Camera Equipment

35 mm Cameras

35mm cameras can be divided into two categories: compact 35mm cameras and SLR 35mm cameras.

Compact 35mm cameras also known as “point and shoot” cameras used to be the standard camera for amateur photographers (now it has been replaced by digital cameras). When purchasing a compact 35mm camera there are a wide range of options.

One can purchase a regular “point and shoot” compact camera with a range of shutter speeds (2-1/1000) (which is fast enough for an amateur but slow for a professional), and no zoom feature (many photographers do not use a zoom as it lowers the shutter speed which increases blurriness) for about 75$. This type of camera fits in a pocket and would work great for the average family.

The top end “point and shoot” models have Sonar F2.8 lenses, an extremely fast and wide range of shutter speeds (16 to 1/1200 second), a five-point auto focus system (instantly focusing the picture and accurate down to 1.1 feet). These powerful machines take sharp pictures and will also fit in one’s pocket, but they also cost around $700.

Between these high and low end models there is a wide variety of cameras with different options. Here are some things experts recommend looking for in a 35mm “point and shoot” model:

• Multipoint auto focus helps prevent fuzzy pictures. If your camera's focus is based on only one point, it might accidentally latch on to something in the foreground or background rather than the subject and create a blurry picture. The Canon Sure Shot 130u has a three-point auto focus.

• Adjustable flash and exposure modes give you more options. Point-and-shoot cameras are capable of making all the picture-taking decisions for you, but it's nice to have the option to make them yourself, too. Flash modes generally include red-eye reduction and the ability to force the flash on or off. Exposure modes give you options such as night shots and the ability to set up the camera for timed or remote-triggered exposure.

• You may want the flexibility of a zoom lens. Serious photographers usually save close-ups for big cameras with interchangeable lenses, but if your point-and-shoot is going to be your main camera or your only camera—go for a zoom. Longer zoom lenses let you get in closer, but also gather less light. You may wind up with a longer exposure, so it's important to hold the camera steady.

• Weatherproofing protects the camera from damage if it gets splashed or rained on. This doesn't mean you can submerge it, but it will resist damage from water. The Olympus Stylus Epic is weatherproof.

(Expert information provided on:

SLR 35mm cameras or Single-lens Reflex (SLR) cameras of are designed for professional photographers. They allow photographers to take nearly complete control of focus and exposure to produce unique artistic photographs. There are countless lenses, specifications, and accessories for these cameras which require one to be quite conversant with photography and photo equipment when purchasing. Very basic SLR 35mm cameras begin at around $200 and top models can reach upwards of $5,000.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Search


A camcorder is a device used to record audio and video onto an internal storage device so that it can be viewed and used at a later date. There are two types of camcorders: analog and digital. An analog camcorder uses a VHS as its internal storage device, while a digital camcorder records digital video. Depending on a consumer's specific needs, there are several different types of camcorders to consider when buying. They need to take into account their budget, the audience that will be viewing the video, the portability they want in the camera, different effects and settings that they want, and the quality of video that they desire.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports
  2. Camcorder info
  3. Guide to buying camcorders

Digital Camcorders

Digital camcorders are quickly replacing VHS and analog camcorders. Their ease of use as well as adaptation to technology makes them a much more sound purchase than other options. They are lightweight and offer a lot of different features. Most are able to record in widescreen, which makes them very compatible with the new onslaught of HDTV’s. They record higher quality video than analog camcorders, and no recording quality is lost when putting them onto a computer or DVDs. That in itself is another good feature. Digital camcorders can connect to computers through USB drives and editing can be done on the video. Additionally, still pictures can be taken with digital camcorders. They come in three different styles: MiniDVs (uses a ¼-inch tape), DVD models (uses a 3-inch disc), and hard disk drives, otherwise known as HDD (saves videos and pictures to an internal hard drive).

One website in particular provides five questions to aid a purchaser in buying a digital camcorder.

1. Which format is right for me? MiniDV camcorders are the most inexpensive, DVD camcorders are the most compatible with other users, and the HDD offers better storage options.

2. How will I be using the camcorder? When the consumer knows how they will be using the camcorder, they can better choose the necessary features and gage how important they are in contrast with the price of these extra features.

3. Will I want to add accessories either now or in the future? Consumers should guess now what kind of uses they will want their camera for. They don’t need to purchase all the accessories now, but they will need to know they are available in the future.

4. Does the digital camcorder feel comfortable in my hand? The consumer needs to use the camcorder before purchasing to be sure it is a good fit.

5. What is my budget? The consumer needs to know the limits of the budget and to look at camcorders in that range.

With these questions in mind, here are a few websites that will assist you in finding the right one for your needs.

Top Online Resources:

  1. How It Works
  2. Consumer Reports
  3. mySimon

Digital SLR Cameras

The market for digital cameras is a relatively new one. Ever since they became popular and affordable about 10 years ago, many companies have tried to get a piece of that financial pie. dSLR, which stands for digital SLR, cameras are not to be confused with the sleeker "ultra compact" digital cameras that seem to be more popular. dSLR cameras are generally used for professional quality shooting, as they offer higher quality photos and more manual flexibility while it can still act automatically for casual photography.

