Buying a Camera

Guide to Buying a Camera

So you want to buy a better camera. Maybe your camera phone seems like it’s a little restrictive, or perhaps you are planning on printing some photo’s and you have just realised that your camera phone is not producing good results.  For this reason you have looked on an electronics store website or even ventured into your local camera shop and have been left wondering what the heck is a CMOS and what’s APS-C got to do with anything?  Well I am hoping to remove the technical jargon and give you some really useful tips.  We also have some great tips on taking photo’s of your kids here.

First things first lets quickly list the types of camera then we can look at each one; DSL-R, Mirrorless, Compact, Tough Cam.

Prices range from £300 to £5000. This type of camera has long been the professional’s choice, this is mainly because they are extremely versatile. This type of camera can do anything you like, once you have bought the right lenses, adapters, stands and a big bag to carry it all in.  This is also the most expensive route into photography. Unless you are going to get really serious, then possibly not the best choice as it will take years to master the techniques and understand all the various settings available.

Mirrorless – Prices from £300 to £2000. This camera is a great choice for most people who need more than a compact camera but don’t want the bulk of a DSL-R.  A smaller selection of lens are available, but this camera still requires a level of knowledge to use it correctly.  These cameras are also fairly pricey, but offer an excellent entry to a keen hobbyist and serious amateur.

Compact – Prices from £25 to £650. You may have guessed these cameras tend to be smaller, and will easily fit into your pocket.  They tend to be a point and shoot, and are built for ease of use.  That being said, these little beauties can still produce images that will blow the socks off a smart phone.  Generally cheaper in price, but don’t be fooled, you will still need to spend over £75 to get anything remotely worth having.

Tough Cam – Prices from £75 to £450. One of my personal favourites, as it offers all the convenience of the compact, but also is water proof, freeze proof and drop proof.  Perfect for family holidays, this camera can handle everything you can throw at it.  They do tend to be a little pricier than a compact, but I broke my compact on the beach once and this was an ideal replacement.  Plus its super cool taking photo’s in the sea or pool.

Questions you may feel to silly to ask

What’s mega pixels?

Put simply the more mega pixels the bigger you can print your images with out loss of quality.  In most cases anything above 12mega pixels should be fine.  As an example a 16mp camera would produce an A3 print perfectly.

What’s APS-C & CMOS?

These are two phrases that get thrown around the sales room often, basically they are talking about the sensor that takes the photo.  The bigger the sensor the better the quality, the bigger the sensor the bigger the price tag, with some pro cameras costing as much as £15,000.

What’s 17-55mm?

This is the amount of zoom available, the smaller the first number and the bigger the second number the more ability you’ll have to zoom in and out you’ll have.


DSL-R – great for people wishing to use photography as a hobby and really put some effort in to learning their craft.  Wildlife, family portraits, weddings, sports the world is your oyster.  Mirrorless great for people wishing to learn some skills, but smaller and more convenient.  Compact – point and shoot, great for people that just want good photos with out worrying about settings.  Tough Cam – just like a compact but you don’t need to worry about a protective case or dropping it.

By Philip Aucott, Photographer & Owner of Philip Charles Photography Ltd



4 Tips for Better Photos of your Kids

How to get better photos of your kids

I thought it was about time we addressed the elephant in the room, you just can’t get that good photograph of your child.  I’m a professional photographer, and sometimes it’s hard work even for me. Some kids have me doing cartwheels, balloon modelling, and impressions of their favourite Disney characters, all for that million dollar smile.  So I thought I would write this article offerin4 useful tips and bits information you can use when trying to get a better photo of your kids.

1, Cheese. That’s right, it kind of seems blindingly obvious now I’ve said it. A smile is a facial expression of joy, happiness or amusement. Nobody ever smiles because they are told to. Although we have a lot to think about when taking a photo, the main thing is the interaction with the subject. If you do something funny the person in the photo will smile, and that’s how it’s done. Although ‘cheese’ seems to be a tried and tested word, try funny words like ‘wibble wobble’ or blow a raspberry. You might find those natural smiles start to creep out.

2, Be prepared. You have to be in the moment, something that is re-enacted is hardly ever the same. Have the camera or phone in your hand ready to snap. If you think something is going to happen, be ready.

3, Give your little one the knowledge. From about the age of 2 onwards, kids can get involved with taking photos. If you don’t want them to get their little mitts on your brand new smart phone, there are plenty of cheap child friendly cameras on the market. Once they know the process, it should be easier for them to understand what you are trying to achieve when your taking a photograph of them.

4, This is the big one, the main reason your kids are not preforming in front of the camera. You may not have seen this coming and you may not want to hear it, but it’s all your fault. You know you are a role model, the person your child looks up to the most, the one they draw inspiration from. If you are the person that stands there saying “I hate having my photo taken” then you are passing all that negativity onto your child.  Just pretend to like it, even if it is only for the sake of being able to get a good photo of your children. Set a good example, and hopefully they will follow it.

These are just a few pointers. I wanted to offer a few tips and observations I have made over the last 15 years of being a pro photographer.  In some cases people just lack that bit of confidence, and that can take time to overcome.  Happy snapping everyone.

By Philip Aucott, Photographer & Owner of Philip Charles Photography Ltd

Philip Charles Photography