How to buy a digital camera

Buying a digital camera can be quite confusing due to the many different models and price ranges available. It isn’t as easy as walking into an electronics store and simply asking an associate to pick one out for you. Before buying a digital camera, decide how much you want to spend and what you intend to do with the pictures you take, then educate yourself on the specific features and abilities of different cameras and what the technical terms mean.

The most common term that applies to digital cameras is “megapixel”. A megapixel, simply put, is one million pixels. Digital cameras capture images as pixels so that the image is digital and able to be read by a computer. The number of pixels directly relates to the resolution, or image quality, of the picture when printed – the more pixels, the better the quality.

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For standard picture taking, 3 to 4 megapixels is enough. However, if you plan on taking pictures and then turning them into 8 x 10 or larger images, you will want something that captures in at least 5 megapixels or higher. Typically, the price is affected greatly when you look at models with 5 or more.

Another feature to consider, but easier to understand, is zoom. A camera with no optical zoom will not allow it’s user to take good pictures from any distance, but again, price increases drastically if you want the ability to shoot good pictures from far away. Optical zoom is probably more important than digital zoom, as digital zoom will increase the size of the pixel without moving the optics, similar to zoom on computer software such as Adobe. An optical zoom of 4x or greater is ideal for most users desiring more than a point and shoot camera.

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Other things to consider when buying a digital camera are ease of use and mechanical features. If you prefer to have manual control of your camera, make sure that the model you are considering has the features you desire. If you are a novice user, it is best to start with a camera that has the basics, but will produce quality images.