of this writing, April 12, 2018, the GoPro Hero 2018, released earlier in 2018, is so new that it does not yet even have a user’s manual, and its specs are hard to impossible to find.
It appears to have a 10 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor, and it uses GoPro’s image stabilization system.
The Hero shoots still photos as well as videos in full HD at a resolution of either 1440p or 1080p, and it has three microphones. It captures stereo sound, and the external microphone is designed to reduce wind noise. While the Hero 2018 uses auto focus, you can choose from wide angle for landscapes and selfies, standard for mid-range shots and portraits, and narrow to focus more tightly on your subject. The Hero 2018 also takes time lapse photographs and shoots in burst mode at 10fps.
Unlike most GoPros, the Hero 2018 has an LCD screen that serves as a touch screen to control the camera, but the it also responds to voice commands for hands-free operation.
The GoPro Hero is waterproof to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters).
It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth which allows you to upload your videos and photos to the internet wherever you have a Wi-Fi connection, share your images with other devices, and connect other devices to your Hero 2018. You can use the GoPro app to control the GoPro Hero 2018 from your iOS or Android phone or tablet. When the GoPro 2018 is connected to the GoPro and Quik apps, it automatically transfers its videos to the apps, which automatically transforms them into QuikStories that are edited with special effects and music.
It comes with a frame, curved and flat adhesive mounts, and a mounting buckle.
The Canon PowerShot SX620 comes with a 20.2 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor and a zoom lens that ranges from 25mm to 625mm.
It does not have a viewfinder but instead uses the fixed LCD screen for composing your videos.
It offers scene modes and Smart Auto mode in which the camera chooses the settings, but switch to P or program mode when you want to take manual control of the settings. Use Tracking Auto Focus to lock onto moving subjects.
Intelligent Image Stabilization, Canon’s optical image stabilization system, uses different stabilization settings when you are recording video in a wide angle shot, a long-distance zoom shot, in macro mode, or when you are using a tripod. The standard advice is to turn image stabilization off when you are using a tripod because the movements of the stabilizing elements in the lens could introduce camera shake, but Canon’s tripod stabilization is designed to correct for movement created by wind.
The SX620 shoots video in full HD mode at a resolution of 1080p. You can connect it to your HDTV using an HDMI cable. With the built-in Wi-Fi, you can upload your video directly to the internet. The Canon Camera Connect app lets you control the camera from Android and iOS devices. You also can share video instantly with NFC compatible devices.
The camera shoots video in 30 minute segments, and the battery will last from approximately 65 minutes to 105 minutes depending on whether you are shooting steadily or whether you are stopping and starting, using the zoom lens, and turning the camera on and off.
The Sony DSCHX80 pairs an 18.1 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens that zooms from a wide angle 24mm to a long distance range of 720mm.
It comes with both a flip up digital viewfinder and a 180° flip up LCD screen.
Manual mode allows you to take full control of all of the camera’s settings, but you also can choose a scene mode yourself or set the camera to Intelligent Auto and let it choose. Set the camera to Lock-On Auto Focus and it tracks your subject for you.
The Sony DSCHX80 combines Sony’s Optical SteadyShot 5-axis image stabilization system with Intelligent Active Mode’s advanced frame analysis technology so that you can move wherever the action takes you. The camera even senses when you are moving and automatically chooses the correct type of compensation.
It shoots video in full HD at a resolution of 1080p or 1080i, which allows you to burn your videos on Blu-ray disk. Use the HDMI connection to play your videos on your HD TV.
With the built-in Wi-Fi, you can upload videos directly to the internet, and with the PlayMemories Mobile app, you can control this camera from your Android or iPhone or your iPad when you are shooting still images, but it’s not clear that you can use the app for shooting video.
You can share your movies instantly with NFC devices.
You can connect the camera to other micro-USB devices through the micro-USB port.
The Sony DSCHX80 shoots in 29 minute segments, and batteries last from 70 minutes to 115 minutes depending upon whether or not you are shooting constantly, whether you are using the viewfinder or the LCD screen, and other factors that drain more or less power.
