Archive for October, 2009

Choosing a perfect point and shoot digital camera

by on Oct.19, 2009, under Buyers Guide

If you’re thinking of buying a digital camera, you have already discovered that there is an endless option out there in the market. Even if you have narrowed down to a particular brand, you will be still having options to choose from. I did have to undergo lot of dilemma when I  purchased my first digital camera few years back. I am compiling this post based on my experience and hope it will definitely help the first time digital camera buyers.

Well when it comes to digital camera the border classification would fall as said below,

  1. Point and Shoot
  2. Advanced or SLR-like
  3. DSLR

Here I’m going to talk only about Point and Shoot Digital cameras.

Why Point and Shoot?
If you’re looking for a digital camera that automates everything it has then you should be going for this. Point and Shoot stands for that you ‘point’ and ‘shoot’ the picture; the camera does the rest for you like auto focus, exposure control and more. I would suggest this if you’re a beginner and who doesn’t feel comfortable in using advanced features. Also it would suit depends on the usage; this suits best if you intend to use camera for party, function or to capture more lively things. In those cases you will never have time to control the camera’s advanced functionality and this is the place where point and shoot does the real help.

If you think point to shoot type camera is what you’re looking for then read future to decide upon the specification.

Form Factor
Ultimately when it comes to Point and Shoot camera, you need to decide up on the Form factor before you proceed with the selection. I personally prefer to have something handy when it comes to point and shoot camera. I would say “No” to bulkier designs even if it comes with more sophisticated feature. Well it depends on individuals’ mindset on how they want it. I would suggest going with compact camera if size doesn’t matter you much.

Form factors commonly available to you are,

  1. Ultra-compact
  2. Compact
  3. Standard
  4. Large

Megapixel (Sensor photo detectors) – Do you print photos?
Pixel refers least single point in a graphic element. A megapixel is commonly used term in digital cameras to refer million pixels in an image and also used to express the number of sensor elements of digital cameras or the number of display elements of digital displays. A camera with an array of 3264 x 2448 sensor elements is commonly said to have “8.0 megapixels” (3264 x 2448 = 7,990,272). Here is a useful Megapixel calculator.

For Web / Email purpose 6 Megapixel camera is more than enough. You need to go to higher megapixels, if you want to print out the high-resolution images . For optimal use anything between 6MP ~ 10 MP would be great. You need to have a good balance between the budget and megapixel.

Sensor – Does that matter?
The sensor is heart of digital camera. It records the image in digital format when you take a picture. CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) and CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) are two types of sensors. CCD is known for superior image performance than CMOS. However, CMOS is cheaper comparatively and consume less power than CCD. Sensor type shouldn’t bother you if you have good lens and better image quality.

Zoom –
Normal P&S camera can’t have high zoom ratio. Anything between 3x to 5x optical zoom is decent enough. Digital Zoom is different from Optical zoom.  Optical zoom is achieved by the lens used by the camera. Digital zoom is software technique to zoom the captured image by optical lens. Give more importance to Optical zoom.

Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization (IS) is technology that helps reduce blur in image due to vibration or shaking. You should be more concerned about IS when you take picture without a tripod and it would be a case with most of PS (point and shoot) photographers. Widely, there are two types of IS, optical and digital. Optical IS is much preferable than digital IS, since Optical IS is hardware based where as digital IS just increases the ISO (ISO at higher level will lead to noise). Optical IS will typically will have a built-in sensor to detect camera shake and stabilizer to compensate such movements. So ask for Optical IS before you buy rather than falling a victim of marketing gimmick which calls out by fancy name such as anti-blur or anti-share etc.

The memory can be extend as much you want these days. Make sure you have little space in internal memory in the camera so you can use it when you’re memory cards are full.

Viewfinders are used to compose and frame a scene. There are two types, Optical and Electronic. Electronic few disadvantages it consumes extra power and not clear and bright has Optical Viewfinder. Few camera models sport hybrid viewfinder. When you choose a camera, make sure you have the viewfinder that is more comfortable for you to capture the moments.

The above parameters are for your comparing guideline. Before purchasing you will have to compare the value/benefit of each and select a camera that better suits you.

Hope this will be of help to someone. Let me know if it does. Cheers.

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