Capturing Precious Moments
Everyone loves a good photo.
A well-capture photograph may hold a thousand meanings for both the subject and the one who captured the moment. As parents of little children, good photographs are especially precious for they capture and immortalize meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime moments. What would make it even more special is if those precious shots were printed out in style so that they can be showcased with pride!
The evolution of taking pictures
Some of you might be old enough to remember the good old days of walking into an actual, real, photo shop with our roll (or rolls) of films from our family’s conventional cameras to be developed, printed out and presented to us in mini photo albums. Well, well… Those were fun times, weren’t they? The anticipation of waiting to see how our pictures turned out and if we looked great in them or otherwise! After all, back then, we didn’t have the luxury of pre-viewing every single shot taken, and there was no such thing as deleting a bad photo and ‘retaking’ a snapshot, so to speak. Not to mention, we had to contend with the limited number of films in a roll which decreased with every snap taken, which made every shot count. After all that, we then had to wait till the film was developed and printed out to see the final outcome.
Needless to say, photo-taking has come a long way in just a couple of decades! These days, we just whip out a camera, point to our intended subject, snap a photo and preview it to see if we’re happy. We may choose to delete an image we’re not happy with, edit it or retake it without worrying about running out of ‘films’. After we’re done, we can store them in our storage devices or post them up for the world to see on our social media pages. We can even choose to print out the photos ourselves, providing we own a photo printer!
Yes, somewhere between then and now, we seem to have strolled into this awe-inspiring world of digital convenience and fabulousness which many of us take for granted! Doesn’t mean though that we’re all a bunch of tech-savvy individuals busy tinkering away at our devices and planning our next amazing photo project. Some of us are still on the somewhat clueless side when it comes to picking out the ideal photo-capturing and printing devices for our family’s use.
When it comes to buying digital items such as cameras and photo printers, those who are still ‘iffy’ about them are actually just overwhelmed mainly on the technical aspects of it. All we know is we want something a bit more capable than an average product. If a camera for instance, can take good shots in darker environments and perhaps be able to defocus the background, while a printer can print easily and clearly, that would be good enough! So, how does one go about choosing an ideal camera and photo printer for the family’s use?
Choosing the ideal camera
Choosing a camera used to be such an uncomplicated affair, dictated only by your budget for it. These days however, for a certain amount of money, you can have a little too many choices with all sorts of benefits and of course, compromises too. What an irony. Let’s see if we can help iron out the details to give you a clearer picture, (pun unintended) of what offers what.
While DSLRs may not be the most practical camera in terms of weight and size, they still take the most amazing photographs. It used to be that only individuals with very deep pockets could afford this camera type. However, while it’s still on the higher-priced category of cameras, price tags are getting more and more competitive. DSRL, by the way, is an abbreviation for Digital Single Lens Reflex.
With a DSRL camera in your hand, what you see in your camera viewing screen, after composing and adjusting the image to your fancy, is exactly what you get. So, if quality photos are what you’re after, you might want to consider a DSLR. With this revered gadget at hand, you get to control and customise your work. Plus, in terms of quality, technicality, effects and precision, there is almost no limit to what you can accomplish with a DSRL.
One of the key features of a DSRL camera is the fact that its lenses are interchangeable. In case you are still unaware of this fact, a camera’s lenses can make or break the outcome of an image. The lens type also dictates the kind of photos the camera is able to take. As a camera’s lenses play a huge role in the colour, clarity and contrast of the photos taken, it’s important to note too, that there is a lens for every occasion. A camera with lenses that cater for wildlife photography may not perform as well when it is tasked to take family photos, for instance. With a DSRL however, one can change or swap the lenses anytime to cater for the photography needs of the location and occasion.
Lastly, has bad lighting or low light ever posed an issue when you’re trying to take a good photo? With a DSRL, lighting is no longer an issue for the camera is known to take exceptionally good photos regardless of what the lighting is like, so you can instead pay due attention to the focusing (or defocusing) of the image and on the composition of it too.
