How to choose the best digital camera for you

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Digital cameras use batteries to power them. The most common batteries used are standard AA batteries and proprietary Lithium Ion batteries. One of the biggest problems with digital cameras is the fact that they run down batteries very quickly indeed. This is true of cameras at all levels. To keep down the running costs we recommend using rechargeable batteries.

Click here to learn more about digital camera batteriesincluding the rating you will need and where you can buy them at a reasonable price. Click to return to Digital Camera Features index. Digital cameras store images on memory cards. Memory cards can therefore be compared with film in a traditional camera. The good news is that inserting a memory card into a digital camera is a lot more straightforward than loading a roll of film. Some digital cameras come with built in cards, although the capacity of built digital camera options features cards is usually limited.

There are many digital camera options features memory cards available, including compact flash, SD cards, xD cards and Memory Stick. Unfortunately digital camera options features cameras normally only use one type of card, therefore you need to make sure that if you buy an additional card it is compatible with your camera.

When a memory card becomes full you can use your camera to delete images that you no longer require. You can also save the images on a card to your computer or onto a CD.

Be aware that cheap CDs can become corrupt and you can lose your photographs. We always digital camera options features buying good quality CDs and making more than one copy. Click here for more information on memory cards. Just about every digital camera comes with zoom.

The important thing to know is that there are two types of zoom, optical and digital. Optical zoom is controlled by a zoom lens in the same way that a traditional camera does. Digital zoom is controlled by software within the camera. It is acknowledged that using optical zoom gives a sharper final image than digital zoom does. Therefore if you are looking to use zoom on a regular basis make sure you buy a camera offering optical zoom. Zoom is normally measured as times on a digital camera.

For example a camera is said to have a 6x zoom lens. The majority of digital cameras are recognised as compact cameras. That means that they will have a built in zoom lens. There are an increasing number of SLR digital cameras. An SLR camera allows you to buy and use additional lenses.

All digital cameras have an automatic mode. This allows you to take the camera out of the box, load the batteries and memory card and start shooting. The camera makes all the key decisions relating to focusing and exposure. More and more digital cameras are offering scene modes. A scene mode is a pre programmed setting for the camera that optimises the exposure for given lighting conditions. For example a camera may have a Landscape Scene Mode.

This means that if you set the camera to this mode and take a picture the final image should be better then it would have been if you used standard Automatic Mode. Changing between scene modes is commonly controlled through a dial on the top or back of the camera or through the cameras menu system. All but the most basic cameras have a built in flash. Don't get carried away by this as one of the most common misconceptions is that the flash will light up large, dark rooms.

As a rule of thumb the distance of a standard built in flash is around three metres. This is reduced if you are using a zoom lens. Many cameras offer a red eye reduction setting for the flash. More advanced digital cameras have hot shoes that let you fit an external speedlight. The majority of digital cameras have a macro or close up mode. This makes sure the camera focuses sharply when digital camera options features take close up pictures.

Most digital cameras have a designated macro button on the back. Press the button and the camera is ready to take a close up. Press the button again and the camera is returned ready for normal focusing. The majority of consumer and high level digital cameras have a movie mode. Exactly what the movie mode does varies from camera to camera. Some cameras allow you to digital camera options features short movies of three minutes or less.

Others allow you to shoot digital camera options features movie until the memory card is full or the batteries have run down. The majority of cameras shoot movies in colour. Almost all allow you to record sound with your movie. Be aware that this isn't always the case.

A common feature of digital cameras at all levels is a self timer. Controlled either by a dedicated button on the camera or through the menu system. Set the self timer on, take up your position and you can be in the picture too.

The digital camera options features timer can also be used to avoid camera shake if you have placed the camera on a tripod or perhaps a wall.

All but the tiniest digital cameras come with an LCD screen. A standard size is 1. Some LCD screens swivel and later models may also offer improved display in bright sunlight. You can use the LCD screen to compose your pictures, use the camera's menu and to display pictures that you have already taken. One of the most common photography problems is red eye. This occurs when using flash in dark conditions and it turns people's eyes red.

The majority of digital cameras come with a flash setting that you can use when taking portraits using the flash that reduces the red eye effect. The ability to change the resolution of the pictures you are taking can come in handy.

For example if you have a five or six megapixel camera then the memory card will start will soon start to fill up. If the pictures you are taking are for use on a computer or for making small prints the pictures taken at a lower resolution will take up less room on the memory card.

You could also set the resolution to a low level that produces images that digital camera options features ready to be emailed or used on a web site. By default a camera automatically focuses on whatever is in the middle of the picture. Digital camera options features works out the best exposure settings in the same way. Sometimes you may wish to have the main subject of the picture off centre.

To focus and set the exposure for an off centre subjects the majority of digital camera options features cameras allow you to lock the focus and exposure. This is achieved placing digital camera options features subject in the centre of the picture and pressing the shutter button half way down.

