A Review Guide For Buying The Best Digital Camera
Whether you’re either at home, at work, or on the road, there will be occasions when that camera on your cellphone, smart phone, or even tablet device just won’t be good enough. They are not capable of taking that picture of the exact moment that you’re wanting to capture. When it comes down to it, if a photo is worth taking, it may as well be a good one. Quality does matter.
There are also a number of factors that you will need to be familiar with when it comes to selecting the right digital camera that will suit your needs.
• Is the camera light enough, as well as being convenient enough for you to carry around?
• How easy would it be to learn how to use it?
• Will the digital camera be able to shoot high definition videos, in quality such as 720p or 1080p?
• How fast will the camera ‘snap’ a photo once you hit the shutter button?
As you know, there are a wide range of digital camera styles that are available on the market today. Each, regardless of size, price or speed, all have their own pro’s and con’s. Each type of camera style will also obviously tend to overlap the different categories to a certain extent. This actually can be a good thing, as then you will be able to find the exact camera that you are looking for to fit your price range.
Regardless, the variety as well as the choices of cameras available can be overwhelming, as well as confusing. So use this guideline describing the different camera types based on what your needs are.
Digital Camera Glossary Of Terms And Definitions
When you’re on the market to buy a digital camera, or trying to understand the ‘lingo’ of your brand new camera, you may at times find it a little difficult to understand the different definitions that are used to describing the various functions.
Aperture: This is the tiny hole that will allow light into the digital camera. The size is measured in f-stops. For Example: f2.8, f4, f8. The larger the f-number, the smaller the aperture will be. Most of the digital cameras will automatically adjust this while some have a manual override.
Auto Focus: This will lock the object or scene into the frame automatically. This usually happens by lightly pressing down on the shutter button.
Burst Mode: At times, you’ll want to take a fast sequence of photos in quick succession. Burst mode will allow you to do this by keeping the shutter button pushed down.
CCD: A charge-coupled device refers to a type of image sensory component on your camera. What it does is it will convert light into digital energy that will be stored as data on your camera.
Compression: The digital images may be compressed so you will be able to store more images on a memory card. Jpegs is the most common format used. The bigger the image compression, the more of the image detail is lost.
Composition: This refers to properly framing your picture. The simple rule is using the rule of thirds. Place an object that you want to shoot, a 1/3 of the way along, while a 1/3 of the way up, or down. This should make a noticeable difference.
Depth Of Field: This refers to how much of your photo is in focus. In most of the compact digital cameras, this isn’t usually an issue as the wide angle lenses will keep most of the image in focus. The depth of field is usually larger, when the f-number is larger. If your f number is smaller, then you should be focusing about a 1/3 into the picture.
Digital Zoom: This allows the lens on your camera to be able to zoom in digitally, making the image appear closer and larger. Optical zoom is a better choice, as it uses the camera’s optics to be able to zoom.
D-SLR: Refers to a digital single lens reflex camera. This camera will allow you greater control over the image developing process. Gives you full manual control over the exposure settings, as well as changing the lens, allowing for different focal lengths.
Exposure: This is the length of time that the shutter remains open. This feature can be changed manually, giving you different effect. For Example: Your at a sporting event, where you want to quickly freeze the image motion, so you would want a shorter exposure. A longer exposure will give you flowing water appear silky smooth.
Image Stabilization: This will prevent blurry images because of a shaking or unsteady camera. When snapping pictures for the first time, or the outside elements are not favorable, the camera may tend to shake when the shutter button is pressed.
ISO: ISO is a measurement of the camera’s sensitivity to outside light. Higher ISO settings will give you shorter exposure time, which is useful if the lighting levels are lower. Higher ISO settings will give your more noise in the image however.
LCD: The LCD screen is located on the back of the camera, which allows you to see the exact live-action view of your image and subject or your picture after you have captured it.
Lenses: A longer focal length lens will allow you to get closer to the subject, while a wide angle lens will produce wider angle images for landscape photos. You can change different lenses on DSLR cameras, but the compacts will usually have a built in zoom lens.
