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10 Buying guide for digital camera
Zeroing in on the digital camera best suited to your needs can be difficult, especially with the complex array of features and functions available. Not to worry. These 10 buying tips will help you find a camera that fits your needs, budget, and shooting style.
Select a digital camera with a maximum resolution that meets your largest output you're likely to want. If you want to make 8-by-10 prints, we recommend a 4-megapixel model, though a 3MP camera will do the job. A good 8-megapixel camera can take you all the way up to 16-by-20 prints. If all you want is to take pictures for e-mail or the Web, even 2MP camera will suffice. And remember, megapixels correspond only to image size, not quality.
Make sure the camera has the right features for your needs, such as video recording, an optical zoom lens?perhaps even manual controls and a histogram. If you wear eyeglasses but like to take pictures without them, make sure that your camera has a focusable diopter, which lets you adjust the focus of the viewfinder so you can see your subject clearly.
Choose a model with a bright LCD so you can see it when shooting outdoors. And make sure the screen is large enough so you can easily compose and review your images on the camera.
When comparing costs, don't forget to calculate the extras that may or may not be included, such as rechargeable batteries and a charger, , and a memory card with a high enough capacity to hold all your pictures until you can download them to a PC.
Nearly all digital cameras have a USB interface. For higher-megapixel models, try to find one that supports USB 2.0 so you can transfer large image files quickly.
When looking at digital cameras with a zoom lens, what counts is the optical zoom?not the digital zoom. Digital zoom is actually a software function that involves cropping and magnifying an image, resulting in a loss of image quality.
If you don't know an f-stop from a white balance, a digital camera that has lots of modes and manual settings will generally be overkill for your needs, as well as being higher in price and more difficult to use.
Look for a digital camera that comes with a pocket-size instruction manual instead of one on a CD-ROM. It's easier to consult when you're out shooting.
For small, young, or arthritic hands, look for a digital camera with a limited number of buttons, and make sure they're large and easy to access and press.
Test how fast the camera performs. You will probably be unhappy with any digital camera that takes longer than 4 seconds to boot up or longer than 6 seconds between shots.