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Digital Camera Buying Guide

Aug 4, 2008
More and more people today are choosing digital cameras over film cameras because of the many advantages that they offer. Some of these advantages include the ability to view your pictures right after you take them, and having the choice of whether or not you want to keep them. You can also record videos with the touch of a button with many models, and store much more photos on a memory card compare to a roll of film.

Though with newer and better features on digital cameras coming out every year, sometimes it can be confusing finding which features are most important to you, and which features you might not even use.

Below you will find a few things that our product specialists recommend our customers to look for before buying a digital camera.

Megapixels (MP): Generally the higher the megapixel count is the higher the picture quality will be. Keep in mind that the difference in picture quality isn't noticeable on a normal sized 4x6 print with a camera that has over 6 megapixels. You will usually only be able to see the difference when a picture is blown up to a much larger size, such as a poster.

Image Stabilization (IS): If you want a digital camera that won't take blurry pictures due to shaky hands or moving objects, this is definitely a feature you should look for. Manufacturers of digital cameras with image stabilization technology will either place stabilizing hardware in the camera or will increase camera sensitivity and shutter speed (which takes the picture faster) to prevent pictures from coming out blurry due to movement.

Face Recognition: Many digital cameras are coming out with face recognition technology that finds the faces in a frame, and auto-focuses on those areas. This makes it so that the faces in your pictures come out clear and less blurred.

LCD Screen Size: If the LCD screen size is too small, it can be difficult for you to see what is in the frame while you take the picture. Also, it might make it difficult for you to review the photo after you take the picture. Because of this, make sure you are comfortable with the screen size on the camera before making your purchase.

Optical Zoom: Most digital cameras today have at least a 3x optical zoom, which is fine for your day-to-day shots. But if you plan on taking pictures of distant objects (such as a animal in a tree) you should consider a camera that features a higher optical zoom. Note the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom, as optical zoom is the amount by which the lens adjusts while digital zoom is a mere magnification of the already present image.

Portability and Comfort: It is important to make sure that the camera fits comfortably in your hand. Also, if you want a camera that you can easily take around with you so you never miss out on a great picture, you should consider the slimmer types of digital cameras so they can fit nicely into a pocket or purse.

Shooting and Scene Modes: There are many types of shooting modes on digital cameras today, with almost all of them having the automatic mode. You may want a cam that has shooting modes such as the continuous/burst mode, which will take a series of pictures as you hold down the shutter button. In addition to shooting modes, you should consider the scene modes a digital camera has. The types of scene modes available include portrait mode, landscape mode, night scene mode, etc. These scene modes will give you the best picture settings for the situation it is made for.

Battery: The type of batteries a digital camera takes can range from AA Alkaline to Li-Ion rechargeable batteries. Make sure to think about the kind of batteries a camera takes before purchasing. Some people prefer a digital camera with rechargeable battery pack, while others may prefer a camera that uses disposable batteries. The main advantage of a rechargeable battery pack is that you don't have constantly buy new batteries for your camera, you just need to recharge it every once in a while. The only disadvantage to this type of battery is that if it runs out, say during a wedding, you won't be able to easily go to a local store and buy more. Of course, there is always an option to buying more than one rechargeable battery if you want the best of both worlds.

Included Accessories: If you plan on editing the pictures you take, you will probably want a digital camera that comes with picture-editing software. Other accessories might include things such as Batteries, Battery Charger, USB Wire (to connect to a computer), Cases, Memory Cards, AV Cables, etc.

Additional Items: Most digital cameras come with a small amount of built-in memory or a low capacity memory card, so buying a memory card that has enough space for your pictures and videos is almost a necessity. Also, you might want to get a case for your new camera so that you protect it from possible damage.


AV Cable: Audio and Video Cable, which transfers the audio and video information from one electronic device to another.

Built-in Memory: Memory an electronic device has within it to save certain types of data without the need of a memory card.

Digital Zoom: Magnifying the center of an image by enlarging the already present information (from the picture) resulting in a loss of resolution.

Face Recognition: A camera with face recognition technology finds faces in a frame, then the camera adjusts the focus and the exposure on those faces giving the clearest possible portrait.

Image Stabilization: Technology that reduces shakiness in motion pictures or blur in still pictures in Camcorders and Cameras.

Megapixels: A unit equal to one million pixels. The higher the resolution is the more pixels in an image, and therefore the greater the image quality.

Li-Ion Battery: A high-capacity rechargeable battery used in portable electronic devices such as cell phones, notebook computers, PDAs and digital cameras.

Optical Zoom: Magnifying an image with an adjustment of the lens without reducing the quality or resolution.

Shooting Modes/Scene Modes: Preset image settings made for certain types of conditions available on camcorders and digital cameras.

USB (Universal Serial Bus): Connection port on a computer that is universally compatible with many types of electronic devices.
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DirSelect.com provides you a wide variety of consumer electronics, giving you our best prices, incredibly fast shipping, and great customer service. DirSelect.com - The Obvious Choice In Electronics DirSelect.com Learning Center Buy Digital Cameras
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