Don’t need no DSLR: Using the Camera You Have

You say that you don’t like your camera.  You aren’t happy with the pictures it takes, so you think that you need a DSLR.

This is where I ask:  have you read your camera’s manual cover to cover?  Do you know and understand all the functions of your camera?

If you answered “no” to both of those questions, the problem isn’t your camera, per se.  The problem is, in all likelihood, that you don’t know how to use it.

The Panasonic Lumix PNS that I shot my entire thesis with.

Most point and shoot (PNS) cameras made in the last 3 years have 90% of the same functions that I use on my supposedly-fancy DSLR.  They have manual control of the shutter speed, the ISO, and the aperture.  They have “priority modes”.  They have controls for color, white balance, and even focus points.  Those things, along with a knowledge of composition rules (and how/when to break them), are what makes the difference between a snapshot and a photograph.

One of the main themes you’ll find in my “Don’t need no DSLR” series is learning how to work with what you have to achieve the look you want.  Most readers will find that their current PNS camera is capable of far more than they realize.  For those whose cameras are not quite so flexible, I will have a post on what cameras you can purchase that won’t break your wallet to buy or your back to carry.

As you read through this series, I’m hoping that you will learn what a DSLR can and cannot do for your photography, the basics of the “photographer’s math” that makes a good photo, the importance of learning processing, and much more.

But for now, if you haven’t already, go read your manual and fiddle around with your camera for awhile!

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