Digital Camera Buying Guide - KeaneCom by wpr1947


									Camera Buying Guide                              KeaneCom 2008                    

What to look for when buying a digital camera:

        Digital Cameras come in many different forms and shapes. Also there are plenty of companies to choose
from such as Kodak, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, HP, Fuji, and more. Here is a run through of
basic information anyone should know before they start camera shopping. It is also wise to have a guide like
this when actually shopping.


       Most cameras only come with enough memory to “start you off,” which is their way of saying, “go buy
more.” This is precisely what you need to do when purchasing any new digital camera. The best way to choose
how much memory you need is to find a camera and then pick about how many pictures you think you could
take on a vacation. Using a memory chart, which can be different per each camera you buy, you can get a rough
idea about how much memory you should buy with your new camera. Of course, you can always continue to
purchase more memory cards as you expand on your camera.

Things to know about memory cards:
       *You can always erase, and reuse memory cards.
       *Camera’s may not use the same memory card, so when you pick out a camera make sure you know
what memory card it takes.

Basic Memory Chart:
Camera                                 Number of pictures per amount of memory
Megapixels  16MB 32MB            64MB 128MB 256MB 512MB                1GB     2GB              4GB       8GB
     1           30        60      120     240        480       960     1920    3840             7680     15360
     2           16        33       67     134        268       552     1119    2245             4494      8988
     3           15        30       60     120        240       490      996    2000             4000      6821
     4            7        15       30       60       119       245      497     999             1998      4094
     5            6        12       24       48        95       195      395     800             1595      3261
     6            5        11       22       44        88       180      366     735             1471      2557
     7            4          9      19       39        78       161      327     657             1314      2407
     8            3          8      17       35        69       143      290     582             1164      2328
    10            1          6      13       26        53       109      221     444              887      1774
    12            X          5      10       20        40        83      169     339              678      1356
*1,024MB = 1GB
*All amounts are general estimates, actual will vary by camera type and model.
*Shaded area indicates card memory currently found in most retail stores.

Memory Cards:

        There are many different types of memory cards out there today. Regardless of the type, all have at least
one thing in common, the amount of memory they hold. Otherwise, different brand names of camera will mean
different type of memory card. So, pick out a camera before you jump into the memory cards.

May 2008                                                                                                   Page 1
Camera Buying Guide                             KeaneCom 2008                     

Basic Memory Card Types:
Card Type                         Camera Brands or items that currently use the card type
      SD (Secure Digital)         Kodak, Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Samsung, H, Casio
           SD Mini                Cell Phones, PDAs
          SD Micro                Cell Phones, PDAs
             SDHC                 (*High Capacity SD Cards)
             MMC                  (*Similar to SD Cards)
        Compact Flash             Canon, Nikon, Old Pocket PCs
    XD (eXtreme Digital)          Olympus, Fujifilm
     MS (Memory Sticks)           Sony
 MS Duo (Memory Stick Duo) Sony
*This chart is only general brand names, there are many more out there.


        How many megapixels is a good number for a camera to have? Frankly, it is the higher, the better. The
number of megapixels for a camera means how many pixels (aka “dots”) are going to be in your picture. For
example, a 2.1 megapixels camera means there should be 2,100,000 pixels in the picture. Though, this is
actually not 100% true due to designs and how digital cameras work, it still gives you a good idea of what
megapixels mean. For the sack of fact, 2.1 megapixels is more like 1,900,000 pixels. Either way, it will still
show you that the higher the megapixel rating, the more “dots” you will have in your picture. If you haven’t
figured it out already, the more dots in your picture basically means the better your picture quality.

How many megapixels are right for you? Let the chart below help you decide what range of camera you should
be looking for.

Basic Megapixels Sizes:
                                                              Size of Picture
                                  Screen Resolution (pixels)                    Photo Print Size (inches)
      Less than 1                   1024 x 768 and lower                           2” x 3” and smaller
           1                              1280 x 960                                      4” x 6”
           2                             1600 x 1200                                      5” x 7”
           3                             2048 x 1536                               5” x 7” to 8” x 10”
           4                             2240 x 1680                                     8” x 10”
           5                             2560 x 1920                              8” x 10” to 11” x 14”
           6                             3032 x 2008                                    11” x 14”
           7                             3072 x 2304                             11” x 14” to 16” x 20”
           8                             3264 x 2448                                    16” x 20”
       10 and up                                                                  20” x 30”and bigger
*Photo Print Sizes are estimates.
*Shaded area indicates cameras currently found in most retail stores.

May 2008                                                                                                    Page 2
Camera Buying Guide                               KeaneCom 2008                     


         Here is a very important part of any camera, the zoom feature. There are basically two types of
“zooming with digital cameras,” Optical Zooming and Digital Zooming. Cameras can have either optical,
digital, or both. So, it is best to know what the differences are between the two types.

        Optical Zooming
        The optical zoom on the camera uses the glass lens to widen (zoom out) or tighten (zoom in) a picture.
This is very important because the lens will provide the upmost clarity in your photos. Most cameras out there
will have between 2x and 4x optical zoom.

        Digital Zooming
        The digital zoom on the camera uses the on-board computer to “zoom in” on the picture itself. This
works greats when you have a camera with a high Megapixel Rating and/or are trying to take a scenic picture.
However, in low-light and close ups, digital zoom is far from par. There is no lying though; it is possible to get
great pictures with digital zoom in close ups. The only problem is it can be quite hard sometimes.

