The first thing to think about when you're on the lookout for a new camera is how you intend to use it. Do you need an SLR, compact or a hybrid camera? An SLR is superior where comes to image quality, but are often large and more difficult to carry. This and many other things determine what is the right camera for you and which camera you should buy. Below this guide is separated into three parts so you can read about the pros and cons of different cameras.
It is all too easy to end up buying a camera just because it's on offer, without questioning if the camera suits your needs. Ask yourself these questions when your on the lookout for a new camera:
Most people think the higher number of megapixels a camera has the better quality images it will produce. This is simply not true. Today you will see smart phones with a large number of megapixels, but there are other things that matter just as much when it comes to image quality. Optics, the size of the sensor and not least how the image is stored all matter. Don't be put off buying a 12 megapixel camera, compared to a 20 megapixel camera that is in a similar price range. Most compact digital cameras have more megapixels compared to SLR cameras, but SLRs will always deliver the superior image quality.
If there's one thing you should stay clear of like the plague, it's digital zoom. There are not many cameras these days that only have digital zoom, but despite that, always choose one has an optical zoom which will maintain image quality.
Here you get a small introduction to the types of camera to choose from.
A digital SLR or system camera is made up of two main parts. A camera housing and a lens. Inside the camera body is a mirror that reflects the light coming in through the lens up to the viewfinder. When you take a picture the mirror is lifted up and the light is emitted forward to the sensor. They are often called SLR Single-lens reflex camera or DSLR Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera.
A compact digital camera is a camera that is small and compact and can easily fit in your pocket. These models have no mirror, but use an image sensor that adapts to what you see. You also have a screen that allows you look at the pictures you take afterwards.
Today there are more compact digital cameras that are shock and water resistant, this can be a big advantage if you like taking photographs while doing extreme sports, or want your children to have a camera.
Hybrid cameras are like SLRs, but without a mirror. Many say a digital hybrid camera gives image results in between a DSLR and compact camera. Hybrids are smaller and lighter than a SLR, and have an electronic viewfinder, with the ability to swap lenses and choose from lots of accessories. This is really the new kid on the block.
You need a good memory card. Memory cards are available in various sizes at low prices today. You do not need the fastest card, but do buy one that your camera recommends and is from a known and reliable brand. It may be tempting to buy one of those very cheap memory cards from a maker you've never heard of, but it won't be funny once it malfunctions and you lose all your pictures.
An external flash can be a good investment if your camera supports it. With an external flash you can avoid red eyes and get the ability to send light to the ceiling or wall to avoid dark shadows.
An extra battery and tripod is also something else you may consider.
Many of today's cameras have very good HD video recording features. A major drawback can be the autofocus and sound, though this will obviously vary between camera models. To record video, you will want to invest in a large and fast memory card.
There are many good sites on the World Wide Web where you can find information and reviews about cameras. Before you buy your desired camera take a little time and do an Internet search on that particular model to see what the reviews are like. If they are good, that then gives you the confidence to buy, if it's bad, maybe you should stay away.
A camera must feel comfortable in your hands, therefore we advise you to go to your local camera store, talk to the people working there and sample their range. Don't forget to see what the menus are like and if they are easy to navigate.
Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Olympus are the most common camera brands.
Which brand is most suited to you depends entirely on your needs. But if there is a single thing to say, buy a camera with a good lens. The general rule is the larger the aperture it has the better the images will be. So look for f2.8, F3.5 or F5.6.
But remember the most important thing is how you take pictures rather than the cost or type of camera. There's no point in having a camera that cost over £1000, if you do not know how to use it.
If you have made up your mind, as to which is the correct digital camera for you, why not visit our dedicated camera page.