Digital Cameras

Recently, digital cameras have transformed the way we take photographs. Now, almost anyone can take professional-looking pictures, edit them online and print them in their own home. However, with the number of digital cameras available on the market, how do you know which digital camera is right for you? Keep reading to learn how to choose the right digital camera.

LCD Screen or Optical Viewfinder?

Depending on the make, a digital camera will come with an optical viewfinder, an LCD (liquid crystal display) viewfinder screen or both. Here”s some information on both:

  • LCD Viewfinder: The LCD of a digital camera lets users preview images and change camera settings. Many LCD viewfinders even will show you a live video feed of the image you are about to capture. On average, LCD screens are 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches, diagonally.While LCD viewfinders are advantageous to the photographer, they do use a lot of battery power compared to optical viewfinders.
  • Optical Viewfinder: An optical viewfinder is the eyepiece on a camera that you look through to frame your shot. An optical viewfinder is useful because it uses no power, but it can cause parallax (distortion of the object being photographed) and focus errors.

Whether you buy a camera with an LCD viewfinder, an optical viewfinder or one with a combination of both will depend on your personal preference. To see which one you prefer, go to a camera store and look through a variety of viewfinders.

Digital Camera Lens Choices

The type of lens you want for your digital camera will depend on how you plan to use the camera. The occasional photographer will probably be happy with a fixed lens camera, the type most often seen on mid-range cameras. Fixed lens digital cameras have lenses that cannot be replaced. They may be capable of optical zoom, which brings the subject closer, digital zoom, which digitally enlarges the image, or both.

More high-end digital cameras may have removable lenses similar to those found on traditional cameras. Removable lenses allow for greater versatility, but they do have disadvantages. For one thing, removable lens digital cameras can be extremely expensive. Unless you”re an avid photographer who knows about the different lens types, you should probably stay away from removable lens digital cameras.

Image File Options

Not every digital camera stores images using the same file type, and each camera comes with its own corresponding memory card. Common file types for digital cameras include JPEG and TIFF files:

  • JPEG: JPEG files digitally compress images. A JPEG file is small and easy to e-mail or upload to Web pages. However, as JPEG files are compressed, they tend to lose detail.
  • TIFF: TIFF image files are “lossless,” meaning they do not lose details as they are compressed. However, TIFF files are very large and fill up memory cards quickly.

Digital Camera Flash Options

Digital cameras usually include a built-in flash, although more expensive brands may have removable flash attachments.

Red-eye reduction is a handy flash option that is now a standard feature on most digital cameras. Red-eye reduction uses two flashes, in quick succession, to reduce the chance of subjects” eyes turning red in a photograph.

Battery Choices

Digital camera batteries may be either AA, AAA or lithium rechargeable battery packs. Digital cameras, especially those that use LCD viewfinders, drain standard AA and AAA batteries very quickly. Replacing batteries can become very expensive, so you will probably want to look for a camera with a rechargeable battery pack.

Many digital cameras now use lithium battery packs instead of standard batteries. In general, lithium batteries provide longer lasting power to digital cameras and can be recharged. The disadvantage is, of course, that you can”t quickly purchase model-specific lithium batteries at a local convenience store, while you can find standard batteries at many places.

Multimedia Digital Cameras

As digital camera technology continues to advance, cameras are taking on more multimedia features. It”s rare to find a digital camera in today”s market that can”t record short videos, and many are now Bluetooth-enabled, allowing users to quickly transfer photos to storage devices and printers.

The digital camera cell phone, which merged a popular form of communication with photography, is also growing in popularity. In addition, some digital cameras can now play music files, and an increasing number include photo image editors directly in the camera, so you can take, edit and save photographs easily and quickly while in the field.