In the best video camera category, the title goes to the Canon Vixia HF R80. The range of its zoom lens far surpasses the other cameras on this list. With its selection of scene modes and with Superior mode, beginning vloggers can learn to use it to create high quality videos quickly. However, with P mode, it’s a camera that beginning vloggers can grow with as they become more experienced. Experienced vloggers can take advantage of the manual controls immediately, and any vlogger at any level can have fun with the stickers, the animated stickers, and the ability to draw and write on the video while filming. In addition, the Vixia HF R80, unlike any of the other cameras listed, allows vloggers to film in both slow and fast motion. This capability could have serious applications, but it also can be used to have some fun as well.
In the best camera category, we were torn between the GoPro Hero 2018 and the Hero6. The Hero 2018 has a lower price that would appeal to beginning and family vloggers, but in the end we awarded the title to the Hero6 for its advanced image stabilization and its ability to shoot in 4k as well as 2.7k and 1080p. Producing the highest quality videos possible is important, so we felt the added sharpness and clarity of the images created by the Hero6 better serve most vloggers.
Cell phone cameras might be fine for grabbing a quick image or video of something you see during the day that you want to share on social media. You might wish that you could share some of those videos on your large screen TV, though, or enlarge a portrait or a landscape into a poster size print to hang on your wall or to give as a gift. However, the image might be blurred or the sharpness and resolution of a cell phone image might not be high enough to make that transition successfully. When you begin to yearn for higher quality images, you should consider making the transition from your cell phone camera to an easy-to-use, lightweight, dedicated camera with features that let you focus on creating those better quality images that you want.
Here are five cameras on our list for best point and shoot camera under 200 that will help you to make the transition successfully:
Point-and-shoot cameras have several features that contribute to creating a sharper, more detailed image -- the tracking system that focuses the camera, the settings that determine how sensitive the camera is to the light let in through the shutter, and the systems that control the speed at which the shutter operates and how wide of an opening, or aperture, the shutter creates when it opens.
All digital cameras have a fully automatic, point-and-shoot mode that allows you to rely on the camera’s focusing and light metering systems to select the right scene mode and focal point for the image received by the image sensor. All digital cameras also have scene modes with preselected settings that, in most situations, are the standard settings for that particular lighting or photographic situation. Even advanced photographers may sometimes rely on these modes to capture an image when they don’t have time to adjust the settings.
Some point-and-shoot cameras have a manual setting option that will let you take full control of the camera’s settings. While you may be wary of taking full control of the manual settings while you are learning how to operate the camera and improve your photography, having that manual option will allow you to explore those settings when you’re ready. That option means you can keep that same camera as you continue to grow as a photographer.
Image sensors come in two types, CMOS and CCD, and they range in size from 1/1.7 inches, which are the larger ones, to 1/2.3 inches measured across the diagonal. Cell phones pack a lot of features into a slim, compact case, so most use the smaller 1/2.3” image sensors. Camera’s, too, are becoming more compact, so point-and-shoot cameras, and others, now use the same size image sensors as cell phones.
A detailed, and fairly technical, article on image sensors on Wikipedi has a link at the top of the page which leads to a chart farther down in the article that shows the sizes of image sensors used in various cell phones and cameras (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format).
Both types of image sensors use photoreceptors to receive the image from the camera’s lens. In digital cameras, photoreceptors take the place of film, and each photoreceptor represents one pixel in the image. So the more photoreceptors and pixels there are, the more fine details and subtle gradations between colors the image will display. In addition, the more photoreceptors and pixels there are, the higher the resolution of the image and, as long as you are starting with a clear, sharp, well-focused image, the more you can enlarge the image.
Photoreceptors on CCD image sensors are connected to the image processing circuitry in groups. All of the photoreceptors in a single row, or even all of the photoreceptors on the image sensor, might be wired together before being connected to the image processing circuitry. This leaves room for more photoreceptors on the image sensor, but it also means that all the information from all the photoreceptors that have been wired together is processed in a large batch, which can take longer. Consequently, CCD image sensors may capture more actual details from the image, but they also may operate more slowly.
On the other hand, each photoreceptor on a CMOS photoreceptor is connected to the image processing circuitry separately. The information from each photoreceptor is processed more quickly, so CMOS image sensors operate more quickly than CCD image sensors. However, the image processing circuitry that surrounds each individual photoreceptor on a CMOS image sensor takes up space that would be occupied by more photoreceptors on a CCD image sensor.
