Top 10 buying tips when buying digital cameras

by techtiptom

Originally posted on WIBC.com on 11/30/2009:

Deciding which digital camera to buy can be difficult because of the vast array of features available. Here are some tips that should help you find a camera that meets your needs, budget, and level of photo taking experience.

1. Select a digital camera recommended for the largest print size you’re likely to print at. If you want to make 8×10 inch prints, choose a 4-mega-pixel model, though a 3MP (megapixel) camera will do a fair job. If you need up to 16×20 inch prints you will need an 8MP camera. If all you want is to send images by e-mail or Web posting, even a 2MP camera will do. Remember, mega pixels correspond only to image size, not quality.

2. Make sure the camera has the right features for your needs, such as an optical zoom lens and a certain amount of useful manual controls. If you wear glasses but prefer to take pictures without them, make sure that your camera has an adjustable dioptre (optical power). This will allow you adjust the focus of the viewfinder so that you can see your subject clearly.

3. Choose a camera with a bright LCD. This will allow you to better see the LCD image in bright sunlight. Having a large LCD screen will help you compose and review your images on the camera.

4. When comparing costs, be sure to calculate extras that may or may not be included, such as rechargeable batteries and charger, and a large enough memory card that can hold all your pictures until you can download them to a computer.

5. Most digital cameras come with a USB interface to transfer digital photos from camera to computer. If you will be transferring large high quality photo files, try to get USB 2.0 to speed things up.

6. When considering digital cameras with a zoom lens, whats important is the optical zoom distance and not the digital zoom distance. Digital zoom uses software to crop and magnify an image, resulting in a loss of image quality.

7. If you don’t know a lot about cameras, a digital camera with lots of modes and manual settings will be overkill. Don’t buy a camera that is higher in price and more difficult to use if all you really want to do is point-and-shoot.

8. A good option, if available, is a pocket-sized instruction manual instead of one on CD. You can take it with you when you’re out shooting.

9. If you have difficulty using your hands, look for a camera with a limited number of large buttons that are easy to reach and press.

10. Test how fast the camera performs. Look for a camera that takes 4 seconds or less to get ready to shoot and 6 seconds or less between shots.

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