A guide to buying a digital camera
What You Need to Know
- Consider what sort of camera you are looking for.
- The more megapixels captured, the better the image.
- Digital zoom allows discreet but detailed snaps.
- Memory cards allow versatile photo-sharing.
- Erase red eye and imperfections with photo editing software.
- Extra batteries can avoid loss of power.
- Video recording and other features can also be included.
Consider your needs
Shopping online is the simplest way to find digital camera best buys, and UK Net Guide can help you to find cheap digital cameras ideal for holidays, days out and every day family snaps.
Before investing in a new digital camera, think about what you require from your purchase. Are you looking for an easy to use point-and-shoot model or do you want to unleash your inner photographer with a more professional camera? Do you want to take simple family photos or artistic wildlife shots?
Digital cameras take photographs made up of pixels - a megapixel is equal to one million pixels. The more pixels a picture contains, the higher the image resolution, which determines how much detail an image has when viewed on your computer. To give you a better idea of how picture quality relates to megapixels, the average camera phone normally offers five megapixels, whereas some of the most detailed photographs are produced by digital cameras offering 11 megapixels or more.
Digital zoom allows the camera to crop an image and magnify the area of focus, giving the effect of a closer view for your photographs. This feature is perfect for trying to take discreet photos that still show close-up detail, for example at a wedding or graduation. An added advantage is that it allows you to take a close-up photo of your subject without having to stand directly in front of them. Remember, the greater the digital zoom offered by a camera, the more close-up detail can be captured.
Digital cameras save images onto memory cards, offering a more versatile way to organise your photographs after they've been taken. Poor quality images can be deleted straight off the camera before you upload your favourites to your computer or laptop. As well as being able to print images, you can share them via email, social networking sites and even edit them using software such as Photoshop.
The number of images a card is capable of storing varies, and additional memory can be purchased.
Battery life is also something to consider when buying a digital camera – you wouldn't want to lose power at a crucial moment, would you? Similar to memory cards, batteries vary in terms of how long they last, and spares can be purchased for longer trips or events. Digital cameras often run on batteries recharged with a special adaptor, whereas others can run on everyday batteries such as AAs.
Advances in technology mean that digital cameras can now do much more than take photographs. Many have the ability to record video footage as well as images, and some even offer high-definition recording for unrivalled photo quality. Picture editing software is also offered built-in to some models, making it even simpler to crop images and reduce red eye to perfect your photos. Some also boast a 'sports mode', helping you to capture perfect images despite erratic or fast movement of a subject or object – for example, a marathon runner sprinting past you. This also proves beneficial when you are moving yourself, perhaps while on a bumpy safari tour or theme park ride.
For more information, Digital Photographer magazine offers camera reviews and hints and tips for digital camera fanatics, while the Photography Institute offers courses to help you perfect your technique.