Katinka's Camera Christmas Gift Guide 2016
Best Digital Camera's, Top Video Recorders and Camera related Gifts
Personally I've moved on from a Point and Shoot camera to the camera in my smart phone. I'm sure the same is true for many of my generation. However, if you don't have a smart phone, or you want more zoom than can be achieved with only one lens, buying a camera is still a good idea. The fact is: today's camera's are so much better than the older ones it's amazing.
I showed my grandmother, who was an accomplished amateur photographer in her day (with her own black room) some of my own pictures the other day and she said - that's a good camera. I was stunned, both to hear her say something rational (she has alzheimer's) as well as with the realization that she was right: the camera in my phone, with all it's software to compensate for lighting and moving the hands, really is as good as the more expensive camera's were in her day. Don't let that stop you from browsing the following...
These days the difference between a good cell phone and a stand-alone digital camera is really the following:
- A digital camera will have optical zoom. This means the quality of your zoomed pictures will be higher on a 'real' camera vs a digital one. Think being able to zoom in on a bird sitting on a branch far away. The amount of optical zoom (3x vs 42x) tells you how far away something can be (or how small) without the picture getting fuzzy by zooming.
- A real GOOD digital camera will have the option to change lenses and stuff like that.
What all camera's, including those on high end cell phones, have in common these days is that they have all kinds of software included to help deal with the main problems in photography:
- Stabilizers: compensate for movement in the camera (aka your hand) as you take a picture
- On 'auto' mode (default on cell phones) the camera will also compensate for lighting problems.
- Filters - you can often apply all kinds of filters to your image automatically, right in the camera. This used to be done in the black room, painstakingly. Now it's not even necessary to wait till you're at your pc.
- Camera's often find faces and focus on them automatically.
- Most camera's can also record video these days. On and off your phone.
What does your smart phone do better? Well, because it has a touch screen, I can just touch the preview of the image on my phone and the camera will focus where I touched it.
There are really only a few reasons to get a digital camera in addition to your phone:
- You're the old fashioned kind who doesn't have a smart phone. You're probably on a budget. You can get a decent point and shoot for under $100.These are a tiny bit better than the ones on a high end smart phone, but you will be spending less.
- You do have a smart phone, but you want to get a real camera to make better pictures. You may be planning on taking a trip, take pictures at a friend's wedding, at a sporting event etc. Read on for camera's suitable for your needs.
- You want a camera to wear on your head, a quality webcam or something like that.
- Waterproof - you want to take pictures under water.
Best Buy Point And Shoot Digital Camera
The great thing about today's cams is that they help you take pictures by not only finding faces automatically, but also automatically taking out the effect of that slight tremor in the hands. Not always: you still need to keep still when taking a picture, but the software does compensate for movement very well these days.
Cam-screens are getting better and better with each generation. More contrast, better color - more visibility even when taking a picture in the light.
If you buy a point and shoot today you will also be amazed at how light they are. I think the aluminium must be getting thinner with each generation because these camera's are so light you hardly feel you're carrying something.
You can't go wrong with any of these, whether you plan on using them for family outings, taking shots of your kids, on holiday or while traveling.
Top selling Digital Camera by Nikon - also capable of video!
If your teen is too sophisticated to take pictures with her phone or iPod, she'll want a real camera. However, it should still be small enough to fit her purse and cute enough to look good. Most important, since teens are generally not that good at taking care of their things, it should not be too expensive. After all: she may want a cam now, but that doesn't mean she'll be using it next week.
This Nikon camera is available in a dark pinkish color they're calling 'red' and ordinary black. The first is probably aimed at teen girls, because the color is clearly not that suitable for teen boys. However, the color is adult enough that a gay man or an adult woman would not be shy to walk around with it.
Like all modern point and shoot camera's it includes blur removing software: moving your hands a bit while taking a picture won't show up on the final product. Of course this doesn't mean large movements won't show up.
Unlike your phone this camera has 34x optical zoom. That means that if you zoom, you won't loose details as quickly.
A senior reports that they can easily use it, which also gives the rest of us confidence.
Waterproof Digital Camera by Panasonic
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12.1 MP Rugged/Waterproof Digital Camera with 4.6x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Blue)
Another cam that won't have you worry about accidentally dropping it into the pool!
When you need a digital camera that can go anywhere you do, the Panasonic Lumix great. With 12 mp quality photos, you are able to take stunning photographs of underwater sea life, making this a great snorkeling or diving accessory. You want memories of those beautiful sea-scapes, don't you?
