Tips on buying a digital camera

Shopping → Tips & Advice

  • Author Suzanne Vandegrift
  • Published September 5, 2007
  • Word count 826

It's just like buying a pair of shoes or a car. Your camera, in a sense has to "fit" or you won't be happy with it. And there are almost as many cameras out there, and camera bags, as shoes and cars. So do your research; handle them, try them on, in a sense, before you buy.

First, learn the terminology. What is a megapixel? It's a unit of measurement that determines the quality of the image. The higher the megapixels, the better the quality. LCD screen - this is a screen that allows you to view the picture you just took. The memory card is used to save your pictures. They come in different sizes to hold more images. Digital zoom is the enlarging of the image and requires the camera to double the size of the pixels which will cause the image to begin to blur. The optical zoom operates the same as in the 35mm and actually magnifies the subject, therefore producing a better quality picture. Camera bags with adjustable dividers, modular belts and U-shaped lens cradles which store the lens securely. These are a few of the basic terminologies associated with the digital camera. There are others terms and you might want to take the time to familiarize yourself with them before going the next step.

That next step is to decide where you're going to buy your camera. You can shop online and buy direct, you can shop the online auctions, or you can go shopping the old fashioned way, to the stores that carry cameras, for that hands-on experience. If you choose the latter, you might want to consider investing in a Sunday paper and checking out the ads to get an idea of who is offering what, since just about all the major stores carry the digital camera. However you choose to buy, first do your comparison shopping, it could save you money depending upon the camera you purchase. Go online and read the reviews, these will give you invaluable information from fellow photographers

After you've decided how you're going to purchase your camera, set your budget. If you're new to the digital camera world and are wanting to get your feet wet, there are cameras that will produce good pictures with a price tag of $100 or less. Fuji's FinePix A400 is one in this price range that combines 4 megapixels with 3x optical zoom. It has a 1.8 inch LCD screen and an added bonus of video capability. Another one is made by Kodak, their EasyShare C530, which has 5 megapixels with digital zoom and, also shoots video. Polaroid has put out a modern looking black square camera with 3.2 megapixels and 3x optical zoom and video, it's their PDC-3070BD. The $200 range will get you a host of features from 5 to 6 megapixels; 4x optical zoom; oversized, 2.5 inch, LCD screens; 9- point autofocus; and even a built-in mp3 player. For a little extra money, you get a lot more camera. As the cost goes up, so do the features. You can spend into the $1000's for the Digital SLR cameras.

Now it's time to make your decision and your purchase. Once you get it home, whether it's shipped or you carry it, the first thing you want to do is make sure you complete the warranty information properly. Avoid putting this off, since it could fall through the cracks and you never know when you might need the service. Take the time to read all the literature and familiarize yourself thoroughly with your new camera. If you've been using film and this is your first digital experience, consider taking a course at the local college or picking up one of the great publications that are available, such as Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies. It offers a wealth of information that you will find useful as a beginner and will continue to use as you become more experienced.

Next comes the purchase of a camera bag. This is an important addition, since you want to keep your new investment safe; free from scratches or broken LCD screen. You want to buy a quality, well constructed case that is large enough to accommodate your camera and whatever accessories you've purchased. If the case is too large, your equipment will bang around inside and damage can occur. There are several types of cases; The camera bag which is ideal for the small to medium sized digital camera, plus accessories, with comfortable grip handle or well-padded shoulder strap. The modular belt that converts some bags into fanny packs are a very convenient, hands-free method of carrying your camera. Or, there's the camera backpack for hiking. Whichever you choose, make sure the quality is there. Durable stitching, strong fabric, good padding. If you select your camera bag with care, it will be a companion for your camera for many years to come. You're now ready to go out there and begin capturing memories. Have fun!

Suzanne VanDeGrift of Web Submission Services, Inc, has developed this article for M-ROCK.COM, manufacturer of exceptional quality camera bags, complimented by professional good looks.

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