***Regardless of what type of zoom you use, lighting, along with other factors, still can make the difference
between a great picture and a bad one. Nice thing about digital cameras though, you can review and delete
pictures as soon as you take them.

When looking at digital cameras, here are some numbers you are likely to find:

        Optical Zooms:
               1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 10x, 12x, 15x, 18x, 20x
               *Most retail stores will carry cameras with the green marked zooms
               *It is possible to have “in betweens” like 2.5x zoom
               *The higher the optical zoom, the better the camera
               *Some cameras can actually be added on to with a extra lens set, but these are expensive.

        Digital Zooms:
                2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 8x
                *Most retail stores will carry cameras with the green marked zooms
                *It is possible to have “in betweens” like 2.5x zoom
                *Most cell phone cameras have digital zoom

As far as choosing the right “zoom” for you, just reading the following:
        *If you are after family fun, then for the most part 3x to 6x is perfect range to stay in.
        *If you wish to take pictures of baseball games where someone is in the outfield, then 10x and up is
what you would need.
        *Make no doubt though, the higher the optical zoom on a camera, the better the pictures!
        *The most common camera you will run across is a 3x-4x optical zoom with 2x-4x digital zoom.

May 2008                                                                                                     Page 3
Camera Buying Guide                               KeaneCom 2008                     


        Like anything that needs power and doesn’t plug into the wall, digital cameras need batteries. There are
three types of batteries for cameras (just like nearly everything else that needs batteries).

Basic Battery Chart:
Battery Type:     Shapes/Sizes:        How good:        Details:
                                                        Cameras simply eat these alive. Now there are special
    Alkaline           AA, AAA              Ok          versions that do last longer than normal AA, AAA (Like
                                                        Titanium series) but; nevertheless, they go fast.
                                                        This is the most common rechargeable battery out there.
                                                        They are used for a lot of common items like CD
     Ni-MH            AA, AAA,
                                          Better        walkmans, radios, Mp3 players, and more. Nice thing
 (rechargeable)     Special Packs
                                                        about the AA, AAA versions: When your „rechargeables‟
                                                        need recharged, you can use normal Alkaline Batteries!
                                                        Here is a battery that finally gives you a little life. Only
                      AA, AAA,                          problem with this type, you can‟t recharge them and/or
     Li-ion                                Best
                    Special Packs                       you have a special pack and need to get a special
                                                        This is the King of Batteries. Laptops, iPods, Cell
                                                        Phones, PDAs all use this, so why not your digital
     Li-ion         Special Packs,                      camera? Long lasting, and reusable! Only issue: These
 (rechargeable)       “Blocks”                          batteries are Special Packs, or Blocks which means they
                                                        can only be replaced by the same item (IF/WHEN they
*Rechargeable batteries can die, but to maximize the life of them, follow the Long-Life Battery Tip below.
*Make sure the camera comes with a charger if you are looking for rechargeable batteries.
*Using Flash and/or recording a video (depending on camera) will also drain the batteries.

        The Long-Life Battery Tip:
                How do you get the most out of your rechargeable battery? The key is to drain the battery
completely before you recharge it! Now sometimes this maybe not be possible because life has us running
around in circles. The worst thing you can do is a lot of intermediate recharges. (Meaning…use half the battery
or ¼ the battery and recharge it). This actually damages the batteries capacity to hold a charge. So, the best
thing to do, or try to do, is to drain the battery before you recharge it!

LCD Screen

        Most digital cameras have LCD screens included so you can see as you are taking a picture. This also
allows you to review your pictures, change settings on your camera, clean out bad pictures, edit pictures
(Depends on camera), and more… Choosing a screen size is strictly a personal choice. Some like a bigger 2.5”
and some would like them smaller. Keep in mind, with a small camera, the screen cannot be extremely big

May 2008                                                                                                     Page 4
Camera Buying Guide                              KeaneCom 2008                    


         Some digital cameras (now becoming more common), have the ability to record videos even with sound.
Most cameras have a small video frames, ranging around the 640 x 800 pixel range, but can be very crisp and
clear if you have it set to maximum quality. If you wish to do some home videos on your digital camera (and
find one that does it) here are some things to know:
                *Get a large memory card… 1GB and up
                *Try to get a camera with Li-ion rechargeable, or Ni-MH rechargeable batteries
                         *Videos may quickly drain batteries of any type
                *Optical zoom is a great plus (the higher, the better)
                * Make sure you have a computer to put the videos onto, because remember, they are going on a
memory card.

Software and Cables:

        One nice thing about the digital cameras out there, most of them come with software and a standard
USB cable to connect to your computer. Now, not each software package is the same. For example, HP has
HP’s software, and Canon has their own, and so on. Either way, there really isn’t a worry about how to connect
it to your computer and how to print them from your computer because the software is included.

Camera Accessories:

      Camera accessories range from an underwater kit, to just a case to protect it. The best way for a digital
camera owner to get accessories is by checking out the camera company’s website and/or catalog. Each
company and camera model may and most likely have its own series of accessories to add on to your digital

The Total Camera Package

        Now that you know what to look for in a digital camera, now it’s time to get everything you need. Here
is a small list of items we recommend you get with any new digital camera:

         The Digital Camera (obviously!)
         Memory Card
         Batteries with Charger (if not included)
         Camera Case (for when you are transporting it or storing it)
         Camera Cleaning Kit (not necessary, but sometimes nice to have)

         Now you are ready to go find the camera of your dreams.

May 2008                                                                                                   Page 5

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