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by Phil Ball

Q. I’ll be going on an extended vacation soon and I want a camera to take with me to record my travels and the things I see. Any suggestions?

A. You will want to be ready when you meet an interesting photo opportunity so you will want to always have the camera with you. That means that you need a small, lightweight, but versatile camera. Looking through stores, you will find that there are many compact cameras available. Although they resemble one another, they are not all the same. If you are a beginner, most any camera will do. Today’s cameras have improved to the point where you may rely upon most any camera to give you good pictures, most of the time.

But sometimes, the best photos are found under unusual light which simple automatics cannot handle well. If you want more versatility, a more advanced camera offers more control over exposure and focus. Naturally, the more advanced cameras tend to cost more. Be aware that more megapixels allow you to make bigger prints but have very little relation to quality. Five to ten megapixels will make a very nice 8x10” print. How often do you make prints larger than that? I also advise getting a camera that offers an eye-level viewfinder in addition to the big screen on the back. There are times, like bright daylight, when you cannot see the image on your big screen very well and it is nice to have that little viewfinder. Have fun!

Published: Courier 7/18/10 - Page 5C