Often I am asked “Which digital camera is good?” or “Which digital camera should I buy?” It looks like a very simple question. My first answer is, all cameras are at par with one another, give or take a little. One has to decide the features one wants and the budget. Technology is evolving every day. One just cannot wait for the best to arrive. As you know it will never arrive! That does not mean one should not buy any gadget.
I keep reading reviews on the net. Today even the compacts are capable of producing very good quality images of higher resolution. But there are a few simple things one can keep in mind while deciding a model.
Camera will produce photographs but the pictures are by the photographer. Equipment is to facilitate the creator. Keep this in mind before finalising the model.
Compact or DSLR - Do you know, many professional photographers prefer to carry their compact for their holidays! Many renowned street photographers prefer to carry their compacts. Compacts are easy to carry. It has some limitations without compromising much on images quality compared to DSLR.
Mega-pixel war - Do you know many high end DSLR models has sensor of just twelve mega-pixel? How big are you going to print your pictures? A ten mega-pixel photograph will print to a size of A4 without any noticeable pixelation.
Zoom - Do you know only the professional wild life and sports photographer use those exorbitant zoom lenses? If you are interested in wild life photography then considering buying a midrange DSLR and fast zoom lenses. A standard zoom of 3x is more than enough for everyday photography.
Video - When people are watching their keens on the video, it does not matter if it is in full HD, HD or SD. It is the content of the video that will matter unless one is going to make a Hollywood movie. But it is wise to go for full HD (1920x1080) at least for now. In the near future things are going to change real fast. People are talking about 2k and 4k video.
Budget - Do you know there are compacts that will cost a fortune? So decide how much you would like to spend. Keep the figure a little flexible on higher side.
The Model - Once you have decided all the above, visit the shopping malls to have the look and feel of models that fit your criteria. Don’t buy yet. Get more information and read reviews on the inter net on your selected models. Finally you will be able to make a informative decision.
There is of course a easier way out. Just walk into a large camera shop near you. Pick up a model with your favourite colour that fits your budget. All brands are at par as I said earlier.
We are always tempted to buy compacts with maximum zoom available. Many compact cameras claim to have more than 40x zoom! Wow!
When we zoom to the longer side of the lens (i.e. we zoom in) the image is magnified on the viewfinder and recorded through the sensor of the camera. But when we zoom the lens, it also magnifies our body shakes. It will be difficult to hold the camera steady. This is not visible when we are using the lower end of the zoom lens. But as we zoom in, our body shakes are also magnified and are prominently visible. Yes, there is a solution to it. The user of DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras carry a heavy tripod to mount the camera on when using more than 2x zooms to get a sharp picture. But to carry a heavy tripod for that small compact camera defies the very purpose of portability. It is not that one cannot shoot handheld when using more than 2x zooms. One has to take support to hold the camera steady to really get a sharp picture.
There are again two technics used for zooming function in compact cameras. One is Optical and the other is Digital.
Optical Zoom - It actually uses the lens construction to magnify the image recorded on the sensor. The clarity of the image is limited to that of the pixel count of the sensor inside the camera. One should prefer using optical zoom for clear and sharp images with minimum noise.
Digital Zoom - In this case small count of pixels from the centre of the sensor is magnified and displayed. When the shutter is pressed this small number of pixels are interpolated to create the final image. Hence more you zoom using digital zoom more blur the image is along with pixel noise. This is similar to when you edit your picture in image editor and you crop the image to enlarge the area of your interest. But digital zoom is quit good if you are not going to view your images on monitors larger than 15 inch monitors.
So before buying a compact with such tempting zoom power, consider all these and you might be happy photographer.