Buying A Digital Camera: What To Look For?

Many people buy a digital camera based on its look or how quickly it can point and shoot. However, we’re here to show you that there’s more to finding a good quality camera than that. We’ve compiled a list of the factors you’ll need to consider when buying a new camera – here’s what to look for.

Memory And Memory Cards

The internal memory of your digital camera will only be capable of storing a few images at once – look for the maximum image rating to find out how many photos your camera can store at the lowest resolution. As a guide, a 5 megapixel camera with 64MB of memory will store around 24 images at high resolution. So how do you get additional storage? For storing many photos at once, you’ll need a memory card. We recommend purchasing around 1GB of additional storage before going on holiday with your camera to ensure you can snap away without having to worry about running out of space.

Resolution (Megapixels Or MP)

Canon IXUS 160 Camera (20 megapixel)
Canon IXUS 160 Camera (20 megapixel),

Images are made up of lots of tiny dots, known as pixels. The higher the resolution on your camera, the larger the photos you’ll be able to print without compromising on the quality of the image. 5 megapixel cameras will produce quality prints at 6×4, 7×5 or 10×9 inches (the size most photo frames hold).


The size of the lens you need depends on what you’ll be using your camera for. Lenses shorter than 50mm are considered ‘wide-angle’ and these are ideal for capturing landscape shots. Anything longer than 50mm is recommended for capturing close up photos or for zooming in on faraway objects.


Canon EOS 750D - DSLR
Canon EOS 750D – DSLR (optical viewfinder),

There are three different types of viewfinders: reverse Galilean (used for point-and-shoot cameras), TTL optical (through the lens – found on DSLRs), and EVF (electronic viewfinder). They are found on more advanced cameras and require the user to hold the camera up to their eye in order to see the full shot. If you’re going to be recording a lot of video footage, you’ll find an EVF useful for playing back and editing. If you’re shooting action though, a TTL optical viewfinder is ideal as it will show you the action while it is happening.

Battery Life

The majority of digital cameras use lithium ion battery packs while are rechargeable and more cost-effective than standard AA batteries. What’s more, the battery life is greater which is handy if you’re out and about shooting continuously.

Optical Zoom

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 (50x optical zoom)
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX300 (50x optical zoom),

The optical zoom function allows you to zoom in on an object before taking a photo, giving you a much clearer image. It stands in contrast to digital zoom which enlarges the image once the photo has been taken. Look for a minimum of 5x optical zoom – the bigger the zoom, the sharper the image quality.

Manual Settings

While the automatic controls on digital cameras are useful for beginners, advanced photographers will appreciate the full control available from manual settings – giving you the ability to set the exact aperture size, shutter speed and ISO speed you need for capturing the image just as you want.

Shutter Speed And Aperture Priority

Canon Powershot SX-60 HS
Canon Powershot SX-60 HS,

Setting the shutter speed gives you greater control over the amount of motion blur when capturing an image. The aperture priority allows you to change the F-value on the camera to control whether the object or the background is the focal point of the shot.

Face Detection

Many cameras offer face detection – a feature which automatically detects the people who will be in the shot. This is an ideal function to have if you’re shooting in poorly-lit conditions as you’ll easily be able to identify where the subjects of the photo are when taking the shot, for a better-quality image.

Continuous Shooting

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72,

Continuous shooting allows your camera to capture the shot multiple times per second. It is measured in frames per second – the higher the frame rate, the more photos will be taken. This feature is especially useful if you’re shooting action and ensures you don’t miss the crucial moment.

So now you know what to look for, browse the full range of digital cameras available at BT Shop today.










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