How to Buy a Digital Camera: Complete Guide

It’s not difficult to get lost in a sea of digital camera choices. Certain digital cameras are meant for professional photography while the rest are sufficient for capturing still life no matter where you’re at. We have brought the main digital cameras to your screen for viewing which would best suit your needs or work well as a gift.

Digital Camera Buying Guide
Photos of distant galaxies like this are made possible due to the latest developments in the camera industry.

Digital SLR Cameras
Should you have a limitless budget and have the desire for professional grade photos, the SLR cameras are perfect for you. They have the look of old-school 35mm cameras, the power to snap photos from afar with perfect definition and offer the option to remove the lens giving you the ability to use multiple lenses with different focal lengths and light sensitivity. They primarily come with 18mm or 36mm sensors for high-grade low light performance. These are definitely top-notch and not for the faint of heart. They are best for professional photographers, photophiles, paparazzi or trips to the mountains.

Point And Shoot Digital Cameras
Most current digital cameras will fall under this main category, although many types do exist. Point and shoot devices are small, compact and have megapixel ranges from 4MP all the way up to 12MP with some brands ranging higher. Below are the main types of point and shoot cameras that you could potentially choose from:
  1. Compact digital cameras: These cameras are meant for normal use, such as toting along to birthday parties or taking Christmas pictures. Kodak, Canon and Sony have excellent compact digital camera selections with variances in megapixel sizes ranging from 5.0MP to as high as 18MP. Compact cameras range in size from 20mm thick down to a credit card sized device.
  2. Bridge Cameras: With a close resemblance to a digital SLR camera, these are slightly larger than your compact models of point and shoot cameras. They have live previews to show you what you’ll be snapping, autofocus using a contrast detection mechanism, and offer long-range camera shots in a range somewhere between the SLR and compact digital camera.
  3. Super Zoom: These cameras are strikingly similar to their compact digital brothers yet come with 10x optical zoom options which allow far away shots to become extremely close. Some can control the inevitable camera shake through image stabilization software pre-installed.

What To Look For When Digital Camera Hunting

When shopping for digital cameras with foreign verbiage that tends to fluster us all, stick with the simple questions and follow this layman’s guide to seeking your next camera within your budget. Don’t try to understand what the salesman is saying about words you’ve never heard of and just tell him you’re looking for the following traits in your camera:

Image Quality
‘Megapixels’ (MP) are a measurement of the amount of data captured (resolution of the photo) and are one of the many factors that determine image quality. More the 'megapixels' a camera has, higher the resolution of images it can take. Most people will not notice the difference between a higher resolution image and a lower resolution image on smaller screens. However, the difference between an image taken by a higher MP camera and a lower MP camera becomes visible when viewing captured images on larger screens or when taking large printouts. Therefore, keep this simple rule of thumb when trying to ascertain what image quality you want: 3-4MP cameras are perfect for 8 x 10 photos and 8MP cameras are great for 10 x 12 pictures. The quality will be lifelike should you stick with this rule. If you just want to send your buddy a funny picture through email every now and then, then 2MP will work just fine.

The brighter the LCD screen is on your camera, the better it will appear in bright sunlight or other bright lighting scenarios. LCD Screen at the back of the camera should also have a decent size so that you can properly view photos before taking them.

Computer Connectivity
If you find a camera that doesn’t have the proper USB port or cable to connect your camera to the computer for adding them to Facebook or an online album, run. Any decent digital camera should have at the very least, the standard USB port and, for moving many large pictures at once, look on the box for USB 3.0 which simply means it’s a better cable with faster transfer rates.

Other Great Perks To Find

Along with having great lenses and thin sizes, people who aren’t acclimated to digital cameras should stick with the basics as stated above. Along with those, the following perks are nice for the beginner to novice user:
  1. Find the digital camera that has instructions in paper form. Kind of hard to put a CD in while out in the wilderness, no?
  2. For those who get easily flustered, find a camera that has the minimal number of large buttons so you can focus and shoot quickly without finding a tiny button between two other buttons.
  3. Internal memory storage would be great – most cameras come with Micro SD cards which hold 2-4GB worth of pictures (about 4000 large ones in total) with the ability to buy larger ones for relatively low prices. Simply take the SD card out, hand to a Walgreens or Wal-Mart associate and get your pictures developed.
  4. A digital camera that comes with Ni-Cad batteries and a charger is a treat; most will come with standard AAA batteries which can be upgraded to long lasting ones.
Cost is relative to the features you want. Obviously, the more bells and whistles you require, the higher the price tag. Simply gauge what you and your family need for regular use, bring this guide with you to find the best value for your money and you’ll be well on your way to snapping pictures right out of the box with brilliant results.

Author About

Akhilesh Sharma maintains and writes Tweak And Trick. He is a technology enthusiast and a science student.
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