Digital photography has made leaps and bounds with the progression of technology. Unheard of capabilities 10 years ago are standard features now. Many thought digital cameras would max at a resolution of 8.1 megapixels, but now that is the base for many point and shoot cameras. Digital cameras are evolving as quickly as computers systems and what is the best technology today will be standard tomorrow. So with these advancements in technology, how do you know what type of digital camera to buy? What are some of the features that in a camera that will not be obsolete in a couple of months?
Point and shoot, or SLR?
The first question that needs to be answered is what are your needs? Are you a professional photographer trying to make a living from your art, or are you a weekend photographer looking to capture life’s precious moment? SLR, or Single Lens Reflex, is a camera that offers fully manual capabilities with interchangeable lenses. This style camera is for those who shoot photography for a living or even as a hobby. There are many technical features available as well as many automatic settings for the technically challenged. Many SLRs now are made simple for the everyday user, allowing a full range of photographic capabilities. A point and shoot camera is designed for those who just wish to take photos around the house, or carry it in their pocket while on vacation. Digital camera technology is sufficient enough, that a point and shoot camera can provide great quality photos, unlike its film predecessor. Many people opt for both camera types and carry whichever one best fits their present needs.
The proper resolution in digital photography has been in debate for many years now. Resolution is the quality of the image measured in pixels, the higher the pixel, the better quality image. For basic photography needs, a camera with a resolution of 7.1 or higher is sufficient. If you are looking at buying a camera for everyday needs, chances are you are not going to print a picture the size of a billboard. A camera with a resolution of 7.1 will print great quality photos at an affordable price. When the salesperson tells you nothing less than 12.5 is acceptable, remember he/she is a salesperson.
Next to resolution, the zoom is the most important feature for many people. There are two types of zoom on digital cameras, optical and digital. Optical zoom is the zoom of the camera lens itself, or true zoom ability. Digital zoom is just that, a digitally enhanced zoom. Optical zoom is the type you want in a camera as this will provide the best quality photograph. When the digital zoom takes over, the lens will actually stop moving in and computer technology take charge. Every bit of digital zoom decreases the quality of the image as it is not natural, it is computer enhanced. So when looking at the zoom length on a digital camera, concern yourself only with the optical zoom and do not even consider the digital zoom in your decision. This will provide you with a better quality photo. An optical zoom of 3x should be a minimum.
There are many other aspects to take into consideration when purchasing a digital camera. The two considerations listed above are the most common factors people look for in digital photography. The easiest way to determine which camera is best for you is to ask yourself what you want to do in photography. Do you want to learn how to manually set up the shot, or simply let the camera do it for you?
By David Young