Guide to Buying a Digital Camera

If you’re one of those people who have never owned a digital camera in their life, go to a corner and cry for ten minutes. Then get back to this list before hopping into your car to purchase one.

•Find out what you’ll be using it for. Walking into a camera store can be quite overwhelming—hundreds of cameras ranging from the size of a credit card to as wide as a computer manual. It may be cute to carry around a sleek little red digicam, but you will have to consider what you’re actually going to use it for.
Do you need a compact one to store in your handbag? Are you planning to
take professional photos for work? Does the number of features matter to you? Do you want a camera with manual functions? You don’t want to bring home a camera that doesn’t satisfy your needs, or purchase one with so many features that you won’t be able to use.

•Be familiar with camera specs. All those fancy words on the box might make it look like your wallet sized camera will turn you into a professional shutterbug. Mega Pixel is the maximum resolution per photo--the higher the MP, the bigger the prints you can get without it looking blurry. If you’re only planning to exchange photos on the internet, then a 2MP camera is fine. Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom are two different things—most pros snub Digital Zoom, since this is actually a software function that crops the image, which makes it lose its quality.

•Budget. We’re not going to lie: digital cameras don’t exactly come cheap. When budgeting on which camera to take home, consider the features, its size, its Mega Pixel count, and the brand.
Most photographers swear by one brand over the other—if you’re particularly loyal to just one brand, then you can shun the others and bask in just one aisle. But if you’re a little bit more open-minded, then you’ve got a bigger playground to frolic in.
You’ll also need to see what kind of memory card (which is sort of like the “film” of the camera) the camera needs, and what kind of batteries fuel it. Most digital cameras use AA batteries, so investing in a bunch of rechargeable ones is key.

•Try it out. Most people make the mistake of reading the box, swiping their credit card, and coming home to find out that they’re not comfortable with their latest purchase. While in the store, try taking a bunch of photos. Make sure it fits well in your hand, and it’s easy to use. The most user-friendly cameras out there are Canon, Casio, and Kodak—but you might want to try out others. Take your time in familiarizing yourself with the possible units you’ll be taking pictures with.

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Maui Reyes