Digital photography has now become the predominant
photographic process worldwide, and the major companies are scaling
down their commitment to chemical-based systems. Traditional film-fans
will be able to enjoy their branch of photography for the foreseeable
future, but digital is no longer a competitor. It is now the standard.
The range of digital cameras available now exceeds that of mechanical
cameras, and the full range of accessories which make digital complete
is now available at realistic prices.
There is a digital camera for every photographic need.
Digital cameras are often superficially judged by their resolution,
and it is a general rule that the higher the resolution, the better
the camera. In actual fact higher resolution is only necessary if you
will want large prints.
is a brief summary of the main types available.
These cameras are typically all plastic in construction, with limited
features. Image quality is only suitable for small prints but quite
adequate for computer use such as email, or web work. Resolution will
be less than 2Mp (MP=megapixels). There is a good choice of cameras,
and these make excellent point-and-shoot cameras for everyday snapshots.
Price guide: £75-150
Stylish and sleek, these usually have more advanced features than the
budget compacts and so are priced slightly higher. Although great results
can be achieved with these, they don't usually offer the wide range
of manual controls the cameras we'll look at next do. Usually up to
3Mp, occasionally 4 or 5 Mp
Price Guide: £150-300
Far more advanced features and higher image quality. May be slightly
more bulky then the previous two categories and are often more expensive.
If you're a beginner and buy one of these you can be confident it will
be a versatile tool you can grow into rather than be limited by. Expect
3 – 5 Mp resolution, which will be adequate for 10 x 8, or larger,
Price Guide: £300-600
Called prosumer because they're consumer cameras approaching professional
levels of performance. These usually have a wealth of features, excellent
image quality and are the most expensive of the consumer orientated
digital cameras. 4 – 6 Mp
Price Guide: £600-1200
Primarily aimed at professionals, and the more enthusiastic amateur.
They usually have interchangeable lenses, giving a great deal more versatility.
They also offer the best image quality and handling, though all this
results in a higher cost.
Price Guide: £600-1200+