That means two things:
While all this might seem technical and complicated, its worth keeping in mind when choosing a camera. If you take a lot of photographs of active pets or of your kids as they play sports, or just play, you might notice the lag time, however slight, as a CCD image sensor processes the image. On the other hand, if you enjoy nature or artistic photography and you want fine details with subtle, realistic gradations of light, shade, and color, then you might be unhappy with the way the image processing circuitry fills in the details that are missing from the spaces between the photoreceptors on a CMOS image sensor, however small the space.
Most digital cameras, point-and-shoot cameras included, now use hybrid focusing systems that combine phase detection systems, or motion tracking, with contrast detection systems that make features such as face detection and smile detection possible.
The phase detection system splits the image from the image sensor into two images in a way similar to the way your optometrist splits the image that you are looking at into two images during an eye exam. The camera then measures the changes in the separation between the images from side to side and front to back to track movement by the subject and bring the subject into focus. If you have a stationary subject, then the camera simply adjusts the focus until the two images merge. If you have set the camera to continuous tracking mode to capture an active subject, the camera uses its measurements of the changes in the speed and direction of the two images of the subject to predict where the subject will move in order to keep the subject generally in focus.
The contrast detection system takes over from the phase detection system to achieve an even sharper focus. The contrast detection system compares the part of the image received by each adjacent photoreceptor as it checks for and eliminates overlaps. Contrast detection systems sharpen the focus by making the part of each image received by each photoreceptor as clear and distinct as possible, so it works by detecting and heightening the distinctiveness or contrast of each pixel contained in image. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autofocus)
Contrast detection systems can have problems focusing when a person isn’t facing the camera, when you compose your photograph with the subject off-center, or when contrast between areas of the image is difficult to detect. Many times, you can correct this by locking the camera’s focus and then recomposing your image. Simply turn your camera toward your subject or toward an object that is the same distance from your camera as your subject, press the shutter button halfway down to lock the camera’s focus and continue to hold the shutter button halfway down as you turn back and recompose your image, and then push the shutter all the way down to take the picture. Alternately, for an off-center subject, you can select one of your camera’s focus points that is directly over your subject rather than allowing the camera to choose a focus point at the center of the image.
If a point-and-shoot camera does not offer a setting that allows you to take full control of the camera’s settings, you won’t be able to take direct control of your camera’s choice of lighting settings. You can use scene mode to take control of the scene selection yourself.
Point-and-shoot cameras commonly have scene modes for daylight portraits, daylight landscapes, beach scenes, snow scenes, sunrises and sunsets, food, sports scenes, and indoor or party scenes. Scene modes for fireworks, nighttime portraits, backlit portraits, pet portraits, and nighttime landscapes also are common. It’s less common, but not unusual, to find scene modes for taking photographs in a museum or through glass.
Even point-and-shoot cameras that don’t have a manual option will allow you to lighten or darken the overall lighting of the image by three settings up or down and control some other settings such as:
Flash settings – auto, red-eye correction, fill flash, slow sync, and off
White balance – auto, daylight, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent, flash, and, usually, custom which allows you to focus the camera on a white card or sheet of paper and set the white balance for the scene yourself when you have two or more different types of light sources
ISO sensitivity – compares to film speeds of 200 or lower for bright light to 1000 or higher for low light and action photography
Metering – spot to create a narrow depth of field and focus tightly on a distant subject so that the camera reads only the lighting conditions surrounding the subject and is not influenced by the foreground or background; matrix for landscapes to create the widest possible depth of field so that the camera reads the lighting conditions across the entire scene; and center-weighted for portraits and still lifes so that the camera gives priority to the lighting conditions immediately surrounding the subject but also reads the lighting conditions for the background and foreground so that the subject is well-lit with sufficient lighting for the background and foreground so that objects in those areas are distinct, sharp, and appropriately vibrant.
Aperture priority – for low light, widen the aperture; for bright light, narrow the aperture; for telephoto subjects that lack sharpness, narrow the aperture to widen the depth of field so that the subject is completely inside the box defined by the depth of field; the camera chooses the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity based on the aperture setting.