Memory Card: This is where all your images are stored. The size of the cards are measured in gigabytes. The number of images that you will be able to store depends on the size of the memory card as well as the resolution and the size of the images.
Noise: Noise refers to the randomly colored dots on the image. You will get more ‘noise’ when using higher ISO settings. To keep the noise levels lower, the ISO setting should be kept as low as possible.
Optical Zoom: Refers to the digital camera’s mechanical function to manually move the lens back or forth physically based on your subject. Using optical zoom, the higher the number (10X or 15X), the better the camera will zoom in. When choosing to buy a camera, you should always consider the optical zoom, and not the digital zoom. What the digital zoom does is it will artificially adds pixels to the image.
Panning: Panning refers to an effect where you will be able to track a subject using the camera with a longer exposure time.
Pixel: Pixel refers to PICture ELement. Pixels essentially make up the building blocks of a photo. You will usually be able to see them as squares or small dots when you zoom in.
Red Eye: When the flash on the camera bounces off the inside of the subjects eye, you will usually get a red reflection. Many of the digital cameras has a pre-flash to avoid this issue.
Resolution: Resolution is measured in megapixels or millions of pixels. The more megapixels that the camera has, the better the detail of the image. 10 to 14 megapixels is usually the upper limit for compact digital cameras. If you get more than this, the result is more ‘noise’ in the photo.
Scene Selection: The newer digital cameras may have a scene selection mode. Different scene selection availability may be: landscapes, portraits or night scenes. This is an automatic feature allowing the camera to take control of the setting.
Shutter Speed: This refers to determining the images exposure time. The quicker the shutter speed, the shorter that the exposure time will be.
Viewfinder: Refers to the small opening in the back of the camera where the user looks through to frame an image. Some digital cameras won’t have a
viewfinder, but instead more commonly will have a LCD screen to frame the picture.
White Balance: The light levels are adjusted automatically to ensure that the whites in a certain environment is crisp and pure, which leads to better lifelike colors. White balance can usually be adjusted manually as well.
Buying The Exact Digital Camera That Will Match Your Needs
Digital Camera’s For Businesses or The Work Place
In many fields of work, there are always a few situations that will always arise when you will need to take a few quality pictures for your business, or something that’s work related.
These may include:
• Real estate agents who need to take, as well as post photo’s of properties they have for sale
• HR personnel who needs to take and post staff photos for their company directory
• PR reps are constantly wanting to take photo’s of happy customers or employees, for their company brochures or advertising pieces
• Insurance claims adjusters need to take evidence photo’s for car or property damage
For these types of use, where semi-professional photo’s are needed, what’s required is an advanced Point & Shoot Digital Camera. As the description implies, an advanced point & shoot camera is easy to use. All you need to do is just point the camera at the subject and ‘shoot’ the picture.
There are built in automatic settings, as well as sensors that take care of any exposure problems, as well as adjusting to the proper shutter speed. You can also set the setting manually as well. A Point and Shoot Digital Camera is simple enough that anyone in the office can use it without any problems.
As mentioned, this camera is also “advanced” as well. The advanced refers to the Point & Shoot Digital Camera having certain professional features that a typical smaller pocket digital camera wouldn’t have.
Many of these digital cameras will have larger image sensors to begin with. With everything else being equal, such as megapixel count, a larger CMOS (complementary metaloxide semiconductor) and CCD (charge-coupled device,) all of these advanced image sensor features are simply able to produce better, much clearer pictures with a lot less ‘visual’ noise than the smaller models. This is because of the physical size of the photo-receptors, which will allow it to capture more light.
So speaking of lighting, many of the advanced point-and-shoot digital camera’s feature what’s known as a ‘hot shoe,’ so you will be able to add an external flash if needed. The point and shoots will also most likely come with better optical zoom capabilities than the cheaper compact models. Most with 10X or more.
