Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Evaluating point-and-shoot and phone cameras, part of Introduction to Photography.
- There was a time when the point-and-shoot was the most popular form of digital camera. Nowadays, point-and-shoots have lost ground to cell phone cameras, but there are still some out there and they still serve a purpose. For simple snapshots, a cellphone camera is probably a better option than a point-and-shoot simply because you most likely always have your cellphone with you. However, a decent point-and-shoot camera will still yield better image quality than the best cellphone camera. Unlike a cell phone, point-and-shoot cameras have zoom lenses, they might have more exposure control, and they most likely have a larger image sensor than a cellphone camera.
The great advantage of a point-and-shoot over a mirrorless camera or SLR is size and portability. They pack small, they don't weigh much; it makes them great for everything from backpacking and other forms of ultra-light travel to formal occassions where having a camera around your shoulder may not be appropriate. Some things to look for when you're shopping for a point-and-shoot include sensor size. There are some point-and-shoots that have full frame image sensors, and the larger the sensor, the less noise the camera will produce in your images, especially in low light. You'll also want to consider exposure controls.
Some point-and-shoot cameras will include a full range of exposure controls, just like you'll find on an SLR. If you like having a complete set of options when shooting, then you're going to want those controls. Finally, you'll want to consider price, size, weight and screen options. For example, do you want a screen that can be flipped around for selfies? A high-end point-and-shoot can be a very serious photographic tool. I will often carry one in place of an SLR or a mirrorless camera, and I've gotten some great images with this class of camera. However, at this point, the cellphone camera is the digital camera that most people have used and are still using.
Fortunately, cellphone cameras today can deliver excellent image quality; sharp, good exposure, great color. But of course the biggest advantage of the cellphone camera over all other types of cameras is that you usually have your cellphone with you. Most people do not make their cellphone choice based on its camera's capabilities, but if you do want to evaluate a cellphone camera, here are a couple things to look for. Things that cellphone cameras can have trouble with. Try pointing the cellphone camera at a scene with a wide-range of dark to light; a building against a bright sky.
Can the phone show details in the building while preserving the color of the sky? Does it focus accurately? Shoot several portraits of someone, but frame the shot so that the person is in a different place each time. Does the camera keep them in focus? How quickly does it focus? Finally, does the camera offer any manual overrides for exposure and focus? Can you, for example, tap on the screen to focus on a particular point? Is there a way to dial the exposure up and down to brighten or darken a shot? Your cellphone can be a great, very usable camera, but it does have its limitations.
And you'll see what those are and begin to learn to work around those limitations as we progress through this course.
Then it's time to take to the field and examine the rest of the factors that influence the quality of your photographs, including light metering, focus, composition, and flash. Ben also introduces techniques for shooting portraits and shows what you can do with an image editor in post. Last but not least, he'll provide a roadmap for learning more with the lynda.com extensive library of photography training. The path to becoming a better photographer begins with the first step. Start here!
- Exploring cameras and lenses
- Understanding media
- Controlling exposure
- Composing with autofocus
- Shooting portraits
- Understanding form and geometry
- Exporting and editing digital images