Snapping Summer Memories—Going Digital

Since I failed miserably at my New Year’s resolution to get outdoors and capture more breathtaking winter shots I’ve decided to double up this summer. I plan to work overtime capturing my family’s summertime activities. And I know I am not alone. Summer is the time of year when most families head out on their annual vacations and snap happy parents’ give their fingers quite a workout.

For those of you who are still relying on those disposable point-and-shoots to capture your sunny day memories perhaps the Summer of 2008 is when you go digital. I know. I know. Making the switch can be traumatic, but your bravery will be rewarded. Digital cameras have come a long way in recent years and these days they are easier than ever to operate.

The challenge is trying to determine which digital camera is the right one for you. To answer that question you must first figure out what kind of photographer you are. For example, are you someone who enjoys manually adjusting the flash and shutter speed, or would you rather just point, shoot and move on?

Most family photographers opt for the latter. If you are looking for an easy camera that takes great pictures with very little work consider purchasing a standard 35-millimeter camera that offers a zoom option and perhaps an anti-red-eye function. When I was looking for the perfect digital camera for my parents I made sure I got one with the skinniest owners manual out there. I didn’t want them to be overwhelmed with dials and buttons. If this style of camera seems to fit your needs you should expect to pay in the $100 to $250 range and not much more than that.

The next grade up is a more customized camera for shooters who like the option of having options, but also want the convenience of having an AUTO mode that they can rely on to produce decent photos. These types of cameras typically let you choose between indoor, outdoor, night and lights. And they also have auto-focus and preset shutter speeds for challenging photo tasks like taking a great shot of your track star daughter racing towards the finish line. Cameras in this class traditionally allow you to manually set up your shots, but that type of features will cost you. Price points for these types of cameras run anywhere between $300 and $600.

Finally, there are the fully manual cameras that offer more features than some cars do. Many of the cameras in this category have removable SLR lenses. These are not your typical pocket cameras. In fact, you might need a backpack to carry all the equipment that comes with them. Purchasing one of these cameras will also do a number on your budget. They are typically priced between $600 and $1,200, but they’re built to last and are capable of taking priceless shots.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.