Prosumer

The prosumer shooter is an in-between photographer—a serious amateur who wants the best possible images, but is not ready to make the monetary investment in a Digital Single Lens Reflex (D-SLR) body, lenses, and accessories. Conversely, the type person who would buy a prosumer may be a wannabe who enjoys the aura and association that a complicated-looking, professional-appearing camera exudes. Or he could simply be a person who wants to grow into a better class of camera.

Prosumer cameras are relatively large, well-constructed, ergonomically superior, fully loaded devices that come equipped with almost every feature and function needed to produce excellent image quality and superior performance. They incorporate eye-level through-the-lens viewing (usually an electronic viewfinder), physically larger image sensors (for a number of technical reasons, larger is usually better), and can save images to CompactFlash cards in either RAW or TIFF file format, or both (see Chapters 1 and 5). Most also function well when shooting in the fully automatic mode, which in fact

Figure 2-3: The Casio Exilim EX-P600 is a feature-rich advanced amateur camera that gives users lots of control, but still offers considerable guidance with a large number program modes, including Best Shot, which automatically select the correct settings for special situations and types of photos. (Picture courtesy of Casio.)

Figure 2-3: The Casio Exilim EX-P600 is a feature-rich advanced amateur camera that gives users lots of control, but still offers considerable guidance with a large number program modes, including Best Shot, which automatically select the correct settings for special situations and types of photos. (Picture courtesy of Casio.)

makes them glorified point-and-shoot models. But they are designed to be tweaked and manipulated to maximize image quality

In addition to all the functions found on most advanced amateur digital cameras, prosumer models also offer a number of pro-like features, such as bracketing (some have white balance as well as exposure bracketing), time lapse capability, lots of external analog controls, manual focus, and the ability to synchronize with an external flash or studio strobelights. Another advantage is that most prosumer models accommodate a variety of performance-enhancing accessories, such as heavy-duty batteries, vertical shutter releases, higher-quality auxiliary wide angle and telephoto lenses, remote controls, and so on. (See Chapters 3, 6, 7, 8, and 9 for more information on some of these features.)

Prosumer cameras are generally more complex and difficult than advanced amateur cameras and have a steeper learning curve before you reach a level of comfort.

Prosumer cameras cost $800—$1,100, and usually provide resolutions of 4-8 megapixels. Some current examples of advanced amateur digital cameras include the Canon PowerShot Pro 1, Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2, Leica Digilux 2, Nikon Coolpix 8700, Olympus Camedia C-8080, and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 (see Figure 2-4).

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