Best camera for teen use
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Best Cool Teen Camcorder
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Best Toy Digital Camera For Kids
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Best Camcorder for Kids
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Top Camera Bags – backpacks, wheeled and over the shoulder
Personally I would very much prefer a backpack for my camera and accessories. Alternatively, a rolling bag also works (I feature one below). However, when it comes to ready access to your camera, nothing beats an over-the-shoulder bag.
A little history of the photography
Johann Zahn envisioned a portable camera in 1685 but it would take around 150 years for his idea to be possible for people to use. The technology for taking photographs has changed immensely since those early days.
Most of us use digital cameras to grab those times or things that mean something to us. Digital images were being investigated as early as 1951. Scientists were finding ways to record electrical impulses (digital) to work with television at that time in history.
By the 1960s, scientists at NASA decided to drop the analog technology for the digital to send pictures of the moon back to earth. It wasn't until the 1990s that consumers like you and me were able to start using digital cameras for our personal or professional use. It is pretty amazing at the changes in those first cameras of 20 years ago compared to what is available to us today.
Cameras and Cell Phones
My grandmother gave me my first camera when I was twelve. I took it with me on our trip through the US: we went from Austen to Los Angelos, by car. The route was hot, loads of desert, but also lovely scenery. I vividly remember the colors of the rugged stones blasted by wind and rain into the weirdest shapes.
Being Dutch lots of things surprised us on that trip, so I took pictures of not just my family and the landscape, but also of signs that just seemed funny to me.
Photographing nature turned out to be tough. How do you take a picture of the bloom of a weird cactus? It turned out you needed contrast with the background for the flower to stand out. For some reason in real life such things stand out much easier.
These days I no longer take pictures with a camera. My needs are met with my cell phone. It takes the kind of pictures my grandmother (who was an amateur photographer in her day, developing her own pictures in black and white) said one day: wow, that's a good lens... I thought: hey, if she thinks it's a good lens, the result of that simple cell phone camera must be as good as the results she got on her state of the art equipment with various lenses and settings and looking at getting the right film etc.
Glad I live in the 21st century when a gadget I take with me everywhere is as good as any of the camera's on this page. Of course it's also more expensive. We're talking a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. As a phone it's already outdated, but as a camera it still stands up well.
You do need a camera when you want zoom, or wide shots. But on my phone I get the same software that stabilizes an image when I move slightly when taking a picture that I would get on a camera.
Memory Cards for your Digital Camera
Memory Cards are an essential accessory for Digital Cameras and Camcorders. They are convenient, small, and hold lots more data than traditional data storage media. Memory Cards can broadly be divided into the following three categories :
1) SD Memory Cards – Secure Digital Memory Cards are cool for standard definition cameras and camcorders. SD cards are only available up to 2 GB. If you need to store more video you’ll have to purchase a Secure Digital High Capacity – SDHC Memory Card.
2) SDHC Memory Cards – Secure Digital High Capacity Memory Cards can store upto 32 GB of data and are recommended for high definition cameras and camcorders. Normally a camera or camcorder which accepts SDHC will accept SD cards too. Please read the equipment manual carefullt before ordering the Memory Card for your camera or camcorder.
3) SDXC Memory Cards – Secure Digital Extended Capacity Cards store much more data and supports higher data transfer rates than SDHC Cards. With SDXC you can store upto 2 TB of still images or video and transfer these at a speed of upto 300 MBps. Unless you own a really high end camera or camcorder you won’t need this card.
Please choose from the best Various SD memory cards for your Digital Cam
listed below and provide your camera with more brains to store your pics and videos. Your camera specifications will make it clear which you need.
Picture Editing Software - Photoshop and Alternatives
Photo Editing Software is not just for Professional Photographers and Tech Geeks. Once you get the hang of the software you are using it would be possible to improve and enhance your pics in just a few minutes. Here is my choice of Photo Editing Software:
- Adobe Photoshop Elements
The default photo editing program for professionals. Thankfully the price has dropped. Adobe is now trying to make money off us by selling us their cloud system.
- Corel Paint Shop Photo Pro
- Xara Photo and Graphic Designer
- Serif PhotoPlus
- ACDSee Photo Editor
- Gimp (Open Source and Free)
I have been using GIMP for years now. It's available for Windows, iOS as well as Linux.