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 we the mobile phone becoming a constant in most peoples pockets the cameras inside these phones are mighty quick and of very decent quality 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 Megapixels would be the minimum. This will produce good quality printouts even at large size, and provide a good amount of detail when zoomed in. Even an older mobile phone with lower sensor can still produce decent sharp pictures for much smaller size prints. For anything larger you should aim for a camera with 10+ Megapixels for larger prints.
OK that being said, you shouldn't need to worry too much about pixel ratings as cameras have moved on a lot and the only ones you can buy now are in the 16 Megapixel range, lower ranges on phones typically but the portability and no need for additional camera is a obvious beneift too many. become more advanced and 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 3x or higher, now the standard is around 12-55x as standard 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.
Digital cameras always feature pre-set picture modes for standard, portraits, and night shots. 'Macro' mode 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.
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 32GB cards for a low price, but with cameras I prefer to swap cards regualrly 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 since the early days, lowering the screen brightness, and use of display will all help to improve the life, most cameras can handle 200 of photos easily less with video and heavy use.