What to Look for in a Digital Camera

What to Look for in a Digital Camera

Whether you are looking to upgrade your current digital camera or invest in your first digital model, there are many factors to take into consideration before making the purchase. Today, digital cameras have a wide range of features, sizes, memory types, and sharing capabilities.


Canon EOS 60D DSLR

Key Features

When comparing digital cameras, there are certain considerations that you should look at first. It’s likely that one of the first pieces of information you will learn about a camera is its megapixels. Megapixels are one of the keys to the quality of the pictures that you will be able to produce.

For example, if you would like to be able to print 8” by 10” prints, you will need a minimum of 5 megapixels, or 5MPs. Today’s digital cameras typically have a minimum of 5MPs, and many cameras on the market have as high as 12 MPs.

The next feature you should look for is the camera’s zoom. Cameras have optical and digital zoom, but optical zoom is the important measurement. Look for a camera with at least three times optical zoom; professional cameras have 10 times optical zoom. The higher the optical zoom means the more range that you will have to zoom in without losing quality.

Size and Screen

Consider how you plan to use your camera when looking at its size. Ultra-portable digital cameras can be small enough to fit into your back pocket. If carrying your camera everywhere is your goal, these ultra-portable models may be ideal. However, ultra-portable camera can be expensive and may be difficult for some people to use.

Screen features can be very important for ease of use. A good camera has a bright, glare-free LCD screen that is large enough for comfortable viewing of your pictures and setting options. Recently, more cameras have been coming out with touchscreens and dual view screens that allow you to see what pictures you are taking from both the front and back of the camera.

Memory and Sharing

Finally, consider your memory and sharing needs. Digital cameras have on-board memory, which is often small, and removal memory cards. Most types of memory cards have similar features and are easily upgradable.

For taking pictures, you will likely need at least 1GB of memory; for videos or high quality pictures, more memory may be needed. Lastly, consider the camera’s sharing abilities. While the memory card can be removed and read, it can be more convenient to have a camera that can connect to your computer with a USB cable.

11 Responses to “What to Look for in a Digital Camera”

  1. Shifna says:

    Hi I enjoyed your site. extremely awesome

  2. If you’re referring to compact cameras,
    you should consider the size of the camera,
    its image quality, as could be compared to others,
    its low-light capabilities and its lens width.
    The intuitiveness of the camera’s controls
    is subjective and could different for anyone.

    -eyalg

  3. Key feature? I would look at the sensor, ISO and many more. We couldn’t just see on ONE key feature, there’re a lot of em actually.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      ISO is important as it can help take low-light photos. When I read reviews I usually look at the quality of the photos at the higher ISO levels as it helps to determine how good the sensor is, as well as how good the noise reduction performs.

  4. George says:

    Not long ago I found out that professional digital cameras can make a difference. My wife kept saying for months that we should buy one. I wasn’t really into it but we bought one two month ago for our trip to Europe. Just little over $150 and now I understand what quality really means. Super pictures, great memories.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      While point-and-shoot cameras have increased in quality over the years, the DSLR cameras are still the best for picture quality. The larger sensors in a DSLR makes a huge difference, especially at the higher ISO levels.

      In the end, however, really great photographs starts with the photographer.

  5. Thomas says:

    A lot of people tend to think it is all about the how many megapixels a camera can do. As you says optical zoom is also something to look out for. Another thing to look out for is the memory speed. If you buy the memory to cheep you might need to wait for the camera save the first picture and before you are ready to take the next the kodak moment has gone.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I agree with the optical zoom. Many manufacturers seem to like to advertise the digital zoom, which is really misleading. As for the memory, the SD cards have a class number, with the higher the number the faster the memory. For my digital camera I have a class 4 card, but for my HD camcorder I use a class 10.

  6. raymund says:

    I make sure that the camera is user-friendly. I hate cameras that are not easy to use.

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