This locks the exposure and focus. Keeping the shutter button press half way down recompose your picture so that the subject is where you digital camera options features it to be. Press the shutter button down to take the picture. The shutter button is the button you press to take the picture. This digital camera options features the ability to select images and quantities for printing. To use this facility put the camera in playback mode.

Then use the camera's menu system to select digital camera options features images that you want print and the number of each image that you would like.

The images are then tagged with this information. When the images are sent to the processing lab the information is retrieved and they know what to print and how digital camera options features copies are to be made. Pict Bridge is a relatively new feature quickly becoming available across a wide range of digital cameras. This feature allows a digital camera to be connected directly to a printer via a cable. This means that you can print pictures without the need for a computer.

Software onside the camera lets you select the images you want to be printed and sends them to the printer. For this to work the printer also needs to be Pict Bridge compatible. A camera's menu system allows you to change the camera's settings. It depends on the number of features that the camera has as two just how many things are controlled through the menus. Don't be put off by learning that you use menus.

They are displayed on the camera's LCD screen and you commonly use up and down and left and right arrow keys to make your selections. You normally access the menu system by pressing a clearly defined Menu button.

All kinds of settings are changed through the menu. This starts with simple items such digital camera options features the date, time and language to high powered features like placing the camera digital camera options features manual mode. If using a menu system worries you, remember it is possible to use most digital cameras without ever seeing the menus. There is more than one way to upload your pictures to a computer.

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Most digital cameras support a number of digital camera modes for use in various situations. Professional DSLR cameras provide several manual modes; consumer point-and-shoot cameras emphasize automatic modes; and amateur prosumer cameras often have a wide variety of both manual and automatic modes.

Manual-enabled modes give the photographer control over the various parameters of an exposure. For a given exposure, this is an underdetermined system , as there are three inputs but only one output. Accordingly, there are many combinations that result in the same exposure — for example, decreasing the aperture by one stop but increasing the exposure time or sensitivity to compensate, and there are various possible algorithms to automatically choose between these.

Most often, ISO is considered separately, being either set manually or set to Auto ISO, and then only aperture and shutter speed need be determined — either determines the other. In cases where there is camera discretion e. For example, as of [update] , Nikon cameras allow one to set the maximum and minimum ISO sensitivities, and slowest shutter speed that will be used in automatic modes, [4] while Canon cameras will select within the fixed range of ISO —ISO in Auto ISO mode.

In Nikon cameras, the Auto ISO mode first adjusts the shutter speed, keeping ISO at its minimum desired value, then, when shutter speed reaches the user-defined limit, the ISO is increased, up to the maximum value.

In automatic modes the camera determines all aspects of exposure, choosing exposure parameters according to the application within the constraints of correct exposure, including exposure, aperture, focusing, light metering, white balance, and equivalent sensitivity.

For example, in portrait mode the camera would use a wider aperture to render the background out of focus, and would seek out and focus on a human face rather than other image content. In the same light conditions a smaller aperture would be used for a landscape, and recognition of faces would not be enabled for focusing. Some cameras have tens of modes. Many cameras do not document exactly what their many modes do; for full mastery of the camera one must experiment with them.

Aside from the main modes which control exposure, there are usually other, secondary settings common to digital cameras; examples follow. Shooting modes — "Burst" or "rapid fire" mode will take a number of photographs in quick succession, often used when a photograph of a specific instance is needed e. Autofocus modes — autofocus can either activate until a lock is found single, AF-S or be continuously active continuous, AF-C, servo.

Single mode is especially used for stationary subjects, when focus, once found, should stay fixed, while continuous mode is instead used for moving subjects. Some AF systems also include anticipation of position of moving subjects — Canon calls this " AI servo " for " artificial intelligence " — or can automatically switch between single and continuous depending on whether the subject is moving — Canon calls this "AI focus". A separate but often related distinction is between focus priority and release priority — whether the camera will take a picture when the subject is out of focus or not.

In focus priority, the camera will only take a picture when the subject is in focus as detected by the AF system , while in release priority, the camera will take a picture whenever the shutter is pressed. These are usually combined — for stationary subjects, AF is set to single lock when found and release is set to focus priority, while for moving subjects, AF is set to continuous and release is set to release priority. Manual focus is generally in release priority — AF is neither detected nor set.

Focus priority can also be used for the trap focus trick, to take a picture only when a subject hits a focus point, by using AF to detect focus but not set it. Flash modes allow the user to choose between common settings such as " Fill flash " to always use flash, "Auto flash" which will use flash in low-lit areas, "Red-eye reduction" which may flash once before the actual photo in order to shrink the subject's pupils and reduce red-eye, or "Flash off" which will never use flash.

Flash can have its own exposure compensation — how brightly it flashes — which allows one to independently adjust the exposure of the foreground lit by flash and background out of flash range. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it.

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