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Old Jan 24, 2009, 7:44 PM   #1
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[align=left]Digital cameras offer the convenience of immediate viewing, computer connectivity, easy online picture sharing, and image storage. Best of all, there is no film to develop! Choosing a digital camera for the first time can be very intimidating. There seem to be countless models with a dizzying array of features. You must consider everything from zoom to pixels to memory cards. All the choices can be a bit scary, but never fear, here is a guide to choosing the right digital camera. [/align]



[align=left]How much resolution you need depends on how you plan to use your digital camera. Obviously you plan to take pictures, but what you plan to do with the pictures is what matters. If you plan to take pictures only for online use, such as to e-mail to friends and family or to place on a web page, most any amount of resolution will accomplish this. However, if you plan to print large photos or need clearer pictures for business use, you will need more pixels. A good rule of thumb is to choose a digital camera with the highest resolution you can afford. At the very least, buy a camera with a minimum of 2 to 3 megapixels. Beware of sales hype, which tends to emphasize high resolution over all other features. While resolution is important, there are many other features, which influence a camera's output. Make sure the camera you choose has a combination of features important to you, not just high resolution.[/align]



[align=left]A glass lens is preferable to a plastic lens. Do not skimp on the lens. It is best to choose an optical zoom lens over digital zoom. Many lower cost cameras do not have optical zoom lenses. Optical zoom is essential for better quality pictures. Optical zoom actually moves the lens to capture the image, while digital zoom captures fewer pixels and magnifies the captured image. Pictures taken with digital zoom are often blurry and look digitized. [/align]


[align=left]Size and Weight[/align]

[align=left]This may not, at first, seem to be a major concern, but it will be when you are toting the camera around and attempting to operate it. Visit a store that has display models of the digital cameras you are interested in. Pick them up and pay close attention to how you feel holding them, play with the buttons. Decide if the fit is comfortable. If you keep accidentally hitting the shutter release button, move on. If the camera buttons and dials are too small and difficult to operate, move on. Generally the lighter and more compact digital cameras are preferable because they are easy to carry. [/align]



[align=left]An LCD screen allows you to review pictures on the camera. This is a huge advantage, as it gives you the chance to see if the shot turned out the way you hoped it would before you download the pictures on your computer or print them out. Some low cost digital cameras do not have LCD screens. Avoid cameras without this feature.[/align]



[align=left]It is best, if you can afford it, to choose a camera that allows you to switch from automatic to manual focus. Being able to switch to manual focus can help you get the shot you want. The next best thing after manual focus is stepped focusing. Stepped focusing allows you to choose from preset distances. [/align]



[align=left]All digital cameras offer automatic exposure mode, which means all you need to do is press the shutter release button and your picture is captured. Automatic mode is perfectly fine for most online use and family photos. If your needs are a bit more complicated, however, choose a camera that offers aperture and shutter-priority modes. [/align]


[align=left]The aperture-priority mode allows you to control the image's depth of field, while the camera adjusts to choose the best shutter speed. The shutter-priority mode conversely allows you to set the shutter speed to control motion, while the camera adjusts to select the best aperture. Some digital cameras also offer full manual exposure control. This allows you the ability to set both variables.[/align]



[align=left]Most digital cameras come with a small capacity media card. A 2-megapixel digital camera can usually hold about eight to ten pictures on an 8 MB memory card. You will most likely want to buy a higher capacity memory card. Compact, SmartMedia, and MemorySticks are three commonly used cards. Memory cards can be purchased at reasonable prices. You can generally get a 128 MB card for around $70. Avoid buying a camera that stores images on floppy disks or CD-R discs. Floppy disk storage is too slow and cannot hold many images, and cameras that use compact discs tend to be slow and bulky. [/align]



[align=left]A Digital camera will usually come with it's own battery and charger or it will require the use of AA batteries. If the camera you are considering uses AA batteries, be sure to purchase NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries. NiMH batteries are rechargeable and pose no memory problems. If you choose to operate you camera using non-rechargeable batteries, you will find yourself needing to spend money to replace the batteries often. [/align]


[align=left]White Balance[/align]

[align=left]Most digital cameras enable you to manually set the white balance. By setting the white balance you tell the camera which elements in your shot are white and should look white in your picture. The camera can then calculate the colors of the other objects in your shot. This feature is very good for color accuracy. Many digital cameras have preset settings for white balance. [/align]



[align=left]Look for any additional features you might need or enjoy such as USB connectivity to connect the camera to your computer, low battery indicator, an AC adapter, voice memo, and video capture (for short video clips). [/align]


[align=left]In the end, choose the digital camera that offers most of the features and options you want, at a price you can afford. Check out online reviews, from sources you trust, of digital cameras, to learn what consumers think of different models. When you have narrowed it down to just a few choices, handle the cameras and choose the one that fits best in your hands and is easiest to operate.[/align]

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Old Jan 24, 2009, 8:17 PM   #2
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Thank you for taking the time to post but you will notice that all of your links have been automatically filtered out as we have had other user names doing the same thing. Please don't feel the need to post further threads including the same links.
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