Key Considerations in Choosing Digital Cameras


Digital cameras are one of the most popular commodities on the market and it seems that everyone wants one these days. Whether you are a student needing a digital camera for a photography class, or a photographer wanting to one-up the competition, there is a digital camera out there for you. When choosing a digital camera, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

  • Megapixels—All digital pictures are composed of tiny dots, called pixels, which are arranged in a grid. A megapixel corresponds to roughly one million pixels. Megapixels are used to describe the precision of a digital camera. The more megapixels, the more details a camera can capture.

  • Optical Zoom—is the ability of a camera to picture a smaller area from a given point of view. The greater the optical zoom, the smaller the area that can be photographed. It is the visual equivalent of getting closer to a subject. Optical zoom is measured by how much closer the camera can get compared to its widest setting. For example, a 2X optical zoom can make a subject appear twice as close.

  • Digital Zoom—Digital zoom refers to a digital camera's attempt to emulate optical zoom. Digital zoom gives the impression of getting closer to a subject without actually capturing any more detail. Digital zoom is the equivalent of cutting the center of a picture and blowing-up just that portion. Digital zoom must be ignored when purchasing a digital camera because it can easily be done better by computer after a picture is taken. 

  • Viewfinder—This is the part of the camera that can be used to look at a subject. While an LCD can be used as a viewfinder in most cameras, the majority of digital cameras also have either an optical viewfinder or an electronic viewfinder, called EVF. When the photographer sees through the camera it is called an optical viewfinder. Optical viewfinders show less than what will be pictured. An EVF is a miniature LCD showing the same thing as the camera's main LCD. An EVF shows exactly what will be pictured but not as precisely as the human eye.

  • SLR—his is a type of camera mostly used by professional photographers which is made so that the viewfinder actually looks through the lens of the camera. All current Digital SLR cameras allow their lenses to be changed. Digital SLR cameras are usually sold without a lens.

  • Flash—A flash on a digital camera, just like on a film camera, is a small lamp that can add light to close by objects when a picture is taken. A pop-up flash is normally hidden and pops-up when required. A flash is described by the maximum distance of objects it can sufficiently illuminate when the lens is wide-open and when it is completely zoomed-in.

  • Movie Mode—A very common feature of modern digital cameras is the ability to produce short video clips. These clips are made by rapidly taking a sequence of low-resolution images.

    Movie mode is described by its resolution, frame-rate, duration and its ability to record sound or not. No DSLR has a movie mode.

    HD videohas a resolution of at least 1280x720 and as high as 1920x1080.

    High resolution video—has more than 320x240 pixels. Most commonly it has VGA resolution or 640x480.

    Low resolution video—is 320x240 (Quarter VGA) or less.



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