Digital cameras flatten the learning curve for photography … somewhat

The digital revolution may not always be a good thing, but one place it’s worked well is in photography. It turned this horrible photographer into a barely less than adequate one.

If you’re thinking you want to get some photographic evidence of the time you spend outdoors, now’s a great time to buy a camera. The prices on digital cameras has fallen a lot since I started shooting, and there are some fantastic cameras out there for very decent prices.

I’m not a big fan of point-and-shoots, but they’ve improved remarkably over the last couple of years. If you’re thinking about a Single Lens Reflex, though, you can’t go wrong with anything made by Canon or Nikon. The other brands out there have their merits, too, but nobody builds a camera like the two heavyweights in the camera world.

The best thing about digital cameras is the instant feedback. When I first started shooting, I had to wait hours or even days for my pictures to be developed. Now, instead of waiting, I have a miniature version of what I shot right there on the back of the camera. I know immediately that I had it out of focus, or the light was wrong, or the strap was hanging over the lens. That’s usually how it happens.

The other nice thing about the new cameras is that they’re incredibly fast. All I have to do is hold my finger down on the button, and I get 20 or 30 crummy shots in one burst. The laws of probability dictate that at least one of them ought to be decent enough to keep, and sometimes that actually holds true.

That winds up saving me money, too. Instead of paying to have roll after roll of hopeless shots, now I can delete the bad ones right there on my camera. If the pictures aren’t any good, I don’t have to print ‘em. Needless to say, I don’t print an awful lot of pictures.

I have gotten better, but I’m still learning. Chances are you’ll learn faster than I do. If you’re thinking of getting a camera, now’s a great time to do it. You’ll get more camera for less money than ever before, and you have all summer to learn how to use it.