No one company has taken real control over the market for dSLR cameras, but there are rather many competing companies, which has resulted in a lot of variety when looking for a camera. Some of the different factors that companies and buyers have focused on are megapixels, LCD display size, zoom power, effects/options, battery power, compatibility with accessories etc.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Digital Camera HQ
  2. Digital Photography Review
  3. Imaging Resource

Digitial Camera Binoculars

Digital Camera Binoculars are basically binoculars that have a digital mechanism in them that allow you to take pictures. Some even allow you to take some video. Usually people who are interested in such merchandise are sports event attendees, bird watchers, hunters and the like. When you are purchasing this tool, make sure that you pick out the best quality for what you are using them for. For people attending sporting events or theater, you may only need a minimal magnification. Make sure that they fit you and that the adjusting knobs work properly. According to the Consumer Report website, there are many factors to consider when shopping for these binoculars. Supposedly, they may have good quality magnification, but they don't always have a great quality picture when used as a camera. Prices for these gadgets can range anywhere from $25.00 (eBay) to $2-300.00 (Amazon and other websites). According to consumer report, you may not always be paying for the quality with higher costs, so just make sure that you're getting the most for your money.

Top Online Resources:

  3. Consumer Guide

Film Cameras

Though digital cameras clearly dominate the market of photography, there are still many practical uses for traditional film cameras. Many Photographers, particularly those in the field of biological photography, hold to this traditional means of capturing life on film.

Those who are considering buying film cameras should take a number of questions into consideration before beginning the purchasing process. One should take into consideration the purpose the camera will be fulfilling - will the photographer be taking pictures primarily at events, or will he or she be using it in more everyday activities? What sort of photographic style will be emphasized? How advanced is he or she in photography? Such questions should guide the consumer to know the ideal camera he or she is looking for. Once this is determined, the following websites are very valuable resources both in evaluation of film cameras, and in purchasing opportunities.

Top Online Resources:


Photo Printers

There are a lot of options available when looking for a photo printer. It depends on what your needs are. Some might be looking for an all-in-one printer and some might be looking for a high quality professional printer. There are a lot of options out there and it can be tough to decide what best fits your needs and budget. These three web sites come from different back grounds and as such together give a very complete review of photo printers. Pop photo comes from a photographer’s viewpoint and really focuses in on the quality of photo printed. It has good reviews of printers for the casual enthusiast to the professional. Consumer reports comes with a lot of explanation of what a photo printer is, what to look for in a printer, and what will be right for you. Also consumer reviews are easily accessible. Cnet review has hundreds of printer reviews right at your finger tips. You can categorize them in a variety of ways and search through and compare the type of printer you want. All of the sites are excellent and used together will give a buyer a well rounded and informed idea of what to buy.

Top Online Resources:

  3. cnet reviews

SLR Cameras

SLR stands for single-lens reflector, and refers to the manner in which an image is taken, focused, and recorded within a camera. These cameras use automatic mirrors and a pentaprism to direct light from the camera lens to the viewfinder. Until recently, SLR cameras were only available for shooting pictures with film. However, recently digital SLR cameras have been released, and they have drastically decreased in price over the last several years.

SLR cameras tend to be more expensive than their point-and-shoot counterparts (which have the lens built into the body, as opposed to a detachable unit), but they do provide some advantages. These advantages include lower image noise, faster auto-focus, interchangeable lenses, full zoom control (not motorized), RAW image mode, and access to more powerful flashes and professional grade accessories. According to one source, this camera is the best choice for low light photography, and when speed of capture is important. The disadvantages of an SLR camera include the lack of a live digital LCD display, lack of video capture abilities, larger camera size, generally more expensive accessories, and a tendency to collect dust on the sensor.

When selecting a camera, consumers face a variety of options in picture quality, size, shutter speed, zoom, megapixels, image stabilization, manual focus, exposure time, built-in flash, external flash, storage types, video capabilities, time-lapse recording, viewfinder type, LCD display, USB capabilities, battery/charger type, weight, and price. This can be a confusing array of choices. If the consumer is just looking for a camera in general, the first step is to consider what kinds of features are important for their own personal use. For example, they must determine if they are going to be taking landscapes, portraits, inside shots, outdoor shots, wildlife photography, action shots, night photos, etc. The next step is to choose either an SLR camera or a more compact point-and-shoot camera. (For a simple breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of SLR photography, see Once the type of camera is determined, the next step is to select camera features based on the consumer’s picture taking preferences. For this step of the process, a buying guide such as the one available on is very useful. This feature allows you to select specific camera features and then provides a list of all cameras that have the specified feature. Once the consumer has determined which cameras offer the features they prefer, reviews of the camera models should be consulted. This is particularly useful if conducted from a website that offers side by side comparisons, such as, which allows you to select the camera models that fit your specifications, and compare them against each other. Great reviews are also available from

Note: An SLR camera may not be the best choice for a photography novice. SLR cameras tend to be more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras, and the advantages of an SLR model are unlikely to be realized by the photography novice unless they really want to take the time to understand their camera’s capabilities.

Other great resources for camera purchases include:






1. (This website provides a general overview of the pros and cons of both SLR and traditional cameras. This is great for someone who really doesn’t know what kind of camera they would like.)

Top Online Resources:

  1. Digital Photography Review
  3. B&H: The Professional's Source