Consumer Info

Digital Camera: Buyers Guide

Consumer Information

Shopping for a digital camera

If you are planning on buying online, do some research! This site is meant to be a guide in helping you find the digital camera that is perfect for you.

Figuring out what camera is best for you is probably the hardest part of buying a digital camera.

If you are ordering online, be sure to check out the experiences that other people have had purchasing from certain retailers, unfortunately there are people out there who will rip you off. Check out for evaluations and comments about online retailers. Another good place to see what other people think about products and places is Some of the retailers that have the lowest prices on price searches, may have very low customer ratings. Make sure that if you see a price that is much lower than all of the competitors, be sure that you are getting the whole package. Some vendors will sell just the camera, and not the accessories, and then try to sell the accessories back to you. Make sure that the camera that you order contains the same contents as listed on the manufacturers homepage.

Online auctions and such may seem to have good deals, but don’t forget that used cameras are not worth as much as a new one purchased from a reputable dealer. It is easy to get caught up in a bid war for a camera that you want, but sometimes it is not worth it. Also an easy place to return your camera if it is defective is a nice thing to fall back on if needed.

Memory Cards

Be careful not to scratch the recording surface of the SmartMedia cards, it will wreck them. Also be aware that SmartMedia cards come in two voltages, 3.3V and 5V, make sure you know which one your camera takes.

What digital camera is right for you?

When choosing a digital camera the most important thing to consider is what will you be using the camera for. Will you be; emailing to Grandma, publishing on the web, printing off for home use, or professional layouts? All of these could require a different camera. If all you are going to be doing is emailing the pictures you take to someone, or throwing a few pictures up on your personal web site, you might not need a $1,000 camera. If you are printing off pictures at home on your printer, you may want a higher resolution camera, for 8″x10″‘s you’ll probably want a camera with at least a 1600*1200 pixel resolution. Of course professional level digital cameras get very expensive, upwards of $20,000 in some cases.

Are the pictures going to be mostly indoors, or outside? Bright light, or nighttime? Will you be taking mostly close-ups and portraits, or landscape and wilderness shots? Action shots or party pictures? All of these factors play a big role in choosing a digital camera. You can save a lot of money from opting out of an optical zoom, but if you are going to be taking pictures outdoors, then a zoom comes in very handy.

What kind of camera user are you? Do you just want a point and click camera that is easy to use, and requires you to only know how to press the shutter release button? Or are you a casual user, one who likes to be able to just take the normal everyday point and click pictures, but also wants more, like an adjustable ISO setting for different types of light, or shutter control for action shots? Or are you a power user who wants to be able to control every aspect of your camera, from EV settings, to white balance, and who knows the difference between focal length and barrel distortion? There are cameras who will fit into these categories quite nicely, others will keep up with you as your skills increase, starting with point-and-shoot, and progressing to full manual control.