A great photo can say a lot to customers. It can communicate value, convince shoppers to buy, and tell clients if you’re trustworthy in just one glance. But professional images are often expensive. For many business owners, a digital camera is a great way to save on photo shoots and marketing materials. Because every business is different, here are the specs and details to consider before you buy your next digital camera.
First, think about the pictures you want. A digital SLR will give you more control with interchangeable lenses, manual zoom, and ways to isolate the aperture, shutter speed, and other settings. Different lenses come in handy in different pictures. For example, while a normal lens can shoot a quality portrait, a wide-angle lens shows off the interior of a house. A telephoto lens is best when shooting sports events and far-away objects, and a macro lens helps magnify small objects, such as a flower or a pair of earrings. These options can make a digital SLR more complicated to someone who’s not familiar with one. It’s also bulkier and more expensive. But it’s ideal for someone who has versatility and flexibility in mind.
A point-and-shoot compact camera is smaller, lighter, and mostly automatic with a noninterchangeable lens. If you travel a lot, a slim point-and-shoot can fit in your purse or pocket. Though you have less control over the pictures you take, you can crop and alter photos through editing software. If you’re not quite ready to invest in the digital SLR, but you enjoy its creative capability, a hybrid model is a high-performance point-and-shoot, which combines the noninterchangeable lens with the manual settings of an SLR.
Picking the type of camera is just a start. Next you should think about picture quality. If you plan to post your pictures only on your Web site, you’re in luck: Web photos are lower grade and don’t require an exceptional image. If you plan to print your photos on posters or brochures, however, image quality is something to consider.
Two things factor into a camera’s image quality: the pixel count and its sensor size. Cameras now range from 7 to 21 megapixels, with more megapixels meaning more detail and higher resolution photos. The size of the photo sensor, which acts as the “film” that captures the digital image, is equally important. A Digital SLR has a sensor that’s 40 to 100 percent the size of 35 millimeter film, whereas a digital compact’s sensor is significantly smaller. Though two cameras may have the same number of pixels, the camera with a larger sensor will produce a better image.
Other important details include a camera’s batteries and storage. While alkaline batteries are the easiest to replace, they also burn out quickly. Lithium ion or nickel metal hydride batteries come with charging modules, but typically last much longer. The best thing about digital cameras is that you can download your photos onto a computer and reuse your storage device. Storage cards include Compact Flash, Secure Digital cards (aka SD cards), and MultiMediaCards. An MMC can hold hundreds if not thousands of photos depending on its size.
Features useful for businesses include a more durable body or a weatherproof camera for if you do a lot of outdoor activity or traveling; a stitching function, which allows seamless panoramic shots from multiple individual photos; and a burst shooting mode, which takes several pictures in a short time span. Many cameras also have an HDMI port so you can quickly connect to TVs to view your stills. Other nice features include blink detection, an optical image stabilizer, and a video recorder.
With all the possible features that can be packed into a camera, you’re likely to find one that fits your business’s needs. Whether it’s marketing your product or putting a face behind a service, the picture you give your customers will not only send a clearer message, but it will also leave a lasting impression.