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I'm interested in buying a quality digital camera.I don't have very much knowledge and the more I read, the more confused I become. I want something that is easy to use but is capable of producing excellent pictures. What kind of things should I be looking for? I could pay up to about £350. Any ideas?
I bought a minolta Z1 recently, and the optical zoom of x10 is fantastic.
the more mega pixels the better as this is the size of the chip that actually records the image. check whether this is true size or interpilated (worked out later by the camera). Optical zoom is good. stear well clear of digital zoom, this degrades image quality lots. Battery life is also vital. check to see if rechargables are available. sometimes batteries can end up costing more than having film,by far. You can plug some of the new cameras straight into the printer and print off images, some require a storage device eg compact flash to be connected to the printer. This is a great step forward for the use of these cameras. I hope this helps.
I've got a Sony DSC F-717 and I'm really pleased with it. It works well in automatic mode and you can take control over it too. The pictures it produces are great, and it's got a USB 2.0 connection. Only quibble is that it's a bit slow to fire the shutter.
Your question turns up about once a week somwhere on this forum, but at the present most of the recent discussion has disappeared during the site move.
I hope you have owned a conventional camera in the past because how you used that one, what sort of pictures you took, and how would you have improved on it if you could, will give you a sound framework to have when looking for a digital one.
If you can decide on the basic parameters, then go to a sympathetic and worthy camera shop like Jessops, and get them to answer your questions and let you handle a few.
A few of my suggestions would be.
Look among established names of camera manufacturers, but be prepared for a premium price on Nikon and even Sony. Personally I am delighted with Olympus. Others rave about Fuji and Minolta.
Go for as many pixels as you can afford, but read reviews, some well known cameras don't always have the best lenses.
If you want a zoom lens (which most have), go for optical zoom which is actual, not digital which is like enlarging the image which you can do for yourself in the computer.
The zoom varies from about 3X to 10X. Here is another choice, you pay in two ways for the 10X zoom, it is more costly, and it is physically larger, if all you wanted was a pocket size camera.
As with so many things, penny plain, twopence coloured, if you go for some "features" you will probably also buy a mass of menus and submenus which are great if you like that sort of thing, but can confuse and remain unused after missing the world's best picture while trying to find how to set that gizmo.
Another point already mentioned by Kate B is the delay between pressing the shutter button and anything happening! If you double or treble the price,.... some of the professional cameras have very short delay, but although the time lag is shortening a lot compared with say 3 years ago it is something you will have to accept,
Another good web site for camera reviews click here
And of course there is one at Lidl's 4Mp @ £169. I have one and think it is great! From 4th April
Thank you all for your help. I think I'm in a much better position now to make a decision.
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