Camera & Camcorders buying guide

Capturing special moments in our lives has become easier than ever all thanks to the digital camera revolution. In a snap you can capture that fun family moment or the wedding event of the year, and being able to capture every moment in perfect focus with just the push of a button is addictive fun.

But with so many cameras to choose from it can be hard to know where to start. To help you choose we have a simple four-step guide to picking the best type for you.

1. Video or still shots?

With most digital cameras offering reasonable video capabilities, and some even HD recording, it's worth considering whether you need a separate device for video. However, for dedicated video capture a camcorder is still the best solution.

2. Point-and-shoot?

How do you plan to use your camera? If you want to carry it everywhere and just whip it out and take a few shots during the day, a point-and-shoot camera will be the best option for you.

3. Total control

If you want total control over your shots consider a performance digital SLR. SLR cameras are the high-end models with separate lenses, but if these are too bulky then super-zoom models provide a balance of features and size.

4. Weather and water

If you enjoy the great outdoors or playing in water, a number of camera models offer resistance to damage, dust, rain and water. Cases can be also bought separately for underwater use.

Glossary

  • Megapixel (MP): refers to the number of dots that make up a single photo - generally the higher the better, however, above 5 or 6MP the quality of lens becomes more important. To print A4, 5 or 6 MP cameras offer enough quality, but for A3 prints consider a 12MP model.
  • Zoom: is the subject too far away? A good optical zoom brings the subject closer, but be aware, the higher the zoom the more hand wobble you'll suffer. So consider a tripod or check for stabilisation features on the camera.
  • Batteries: most cameras use AA alkaline or lithium ion batteries. Alkaline batteries are great for limited use, but lithium batteries last longer and are rechargeable so are a good investment.
  • Stabilisation: photos can suffer blurring if you move while taking shots, an effect made worse in poor light. Stabilisation features reduce the blur and enhance your image.
  • Memory card: these are used to store your images and video. Memory cards are very compact and come in different formats and capacities, and they make it easy to transfer images to a computer or printer.
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