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Tips: Digital Camera: What to know when buying

It occurred to me that even though digital cameras have been selling for some years now, people might not know what to look for when buying a digital camera. Well in this post I will give some pointers that will hopefully give you a better idea of what to look for and how to recognize a good value.

First off you need to know your budget or what you are willing to pay for a camera with all the features you are looking for. Please don't tell me you are not willing to pay anything. It's just to obvious. In any case I try not to spend more then $US 400.00. So far I have been able to find well made cameras that also have features I am looking for. Next decide what kind of zooming capabilities are necessary. Are you going on safari? Do you find yourself at the back of the school gym no matter how early you get to little Johnny's school play? You will want a camera with a large number optical zoom. Third you want to decide on a megapixle size. 4 megapixles is becoming a standard base size because it still offers a person some flexibility when they decide to print them lager then 4x6. I recommend trying to go even higher because the higher the megapixle size the longer the camera will last. What I mean to say is that as technology gets ever more advanced the hardware, like your digital camera, starts to loose it viability or usefulness. Fourth look at the power source. some cameras allow you to use regular batteries, while others use special rechargeable batteries. My Olympus uses a special battery but the charge keeps for a long time and the charger was included. If you do end up with a special battery insure the charger is included. Lastly you want to consider how the picture is saved when you press the button. Currently there are several to choose from so look at the cost of the memory and the abilities of that storage type. Some things to consider when looking for memory are time it takes to write data and cost per Mb (Megabyte).

Now depending on your budget that could mean something towards the professional end like an SLR camera or something more intermediate. You will have to do some leg work to stay in budget. I've found great success at local office supply chains like Office Max or Staples. They offer a higher end camera at a reasonable price. Other places to look are outlet style web sites that deal with selling or reselling closeout or overstock items. No matter what camera you choose it's always a good idea to try it out first. Get a feel for how long it takes to turn on, and the amount of time you wait between taking pictures. Sure you can't try before you buy on a web site but you can buy and return, or better yet try the camera out at a local store and then buy it online if the price is better. It's usually a good idea to read reviews about the product from consumer watch groups like Consumer Reports. This is the guidelines I use when I purchased my camera and I used it again a few weeks ago when I bought my wife a new camera. We have had lots of success and we are both happy with our purchases. Look for a review of my wife's camera in the coming month.

-- John D Geek


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