Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Camera Shopping Guidelines

Some of you will be shopping for a digital camera this holiday gift-giving season, so today I will re-post some advice on what to look for when making your selection.

General Advice for Purchasing a New Digital Camera

I understand perfectly why people seek advice when it comes to buying a digital camera. There are literally hundreds to choose from – an overwhelming variety – and when you start shopping, it’s easy to become confused by the jargon.

A “mega” pixel is better than an ordinary, everyday “pixel”.. right? (You bet it is. It contains more vitamins and minerals.)

seasons greetingsA long, long, time ago I wrote a three-part advice series on buying a new computer, and today I am going to reiterate a bit of advice from there – when buying a digital camera, you have to hold it in your hands. The “right” camera for you will just, well, “feel right”. If you keep accidentally pushing a button, or put your thumb right on the viewer screen.. that’s not good.

Tip of the day: General advice for purchasing a new digital camera.

* Optical zoom is better than digital zoom. Make sure that the “zoom” feature of your camera is handled by a moving lens. Digital zooming is okay in very small amounts, but the way it works will cause funny-looking “pixilation” when really put to work.

* You want image stabilization. Image stabilization is in my opinion simply a “must have”; fortunately, almost every manufacturer provides it. I won’t spend time, here, describing the different types. If you’re curious, click the link.

* The Megapixel. Folks, there is a lot of confusion regarding the camera jargon word “megapixel”. A higher megapixel number does not necessarily equate with “sharper image” or “clearer picture“.. in fact, they usually have nothing to do with each other.

Megapixels refers to the image (data) size and determines how big an enlargement you can make before you start to experience distortions (think of it as being a bit like film sizes). If the largest prints you ever make are 5 x 7, a three-to-four Megapixel camera is all you need. A 10 Megapixel camera is overkill for the vast majority of uses, and it will simply fill your memory card faster, with fewer shots. (But, you could make poster-size prints.)

* LCD “viewfinder”. I think it is important to have a manual viewfinder, as well as the LCD screen.. but that is personal opinion. In terms of LCD, the factors to consider are brightness, placement, and size. It should be big enough that you can see what it is showing when you hold the camera away from your body, and, it should be positioned on the camera in such a way as to not cause you to hold your hand in a funny/odd way so that you can see it. The image should be bright enough to be seen when you are out in the sunlight.
(And I’d like to repeat, your camera should just feel right in your hand.)

* Don’t buy features you won’t use. If you are not a photography buff, and don’t want to memorize a 200-page owners manual, then you don’t want to buy a D-SLR; you want a “point-and-shoot”, and you don’t need 24 “settings” if you’re only going to use one. Right? Right.

Today’s free link: SUPERAntiSpyware Online Safe Scan, a powerful new tool in the fight against the latest and particularly difficult malware infections.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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December 16, 2010 - Posted by | advice, digital cameras, how to, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thank you for data


    Comment by Mr.Jack | December 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Mr. Jack,
      Thank you for your support. I invite you to look around some.. there’s over 1,200 such articles here.


      Comment by techpaul | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the information Paul. I agree on all counts. Excellent article.

    I’m grappling with the decision of whether or not to get a digital SLR. I have always liked SLRs better than point and shoot, even before there were digital cameras available. But that does add the possibility of mechanical failure, which is just one more thing to go wrong.

    I also want to be able to have the capability to switch lenses if needed, but I have found a few recently that have more than ample focal length lenses already installed, such as an 18mm to 200mm. That would definitely handle extremely wide angle and also allow me to zoom as far as I would want in most cases.

    Money money money…


    Comment by KsTinMan | December 17, 2010 | Reply

    • KsTinMan,
      For those who are camera enthusiasts and “photography buffs” (who know what an f-stop is) it is hard to argue against a D-SLR. I understand that there are even special mount adapters available that can, in some instances, let you use your old lenses on a digital body.. but I’m a bit vague on that as my photography days are now but a dim memory. (At one stage of life, I thought I was going to be a photo journalist when I grew up.)

      But, not “everyone” wants, nor needs any more than point-and-click, and winds up buying much more camera than they ever use..
      All I know for sure is, my days of standing in a dark closet and developing film in smelly chemicals.. well, that’s just not how it’s done.


      Comment by techpaul | December 17, 2010 | Reply

      • “All I know for sure is, my days of standing in a dark closet and developing film in smelly chemicals.. well, that’s just not how it’s done.”



        Comment by KsTinMan | December 17, 2010 | Reply

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