The Digital Camera market has expanded vastly in recent years with cameras available with impressive features for less than £40! There are many makes and models available which can confuse people, the main things to think about are listed below.
Of course with the mobile phone becoming a constant in peoples pockets, the cameras inside these phones are mighty quick and so fast now with very decent quality and AI and modes, so you can tweet, Instagram and send to people quickly and easily.
As a general rule the more Megapixels the camera's sensor has, the more detailed image can be produced. For general everyday use including holiday pictures a camera with 8-10+ Megapixels would be the minimum. This will produce good quality printouts even at large size, and provide a high amount of detail and sharpness when zoomed in. Even an older mobile phone with lower sensor can still produce fairly good pictures for much smaller size prints. For anything larger you should aim for a camera with 10-12+ Megapixels for larger prints.
That being said, you shouldn't need to worry too much about pixel ratings as cameras have kinda stopped a little as they have moved on a lot and the only ones you can buy now are in the 16+ Megapixel rang. Usually lower ranges on phones but phones will come with multiple cameras for the selfie generation or multiple camera for action and stiching together of videos. The portability and no need for additional camera is an obvious beneift to many.
Even the lowest camera on retail now typically exceeds a resolution in excess of 10 Megapixels!!
Digital Cameras have two types of Zoom available the first is Optical Zoom which has a lens which physically moves and to view the image. These now feature on most cameras and vary from older ones with 6x or higher, now the standard zoom is around 12-55x which gives you a huge amount of magnification of your subject.
The second type is digital zoom which uses the software within the camera unit to zoom, in essence it crops to the centre of the picture. As a recommendation we would suggest considering a camera with an Optical Zoom as this provides greater magnification whilst retaining image quality. It gives you more flexibility on far away targets if a compact or bridge camera. Make sure to test this if you like I tested it on a bridge camera with 42x Optical and wow the clarity on using this on holiday for buildings which were so far away the detail was amazing.
Digital cameras always feature pre-set picture modes for standard, portraits, and night shots. 'Macro' mode (flower) is used for close-up photography, usually this is selected by choosing the flower symbol opposed to the mountain symbol somewhere on the unit.
Movie modes are included and many mid to higher end camera can shoot full HD Video, they normally connect via USB to HDMI so you can playback easier than ever. Look for the ,odes with the higher frames per second (fps) and stability controls as this will result in better image quality.
It is worth checking if your camera has 3-4 quality modes, as when I got my last camera I did not relise I was not using the top mode for a while, the trade off is larger image files 12-16MB perhaps so depending on the need you might be better off using a one down setting and keeping more space for pictures, and video clips.
The Memory Storage
So the higher the Megapixels, the larger size the image to be stored will be. Most cameras give you the option to adjust the level of image to reduce space required. With my 16 M.Pixel camera on a high setting, results in images of approx ~4.5MB in size.
Your images need to be stored somewhere before playback and editing and with cameras that means on the memory card. Some cameras also include a small amount of memory built-in.If you work using the table below you can work out what size of card to use again we would recommend 4-8GB for the occasional user, and 16-32GB+ as a minimum for the heavier user.
As memory has increased you can get 128GB+ cards for a low price, but with cameras I prefer to swap cards regularly, just incase something happens to the card and you use the lot. :(
|HD 720p 10 Mbps||22||45||90||180||360|
|Full HD 1080p 9 Mbps||30||60||120||240||480|
|Approximate images per card and minutes for video|
For Information on the different memory types click [here]
The first thing people new to Digital Cameras notice is how quick they go through a set of batteries. Some cameras use dedicated battery packs some still use AA batteries for those users I would always recommend a branded set of high rated NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) rechargeable batteries. These can cost £10-£20 but provide a good length of usability and can often be re-charged within two hours.
Battery life has improved so much since the early days, and you can now get a lot of shoot time with a typical battery. I always try to turn it off during gaps to save battery and to eep the lens free of pesky dust. You can improve the battery life by lowering the screen brightness slightly, and minimise the display will all help to improve the life, most cameras can handle 250+ of photos easily, less with video and heavy use.
Of course in hot places this can be a problem sometimes and the cameras can go a little crazy or shut down so try to keep your camera out of the sun and not in full view of windows or glass which will make the heat worse on the device.
We will write more about action cams but the one which is often the best and so durable for videos in cars, sea, bikes everywhere seems
to be the GoPro Camera as they are so durable and cope with extreme cold, sking or heat fairly well but protect them, and the amount of addons and cases and floats make them so robust, going to jump out of a plane, dont forget the GoPro!
If you are going to somewhere with crystal clear sea and nice beaches then I would highly reccomend a GoPro, case and float, and you can then record and remember your sea or pool play much better with videos.