- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- How to Create Stunning D igital Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- 500 Poses for Photographing Women
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: Ho w to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photograp her
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liab ilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
There are many things to look for in a good point-and-shoot camera: Functionality, presets, size, weight, price, focal length range, macro ability, shutter lag, etc. While these are all important things to note, most top-end point-and-shoots will have good marks for all of these (except maybe price). However, if you're trying to figure out which quality point-and-shoot is better, it's best to look at these deciding factors.
This is one of the most important things if you're looking to create great images. Though point-and-shoots are often made to give the users a quick and easy way to snap a good photo, you may find it limiting if you can't manually alter some of the settings. For instance, not being able to control the aperture would put you out of luck for capturing photos with nice blurred backgrounds. Not being able to control the ISO might force your camera to use flash when you want to use a slow shutter speed instead. So make sure that you can control your aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and any other settings you find might be necessary for getting the photos that you want.
This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. If you have to dig through 3 layers of menus every time you want to change your white balance, you can easily become frustrated with your new camera. A good point-and-shoot should have a button layout that lets you easily change the settings you want and need to change the most. You shouldn't have to look through menus often, but if you do, they should be easy and intuitive to navigate. The best point-and-shoots will have a customizable button and/or menu that lets you set the functions according to your preferences. Many also feature a ring around the lens which will let you control various preset settings such as aperture or exposure compensation values.
High ISO/Low Light Performance
Point-and-shoots are not known for their excellent noise performance when using high ISO settings. This is because of their small sensors which don't perform as well as big sensors (like in DSLRs) in low light conditions. However, they have been getting better over the years, and it's important to look for a camera that can perform well in dim settings. Even without high ISO settings, some cameras tend to desaturate colors and/or have a hard time focusing in low light. Be sure to read reviews for these factors as they can have a big impact on your shooting ability.
When seeking a camera with better low light performance, it's better to go with one with a large max aperture. Many good point-and-shoots now have max apertures of f/2.0 and f/1.8. This means faster shutter speeds in dimmer settings and lower ISO settings. Because of the smaller sensor, you won't see a huge difference in depth-of-field, but your backgrounds will be a little more blurred as compared to say, f/5.6. Also, since point-and-shoots zoom, make sure you look at the max aperture when the camera is all the way zoomed in, as most have a variable aperture. At the wide end your camera may be a f/2.0, but at the telephoto end it could be a f/8.
It should go without saying that image quality is a factor when choosing any camera. But what specifically should you look for? Most high-end point-and-shoots will be about the same, but they may vary in these areas: high dynamic range, noise control, and color. The higher the dynamic range, the better, as it will allow you to more easily handle contrasty scenes without blowing out your highlights. Noise control is important when using high ISO settings. Color can vary from camera to camera in both tones and saturation. While saturation is not as big a deal as it can easily be controlled with in-camera settings or in post, the hue of colors it captures can be important. Some cameras capture a truer red or blue than others. Some camera reviews will present a color grid comparison that shows the variance in hues and vividness between multiple cameras.
Written by Spencer Seastrom