Other features include a higher end image processor, built in optical image stabilizers, and much higher ISO settings, which will also contribute to better pictures when using these cameras. Physically, these cameras are a lot more bulkier in size than the compact point-and-shoot camera’s on the market as well. But being a digital camera used primarily for business or professional use, it will most likely stay in the office rather than in a briefcase, purse or pocket.
Digital Camera Choices For Aspiring Professionals
Digital camera’s which are best suited for professionals, if you are either a Wedding or Portrait Photographer, a Photojournalist or any other type of serious shutterbug who needs to take clear crisp pictures, have a choice of extremely large and very expensive, ‘medium’ based format cameras.
But for those who do not have the capital to purchase this type of digital camera, which can cost as much as a high end gaming computer, there are the D-SLR series (digital single-lens reflex) cameras to consider.
The D-SLR camera’s can vary in price as well as purpose, but the majority of them are “prosumer” models, which will give you a great deal of control over the settings, as well as the automatic modes. Most D-SLR’s also come with detachable lenses, but unless you’re planning to trade up to a new D-SLR from the same manufacturer, don’t expect the old lenses to be compatible with the other camera makers.
Depending on the type of lens or lenses which is included with your D-SLR camera, you may also decide to purchase an additional macro lens for extreme close-up photos, a wide angle lens for extreme close ups, or a telephoto lens for distance shots.
One technicality that will distinguish a D-SLR camera from an ordinary digital or film camera, is the mirror assembly which allows the viewfinder to show you a true through-the-lens (TTL) view of the scene that you’re shooting.
When you take the picture, you will hear as well as feel the mirror swinging out of the way, so that the light coming through to the lens will be able to reach the typically larger image sensor. Take note that you will have to look through the D-SLR viewfinders to compose your shots, since the mirror assembly will block the image sensor.
Despite their bulky size, the D-SLR cameras are not necessarily that heavy. Most of the cameras are constructed of lightweight polymer instead of metal. Also, the majority of these cameras will produce outstanding pictures.
For Serious Yet Amateur Photographers
The ‘Compact Digital Camera’ category will cover cameras which usually come with detachable lenses, yet they aren’t technically considered to be a true ‘D-SLR,’ since they do not have the moving mirror assembly that the D-SLR’s has.
Many of these digital cameras are completely compatible with the other lenses from different camera manufacturers, such as the one’s that are built to the Micro Four Thirds design standards.
This category of digital camera will generally have features such as:
• Advanced point & shoot capabilities
• Interchangeable lens similar to some D-SLRs
• Accessories compatibility with other manufacturers
• Affordable pricing
• Excellent image quality
This means extreme flexibility, as well as a great return on investment (ROI)
for advanced photographers or serious hobbyists who still may have day jobs.
Digital Cameras For The Casual User
So you want to keep things simple and affordable when it comes to snapping pictures? If what you’re looking for is a slim and small digital camera that you can easily slip out of your pocket or purse whenever you feel like taking a picture, consider trying out a Compact Point and Shoot digital camera.
Most of these will usually be better than the best smartphone or cellphone cameras out there, especially in low-light conditions. Some are even capable of capturing photographs of surprisingly good quality.
Compact Point & Shoot cameras will usually have integral lens covers, so there is no lens cap that you can lose. The best of these models are capable of capturing at times difficult, darker nightlife type of pictures. Some of these compacts will come with features such as being waterproof or impact resistant as well. Others will have excellent optical zoom in the 10X to 15X range.
Don’t expect interchangeable lenses or huge image sensors however, as compact
point-and-shoot digital cameras are not capable of that.
Digital Camera Accessories
Some basic accessories that you will need for your digital camera include a protective case guarding the camera against knocks, scratches, scrapes and the outdoor elements. You will also need a way to clean your cameras lens, the best is what’s recommended by the manufacturer.
What will also be needed is additional memory cards for your camera, such as Class 10 (10MBps write/speed) Secure Digital (SD) cards. The faster that a card is able to save photos, the quicker you will be ready to take the next shot.