Tips on shopping for a digital camera
If you own a smartphone you always have it with you; it is part of your wardrobe. The capability to take pictures with better image quality than the non-smartphones of yesteryear makes it the tool of choice for capturing your “Kodak Moments.” My wife has told me this repeatedly and she loves sharing these pictures via email, making smartphones indispensable to her.
Yet depending on the situation I still carry our digital camera to events. I’ve noticed that my digital camera produces better quality pictures for printing, is less prone to missing the “Kodak Moment” (my smartphone has shutter lag, the time between pressing the button and actually capturing the image, missing the spontaneous shots), and for a photography hobbyist it affords me more manual control like I was used to in the old 35mm film camera days.
At the same time, digital cameras have taken a page or two from the smartphones’ differentiating capabilities such as being always connected to the digital world – aka the internet. Many have built-in capabilities to wirelessly transfer pictures and post them directly to your Facebook Timeline. Samsung, for example, is on their second iteration of their “Galaxy” digital camera line that uses the same operating system as their smartphones to accomplish this feat. It is a camera first so image qualities are on par with other digital cameras and requires less learning curve if you already own a Samsung phone or tablet.
When shopping for a digital camera consider these tips:
Kicking the tires: Whether consulting Consumer Reports or a photography review website like dpreview.com, try to visit a store to handle the camera you are thinking of buying. Make sure that it is not too small or too big in your hands and that the important operational buttons are not awkwardly positioned.
Video mode: Most digital cameras come with “movie” mode. Features such as autofocus and footage quality of at least HD (720P) or Full HD (1080P) is recommended.
Connectivity: If you want to want to wirelessly transfer the pictures to your smart TV, computer or Facebook Timeline, look to see if it has built-in “Wi-Fi” capability.
Megapixels (MP): Comparing similar vintage digital cameras, the physical size of the sensor inside the camera (sensors are responsible for capturing the image), not the number of megapixels, correlates with image quality. Without going into geeky details, you get better quality images if the camera captures more light. A bigger sensor has more area that can capture light so, in theory, it can produce pictures with better image qualities.
Capture modes: This refers to how quickly each photograph can be captured in succession. When photographing a fast moving object, such as your grandchildren during a field day, burst mode should help because it takes several pictures in a fraction of a second with one click of the shutter.
One last tip: If you already own a capable digital camera and only lack the wireless transfer capability, there are memory cards from manufacturers like Eye-Fi and Transcend that can fill the void. To learn more … Google them!
Next issue's topic: Summer vacation technology tips
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DIGITAL WORLD
Am I immune from the “nasties” by using Macs instead of Windows?
A long time ago that may have been the case. These days I consider it an urban legend if you believe that using a Mac makes you immune from the nasties of the digital world by default. Although more computer viruses for Windows are still prevalent, another classification of nasties referred to as “malware” is becoming device agnostic. Whether you use Windows or Macs, building good computer usage habits – aka Internet Street Smarts – can reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Have a question for Tak about computers, software or other technology? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business and technology strategist/consultant with 20+ years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.
As founder of geek with a heart, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.