- Digital cameras and camcorders, plus memory cards, printers and other accessories.
Digital Cameras - A Buyer's Guide
Why should I buy a digital camera?
Digital cameras have several advantages over traditional cameras, including:
- You don't have to buy any film - all photos are held on a reusable memory card.
- You can preview the picture you have just taken on an LCD screen - and delete it straight away if it is no good, and attempt another shot
- You don't have to send film away to be developed
- You can print out as many photos as you want, in whatever size you choose, or store them in digital format, such as slide shows on a DVD
- Larger capacity memory cards available today mean that you can store far more photos in your camera than you could on a 36 print film.
- Because they don't contain a film, they can be smaller than a traditional camera.
- The resolution of the current megapixel models is such that the photos printed out are of a very high quality.
- Digital cameras are now available as SLR, with a range of lenses and filters.
What features should I look for?
You should consider the following:
- What format would best suit my needs?
Available formats include SLR, compact and ultra compact.
- How many megapixels does the camera have?
The more megapixels (million pixels), the better quality the image and the more resolution it will have.
- How much memory will I need?
All digital cameras come with either some built in memory or a small memory card, but you will probably want to buy an additional memory card to store more photos. The more megapixels, the more space the highest resolution photos will need. As a rough guide, if you are buying a 3 megapixel camera you will get about 750 high resolution photos on a 512 MB memory card; a 6 megapixel camera will be able to store about 200 high resolution photos on the same memory card - a 12 megapixel camera - 100 on the same card.
- Does the model I'm considering have an LCD screen?
How big is it?
- What is the battery life?
Are the batteries rechargeable and does the camera come complete with a battery charger? (I personally would not consider a model that did not come with its own rechargeable batteries and charger).
- How much do I want to pay?
You will normally pay a premium for ultra compact models over others with similar features.
- Does the camera have optical zoom?
Is it 2x, 3x, 4x? (The higher the better). Do not confuse optical zoom with digital zoom, which is a way of cropping photos as you would in a photo editing package on your PC, without increasing the resolution.
- Does the camera have a built in flash with red eye reduction?
- Other features
Other features you may also wish to consider are does the camera support USB or Firewire? Can I take video clips? Can I alter settings such aperture priority manually? Is the viewfinder optical or electronic?