How To Choose The Right Camera For You

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Tips For Better Shooting

Get 10 tips for taking better photos of your family, friends and more.

As summer gets into full swing, so does taking pictures. Whether it's at the beach or during a backyard barbecue, people often find themselves in charge of the food and the towels — but not in charge of the photo memories.

In spite of the seemingly unlimited supply of new "point-and-shoot" cameras on the market, many people have trouble finding the right combo of simplicity and quality that will take us from ho-hum to must-see photo status.

NPR's multimedia director Keith Jenkins offers tips for the amateur, including how to choose the right type of camera. Jenkins tells NPR's Robert Siegel that you should make your choice based on how much you want to spend — and how much you want to carry. Jenkins gives insight on three types of cameras — the camera phone, the point and shoot, and the DSLR.

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NPR wants to see your summer photos. To participate, log in to flickr, click on the "You" tab and upload your photos. Be sure to set privacy to "Public" when you upload. After it's complete, choose the "Add a description" link. You must add "NPRSummer" to the tag field. And be sure to save.

Camera phone: The benefits is that it's always with you, has minimal options, and it's discreet. But it's not very realistic for taking quality photos.

Camera phones are "not going to take great sporting event pictures, it's not going to get great pictures in low light, and if you want a really stunning portrait with the background softly out of focus, you're not going to get that with this, either," Jenkins says.

He says that people who have the iPhone can access auto focus on the touch screen. But Nokia and Sony Ericsson make phones with cameras with "much more detail and depth." And it's $199 with a two-year contract.

Point-and-shoot: The benefits are that it has both automatic and manual controls, is lightweight and less expensive, and simple to operate. The point-and-shoots include the Canon PowerShot G10 and Nikon Coolpix P600. Cameras in this category generally cost between $250 and $500.

DSLR, for the serious hobbyist or professional: This camera type offers print-making quality, interchangeable lenses, blow-up images, portraiture, sports shooting, low-light capability, fast shutter speeds. It includes the Canon 5D Mark II, which costs $2,700, and the Nikon models like the D700.

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