Photo by Marshall Cant, Pro Photographer, with Canon G11

Who doesn’t want a better camera?  From the time I was old enough to know what a camera was, I wanted one.  That was in the early 1980s, when “cheap” and “camera” were never uttered in the same sentence.  I had to wait until my 12th birthday before getting a camera of my own, and the camera I learned to use was a 35mm Pentax K-Mount SLR handed down to me by my father.   These days, giving a camera to a kid (or purchasing one for yourself) is no longer such a big deal.  Cameras are available everywhere, on every device, and in every price range.  But because of their abundance, choosing the right camera can be daunting.

The choices are overwhelming.  Google “cheap digital camera” and you get a list ranging from a very reasonable $100 down to as low as $20.  There are literally thousands of models to choose from, all boasting their own set of incomprehensible bells and whistles.   In 2010, almost 110 million digital cameras were sold.  But what does that even mean?  How good are those $20 cameras?  Is it worth paying $2,000?  Do the bells and whistles matter? How is anyone supposed to navigate the flood of technology marketing and come out on the other end with a product that actually fits their needs?

I’ve recently read a couple of good articles about choosing the right camera.  I’ve decided to share them with you in hopes that it will help you select the right digital camera this holiday season.  Consumer Reports offers a good overview of how to wade through the market, and Photoshelter offers some hands-on recommendations from pro photographers using consumer cameras in their everyday lives.  These photographers have some great advice, and since they eat and breathe photography every day they have opinions on which of the bells and whistles actually matter, and what to be wary of.

I hope you have a happy holiday and, unless I’m doing a portrait session with you next week, I look forward to seeing you in the new year!

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