Shutter priority – slow the shutter speed to let in low light settings; use higher shutter speeds in bright sunlight, in snow, or at the beach where sand and water reflect bright sunlight; also use high shutter speeds for fast, action shots; the camera chooses the aperture opening and ISO sensitivity based on the shutter speed.
Learning how to use these settings will help you adjust your camera when it has difficulty focusing, improve your photography, and help you to take the clearest, sharpest images your camera can produce.
The Sony DSCW830 pairs a 20.1 MP 1/2.3 CCD image sensor with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar optical zoom lens that ranges from a wide angle 28mm to 200mm for tightly focused long-distance shots. For macro photography, the Sony DSCW830 closes in to 5 cm.
The Sony DSCW830 offers smile detection and recognizes up to eight faces in group shots. The timer can be set to wait until it recognizes a smile before tripping the shutter. For portraits, you can set the smile detection priority to either a child’s face or an adult’s face. The DSCW830 also can continuously track the movements of one subject. For panoramas, simply sweep the camera across the scene up to 360° as you hold the shutter button down. The camera matches the images up and weaves them together.
Vertical and horizontal optical image stabilization lets you walk or run as you shoot movies or still images. ISO sensitivity compares to film speeds from 80 to 3200, covering a wide range of lighting situations. The DSCW830 captures still images in JPEG format and movies in HD 720p meg-4 format.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 contains a 20.0 MP 1/2.3 inch CCD image sensor and includes an optical zoom lens that ranges from a wide angle of 24mm to a telephoto range of 240mm. In macro mode, you can shoot from as close as 1 cm. The Digic 4+ Image Processor enhances the processing speed and the photographic results from the CCD image sensor. The ELPH 190’s ISO sensitivity settings range from 100 to 1600. In addition to the monitor screen, the ELPH 190 also has an LCD viewfinder.
The ELPH 190 recognizes up to 9 faces for well-focused group shots, and the timer can be set to delay shooting until the camera detects the appearance of an additional face entering the group so that the photographer can join the group. It can also track the movements of a single subject. The ELPH also offers a long exposure mode that allows time-lapse photography of, for example, nighttime urban street scenes. This Canon PowerShot also has “P” or program mode which allows you to take manual control of more of the camera’s settings, so this is a camera that allows you to grow as a photographer.
Canon’s optical Intelligent Stabilization system can be fine-tuned for shooting while walking or running, while panning the camera in panorama mode, or while using a tripod for shooting still images or movies among other situations. The ELPH 190 captures HD movies with monaural sound at a resolution of 720p in MP4 format. It captures still images in JPEG. It offers both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. You can print directly to PictBridge printers, share images between NFC devices, and directly upload images and movies to social media sites for sharing or to your internet storage site for later editing. You also can take complete remote control of the ELPH 190 from your Android or iOS or phone.
Use ECO mode when you’re out for extended periods without access to a way to charge the camera’s battery. ECO mode conserves battery power while preserving your ability to store a high number of images.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 offers a 20.2 MP 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor, rather than the CCD image sensor contained in the ELPH 190. The optical zoom lens also has a wider range – 25mm to 300mm. Like the ELPH 190, the 360 has both a monitor screen and an LCD viewfinder and macro mode on both cameras enables you to get as close as 1 cm.
Together, the CMOS image sensor and the Digic 4+ Image Processor improve the ELPH 360’s lowlight performance and power more advanced features such as Hybrid Auto and Full HD video with monaural sound at a resolution of 1080p in MP4 format. ISO sensitivity settings range from 80 to 3200, further enhancing the camera’s versatility. The ELPH 360 captures still images in JPEG format.
Use Hybrid Auto when you are shooting special occasions such as birthdays, graduations weddings, anniversaries, and family reunions among others. When you take a photo, the camera records up to 4 seconds of video along with the still image and then combines all of the Hybrid Auto images of the day into an HD highlight reel of the event with a resolution of 720p that you can share or give as a commemorative gift. When you take a group portrait, the ELPH 360 recognizes up to nine faces, and the shutter timer can be tied to smile detection, wink detection, or new face detection. The ELPH 360 also tracks single subjects.
As with the ELPH 190, the 360 offers a long exposure, time-lapse mode. Switching to P mode gives manual access to the camera settings so that you will not outgrow this camera as you grow as a photographer. Canon’s Intelligent Stabilization system can be adjusted to cover a wide range of shooting conditions. Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity allow you to immediately share photos and videos with other NFC devices, upload videos and photos directly to the internet, print directly to PictBridge printers, and control your ELPH 360 from your iOS or Android phone or tablet.
