With the explosion in digital photography over recent years, many people are confused about which digital camera to purchase. There are many digital cameras on the market ranging from 3 megapixels to a staggering 12 megapixels in one of the latest Sony compacts. So how do you cut through the jargon and the multitude of models available to find the camera that is right for you.
Firstly you have to decide how the camera will be used. If you are a complete beginner and you just want a fully automatic digital camera for taking pictures of the family and social events, many of the 5 or 6 megapixel cameras around the $150 to $200 price bracket will fulfill your needs. These cameras normally come with a 3 times zoom lens which will allow you to take group shots at the wide setting and individual shots at the telephoto setting. In addition many of these cameras will have scene modes for various situations such as taking pictures on the beach, at sunset, close ups, portraits and much more.
Nearly every camera these days comes with a built in flash which can normally be turned off for more moody shots in available light. All the big manufacturers make these cameras and I would recommend purchasing a camera from one of the big names such as Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Kodak, Panasonic and Pentax. It is always advisable to draw up a shortlist of cameras and then try them out at a local camera store to test the camera’s response times, the quality of it’s LCD and overall general feel of the camera in terms of size and functionality. For anyone requiring a camera to be used frequently in low light without flash, Fujifilm cameras with their 6 or 8 megapixel super CCD will be the best option.
For beginners who may be interested in developing their digital photography skills, a digital camera with various manual control options in addition to program modes will be the best option. This will allow the user to experiment with various manual settings as a way of learning digital photography as well as being able to produce more creative shots than in program mode. Various manual exposure settings are available on some digital cameras including shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual whereby the user sets both the aperture and shutter speed. For high quality cameras at a low price, the Canon Powershot A series of cameras offer full manual controls as well as a 4 times zoom lens on most models. In terms of pixels, 6 to 8 megaixels will be more than enough to produce good quality A4 prints right upto A3 and beyond.
For beginners requiring a digital camera for travel, nature photography and general all round use, a camera with a large zoom lens and image stabilization will offer the most versatility. Panasonic, Fujifilm, Canon, Sony and Olympus all make excellent cameras with large zoom lenses that often cover the 35mm equivalent range of 35mm to 400mm. Some cameras come with full manual controls and a hotshoe for external flash which adds to the versatility of the camera.
To conclude, there is huge range of digital cameras on the market today covering the needs of beginners right up to professionals. The vast majority of cameras offer very similar features such as a 3 times zoom lens, 6 to 8 megapixels, built in flash, a 2.5″ LCD, various scene modes and a small compact body. For the beginner, it is best to try out various cameras at a camera store until you are happy with the quality, responsiveness and feel of the camera. For users requiring more advanced features such as manual controls and long zoom lenses, the choice is more limited but there are still many models to choose from. In the final analysis, do not waste too much time looking for a digital camera. Once you have found a camera which meets your requirements, move on and start enjoying digital photography as it is the photographer who creates great photographs and not the camera.
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