When deciding to buy your first digital camera, it’s likely that you already own one: your mobile phone. So, now you have decided that you want a ‘proper’ camera, how about a digital compact? or maybe a ‘bridge’ camera?
What you want to photograph will help to determine what camera you’ll buy, so choose a camera wisely, buy one that suits your needs. There’s a bewildering array of digital cameras out there and it can be difficult to know where to start your search, although the price will probably be one of the more important factors.
Perhaps you want the ease and simplicity of a digital compact camera.Compacts are small ‘point and shoot’ cameras, ideal for those who may find the controls and various settings on the upper end bridge cameras and dslr’s a little daunting; they’re simple and easy to use. Compacts though, have a lot more features than they used to; with more mega pixels,and longer optical zooms. Some, like the Sony Cybershot DSC-tx100V has 16.2 mega pixel sensor a 25mm-100mm zoom lens and even has GPS tagging, although it’s not cheap, then there’s the Panasonic lumix DMC-FS7 with 10 MP and a 4x mega optical image stabilized zoom.
Many people who buy bridge cameras, are often upgrading from a compact; they want the point and shoot simplicity of a compact, should they need it, but also access to the different DSLR type exposure modes and metering patterns, so, you may decide to choose a bridge camera as your first digital camera.
Mega pixel counts are usually high on bridge cameras, but don’t quite compare with a DSLR because of their smaller sensors; lenses are fixed (you can’t change them) but their zoom ranges are really good; from wide angle to telephoto, with a pretty good macro too; the fujifilm finepix S4000 has 30x super wide angle optical zoom lens, as well as 14mp, whereas the Canon powershot SX300 (is) has a 35x wide angle optical image stabilized zoom and 14.1 mp’s.
Only Shooting in Auto ?
A bridge camera still allows you to shoot in auto mode; and some people only want that option; some find the various dials, settings and exposure mode modes, bewildering, but still want the option of the versatile zoom, easier function settings, and also, the feel and weight of a DSLR.
If you want to get creative and have more control over the pictures you take,then try the different exposure modes; compacts and bridge cameras have many, which include; landscape,sports, portrait and night time settings.
If you still want more control over what you shoot; you could start using manual exposure and then, perhaps even change your file format to ‘raw’; all features you’ll find on a DSLR.
Which ever camera you buy; more mega pixels do not necessarily mean better quality pictures unless you intend to make large prints or want to crop your photos, look for a good lens first. Then check out reviews online from people who own the same model.
Find out what comes bundled with your camera, such as; battery charger, AC mains lead,hand strap, camera case, cd rom software, also, memory cards are not always included, so make sure you check, you don’t want to be ready to take your first picture, only to find out there’s no memory card!.
If you still want more from your digital camera; then you’ve probably got the bug and will start combing the web pages for a DSLR.
*Featured image by Chris Webber