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Before you go to the expense of purchasing a digital camera, you may want to familiarize yourself with the types of digital cameras and some of the specifications. Many professional photographers use specific digital cameras depending on the type of pictures they want to take.

The different types of digital cameras include:

  • Subcompact point-and-shoot. The most inexpensive lightweight camera. The drawback is that subcompact cameras do not offer many extra features.
  • Compact point-and-shoot. A little heavier than subcompacts but small enough to carry in a backpack or purse. This may be a good camera for the budding photographer, although this type fails to offer a wide range of manual features.
  • Superzoom. Heavier than a compact point-and-shoot, but boasts a long zoom range of 10x or more. This may be a great camera for someone who wants to graduate from a point-and-shoot type and delve into more advanced manual controls used by professionals without having to deal with changing out the lenses on a more advanced single lens reflex (SLR) camera. These types of cameras are even used in professional photography degree programs to help students learn what the professionals use.
  • Single Lens Reflex (SLR). For the more advanced professional photographers. With SLRs, you have the ability to change out lenses and obtain the best in camera features. The downside is that SLRs are quite heavy, and you have to carry around the lenses, too.

The list of some of the specifications you should learn about before choosing your digital camera includes:

  • Megapixels – dots or pixels that make up a digital picture. The calculation is 1 million pixels equals one megapixel. In terms of quality: five megapixels is what a basic camera offers, six to eight megapixels is considered quality camera resolution, and eight-plus megapixels is professional.
  • Optical zoom – zoom capability. A camera with an optical zoom of six to 10 is considered good quality.
  • Digital zoom – an automatic feature in which the camera crops the picture before it is taken. What to look for with digital zoom is the ability to override the function because digital zoom sometimes hinders the photographer from taking a quality photo.

  • Aperture – the size of the lens opening for low light situations. Aperture will be measured by “F” or “F-stops.” As a rule, the lower the number the more light gets in. If you are looking for a standard to go by, “F 2.6” is great for low light situations for 35 mm wide angle. Double the number for zoom.

  • Shutter speed – the amount of time the shutter remains open when taking a photograph. This will affect focus and how long you have to wait to take your next shot.

  • Don’t forget about picture storage and batteries because you’ll need plenty of backup. Batteries are important because the more features on the camera, the more power it needs. If you’re on a digital camera budget, batteries should be figured into the price of the camera, as they can be quite expensive.

    In addition, USB interfaces are necessary for loading your pictures from the camera to the computer. You may want to look at the speed or time that the download will take.

    Other automatic features, such as autofocus, are features you may feel you need. However, consider the ability to manually override these, especially if you are looking to explore your creativity in professional photography.

    Once you decide on the type of camera with the specifications that you want, it is a good idea to use the Internet to check consumer reports on a few cameras. Then, go to the retailer to test a few of your choices before making a final decision. You’ll want to make sure that you’re comfortable using your new camera.

    Information in this article was provided by Harrington College of Design. Contact Harrington College of Design today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program. (Harrington College of Design does not guarantee employment or salary.)

    Courtesy of ARAcontent

    • Sony unveils three new basic subcompact cameras (
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    • Nikon announces the D3100 SLR plus four lenses (
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