What should I look at when buying a digital camera?
This is a big question. It is important to look at the camera as complete. I would advise to look at the cameras capabilities to get great colours, having a large LCD screen, and having a software that is easy to use.
But when I look at cameras they always talk about megapixels. Isn’t this important too?
Yes; to a certain point the resolution of a picture have some meaning. But you might not see the difference of a 3 megapixels picture and 6 megapixels camera. What you should look at is the cameras processing the picture, and how well it reproduces colours and tones. What determine colours and tones? This is a difficult question to answer. Colours and tones are defined by many factors. Some of these are the lens, the CCD chip and the image processing done internally. The best way to learn is reading professional reviews, and testing the camera at the shop.
What about zooming? Should I look at digital zoom or optical zoom?
I personally would tell people to look at optical zoom. The reason is that optical zoom is the cameras real zooming capabilities. You can easily perform digital zooming in image processing software as GIMP and Photoshop.
What about file formats? I hear some talks a lot about jpeg, and some talking a lot about RAW.
This is also a complicated question to answer. There are advantages with both formats. The jpeg will give you smaller file size, while RAW often is superior in quality, but have large file size. What you should be aware of is that jpeg might reduce some of the quality, while RAW might take space you do not have available. If you are taking photos for fun it might be enough to work with jpeg files, but if you want to work more professionally with the photos you might want to work with jpeg files. By working with the photos I mean working with image processing, or other parts that require exact representation of each pixel.
Everything sounds so difficult now. Let’s talk about batteries; is there anything I should think about when looking at batteries?
There are lots of factors thinking of when looking at batteries. Some manufactures produce their own batteries; which have the disadvantage of you needing additional of these extra batteries. You will also need special chargers to charge the batteries. This might less fortunate if you are travelling, and have to remember all the additional equipment. If you don’t bring the equipment, or forget to charge all of the batteries, you might be out of luck when really needing to take a picture. In these occasions you will wish you had double A or triple A batteries you could get almost everywhere, and most times of the day. On the other hand it’s nice to just charge the batteries, instead of getting new batteries all the time too.
What about storage? Do you recommend any special chips?
I don’t really recommend any. Most are easy to get, and let you store gigabytes of pictures. However; I would look at the types that seem to be most used. An example is the SD or micro SD chips which are used in both cameras and mobile phones. Of course it’s hard to give any specific advice as the cards seems to rapidly improve and change.
I want to thank you for listening, and I wish you the best in your quest to buy digital cameras.