Choosing the right digital camera

Digital Cameras

Only four years ago some experts were predicting a slowdown in the digital camera market, claiming that it had peaked despite a 20% growth in terms of sales in 2005. Luckily for the industry and the consumer, this proved to be a false prophecy, and 2007 saw growth continue with a doubling of the forecasted percentage to 15%. This is due to two main factors, firstly the ever falling price of digital cameras and secondly the conversely improving quality of the pictures that can be captured by digital means. The digital camera has become low in price, incorporated into mobile devices to great effect and something which most people now own and use on a regular basis. Growth has also been driven by the emerging Asian markets which account for a large portion of new digital camera sales, changing digital cameras from boutique, expensive items to a run of the mill piece of kit in just 10 years.

With the market booming and so many different manufacturers, models and prices scattered about, it can be difficult to choose between cameras. However, there are a few key specifications that you should keep an eye out for when choosing a new digital camera, regardless of the price or the manufacturer. The first thing to consider is the mega pixel count. For years now, digital cameras have been marketed on the number of pixels which they can capture in a single shot. More pixels means in practice a higher resolution image which of course means more detail and larger shots, and getting a camera with a decent mega pixel rating isn't hard. In today's market you can pick up an entry level digital camera with an 8 mega pixel or 10 mega pixel sensor without paying very much.

It's not all about mega pixels though, and as you'll notice if you shop around there can be vast price differences between digital cameras which share the same basic mega pixel rating. This is because the quality of the image and the price of the camera is also affected by other factors. The most obvious secondary thing to look out for is the type of lens and zoom that the camera comes with. Some digital cameras will have something called digital zoom. What this means in practice is that rather than using the movement and relative position of the glass lens to zoom in on whatever you're shooting (known traditionally as optical zoom), a software trick within the camera will be used to increase the zoom instead. This will keep the cost of the camera down and mean less moving parts, but will also result in poorer long range abilities. Most digital cameras come with zoom functions, and if you pay more for a mid range model you should expect both optical and digital zoom functions. In terms of lens quality, various manufacturers have allegiances to traditional photographic lens producers, for example Sony's affiliation with Carl Zeiss.

The final important consideration regardless of price bracket is the feature set of the camera. You should at very least expect to have control over things like zoom and flash, and most digital cameras offer extras like various shooting modes for night or sporting use, on top of things like timer delays for family portrait snaps. You'll also want to make sure that the camera comes with a memory card slot of some kind, which a majority will do. Check which type of memory card format is supported by a camera before you buy it as most will come with little internal memory, requiring an additional purchase by yourself to get the most use out of the camera.

Mobile devices like portable phones now almost universally come with a built in digital camera. Products like LG's Arena and Samsung's Pixon and Tocco Ultra have revolutionised the way digital cameras & digital camcorders are used, putting 8 mega pixels of snapping resolution and video capture in everyone's hands. Even the Apple iPhone 3G which has been hugely criticised for it's underpowered camera will be trying to catch up with the competition when the 3G S model is released.

This entry was posted on Thursday June 25th, 2009 at 9:00 AM and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response.

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