Buying a digital camera can some times be confusing. Questions such as what is the best brand, what is SLR, or I’m no photographer how do I pick out a good one without breaking the bank come to mind. Obviously with many cell phones, and smart phones having cameras built in why buy a stand alone camera to begin with? These questions and many more should come to mind when buying digital cameras.
First off the cell phone camera. If you have a phone you already have a digital camera, so why go out and get a stand alone camera? The obvious answer is the phone is designed to be a phone first camera second. A digital camera is designed to be a camera and only a camera, it doesn’t have to share its circuitry that is designed for a completely different purpose with other devices that are built into the same machine. Its kind of like shopping for golf clubs at Kmart who sells just about everything versus shopping at a golf shop where the only reason they are in business is to sell equipment that pertains to golfing. Who do you think is going to set you up with the best equipment. The golf shop of course, and why because golf is all they do. Its no different when it comes to buying digital cameras, you want something that is designed to perform a specific task.
Many photos I take with my smart phone just do not compare to those that are taken with a true digital camera, now my smart phone does have a 5 megapixel camera with flash and is superior to cameras that were made 10 years ago. But just like phones have improved so have digital cameras. For one a 5 megapixel camera 10 years ago would have been one of the best available, now it would be on the low end.
As a for instance you can get a 14.1 megapixel nikon mirrorless camera cheap camera with optical zoom for under $200.00. Optical zoom that is something not one camera phone I saw has and it makes such a huge difference in picture quality. Lets talk more about optical zoom, the way it works is an actual lens will zoom in on the subject of your picture then focus on it. Camera phones have digital zoom which accomplishes the same thing. So if it does the same thing then why optical zoom. Well the answer is this, digital zoom comes at a price, and in this case it reduces the quality of the picture you take. Optical zoom allows you to zoom in without compromising the quality of your picture.
Here is a little more detail on the above. Optical zoom works similar to the way binoculars work, it uses lenses to zoom in on a subject. When you use binoculars you get the same visual at a great distance as you would up close. It goes the same for the camera it is only dealing with the light that is already coming in through the lenses without having to modify it. Digital zoom needs to modify the image after it is in the camera. This is comparable to taking a 4×6 picture scanning it, and blowing it up to an 8×10 picture then printing it. We did not increase the amount of pixels (the tiny squares that make up a digital picture), because we already had the original image captured we could only made the pixels larger. This gives the finished product a grainy look which is the last thing you want in photography.
Here is a checklist you should have when shopping for a digital camera.
1. Make sure it has optical zoom, you will need to zoom in at some point and time why lose clarity when this happens.
2. Get the highest amount of mega pixels that is feasible on your budget. The more tiny squares you have that make up a picture the smoother the image will appear, as opposed to a few larger squares that will give you a grainier image.
3. Stick with the better know brands. Lets face it the name brands are established for a reason and have stood the test of time. This is not the time to re-invent the wheel.