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Pay Only for the Digital Camera Features You Need

Written By: Gareth Lenzy

Focus on Features When Buying a Digital Camera

Being well informed about the main digital camera features before shopping means you will know which are worth the extra cost. Reading reviews and talking cameras with friends will be helpful, but here are the key points to consider.

The first thing you will notice when looking at digital cameras is the term megapixel is used often. Pixels are the colored dots that make up a digital image. The term megapixel means one million pixels. Most models are between two and five megapixels.

The more megapixels the sharper the image, generally, but the size of enlargement is the important issue. You will be okay with three megapixels for enlargements up to an 8×10, but for larger photos you’ll want more. If you plan to go big, the extra expense for a five megapixel is worth it. But save your money if you will use the photos for emailing friends or to make small enlargements.

The lens, as with any camera, is a prime consideration. Cheaper digital models normally feature fixed lenses, which limits your scope considerably. Zoom lenses, with their greater flexibility to frame and bring images close, are worth the extra expense unless your use will be very basic. A 3x zoom will give you reasonable range for typical shots, but wildlife shots would benefit from a 10x. Be sure that you’re getting an optical rather than a digital zoom, which merely enlarges the pixels and gives poorer image quality.

For even greater flexibility, you would need the interchangeable lenses that come with professional cameras. While you would have the potential for magnificent photos, the jump in price is huge.

Consider how you will use your camera. Some models have the capability to take both video and still pictures. A combination model is more expensive, but you won’t have to purchase a separate video camera.

Size is a key factor. Will you want to carry around the camera if it is large? Or will you make better use of a compact model that fits easily into a pocket? While image quality is typically better in the larger models, the smaller cameras do very well and likely get more use.

Virtually all digital models use a memory card or stick for storing images, but usually you will need more memory than is provided with the camera so budget for buying extra. The amount of memory you need depends on how many pictures you will take. In general, look for memory that will hold between fifty and one hundred pictures. When making a photography purchase, make sure you can get replacement memory easily and inexpensively for your model.

Heavy use of batteries is typical of digital cameras, especially when the LED screen is turned on. Some major manufacturers use a proprietary battery that’s expensive to replace. Most useful is a battery that’s widely available and easy to recharge.

You will be given software with your purchase to download images onto your home computer. This software allows you to store pictures on your computer, email them to family or edit pictures for a variety of projects.

To correct serious problems with images, or for more professional projects, additional software will likely be required. Be sure your computer supports the software that comes with your camera.

About The Author

Gareth Lenzy contributes to the Camera site YO Camera, which offers a free newsletter at http://www.yocamera.com.

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