Digital cameras are a dime a dozen today, most boasting megapixel count swirling into double digits and higher. Due diligence is a must before buying any electronic product, especially something that will cost you more than a hundred pounds and serve you in good stead for several years. When buying a digital camera, it is very easy to get confused and misled by the smoke-and-mirrors of marketing speak. Which is why here are five things you must look out for when buying cameras:
1. Don’t be Misled by Megapixels
Megapixel count has been used by manufacturers to sell cameras since the days of the first digital camera. While it made sense to parade the megapixel count in days when 2MP cameras were a luxury, today, when mobile phones boast 8MP cameras, megapixel count has become somewhat unnecessary. Almost any digital camera manufactured today will be at least 8 megapixels; anything higher than that is welcome bonus, but not a requirement to taking great pictures. In fact, higher megapixel count can actually increase the size of photographs and make for a poor user experience.
When shopping for cameras, always remember that megapixel count is secondary to lens quality. Anything above 8MP just becomes superfluous.
2. Understand Your Own Needs
How will you use your new digital camera? Will you primarily take pictures of family vacations in bright sunlight, or do you plan to capture the essence of nighttime London and sharpen your photography skills? Different cameras fit different purposes better. Some are great for outdoor photography, others for nighttime pictures. Some work well in poor light, some perform miserably in anything other than daylight. It is only by knowing your own needs will you be able to buy a camera that performs that performs to your expectations.
3. Point and Shoot or DSLR?
DSLRs are the gold standard in digital cameras. They are larger, bulkier, and more difficult to operate than their point-and-shoot cousins. But they also deliver great pictures and give much more control to the photographer. Point and shoot cameras, on the other hand, are easy to operate and perfect for taking casual pictures. For most people, a quality point and shoot camera will suffice. For photography enthusiasts, however, nothing less than a DSLR will do.
4. Choose Your Zoom
In all likelihood, your camera will have a zoom feature. This will be either ‘digital zoom’ or ‘optical zoom’.
The two zoom features aren’t created equally. Digital zoom is just that: a digitally enhanced image that makes the subject bigger, but also more pixelated. Optical zoom, on the other hand, actually refocuses the lens to zoom in on the subject, leading to much better picture quality. Whenever you buy a camera, make sure it has optical zoom.
5. Consider the Cost of Extra Equipment
A digital camera always has hidden costs in the form of additional equipment. Depending on the camera and your usage requirements, you may have to purchase carrying bags, additional storage, tripods, external flashes, batteries, etc. This can add more than a hundred pounds to your camera cost. So whenever you buy a digital camera, take additional equipment cost into consideration as it can affect your budget significantly.