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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your Best Digital Camera Buying Guide

By Chris Campbell

How long does it take to become completely confused and overwhelmed when shopping for a digital camera? I think the Guinness record is around three and a half minutes, but for most consumers I'd estimate around two or three hours. Digital technology has done some really great things in the realm of photography, but simplifying buying decisions is not one of them. There's really no need for the confusion, and here are a few good reasons why.

What most digital camera consumers want, is simply to take great pictures with relative ease, and without having to read a 300 page manual. The good news, is that given the quality of cameras available, that's a very achievable goal. The bad news is, that by the time many would be purchasers have waded through a plethora of techno-bable and marketing hype, they just give up and throw themselves at the mercy of the nearest salesperson. In some cases that works out great. But, you could just end up buying the camera with the best commission for John/Jane Doe Salesperson.

Getting the right digital camera really just boils down to a few simple considerations. Any camera guide (sentient or otherwise) that tells you different should be promptly ignored. First of all pick up the camera with your own two hands and shoot a bunch of pictures. Shopping online for cameras can be great for finding the right price, but it's not going to tell you how the camera feels in your own mitts. The camera weight should feel right for you, and all controls should be with easy reach of your fingers. Be sure to navigate through the menu options, and see how intuitive they are. There's no substitute for hands on research.

Image quality is probably THE most import consideration Take a few pictures (preferably before purchasing .. . . see above) and see what they look like. Now don't just look at the pictures on the cameras LCD screen. Print some, and upload some to a computer. LCD screens can be very low resolution, and either hide image flaws, or obscure a truly great picture. You can read volumes about ISO settings, and image noise at those various settings. But really, what matters most, is how does the image look to your own two eyes. It's that simple.

That's really the best digital buying camera guide your going to find anywhere. Long before computer digital technology came along, camera buying was a very simple proposition. And it still can be today. Just don't get too hooked on the marketing and technology speak. People use cameras today for the same reason they did 50 or 60 years ago. They wanted to take great pictures of memorable moments to treasure and admire.

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