Monday, 24 August 2009

How to Shop for Digital Camera

1. Check yourself what the digital camera will be used for
Before you even start to survey around for digital camera, ask yourself these question:
  • What is your budget?
  • What type of photos you plan to take? (potraits, landscape, close up)
  • What conditions will you are taking your photos? (outdoors, indoors)
  • What is your experience on using digital camera?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (zoom, image stabilization)
  • How important is the camera size? Do you prefer the camera to be light weight?
2. MegaPixel (MP)
Pixel or “picture element” measure the digital camera capability of capturing quality picture. The higher the MP, the more detail the picture were taken. However, the higher the MP means that each picture will be bigger in size (due to more information packed onto 1 picture). So, when you buy a high MP camera, means that you also must invest in a lot of memory card to store all the photos.

You need to understand how you plan to process the photos you have taken? Will you print them, will you put them on online photo album, and are you going to send through email or do you plan to store them in your laptop or external drive?

If you plan to always print the photos, 5MP is more than enough. If you plan to put your picture online, then even 5MP will be too big of photos for you uploading. You might need to reduce the picture image in that case, so why not just opt for lower MP. If you plan to store them inside laptop, the most 7MP is more that sufficient. I would not recommend 10MP unless you are a professional photographer that plan to print photos into banner or posters.

3. Accessories
Most camera brand have fix price that were set for retailer. So, if you shop around, you might found that the camera price does not vary so much between retailers. To attract buyer, retailer will throw in extra accessories. So, do look out for the most accessories you can get when buying your camera. Some of them are:
  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries
  • LCD Protector
  • Lenses cleaning kit
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors
4. Do already have some accessories?
You might already own some of the accessories especially the memory cards. It is good to think about having to buy cameras that able to support your current memory cards. This way, you do not have to spend more money on buying more memory cards.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

While digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

When you asked question on the first tips, if any of your answer is more to general photography, then do opt for Point and Shoot. Just having Point and Shoot camera do not means you are amateur. Taking good photography does not purely own by the camera itself. You can produce a very good photo using your point and shoot camera if you know some basic of photography. Furthermore, Point and Shoot camera is easy to maintain, highly portability and much easy to carry around.

6. Optical Zooms are King
Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.
I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length - ie they’ll make your subject three times as big - with an increasing array of ’super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Survey online
Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market - use this wonderful and free resource.

8. Try yourself

Once you have zoom in to a camera of your choice, go ahead to the nearest retailers. Ask to give the camera a trial. Hold the camera and feel the weight. Snap and few photos and check out the result. Open up the menu and look for the basic setting. Try to snap on close up and also the zoom feature. Try the camera until you are fully satisfied.

It is good that you keep multiple options in your shopping list. This way you can try a few camera and decide which is the best for your needs.

9. Negotiate
After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Seriously I am not very good at negotiating price. Normally, I will survey around for the best price. I will even check out online market to see if the price offered is already the best.

Once you found the best price, it is good to try and negotiate for even lower price. This way you will get the most bargain from your purchase.

1 comment:

P u N c K said...

i never tot you would write something about this topic.. hahha my perception must be wrong before.. :)

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