Our guide to buying digital camera or other equipment is here to lend a helping hand during this process which many find very confusing. The confusion is generally coming from the fact that there are so many camera and other photographic equipment variations available in the market so making a choice can be a daunting task.
If you are asking yourself "Which is the best digital camera out there?" , you should really be asking "Which is the best camera for my purpose and budget out there?".
Here are the key areas you should think about and do further research on before you decide on which new camera to buy:
1. Decide on Your Budget :
on your budget take into
type and frequency of use for the new camera or equipment.
Buying a £3,000 digital camera to take the occasional snapshot makes no sense. You get the idea...
2. Think About Intended Camera Use :
looking at specific camera features and details, you should get
in your mind on how you want to use the camera and the created images.
Here are some example scenarios and how each will affect your buying decision:
|Type of Use||Effect on Buying Decision|
|Type of Subject||
wide angle scenes such as landscapes, telephoto scenes such as portraits, or close-ups such as flowers, will determine the focal length and type of the lens , and whether you need a macro mode.
|Type of Shooting||
example, you will need to think about the quality of the flash you need.
scenes or action shots such as sports will determine the viewfinder and camera lens you need.
|Type of Use||
the camera for the occasional snap, or as a serious amateur or professional photographer, will help you decide on
how many manual controls you need.
|Type of Printing||
printing the taken images as snapshots or enlargements, or whether you will publish them on the Web or send via e-mail. This will determine the best resolution for each situation.
No ultimate camera exists for everyone. In the end, you must choose the camera that you like best and that does what you want it to do.
3. Decide on Camera Size :
cameras can really be divided into those that you can fit
pocket and those that you cannot and have
to carry around your neck
instead. A pocketable camera is lightweight and small, thus it is easy
to carry and quick to bring to use.
Generally digital cameras split the difference between size and features. So the decision here is between more features/larger size and less features/smaller size. Again, your decision on which way to go will depend on how you intend to use the camera.
4. Evaluate Camera Features :
By now you should be coming to the natural conclusion that choosing a camera is always a compromise. When looking at camera features, our advice is to choose the feature set that addresses most of your needs or those you anticipate to have.
To help you decide, here is a brief summary for the key camera modes and their use :
the camera for landscape/
|Exposure Compensation||Used to lighten or darken an image|
|Shutter Priority||Good for action and sport scenes|
manually and the camera automatically sets the shutter speed settings
|Good for close-ups where you want to have control over the depth of field|
that can't be manually or automatically focused
|Found on the least expensive cameras, almost all camera phones, and one-time-use cameras|
|Found on all but the least expensive cameras|
|Manual Focus||Found on most single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras|
|Focus and Exposure Lock||
sets the focus and exposure when you hold down the shutter button while
pointing to the subject
image to compensate for difference in light
|Maintains colour accuracy in daylight, fluorescent and incandescent lighting conditions|
of images rapidly and automatically
5. Decide on Camera Resolution :
agonize over how many megapixels they
should buy, even though other factors, such as ease of
use and the kind and quality of lenses available for a particular dSLR,
can be considerably more important decisions in the long run.
So our advice is do not spend too much time pondering on the camera resolution as generally majority of the camera vendors settle on a basic benchmark number for resolution which is more than enough for general use.
Just remember the number of pixels you actually need depends on several factors:
1. How you will be using the image : An image placed on a Web site does not need to have the same resolution as one that is used professionally, say, as a product advertisement.
2. How much manipulating and cropping you plan to do : Higher resolution images can withstand more extensive editing without losing quality.
3. How much you plan to enlarge the image : You will need more pixels if you are planning to make a poster out of an image.
4. The resolution of your printer : Printers work best with images that more closely match their own ability to print detail.
6. Decide About Lens :
cameras come with a built-in
lens that cannot be changed. If you think you may want
have special requirements, look for a camera with interchangeable
If you want a good quality image, plan on shooting with optical rather than digital zoom. Images taken with digital zoom are very much inferior to those taken only with optical zoom.
7. Check for New Model Releases :
the next upgrade to a digital camera
is expected can be very useful as prices on the current model
usually drop just before a new model comes out. You might find this a
good time to pick up some bargains as shops clear out inventory.
News on new camera model releases can be found on camera company Web sites, digital camera review sites as well as digital camera news sites. Be sure to check our own Digital Camera News section.
8. Check Discussion Forums & Camera Review Sites :
There are a
number of very good discussion forums
and review sites on the Internet and the following are some of the most
Photo.net has been around for many years and is offering equipment reviews and photography forums on many topics
Digital Photography Review is a popular site offering reviews on the latest digital cameras and discussion forums on a wide variety of topics
Steve's DigiCams is another popular camera review site.
9. Shop at Reputable Dealers
recommendation is to never go for the one
exceptionally low price you can find for any camera or equipment you
are buying. There is a reason why it is so low and it is never a good
Usually the prices of all reputable re-sellers are at a very narrow price range. The reason for this is as margins are so low, they are selling at just above cost to be competitive.
Here are a few recommendations:
Calumet is the dealer where many of the professionals go to buy their equipment. They are a leading international re-seller of professional photographic and AV equipment and take their reputation seriously.
is great about buying
is the way you
can see the user
reviews and rank sales of all camera equipment.
Jessops is one of the largest photographic retailers in the UK, offering a huge range of cameras, photographic equipment, camcorders, camera phones and accessories.
Do not forget to check the dealer's return policy !
10. Explore Web Auctions
You may want
to explore Web auctions, specifically
eBay, to check for price deals. Generally, though you might get a good
deal on a used camera but rarely on a new camera model . For buying a
new camera stick with established dealers.
Here are a few key points to using eBay successfully:
- Check the seller's feedback
- Pay for your items by using your credit card through a service like PayPal for added protection
- When purchasing used equipment, see whether you can get a moneyback guarantee or an inspection period
We hope you have found our Guide to Buying Digital Camera and Other Equipment useful and happy shopping !
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