Tips for Choosing a Digital Camera.

Here are things to consider when buying a digital camera. Once you move past a basic point-and-shoot, there are many differences. Among the biggest are: Can I take many pictures of a scene per second and the camera select the best? Can I take many per second and save them all? Can I trigger the shutter remotely? Can I take high-quality video? Can I switch among three setting groups in the dark and quickly? Some guidelines are presented below.

See all our other digital photography tips: Dos and Donts, Taking Digital Photos, Downloading Photos and Editing Photos.


    How to choose a camera

    • In choosing a camera, think about what you need or want, what accessories you already have, and what you can afford.

    • Consider what you need: perhaps a camera that is always in your pocket when you leave the house, one with higher capabilities that will fit in a coat pocket, or an SLR to go with your investment in lenses for an older camera. Spend towards the higher end for whatever you need and you will be happier because of the better pictures, the additional camera capabilities, and the longer time before obsolescence. When you are ready for another, it will be a good spare, or a great gift to a family member or friend, or charity, or it can be sold.

    • Do you need to be able to record a series of perhaps 7 shots in 2 seconds and keep all for evaluation or for the camera to pick the best of the bunch based on its protocol for bluriness? Many mid-range cameras and above can do this.

    • Consider the memory card format. If you already have several SD cards in your household, it adds more cost to start a new library. Look at the format of the card in your other cameras, GPS, PDA or cell phone, mp3 player, or whatever.

    • Consider the battery format. Perhaps you already have other batteries of the same format from other cameras or devices.

    • Get 5 megapixels or more.

    • Get a large optical zoom (unless this makes the camera too big for what you want.

    • Do you want to be able to capture a movie, particularly when something unexpected happens? Be aware that SLR cameras may not be able to make videos.

    • Look for a good lens (This is generally not an issue with a name-brand camera).

    • Most importantly…. it is only money! If you look at the money flowing through your house in a week or a month, the difference between any camera and the one you would really like to have is probably lost in the noise. Don’t think “cheap”.



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    How to choose camera accessories

    • Memory - Get at least 1G cards or larger. These are relatively cheap and will last for years. Don’t compromise the quality of your pictures by being forced to take low resolution pictures. If there is an option, spend a little more and get the faster card. It is a real nuisance to miss a wonderful shot just because the prior one has not yet made it to the card.

    • Tripod - At least a small one for your pocket.

    • Case - You probably have a carrying case somewhere already. It might be an old camera case, or one from a Walkman, or from an airline freebie travel packet. Otherwise a zipped pocket (they fall out) with nothing else in the pocket that might mar the screen or finish.

    • Filters - If you can tell the difference. Most non-professionals will find them too cumbersome for everyday use.



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