What You Should Know Before Buying A Digital Camera

20th December, 2008
digital cameras
Roberto Sedycias asked:

Digital cameras are a vast improvement over the regular cameras. Electronic sensors are used in digital cameras to store pictures on a memory card. These pictures can be uploaded to a computer by an USB cable. Some digital cameras can record sound and video also.

It is imperative to study the different types of digital cameras, their features and identify our objective before buying a digital camera.

Types of digital cameras:

Compact digital camera – These are `snapshot` cameras invariably small and compact in size. They lack sophisticated hardware. Images are stored in JPEG format. Compact digital cameras have a sharp focus and a built-in flash.

Bridge camera – These cameras form a `bridge` between the compact digital camera and the DSLR camera. They have small sensors but large zoom ranges. Bridge cameras have an LCD electronic screen which can take a live preview of the photo before clicking it. Bridge cameras employ either electronic viewfinders (EVF) or optical viewfinders (OVF). The quality of these viewfinders is undergoing sea improvement regarding their size, resolution, visibility, magnification and refresh rate.

Digital single-lens reflex camera – An automatic mirror system is used which displays the exact image. The absence of time lag in the image is a great advantage for taking photos where the subject is constantly on the move. There is an auto focus system and furthermore, the resolution is extremely good. The only disadvantage is the absence of a `live preview` in most DSLR cameras.

Digital rangefinder camera – This is a portable camera suitable for theatre photography, portrait photography, street photography and candid shots. A rangefinder is a range finding focusing accessory attached to a digital camera allowing a sharp focus. Wide-angle lenses are more often used in rangefinders. Filters which absorb much light or change the color of the image can be used in this camera.

Main features:

Resolution – About 2 – 3 mega pixel resolution is enough for a decent digital camera. Resolution is a measure of the number of pixels on the sensor that create the picture. It is an important factor for printing a larger image or cropping it. Usually, the higher the resolution, greater the cost.

Type of lens – A glass lens gives a better quality picture than a plastic one. Again, a zoom lens adds greater versatility.

Close-up mode – Many digital cameras have a special close-up mode which allows one to take close-ups of extremely small objects like jewelry and coins.

Manual mode – Modes of different types are there, which enhance the quality of photographs in a particular situation. Portrait, landscape and close-up are the special exposure modes. Shutter speed and lens opening can be maneuvered in the manual exposure mode. Burst mode allows a number of pictures to be taken in rapid succession. Different filters can be used to provide beautiful effects. Extra flash modes can also enhance the clarity of the picture.

ISO – This value normally varies between 100 and 400. A higher value indicates that more number of pictures can be taken in dim light.

Conclusion:

After going through the different types of digital cameras and their features, one should ask oneself about the objective of buying a digital camera. The type of photography, the experience level, weather conditions, the budget and portability are all factors which need to be taken into account before purchasing a digital camera.

A higher mega pixel rating means a higher price. If large prints are not the criteria, then mega pixel rating around 4 should suffice. Lastly, reading reviews of the different digital cameras available for sale might just be the best option before purchasing an actual one.

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