First of all we must distinguish between two types of cameras: Digital Cameras and SLR Professional cameras.
If you want a decent camera that you will use to take pictures within the family, holiday pictures or simply even taking pictures of items to list on eBay, then a digital camera is for you. It is small, compact and at just the right price range for the average man/woman.
If you are in the media however, a professional photographer or take up photography as a hobby, SLR Professional cameras are for you. These are much bigger, better in quality but far more expensive than your average digital camera on the high street.
What to look for when choosing the right camera for you:
I have just differentiated the two major types of camera, but what do you want to look out for to suit your needs. In the following text, you will be able to figure out the right type of camera for yourself.
Pixels are actually tiny dots on a digital image that make up the picture. Basically, the higher the number of pixels in your image, the better the quality. This is because the camera is able to fit more detail into the image since there is a higher spacial capacity for the pixels to fit into. This will also enable you to enlarge your image to higher pixel dimensions without creating a pixelated image (when the image is enlarged to a point that the pixels cannot fit into each allotted space so it becomes blurry). For people using digital cameras 4-7MP cameras would be a reasonably good size of Megapixels. However for SLR Professional cameras you'd be looking at about 10MP+. Obviously the more megapixels in a camera, the higher the cost.
The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen allows the photographer to view the picture he/she has taken straight away to check if the picture needs to be retaken. It also acts as a viewfinder for the photographer so they don't have to look through the actual viewfinder. For a digital camera, they vary from 1.5-2.5 inches but on a SLR Professional they usually start from 2.5 inches and the screen size increases.
This enables the photographer to zoom in on an object without any loss of picture quality. Depending on the magnification number, you can zoom in more. For a digital camera, the optical zoom is on average 3.0-5.0 (odd cases of special digital cameras have an optical zoom of 6.0-10.0, but are in the region of £350). SLR Professional cameras go from 6.0+.
This feature enables the photographer to zoom in on the centre of the picture removing the edges of the image (on PC). However, depending on the MP resolution of your camera, the image can become fuzzy so be careful. Digital cameras can easily vary on average from 2.0-8.0 and the same range for the SLR Professionals, except some will exceed 8.0. The higher the zoom the better the camera.
AUDIO & MOVIE CAPTURE:
This allows you to record sounds and moving images at the same time, in exactly the same way as a camcorder does. Some cameras even contain a facility that enables them to play the video footage on TV from the camera, so all can watch in a better picture quality. This comes both on digital and SLR Professional cameras.
This feature enables the photographer to capture still images of something moving very fast, such as a cheetah. The camera is able to freeze the picture within those milliseconds of time to create a clear quality picture image. You can also use this feature in low light conditions. Both types of camera usually have this feature.
Cameras either have internal memory, memory card slots or both. Different cameras have different sizes of internal memory and are able to use different types of memory cards. The types of memory cards are important because this will tell you what type of memory card is need to expand on the existing internal memory. Digital and SLR Professional cameras contain between 8-96MB of internal memory but the memory cards that you can buy to expand the memory capacity vary between 16MB-2GB(2048MB).
Nowadays you can buy special printers, depending on the compatibility of your camera, to print off your pictures without connecting it to a PC. This applies both for digital and SLR Professional cameras.
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