The first step is deciding whether to buy a professional (DSLR) camera or a fixed lens digital camera. The following table shows the advantage and disadvantage of each.
Digital SLR (DSLR) Camera Advantages
- Ultimate quality of photos and videos
- low-light shooting
- No shutter lag
- Versatile interchangeable lenses
- Manual controls for exposure and focus
- Optical viewfinder
Fixed Lens Camera Advantages
- Easy to use
- Portable (it varies depending on features)
- Good mode settings
Digital SLR (DSLR) Camera Disadvantages
- lack of portability
- Harder to use (at first, compared to simple Fixed Lens camera)
Fixed Lens Camera Disadvantages
- It may lack manual mode
1- OPTICAL ZOOMOptical zoom allows you to take the photo from any distance. Higher zoom means better quality. Also, look for image stabilization features for better quality picture at high zoom.
2-RESOLUTIONMore pixel count produces sharper images at a larger size. It also allows you to crop the picture and resize the shots. Photos at high pixel require more space on the memory card. However, you can adjust the setting on your camera so that you use high resolution for selected photos only.
3-IMAGE SENSORThe sensor detects your image. Larger sensors lead to better shots regardless of the unit’s resolution
4-SHUTTER LAGThis is the time between pressing the button and capturing the image. If you plan to do sports or action photography you have to minimize the shutter lag, because you don’t want to miss the perfect shot. Also check for “continuous shooting” which is number of frames per second. Depending on use, it could be very important.
5-STARTUP TIMECheck to see how long the camera takes to power on and snap a first shot. One second or less is considered very fast. Match your use with the start up time you need. If you want your camera up and ready at any occasion (sports, action photography), this is an important feature to consider.
6-ISO RATINGSHigher ISO rating allow for better photos at different conditions. The quality of photos taken at low light improve significantly as the ISO rating increase. In some situation such as a very dark room, the only way to shoot a recognizable photo is with high ISO.
7- LCDAll digital cameras have an LCD screen; these vary in size from 1.8 to 3.5 inches.
Bigger LCD provide more accuracy before taking the shot. It also provides a better display of your just-taken photos.