Buying your first Digital Camera

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With so many cameras on the market, it is important to compare features when deciding which unit to buy. Purely photographic variable like zoom length and maximum aperture are probably more familiar to you, but the digital options often cause new users more difficulties.

Below is a list of what I believe to be the most important digital features. When looking at cameras, take notes on there specifications in these areas. It will then be possible for you to compare "apples with apples" when it comes to the final choice.

PRICE: As a general rule, the more expensive cameras have greater resolution and a larger range of features, both manual and automatic. This said, price can be a major deciding factor.

RESOLUTION: The best cameras have chip resolution approaching 8.0 megapixels, and as you know, the more pixels, the better quality of  your final print. To give you an idea, see below.

Chip pixel Dim.         Chip Resolution     Max Photo size at 200dpi

640 x 480                      0.30 million            3.2 x 2.4 inch (81 x 61mm)

1440 x 960                    1.38 million            7.4 x 4.8 inch (188 x 122mm)

1600 x 1200                  1.90 million            8 x 6 inch (203 x 152mm)

1920 x 1600                  3.00 million            9 x 8 inch (229 x 203mm)

2272 x 1704                  4.00 million            11.4 x 8.5 inch (289.5 x 215.9mm)

3008 x 2000                  6.1 million               15.04 x 10 inch (382 x 250.4mm)

FOCUS CONTROL: Fixed Focus cameras have lenses with large depths of field but no ability to focus on particular objects. These cameras are only suitable for general purpose photography.

OPTICAL ZOOM RANGE: Be sure to check that any information quoted on the zoom range is based on the optics of the lens rather than digital enlargement.

APERTURE RANGE: Small aperture numbers such as 2.8 mean that the camera can be used in lower light scenarios.

DELAY BETWEEN SHOTS: Some cameras need time to process and store the shots you take, the size of the memory buffer will determine how much delay you will have.

FLASH TYPE AND FUNC's: Most Digital cameras have built in flash. Check the power of the flash, which is usually quoted as a guide number. The higher the number, the more powerful the flash.

DOWNLOAD OPTIONS: Dowloading you images should be as easy as possible. look for USB, SCSI, serial, firewire or USB2.0...Just make sure your computer has the same option.

STORAGE CAPACITY: The storage cards are usually in Megabytes, or even gigabytes. the larger card that is supplied, the more images you will be able to store, before downloading to a PC.

CAMERA SIZE & WEIGHT: This will decide how comfortable the camera is to use. Handle any prospective purchase before making any decision.

MANUAL FEATURES: The ability to override auto functions can be really useful, if not essential. Full auto cameras are designed for simply point and shoot.

So now I hope you have a little more insite into the joys of going Digital..... Hope this guide helps.. ENJOY THE WORLD OF DIGITAL

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