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Before you buy: Make sure you buy the camera which is best for you.  go there . . .
What to look for and what it does:features and functions of the digital camera.
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Quick-start guide: start taking pictures right away.
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Versatility: the choices - from pixels to paper.
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Storage media and sharing your photos.  more . . .
Essentials of photography
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Choosing a Digital Camera

What you need to know when choosing your first digital camera.

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.

Here is a brief summary of the main types available.

Budget compact:
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

Ultra compact :
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

Compact :
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, prints.
Price Guide: £300-600

Prosumer :
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

Digital SLR :
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+

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