How to Buy A Digital Camera
Are you buying your first digital camera? Well, you must be
confused by the bewildering range of models out there. How do
you know which model will suit your needs? To make things worse,
digital cameras do not come cheap. Choosing a bad camera will
easily cost you a few hundred dollars.
In fact, buying a digital camera need not be a difficult task.
I'll highlight the key considerations you need to think through
before making that purchase decision. Always, always remember
to consider these factors when buying a digital camera:
Number of Megapixels
This has got to be one of the most overlooked features in digital
cameras. I know many people who go for the latest and greatest
digital cameras which are short in the battery life department.
If you want to take good photos, your camera needs to powered
for extended periods of time. I've found that cost and battery
life don't go together - many cheap cameras have good battery
life, while some high-end models drain your battery really fast.
Make sure you choose a camera that has good battery life.
Number of Megapixels
The megapixel rating of a digital camera determines how much
fine detail you can capture in your shots. Typically, the number
of megapixels can range around from 2 megapixels to 8 megapixels.
How do you decide how many megapixels you need? As a rule of
thumb, if you're only interested in taking small snapshots to
send via email or for posting on the Web, you won't need more
than 2-megapixels. If you want large print outs of your gorgeous
photographs, then you'll probably want to get 5-megapixel cameras
and above. You may want to refer to this guide for more information.
You'll definitely want a camera with decent optical zoom. Now
the keyword here is optical zoom (as opposed to digital zoom).
Optical zoom physically moves the camera lenses to zoom in on
a subject. Digital zoom, however, digitally averages and magnifies
the image within the camera's microchip - resulting in poor picture
quality. Many manufacturers' advertisements talk about digital
zoom instead of optical zoom - so do be careful when choosing.
I'd recommend getting at least 3x optical zoom in any camera
The ability to control exposure settings such as shutter speed
and lens opening is critical to professional photographers. Cheaper
digital cameras only allow you to shoot photos in automatic mode
- just press the shutter release and voila, your picture is taken.
More advanced users prefer to tweak the shutter speed and aperture
to capture fast moving objects or blur the image background.
Choose a camera with good exposure control if you foresee yourself
taking on photography as a serious hobby.
If you are getting a point-and-shoot camera, make sure you find
one that's easy to use. User controls to set resolution, macro
mode, flash and exposure should be within easy reach. Of course,
if you're a serious photography buff who wants to take the time
to tweak all sorts of manual settings, then this many not be
so critical. I prefer to try out the camera first in the store
- play with the controls and get comfortable with them. Only
then will you know whether it's comfortable enough for you.
Well, I do hope this article has helped you understand what
factors to consider when buying a digital camera. A general piece
of advice I can give is - if you're a total newbie, don't go
for the latest digital SLR. It may be tempting to get that Nikon
D70 right from the start, but I'd reckon its much better to start
off with a cheaper camera first. Learn, experiment and build
up your digital photography skills. Once you're more skilled,
then proceed to upgrade to a better camera. Good luck and happy
Gary Hendricks www.basic-digital-photography.com