DSRL also does away with ‘delays’ when capturing your photos, thanks to its shutter mechanism that instantly closes or opens whenever you take a snapshot! This helps when capturing photos of a lifetime, for nothing is more frustrating that a precious moment escaping from an intended shot due to sluggish mechanisms.
The Ancient Greeks and Chinese used an optical device called the ‘camera obscura’ to project an image of the surroundings on to a screen. This invention played an important role in the development of cameras and photography.
The ‘Kodak’ camera was developed by George Eastman and went on sale in 1888, pioneering the use of photographic film. It was simple box camera with a single shutter speed and fixed focus lens.
Around the year 1913, a German optical engineer named Oskar Barnack made a prototype compact camera that used 35 mm film. Named ‘Lecia’, it was put into production in 1925 after further developments.
Single lens reflex cameras (SLR) use a mirror and prism system to allow photographers to accurately see the image that will be captured. This system uses one optical light path whereas previous cameras had two, one through the lens to the film and the other to the viewfinder.
POINT AND SHOOT VS DIGITAL
Although point & shoot cameras seem to be slowly going extinct since the birth of phone cameras, they can still come in handy when you don’t want to lug a bag of camera equipment around, as you’d have to with a DSRL.
Although generally easy to use, point & shoot cameras are geared towards novices. They come in the largest range of size options too, letting you pick from cameras as small as a deck of cards, to almost as large as a small DSLR, and everything in between.
They do still have some pretty cool features and have a somewhat large zoom range. Most point & shoot cameras are quite decent in quality, often with HD video modes and easy-to-upload formats.
These are also the category of cameras that are generally more stylish, smart-looking and come in a myriad of colours. If budget is a constraint for you, this camera will be alright although the outcome can barely compare with a DSRL, of course.
EVIL cameras – (Electronic Viewfinder with Interchangeable Lenses) are also known as MILC camera (Mirror-less Interchangeable-lens Camera) or CSCs (Compact Camera Systems). It is a camera which is a cross between a point and shoot and a DSLR. They have large sensors, support interchangeable lenses, and provide better manual controls. But unlike a DSRL, an EVIL camera is easier to use and come in decently compact sizes. but is made to be more consumer-friendly. An EVIL camera offers superior image quality in a very portable size.
Choosing an ideal photo printer
If you’re really into photography and intend to take your family’s photos and portraits seriously, then a digital photo-printer will definitely be in order! Like cameras, digital photo printers are getting more and more competitive in price! These ingenious devices are not only convenient, but they can also save you money on photo reproduction costs in the long-run.
Having said that, photo printers are not exactly dirt cheap, so it would help to know what you’re looking for in the device if you were to make your Ringgit count.
There are two basic types of printers in general and they are the ink jet photo printer and the dye sublimation printer. The ink jet models are multi-purpose printers meant for document usage. They allow printing of Web pages, text files, and other digital media alongside your photographs.
For serious photo-printing purposes however, the dye sublimation printers are the way to go for they are designed to produce high-quality, glossy prints. While these printers often create the best quality photos, needless to say, they carry with them somewhat heavier price tags. They’re still highly recommended for individuals who plan on doing a whole lot of photo printing at the comfort of their own home.
Resolution-wise, while almost every printer that can print photos will have good enough resolution for casual usage, dye-sublimation printers carry resolutions of 4,800 x 1,200 dpi or even higher, depending on the model.
If you’re really into on-the-go photography, size might be of importance too, even when it comes to photo printers. If this is the case, you may find the smaller, ultra-portable machines in the market quite tempting! They may cost more, but then again, convenience does cost doesn’t it?
Lastly, as far as storage and connectivity are concerned, do ensure that your choice of photo printer is compatible with your digital devices. Some consumers mistakenly assume that all photo printers offer the same standard types of connectivity.
Some photo printers, have built-in slots for SD cards, MMC cards and more. Others may only offer direct USB or connectivity. Some do not even have any type of direct-from-camera printing features so you will have to make sure all your photos are uploaded into your computer first before proceeding with the printing process.
Happy shooting & printing, mamas and papas!