If you shoot portraits, selfies, landscapes, and architecture, but you don’t zoom in on distant or fast moving subjects, then the wide angle lens of the Nikon COOLPIX L32, with its range of 26mm to 130mm, is exactly right for you. The COOLPIX L32 comes with a 20.1 MP 1/2.3 inch CCD image sensor.
The L32 automatically recognizes faces, and when in Smart Portrait mode, it detects smiles and shoots automatically. In blink-proof mode, the Nikon L32 recognizes when your subject blinks and takes two shots, saving the image in which your subject’s eyes were open. It can track a single active subject, and it uses Nikon’s electronic Vibration Reduction (VR) to stabilize images. It captures images in JPEG format and HD videos at a resolution of 720p in Motion JPEG AVI format for compact files you can share by email or on the internet. With an ISO sensitivity range of 80 to 1600, it can handle most lighting situations.
The Kodak AZ361-WH PIXPRO Astro combines a 16 MP 1/2.3 inch CCD image sensor with an optical zoom lens that ranges from 24mm to 864mm, so this camera captures wide-angle group selfies, architecture, and landscapes as well as zooming in for tightly focused action shots or for nature photography that lets you catch wild animals and birds without disturbing them. With macro mode, you can shoot from as close as 5 cm.
In addition to the standard modes, the Kodak AZ361 offers separate pet portrait modes for dogs and cats, a mode for photographing text, a mode for taking ID photographs, a mode for shooting inside of a museum, and a mode for shooting through glass. It can shoot panoramas up to 180°, and in panning mode, you can pan to follow a fast moving object, creating a blurred background that demonstrates the movement and speed. The ISO sensitivity settings range from 80 to 3200, covering almost all lighting conditions.
It can be set for up to nine focal points and includes face detection, smile detection, and blink detection. The shutter timer can be tied to smile detection. The Astro can track a single subject.
Like the ELPH 190 and 360, you can take full manual control of the AZ361 Astro. Unlike any of the above cameras, though, you can create and save your own custom setting. So, if you will be taking a lot of pictures under fairly consistent lighting and photographic conditions, once you find the perfect setting for that scene, you can simply save those settings and, when you’re ready to take more pictures, you can then select your custom setting just as you would a scene mode. With this feature, you can simply start shooting without having to set up the camera each time. The Kodak Astro retains the last custom settings that you saved in its memory until you replace it with a new set.
The Kodak Astro uses Kodak’s optical image stabilization system. It captures images in JPEG format and movies in at a resolution of 720p. With an Eye-fi SD card, which you will need to purchase separately, the Kodak Astro can print to PictBridge printers and upload images and movies to the internet.
Actually, that should be “Our Two Best Point and Shoots Under 200” because we have chosen co-winners – the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 and the Kodak AZ361-WH PIXPRO Astro. Both cameras have manual options, so if you or someone in your family wants to grow as a photographer and experiment with the camera’s settings, these cameras allow that. These aren’t cameras that you will outgrow, and yet anyone in the family can still take quality photographs using these cameras in automatic point-and-shoot mode.
The ELPH 360 does have the edge when it comes to its built in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity and its ability to capture movies in full HD with a resolution of 1080p in MPEG format. The Kodak Astro’s movies with a resolution of 720p in MOV format are fine for sharing in emails or on the internet, but they will not display well on a big screen TV. In addition, as far as we are concerned, people are accustomed to being able to share their videos and photos on social media immediately from their cell phones, so any camera that wants to compete with cell phones should have Wi-Fi and NFC built in.
What gives the Kodak Astro an edge, though, are its super zoom optical lens that extends over a range from 24mm to 864mm and its less common scene modes, such as the one designed to take photographs through glass, not only display cases, but also windows. You could capture candid shots of your kids as they play outdoors, birds at your birdfeeder, wildlife in your yard, or snow scenes without having to be out in the snow. Finally, the Astra lets you store a custom setting, so once you find a setting that works for the location you’re in, you can just select it and keep using it as long as the shooting conditions remain unchanged.