Article courtesy of Scrapjazz.com: by Trish Dykes

Just about everyone these days has access to some sort of point-and-shoot camera. There are a wide variety of compact models available, as well as camera phones, iPods, and other small electronic devices containing imaging sensors.

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While some higher-end "super" compact cameras are capable of producing images that are comparable to many digital SLR cameras, most of the compact cameras have some disadvantages when it comes to photographic quality.

  • Wide-angle lenses that are fixed-focus can limit the creative control that the photographer has over the final image.
  • A small sensor (made to fit these compact devices) can lead to a lot of "noise" or grain in the photograph.
  • Zoom lenses sometimes exacerbate the noise levels even further.
  • "Shutter lag" or shutter delay can cause the photographer to miss out on a photo opportunity.
  • Exposure is automatic in most cases.
  • What you see isn't always what you get. Lenses are placed separate from the viewfinder. This creates an image different from what you are viewing as you press the shutter.

Does this mean that good images cannot be obtained with these compact cameras? Of course not.

The key to using one of these types of compact cameras is to know its features and limitations. Being aware of the disadvantages and taking steps to correct the disadvantages that you can, will greatly improve your success. After all, it is the photographers' knowledge of their equipment and their individual vision that creates what is seen in the final image.

On the other hand, point-and-shoot cameras are very easy to use and most are fully automatic, making even a beginning photographer capable of producing a quality image. The small size makes it simple to carry them in a pocket or purse to have available at a moment's notice. Point-and-shoot cameras are lightweight and less intrusive than a digital SLR. Many of them can capture small video recordings, a feature that is currently unavailable for most digital SLR cameras. Point-and-shoot cameras are also relatively low-cost and advancing technology has improved their imaging sensors a great deal over the last few years. This has increased their ability to produce good quality 4" x 6" prints.

Before you venture out, you will need to decide what kind of image you want to capture and what that image will be used for. Sometimes you will want to carry all your SLR equipment but sometimes, all you need is a camera that is convenient and can do a reasonably good job.

 

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