How to Choose Your First Digital Camera

First time digital camera buyers have a maze of variables to face. While the cosmetic appearance of digital cameras may the least of your concerns, they are all sorts of colors, sizes and brands. You can choose from many different playbacks, resolutions, or zooming ability. It is really easy to get swamped by so many characteristics and gadgets. Advertising and promotion are not the same as good information. The goal of a good promotional campaign is to get you to buy your new digital camera from them. Our goal is to give you information.

Where do you go to find out what you need to know? Right here is a good start. First you have to ask yourself some questions. What do you really want your digital camera to do? You came here for answers and the first thing you do is run into a string of questions.

The same sort of frustrating questions the geeks ask when you walk into a computer store to buy a computer: What will you use this for? How often will you use it? How big do you want it? Are you an amateur or a professional?

Well, it should be fairly easy to tell that if you are still listening to the geek you are an amateur. So, think it through before you get there. The serious photographer needs a camera with more features and flexibility than the person who takes occasional family shots at the holidays. We suggest you start with three categories of questions about your personal needs and capability.

• What kinds of photos do you want to take with your very own digital camera? Just a few family snapshots? Detailed wildlife or flower close-ups? Each of these will help you determine which camera is right for you.

• How much can you really afford to spend on this camera? This is an essential question and needs to have a big role in helping you decide.

• What else will you need? And what will it cost? For example, can your printer and computer handle your digital photos? Do you already have software for editing photos? Or is it in the package you are buying now? What about paper? What kind is best? How much do you think you will need? Have you thought about how much ink it takes to print a photo? How often will you need to buy more? Can you afford it? Does your computer need more memory to handle image editing, storing and recovery?

After you have clarified what you want and need, take a close look at the various options and features of the digital camera before you go out to buy one.

Such as:

• Resolution
• Built-in memory.
• Battery life
• Appearance and comfort.
• Special features

Resolution. What is the capacity? Pixels are important. With more pixels you get better resolution, more clarity in your photo images. Higher resolution cameras allow you to make pictures that you can enlarge without loss of quality.

Battery life. Batteries are costly. Be aware that your digital camera can use up batteries fast. Find out if the batteries can be recharged. That can cut your costs. Be sure to pick up that AC adapter for your camera. That way you can use electricity rather than the battery when you upload or view pictures. Pay attention to the recommendations for proper storage of the camera and batteries so they can last longer.

Built-in memory. It is the memory cards that make it possible for digital cameras to store pictures. You want a camera that has a memory built-in and a place for adding memory cards to increase your memory capabilities. That will also make it convenient for you to change a full memory card while you are in the midst of taking pictures. Look for that memory card slot.

Appearance and comfort. You must feel comfortable using your digital camera. Test it and check if you are comfortable holding it and using it. Where are the buttons and how they are spaced? Does the viewfinder suit you? Can you find what you need easily?

LCD. That small screen located at the back of a digital camera is the LCD (liquid crystal display). It lets you preview pictures. How much power does it need? How big is it? Can you see it clearly?

Special features. Do you expect to zoom into photos? How hard is it to switch to a zoom mode? Choose optical zoom lenses. If you wear glasses you probably want an adjustment on camera's viewfinder (a diopter). How important is remote control for you? Or tripods? What other special features do you want or need?

Ratings and comparisons of different digital cameras and their features are fairly easy to find online. Check photo forums to find out what other people have to say about them. Thinking ahead will save you a lot of hassle when you select and buy your new digital camera.

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Author: Donna Paul Bessken is an educator, writer, naturalist who is deciding what to do about buying her first digital camera. Visit for more info about this author.

How to Choose Your First Digital Camera


Reader Comments

Thanks for posting my digital camera article. AND including my author and resource credits appropriately.

Peace to you.
donna paul bessken

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