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Are You Buying a Digital Camera?

Top 10 tips for buying digital cameras

Compiled By: Kshitij Regmi

I got a SMS a week earlier from a sister. It said “I want to buy a digital camera, could you suggest me a model?”  This was a difficult question to answer since there were so many factors that would make a good choice. I had no specific answer and suggested her to check out some popular models in the market. Later she called me and said she got a 10 Megapixels Samsung camera. Being a family girl and a mom who wants to take pictures of her child growing up, I realized that she made a wrong choice in terms of mega pixels.

There are many things that one needs to understand before buying a camera. The common misunderstanding among the buyers in Kathmandu is that the more MP a camera has the better it is. People get nuts about megapixels, but more isn't always better. Higher megapixels means larger image sizes, which in turn means more expensive memory cards and more space devoured on your computer's hard drive. More pixel packed point and shoot cameras could end up taking poor pictures.

 Top 10 tips for buying digital cameras

1. Select a digital camera recommended for the largest print size you're likely to print at. If you want to make 8x10 inches prints, choose a 4-mega-pixel model, though a 3MP camera will do a fair job. If you need up to 16x20 inch prints you will need an 8MP camera. If all you want is to send images by e-mail or Web posting, even a 2MP camera will do. Remember, mega pixels correspond only to image size, not quality.

2. Make sure the camera has the right features for your needs, such as an optical zoom lens and a certain amount of useful manual controls. If you wear glasses but prefer to take pictures without them, make sure that your camera has an adjustable dioptre. This will allow you adjust the focus of the viewfinder so that you can see your subject clearly.

3. Choose a camera with a bright LCD. This will allow you to better see the LCD image in bright sunlight. Having a large LCD screen will help you compose and review your images on the camera.

4. When comparing costs, be sure to calculate extras that may or may not be included, such as rechargeable batteries and charger, and a large enough memory card that can hold all your pictures until you can download them to a computer.

5. Most digital cameras come with a USB interface to transfer digital photos from camera to computer. If you will be transferring large high quality photo files, try to get USB 2.0 to speed things up.

6. When considering digital cameras with a zoom lens, what’s important is the optical zoom distance and not the digital zoom distance. Digital zoom uses software to crop and magnify an image, resulting in a loss of image quality.

7. If you don't know a lot about cameras, a digital camera with lots of modes and manual settings will be overkill. Don’t buy a camera that is higher in price and more difficult to use if all you really want to do is point-and-shoot.

8. A good option, if available, is a pocket-sized instruction manual instead of one on CD. You can take it with you when you're out shooting.

9. If you have difficulty using your hands, look for a camera with a limited number of large buttons that are easy to reach and press.

10. Test how fast the camera performs. Look for a camera that takes 4 seconds or less to get ready to shoot and 6 seconds or less between shots.

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