Are you in the market for a new digital camera? If so, it’s easy to get confused by the wide variety of makes, models, and features available on today’s modern digital cameras. But don’t worry! There are really only a few things to consider when buying a camera. Keep these requirements in mind while shopping and you’ll end up with a camera that will give you years of quality service.
1. What Type of Camera. What type of camera do you need? Do you just want a simple “point and shoot” digital camera, or are you comfortable navigating through menus to change some basic settings? Point and shoot cameras are the easiest to use, but digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras are far more feature-laden and can provide you with more creative control and better shot quality.
As far as prices go for the different types of cameras, here’s a general rule of thumb:
– Basic “point and shoot” cameras (subcompacts and compacts) – between $ 100 – $ 300
– Advanced “point and shoot” cameras – $ 350 – $ 600
– SLR-like cameras – $ 450 – $ 1,300
– High-end SLR cameras – $ 500 up to several thousand dollars.
2. Weight, Size, and Shape. Digital SLR cameras will weigh more (and cost more) than the other types, but will shoot better quality pictures. Point-and-shoot cameras are easier to manage, but the trade-off will be lesser quality pictures.
You should be able to grip the camera comfortably. A smaller camera body is more difficult to grip properly, and all-too-many point-and-shoot cameras don’t have a grip at all. If they do, it should just fill the inside curve of your fingers to fit properly.
3. User Controls. When buying a point-and-shoot type of camera, find one that you think is easy to use. The controls for setting the flash, picture resolution, exposure, and different modes (macro, automatic, etc.) should be easy to find and operate. More experienced and professional photographers like to be able to make manual adjustments, such as adjusting the aperture and shutter speed to capture fast-motion objects clearly. These capabilities may not be too important to you, though, unless you need to make those kinds of adjustments.
4. How Many Megapixels? A digital camera’s megapixel rating determines the amount of fine detail that can be captured in a shot. Today’s cameras can range anywhere between 2 – 12 megapixels. At the lower end, a 2 megapixel snapshot would suffice for an email or web posting. However, if you’re planning on shooting photographs that may later be printed and will need to show a lot of detail, you’ll probably want to move up to at least a 5 megapixel camera. At the high end, a difference of a couple of megapixels either way won’t make much of a noticeable difference.
5. Optics and Responsiveness. Although the megapixel rating is important, the quality of the glass lens in the camera and how responsive the camera is overall are also important factors to consider. Quality cameras are equipped with quality lens like Sigma or Zeiss. Remember that the quality of the picture taken is a combination of the quality of the lens and the camera’s digital megapixel rating.
Better digital cameras have little-to-no lag time between when you press the “shoot” button and when the image is actually captured. If you’re going to be taking “action” pictures like kid activities or sporting events, this will be something to consider. Live action shots require a minimum continuous frame rate of five (i.e., 5 images captured when holding down the “shoot” button). If you purchase a camera with a slower frame rate, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to take quality action shots.
6. Zoom Lens. Optical zoom and digital zoom are the two zoom options available on today’s digital cameras. Optical zoom, although more expensive, is generally considered to be superior, as it physically moves the camera’s lens to zoom in on a particular subject. The alternative is digital zoom, which may very well come with a higher zoom rating. Digital zoom, though, is inferior to optical zoom because the zoom is all calculated in the camera’s electronic microprocessor. Look for a camera with at least a 3power optical zoom.
7. Memory Card Format. The most popular storage card formats for digital cameras these days are SD (secure digital) cards, and you can find them in capacities of up to 32GB. For higher end SLR cameras, Compact Flash cards are generally the standard; they also come in up to 32GB sizes. Memory cards are getting cheaper every year, so don’t scrimp on this type of storage for your pictures and buy some extras.
8. Battery Type and Life. A number of cameras use proprietary batteries instead of standard AA batteries. Understand that your battery will stop working some day, and hopefully not at the worst possible moment. Proprietary batteries need to be fully charged when in use, and it’s always a good idea to have a fully charged backup battery close by.
Some cameras tend to consume their batteries quickly; others do not. Be sure to choose a camera that can take a large number of pictures relative to a single battery charge.
9. And Don’t Forget the Accessories. Check out the accessories that generally come with all digital camera kits. If they’re not included, get an extra set of batteries and a charger. You may also want to buy a card reader for your camera’s memory cards. Color printers used to print your photographs are also a common add-on item.
By PIRO4D from Pixabay