The movement from 35mm to digital sensors in compact cameras has done more than simply make it possible to instantly review and share your photos. It’s also changed the way cameras are designed. Because the sensors used in today’s compact cameras are much smaller than a frame of film, lenses can also be much smaller and cover longer zoom ranges than ever were possible with film.
Professionals tend to expect more from the tools they use. They expect them to perform reliably, accurately and smoothly on good days and bad. On top of all that, they expect their tools to feel proper, secure and "right" in the hand. And these very same folk often have the same expectations when it comes to pedestrian items. We'd like to talk about a half-dozen point-and-shoot digital cameras that should appeal to serious-minded shooters seeking a pocket-sized camera that feels and performs like a "real" camera.
MiniDV camcorders still offer many benefits, not to mention the terrific quality of the video they capture. Sticking with MiniDV is a no-brainer if you already have a lot of time and money invested in the format. B&H still carries the most popular MiniDV models at the best prices you’ll find anywhere.
While there may not ever be a "perfect" lens, there has long been a need for a one-lens solution for shooters who want to head out the door with one camera and one lens over their shoulder. The reasons vary. For some it's a matter of convenience. For some, it's a matter of pure laziness and for others it's the fear of getting dust on the sensor. For frequent flyers it's a matter of logistics, i.e., there's a limit to how much airlines allow you to carry aboard the plane (almost all of these lenses are surprisingly compact).
The interesting thing about entry level point-and-shoot digicams is that the simplest, least expensive of the lot is capable of taking wonderfully sharp, angst-free photographs. The costlier, more "'complicated" digicams can perform more "tricks" or have wider or longer lenses than entry-level digicams, but at the end of the day, each of these econo-cams capture surprisingly fine stills and video.
In the right hands, almost any lens—including a fisheye lens—can be used for portraiture. Wide angle, normal, even super-telephoto lenses can be used successfully for portrait work. But if you had to narrow them down to select an optimal focal length for shooting portraits, it would have to be a lens in the range of 85 to 105mm.
Everyone likes to get gifts, but some gifts are better than others. Sure, you pretend to like the malodorous cologne or the ugly sweater, but then they get tucked away somewhere until they eventually get thrown away. But binoculars make great gifts because everyone can use them and they can last a lifetime. Depending on one’s needs, decent binoculars can be had for less than $50 or they can cost several thousand dollars. There’s something for everyone.
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