Shopping Advice on Digital cameras: buying guide
When choosing a digital camera you have to think about the resolution of the pictures, size and memory. It can all be very confusing but I've tried to explain everything on this web site. As with everything you must take into consideration what you'll need your camera for. Whatever you might need your camera for you'll find the best buy for it on this web site.
To choose a camera ask yourself what you need to get out of it and what you will use it for. Then compare prices for digital cameras. When choosing a digital camera you have to think about the resolution of the pictures, size and memory. It can all be very confusing but I've tried to explain everything on this web site. As with everything you must take into consideration what you'll need your camera for. Whatever you might need your camera for you'll find the best buy for it on this web site.
Points to remember before buying a Digital Camera:
Sensor resolutionIt's on the sensor, which is composed of elements sensitive to sunlight, that the image is created. Each of these elements registers one of the points (called pixels) that create the picture. The more there are, the more you can blow up the picture and the higher the quality of the picture will be. This is what is also known as the resolution. 2 million pixels (2 megapixels) is now a minimum requirement.To obtain optimal quality photo development, a definition of 300 pixels per linear inch or 12 pixels per mm is sufficient. Often - and true for photo development in labs and on inkjet - you only need 8 pixels per millimetre. A 2 megapixel picture (1200 x 1600 pixels) will suit a print in 11x15 format or even in 13 x17.
The weight and sizeAt one extreme there are compact cameras weighing 115 grams, the size of a credit card and at the other the Digital SLRs that together with their lenses, weigh more than a kilo. It all depends on what you intend to use it for. The smaller ones are great to impress everyone but the more bulky ones are more stable when taking the picture.
The screen size: diagonals measured in inchesHere are the standard sizes of the screens of the miniature monitors. The bigger the screen, the more easily you'll be able to centre the picture you are going to take or view the pictures or the short films you have taken. Please note that it is difficult to use when exposed to direct sunlight as it becomes too dark.
Optical sensorsThere are two types of optical sensors: The Charge Coupled Device CCD (the most common one) and the Complimentary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor CMOS, the most recent energy saving ones.
The lensZoom lenses usually vary between 35-105 mm. The smallest measurement is the maximum potential of the camera using the wide lens. The other corresponds to the telephoto lens. A lot of digital cameras are not well developed for wide angle lenses. For certain pictures, 28 mm is a big advantage. There are two types of zooms on digital cameras. An optical zoom, the most important one, which determines the quality of the image and the digital zoom that often goes up to x10. The main disadvantage of the former zoom is that it loses quality when it's used, so that when you try and enlarge the image the resulting image is of lower quality. It is to be used sparingly.
Video CaptureMost digital cameras now have a video capture facility (although SRLs don't), meaning you can create short film sequences. The quality isn't always very good (mainly dependent on the megapixel sensors) some cameras don't have a sound recorder . But it's still handy to capture good moments on video.
The types of camerasAs explained before, each user has their own requirements when choosing a camera: Ultra compact for those who want very small cameras; the compact to combine the enjoyment of taking pictures with a wider choice; Compact Digital SLRs for informed amateurs or for professionals who do not want all the various lenses and finally the Digital SLRs for those who are passionate about photography. There is a camera to suit everyone's needs.
Batteries (alkaline) versus rechargeable batteriesThe makers of entry type cameras - probably in an effort to sell them at a competitively low prices - designed them to be battery operated (AA type). The advantage of this is that they are very common, you can buy them anywhere and if you are going away it's easy to keep a stock so you don't run out. Having said that, when used for Digital Cameras, their lifespan can be quite short, so rechargeable batteries are a lot more reliable. Although they can be pricey to start with, it's worth it in the end as replacing traditional batteries ends up being quite expensive.
The ease of useYou have to get used to a new gadget - finding out what all the buttons are for and getting used to the menus all requires a bit of practice. Testing the camera and it's functionalities out before buying it can be useful to check if you like it's look and feel.
Used accessories in Digital Camera:
Memory cardWhen you take a picture with a digital camera they are stored on a memory card, a type of "hard disk". Most makers only provide you with a low storage media card. Since it won't take you long to fill it, you will probably want to buy an additional memory card (128Mb, 256Mb...) to increase your storage capacity.
A computerCan be very useful and will allow you to centre, airbrush, resize and stock your photos, but it's not essential even if you decide to print your pictures yourself.
A photo printerMost of the big makes (Canon, Epson. HP, Kodak...) offer printers which you can connect directly to your digital camera. You just need to check that it's compatible with the printer. The Pictbridge standard, used by a lot of the makers, is making connections easier.
The BatteriesTo avoid a power failure, you can purchase a secondary battery, unless your camera takes AA batteries, then in that case you will find those in a number of shops.
Print developmentNo more films! Simply take your camera or just your memory card to any photo lab. You will have to pay for the photo development and often your pictures will be digitally burnt onto a CD. It will probably cost you the same as "regular" photos as they use the same system as when developing from a film. On the internet it's also possible to have your pictures printed, you send your folder by email and it will be sent back together with the photos and CD by post.
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