Beginner Tutorial 1

The first step in embarking on a new hobby of photography is, naturally, acquiring the best camera for your purposes. But there is a vast array of available options and making the right decision can be tricky. In this very first tutorial we look at the questions you need to ask yourself first.


Buying a Camera – where to begin?

TZ60_angledMore people now own a digital camera than ever owned a film camera. And there are many different reasons why we want to take photographs.

So, what type of photographer are you – or do you aspire to be? And what type of camera would best suit your needs?

Before you delve into the many different types of camera out there, ask yourself these key questions and be clear in your mind about what it is you want to achieve:

  • Are you a ‘social snapper’, or do you want to take photography a little more seriously?
  • Do you have a particular purpose or event in mind, or do you want to use the camera 
generally, day to day?
  • Do you want a camera with Manual control over features such as Shutter Speed,
    Aperture and Focus, or do you just want something fully Automatic?
  • G6k_slantDo you want to specialise? In Portraits, Landscapes, Wildlife, Sports or Macro (extreme close-up) shots, for example.
  • Will you use the camera largely indoors or outdoors?
  • Do you intend to use the camera mainly for photography or do you also want to shoot video in high quality?
  • Would you want any advanced features? Optical image stabilisation, long zoom, external flash, Wi-Fi or waterproof/splash-proof capabilities, for example.
  • Does size matter? Does it have to be lightweight and compact – easily carried in a pocket – or are you happy to wear an over-the-shoulder camera bag?
  • Would you like a viewfinder, or are you happy to use a built-in digital view-screen?
  • What about picture quality? All modern digital cameras are capable of producing good-quality
relative to how they are to be viewed. A shot taken on even the most basic smartphone
    can look good on a tablet screen or a digital photo frame, while one shot with a digital SLR
    camera can look great blown up and mounted on the side of a bus. But most of us would be
    happy with something in between. So, think about how you are most likely to be viewing your
    images, as this will have a considerable bearing on the type of camera you need.
  • GX7Finally, where do you want to go with your photography, will your camera keep up as your expertise grows? You don’t want to have to go through this process again next year when you realise that the camera you purchased can no longer capture the images you want. Think about your aspirations for photography and choose a model that’s capable of stretching your abilities and growing with you.

If you keep these 11 points in mind, it should help lead you down the right path as to what type of equipment to invest in. And investment is a good way to view your camera purchase.

Great photographs require not just good kit, which costs money, but also a considerable investment of your time, too. So don’t underinvest in a camera that’s not good enough to return you a great result.

The right equipment, the right subject and a good eye can deliver you a very pleasurable return on your investment.

The LUMIX Advantage

Panasonic launched the LUMIX brand of cameras in 2001 and it heralded a new era of digital stills camera innovation. Continually analysing the market and surveying the needs of the user, Panasonic has introduced many new features since that have now become de facto elements of digital cameras today.

Such features include Optical Image Stabilisation, Wide-angle Lens, High-zoom Compact models, Intelligent Auto, AVCHD Video mode and Touch screen/Touch shutter, as well as Micro Four Thirds for the new generation system cameras. All this has been made possible due to the Black Box technology and manufacturing skills of an experienced electronics company like Panasonic.

More than 90% of the components that go into a LUMIX camera are produced by Panasonic itself. Everything from the lens to the image sensor, from the processor engine to the LCD screen and even the battery and SD card – all have been developed, manufactured and quality controlled in-house. So, when you’re considering a new digital camera and going through the questions we’ve looked at here, consider also the brand that’s been designed with you in mind –with quality and reliability at its heart.

Shooting Exercise

Finally, for photographic inspiration you can’t go wrong with a visit to the LUMIX G Experience gallery, where the array of shots posted by member of all levels is sure to whet your appetite:

Be inspired by the amazing photos on every conceivable subject and theme. And for more advice on buying a camera, the next tutorial in this module is: Explaining the different types of digital camera.

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Written by Steve Lucas for Panasonic ©