We love taking a few snaps and with modern digital cameras we can now take near professional quality photos without having to be camera experts.
The problem is that there are so many hundreds of different models with different features, it’s hard to know what makes one better than another. Our 7 point guide includes some of the things that we would look for when buying a digital camera and we hope it might help you to make a more informed decision on your new purchase.
1. Decide what you need the camera to do.
There’s no point in having the latest or best quality model or the one with the most features if it isn’t suited to your needs. It’s a bit like a Mum of 4 buying a two-seater sports car for the school run. We might all be jealous but it’s just going to be impractical.
Just a few simple questions can help you whittle down your options dramatically. Is it going to live in your pocket or handbag for nights out or family occasions? In which case you’ll need a compact camera rather than a professional DSLR (the big paparazzi style monsters) for instance. Is it likely to fall into the hands of a young person or will it be used on holiday? In which case shock or waterproofing becomes important.
2. Don’t get lost in a sea of pixels.
Contrary to popular belief, more megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean better quality.
It simply means that the image can be displayed much larger without reducing the quality. To give you some perspective a 5 megapixel photo will happily print out at bigger than A3 size in photo quality.
Yes having 13 megapixels would mean that you could cut out and enlarge a tiny portion of the image but most people will rarely (if ever) do this and the images take up more space on their memory card and computer.
3. Go for optical zoom and a wide angle lens.
Yes it’s an easy one. Digital zoom impairs the quality of your photograph and you’re better off without it. Most cameras will have a combination of both optical and digital zoom. For instance 10x Optical and 200x Digital. The 200x sounds too good to be true and it is. Turn it off and use the optical!
A big zoom is handy, especially for nature or sports shots etc, but the wide angle is arguably just as important to you. Wide angle lenses aren’t the same as ‘fish eye’ style lenses. They just give you a wider view of your situation, allowing you to fit more in without having to step backwards. Very handy for holiday snaps.
4. Do away with double A.
Digital cameras munch through batteries like the Gadget team going at a box of biscuits. Cameras with AA batteries tend to be cheaper than those with rechargeable but it may be a false economy once you’ve bought a few packs of batteries.
You can buy rechargeable AA batteries of course but far superior are the Lithium Ion rechargeable battery packs that will usually give you at least a hundred or so shots to each charge. You just have to remember to charge you camera over night.
5. Go for quality over features.
There’s a reason that Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony are often considered the best quality camera brands and that’s because they are. For a start the lens quality tends to be better. Look for Leica lenses in Panasonic cameras and Carl Ziess for Sony. Canon and Nikon manufacture their own but then they are professional brands of camera.
Brands like Samsung and Olympus tend to pack in many of the same features (Face recognition, intelligent modes etc.) but it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily just as good for half the price. Some of the lower price bracket models are all bling and no substance. Beware the cheap camera that ‘looks really cool’, it’s probably not.
6. But don’t forget the features!
Having said that, some of these features can be the difference between a good photo and a great one. An ‘intelligent auto’ mode is handy so that you don’t have to switch to portrait mode to get a decent face shot or to macro mode to take a close up.
Something with a decent night mode is also handy and don’t forget high quality video with sound (although beware HD if you don’t need it and make sure you can switch down to standard definition, otherwise it may be difficult to edit the videos on your computer).
7. Make the most of it
Get yourself a high capacity memory card (8GB will usually do it) and a case to keep it safe. There are hundreds of different camera accessories available and even we have a couple of handy gadgets to go with your new digital beauty. There are our DigiDudes Tripods, Kola Colour Filters and Mini Photo frames for a start.
That’s the lot! Please feel free to comment below if you feel there’s anything we’ve missed and don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful.