Evaluate Digital Camera Features
How you intend to use your digital camera will influence the type you eventually buy. Do you plan on viewing and sharing your pictures on a computer, or do you plan to make a lot of prints? Are you after any specific features such as a powerful zoom for close-ups or even a video-recording mode? Considering the following features will help you determine your needs.
The resolution, or image quality is a crucial feature to consider when assessing a digital camera. Camera resolution is measured in millions of pixels, or megapixels. The more pixels, the higher the resolution. The higher the resolution of a digital photo, the more you can enlarge it without losing image quality. Something to remember is that the higher the megapixels, the more pricey your camera will likely be. Digital cameras on eBay Australia start from 1 megapixel and less, right up to 10 megapixels or more.
If you're looking to simply share pictures online, then cameras with less than 2 megapixels are considered adequate. However, go with higher resolution if you plan to enlarge pictures or want to make a wide variety of prints. Here is a rough guideline that shows how resolution correlates to print size:
Most digital cameras have external digital memory: a memory card that you can remove when it's full. This type of removable storage allows you to simply insert a memory device card, shoot until the disk is full, download it into your computer, and then resume shooting.
You'll find memory cards in a range of formats such as CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SecureDigital, SmartMedia, and xD Picture Cards. Memory cards are available in various storage capacities, measured in megabytes (MB). Although most digital cameras come with a low capacity card (8MB-16MB), it's worthwhile to invest in additional, higher-capacity memory cards, especially if you're going to be taking a lot of photos.
On average, you will need a 48MB card to capture 24 pictures, if you are shooting at the best quality (high compression). If you reduce the quality of the images (ie. if you compress them less), you can double, or even triple, the amount of pictures you can take at a time.
Digital cameras can drain batteries very quickly. Look for a digital camera that accepts rechargeable batteries, and then invest in two sets of them so you'll always have a spare handy. Many cameras work with rechargeable NiMH batteries which are inexpensive and environmentally friendly, while at the same giving you plenty of pictures per charge.
Most cameras generally come with an AC power adapter. Use the adapter if possible when using intensive battery functions such as image viewing and downloading.
The zoom (telephoto) function can either be digital or optical. Both types will allow you to get a closer view of your image before you take your picture. Though digital cameras use both digital and optical zoom, it is preferable to have a higher optical zoom to increase the quality of the image. Digital zoom will also do the job right, but more often will enhance the magnification the optical zoom has already done.
It works like this: optical zoom changes the magnification of images with the actual optical glass before the images reach the imaging sensor: a true zoom. Digital zoom is essentially an artificial zoom, whereby a fixed area of pixels is enlarged (either before or after the picture is taken) to appear as though the camera has zoomed in on the subject. It essentially does the same thing as increasing the size of an image using computer software, resulting in a slight loss in resolution.
All digital cameras come with at least an optical viewfinder: the kind you look through on traditional film cameras. However many digital cameras also come with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen (measured in inches) built into the back which you can use as a viewfinder.
The LCD screen permits you to preview and review pictures, and access advanced camera feature menus. While this feature is very appealing, it's important to remember that LCD screens can rapidly consume battery power.