Professional photographers know exactly what they’re looking for when they purchase a digital camera. Years of experience and fine tuning digital cameras every day makes the choice clear for them. For the rest of us, a new camera purchase can be a daunting experience. I know when I first got into digital cameras the technology seemed a little intimidating- but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a short guide with ten things to look for when, as an amateur photographer, you’re ready to replace that antique sitting on the top shelf of the closet.
1. Resolution – When digital cameras first came out, it was all about the megapixels. There was a wide variety of sizes (and prices) available- however, now most of even the smallest digital cameras are 5 megapixels, which is more than adequate for your typical 4×6 vacation photos and the occasional 8×10. The time to go larger is when you want to regularly create larger pictures- or you want to be able to zoom in on areas of specific detail and print those. The compromise you must make for those larger pictures is more space used on your memory card, so if you get a higher megapixel camera, make sure to pick some extra cards.
2. Exposure control – For most amateurs, aperture size and shutter speeds are a mystery. What should I use when? The manufacturers have addressed this with scene preset modes. Picking the correct mode allows you to select the proper settings of, for example, a close-up by simply clicking ‘Macro Mode’ instead of manually configuring the camera. If you’re interested in digital cameras as a hobby, manual configuration options are something you should look for.
3. Zooms –There are two types of zoom available, optical zoom and digital. The one you should really pay attention to is optical zoom- pictures using optical zoom are sharper. Also understand that when the camera is using the higher magnification settings, it will be more vulnerable to shaking, so you may want to pick up a tripod if you’ll be using that zoom most of the time.
4. Size – Take a little time to think about what you’re going to be using your camera for. There’s always a tradeoff between size and functionality- here’s a quick summary:
a. Ultra Compact – small, light pocket sized cameras. Some may have fewer features.
b. Compact- fit in a modest camera case, great for point and shoot pictures.
c. Advanced- more functionality here along with more size. Typically we see buttons for modes as opposed to menus (which saves having to navigate), better zooms, and they also accept accessories (lenses, filters, etc.)
d. Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) – Heavy and large, these offer the best functionality; typically professionals and serious photographers use them.
5. Weight – Hand in hand with size is camera weight. Generally speaking, more features equals more weight, so think carefully about what you really need. A small, light camera with fewer features is a better choice if you want to take it everywhere and get lots of pictures, as opposed to a heavy monster you dread having to lug and only use once in a while.
6. Batteries – Basically batteries come in two formats, proprietary battery packs, and then there are cameras that accept AA batteries. If you get a camera with the proprietary pack, it’s worth it to purchase another one as backup, because invariably you’ll want to take a picture and the battery will die. I recommend getting a camera that allows you to use AA batteries- if you need to buy a set in pinch you can, and you also have the flexibility of buying rechargeables and using them again and again.
7. Speed- When you are ready to purchase, be sure to check out the lag on button press. If you want to photograph things in motion (kids, pets, sports, etc) it can be very frustrating to try to snap that perfect picture and have the image captured 5 seconds later after the moment has passed. Some cameras offer continuous shutter mode, which allows you to snap pictures in sequence. For most amateurs 5 frames per second is adequate.
8. Manual Focus – part of the beauty of digital cameras is most of them take care of focusing for you. In some situations you may want the ability to manually focus to bring out detail.
9. Low Light Modes – Some cameras have auxiliary lights to help focus or even night vision mode. If you’re going to be taking pictures at night, it’s worth the money to add this to your checklist.
10. Accessories- Most people focus exclusively on the camera, and the accessories are an afterthought. Depending on where you buy your camera, you may be able to get a package deal that includes things you would have to buy anyway, like a case, memory cards, extra batteries and the like. If you buy your camera in a camera store don’t be afraid to negotiate, many will give you a better price or throw in extras like photography lessons.
When you buy a digital camera there’s no need to be intimidated, just do some research online and have an idea of what you want to do with your camera, create a list of important points, and then buy with confidence.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/gadgets-and-gizmos-articles/ten-points-to-remember-when-buying-a-digital-camera-369939.html
About the Author
Ernie Delgado is an avid amateur photographer. His hobby is at Digital Camera
Ferret – You read reviews and buy digital cameras.
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