| Friday, February 15, 2008
| HOW TO BUY A DIGITAL CAMERA
|Compact digital cameras have vastly improved --- but all the choices make it hard to focus. a guide for aspiring shuterbugs.
SCREEN AND VIEWFINDER
LCD screens come in all sizes, but the bigger the better -- look for two inches or more. swivel screens come in handy for odd-angle shots.
Viewfinders are a disappearing feature on compact point-and-shoots, but they can still be useful in bright sunlight, where the LCD screen.
Digital cameras rely on removable memory cards, which have gotten better and cheaper. A two-gigabyte card is plenty for the trigger-happy: it yields about 800 high quality pictures or 16 minutes of good video. Some cameras work with proprietary cards, but the Secure Digital (SD) format is increasingly the industry standard; a two-gigabyte card sells for about US$30.
Despite all the optical advances in cameras, battery life is still lacking. rechargeable lithium-ion batteries give the most shots per charge, but you'll need to invest in a spare, or bring the charger is, say, you take your camera on a weekend trip.
SOUND AND VIDEO
You may not need it, especially if you own a videocamera, but almost all point-and-shhots can record video. If you plan to use it, look for at least 30 frames per second at 640x480 resolution --- and a microphone for sound.
All point-and-shoots have a built-in flash. Fancier models have a hot-shoe fixture for attaching a more powerful external flash.
PROCESSOR AND SOFTWARE
Newer, more powerful processors mean a faster camera and extra features like face-recogntion auto focus.
Lens quality on point-and-shoot digital cameras is now excellent across the board. In these cameras a single lens is used for nearby wide-angle shots and for zooming in on distant objects. Look for lenses with bigger optical zoom, which moves you closes to the subject without sacrificing quality; ignore digital zoom technology, which works by essentially cropping the image. A 3x zoom is standard, though a new and fast growing category of compact super-zooms now hits 15x.
Sensor amateur buyers don't usually think about it, but the snsor captures the incoming light and converts the resulting pixel image to a digital file. The more pixels on the sensor, the better the pixels ability to capture light. You want the biggest sensor with the most pixels. These are a few formats; CCD is the standard on better cameras.
(SOURCE: Fortune Mag/Crib Sheet)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 8:04 PM