Last week we looked at some of the benefits of digital photography vs that of traditional film cameras and the data was quite compelling. This week we’ll explore the point and shoot style digital cameras in detail.
The term point and shoot says it all!
These cameras are designed to be consumer friendly and are a great channel into the world of digital photography. But don’t be mislead into thinking they don’t come packed with added features and versatility.
There are certain features that you should consider when buying any type of digital camera:
Megapixels: The number of pixels possessed by the camera will in the end determine what you are able to do with the images taken. You cannot increase the size of these after you purchase the camera (as you would with memory in a PC) so be sure they meet your needs before buying.
If all you want to do is upload photos to an online repository such as Flickr, send them via e-mail or perhaps print a small picture (4”x6”), then seven megapixels or less will be adequate.
If you intend to crop sections of a shot or enlarge the image in any way it is best to purchase a device that is eight megapixels or greater.
Zoom capabilities: Optical zoom (not to be confused with digital zoom) is the feature that allows you to pan in and out on an image and has impact on the quality of the image. Optical zoom ranges from 3X — 15X.
Interfaces: The types of devices and /or connections the device has. USB connections, HDMI and HDTV television connection are examples of primary types you should look for.
Flash features: Be sure that the device has basic flash features such as red eye correction.
Additional Features: Could include image stabiliser (a must for most), video capabilities, underwater capabilities and display size/onscreen display.
Point and shoot cameras vary greatly and can differ significantly in price based on brand and options so be sure to check all specifications and compare them to one another. A great site for electronic equipment comparisons is http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras or you can try http://www.consumerreports.org.
CNET (mentioned above) also contains a product finder which allows you to input camera size, shooting flexibility and features you’d like in a camera, it then processes the data and provides you with recommendations.
Next week we’ll look at DSLR’s and how they compare to the point and shoot.