Tips in Buying a Digital Camera

by Nina

Digital cameras are investments which is why it is important to get the right one for your needs. Here are important features to look for in a digital camera.

It can be a challenge to shop for a digital camera. It comes in different shapes, sizes and price ranges. Because you will be investing in one that you will be able to use for many years, it is a good idea to compare the pros and cons of each camera to help you buy the right one for your needs. There are a variety of factors that should be considered when shopping for digital cameras such as image quality, performance, ergonomics, features and price. You should also consider whether you will be using it to take simple or professional shots.

There are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself before shopping such as what type of photography (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports) you will be doing and in what conditions (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light) will you be doing most photographing in. These will help you determine what the right digital camera is for you. You should also ask yourself what features you are looking for. The most important ones usually are long zoom, image stabilization and large LCD display. If you will be taking the camera with you most of the time, you will have to consider its size as well. It would also be easier for you to shop for one if you know what your budget is. These are only some of the questions that you should ask yourself in order to get the best digital camera. If you are trying to find out more about its features, here is a guide to what the most important ones are to have in your camera.

Woman Holding a Digital Camera
Woman Holding a Digital Camera

Megapixels

Most consumers think that a 6-megapixel camera produces better images than a 5-megapixel one. However, that is not always the case. Megapixels are actually a measure of the quantity and not the quality of data that is captured. The image quality of digital cameras is not based on megapixels but on its overall system. What you should look at is the actual pixel size. The bigger the pixel size, the better it records detail in shadows and highlights. Because most large sensors have room for bigger and light-sensitive pixels, it can usually produce greater range, higher sensitivity and better signal-to-noise ratio. This is why instead of going for the largest megapixels, you may want to ask about other factors such as image quality which is just as important.

Most digital cameras today have at least 5 megapixels. As mentioned, it is not an essential feature to look for. In fact, it may be a disadvantage as images that are large can take up a huge amount of space on memory cards and computers. If you will be printing images at a normal size, a camera with4 or more megapixels should be fine. If you will be enlarging the images though, consider investing in an upper end digital camera.

My Favorite Digital Cameras

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera (Black)

The Canon 5096B001 PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Black 12MP Digital Camera with 5x Zoom and 2.7 In. LCD Display has a slim profile that will not only make you stand out from the ...

Only $229.00
Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

$565.46  $299.99
Kodak EasyShare Sport C123 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue) (New Model)

Kodak EasyShare C123 2.4-Inch LCD 12 Megapixel Digital Camera. Splash! Take a dip with the KODAK EASYSHARE SPORT Camera and take your best shot-up to 10 ft underwater. With ...

Only $79.95
Panasonic DMC-ZS9 14.1MP Digital Camera with 16x Optical Zoom and 21x Intelligent Zoom ...

The LUMIX DMC-ZS9 camera features a versatile 24mm ultra-wide angle and powerful 16x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens and Intelligent Resolution technology which adds ...

Only $32.00

Zoom

Digital cameras usually have optical and/or digital zoom. Optical zoom is similar to that of a 35mm camera. The zoom lens allows you to view and photograph a subject more closely without losing any pixels or reducing its quality.

Most digital cameras also have a digital zoom feature along with optical zoom. This works by extending the range of the zoom and electronically cropping and enlarging the image. This involves a loss of resolution but it would be worthwhile as it really will allow you to get the shot that you would like to capture. You might not notice the loss of resolution depending on your camera’s megapixels and the size of the image that you are printing. When buying a digital camera, you should pay more attention to optical zoom rather than digital zoom.

Not all zooms are created equal. This is why many experts recommend that you take into consideration the optical zoom. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in the shot. While this can make the image bigger, it can also make it look more pixelated and noisier. You may want to look for optical zoom which is at least 3x in length. This means that it can make your subject three times bigger. There are a variety of zooms to choose from today and some even have up to 12x optical zoom.

Extras

When shopping for a digital camera, the price that is not quoted may not be the final one as you will probably consider purchasing extras along with the camera. These usually include a camera case, memory cards, extra batteries or recharger, lenses (if you will be getting a DSLR), filers, tripods, external flashes and reflectors. There are some retailers that include extras with the cameras at a lower price. There are also stores that give discounts when buying more than one extra. However, the extras that they include in the package are usually the ones that you might not need. Because of this, you will have to purchase the more important ones.

Before Buying a Digital Camera

When you have a short list of your choices of digital cameras, the next thing you should do is go to a store and try using it yourself. This will give you an idea as to how comfortable you are in using it and if it suits your needs. It is best to read reviews in magazines and online if you are not sure what digital camera to buy. This will also help you know more about its advantages and disadvantages over other brands of digital cameras.

One of the most important tips in buying a digital camera is to consider the price. You should decide how much you are willing to spend for a new camera. If you want to get one that has more features, you will have to pay more for it. You should decide on the body size and features of the camera and look for a model that is within your price range.

It is a good idea to do your research before purchasing a digital camera. It is an investment which is why you need to make sure the model you will be getting is the right one for you. It is best to read product reviews from industry experts and consumers to know what they like and did not like about the camera.

Updated: 12/12/2011, Nina
 
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