Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For In A New Digital Camera

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(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

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The sheer amount of digital cameras available on the market can be overwhelming. From the camera’s zoom capabilities to video options, there are so many different bells and whistles from which to choose. Are you looking for a simple point and shoot? Or something more high end? Below are some tips to consider before making your next big camera purchase.

Budget

Simple point and shoot cameras are at the lower end of the spectrum, starting at about $90. Higher-end cameras like DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras) are typically about $1,500. In thinking about your budget, also know that sticker price isn’t always the final price. Be sure to check what the price includes exactly. For example, things like lenses and camera bags, among other items, may all be at an additional cost. While all digital cameras nowadays feature point and click technology, that’s far from the only consideration. Figure out exactly what you’ll be using your camera for. Do you need a camera that adjusts to the lighting of the room automatically? Do you prefer to manually change the settings?

Lower Versus Higher-End Cameras

At two ends of the spectrum, you have the lower-cost point and shoots, and at the higher end, DSLRs. There are pros and cons to both. How you’ll use the camera, and your familiarity with digital photography, will help you determine what best works for you. If you’re willing to learn a bit about the art of photography, or have experience changing out lenses, a DSLR could work for you. These are often heavy, bulky cameras that are more complicated — due to manual controls — but they offer a much better quality in terms of megapixels, shutter speed and more. Yet, some DSLRs don’t allow you to preview the image you’ve taken, so the shot you take is the shot you get. On the other hand, point and shoot cameras can be much easier to use and stow away, meaning you wouldn’t necessarily need a camera bag. Automated functions such as flash also make it easier for you to take a quick snapshot, although the quality may not be as high, particularly if you are printing your images. That said, they still are capable of taking good photos, especially with the help of LCD (liquid-crystal display) framing.

Testimonials

The description of the camera’s functions is one thing; real customer testimonials are another. Do your due diligence and read reviews of the camera you’re considering buying. You’ll not only see how well the camera works, but you’ll also discover if the camera has any weaknesses that you should know about. Last but not least, go into the store and try them out. It’s one thing to look online and narrow down your options, but it’s another to hold the camera in your hands to see how comfortable you are with your new investment.

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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