Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas/Winter 2006

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Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukDigital Camera Buyer’s GuideChristmas/Winter 2006Cameras.co.ukPage1 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukBuying a Digital Camera. 41.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.Entry Level Digital Cameras . 4Super Zoom Digital Cameras . 4Pocket Sized Digital Cameras . 4Stylish Digital Cameras . 5High Specification Compact Digital Cameras. 5Water Resistant Digital Cameras . 5Advanced Digital Cameras. 5Digital SLRs. 6Professional Digital SLRs. 6Market Trends. 7Megapixels . 7Zoom . 7Size . 7Price . 7LCD Screens . 7Image Stabilisation . 8ISO .8AF Assist Illuminator. 8Shutter Lag. 8Wi-Fi . 8Types of Digital Cameras . 9Entry Level Digital Cameras. 9Super Zoom Digital Cameras . 12Pocket Sized Digital Cameras. 14Stylish Digital Cameras . 18High Specification Compact Digital Cameras. 20Water Resistant Digital Cameras . 22Advanced Digital Cameras. 24Digital SLRs . 26Professional Digital SLRs. 28Help Centre .30Digital Camera Features . 30All About Memory Cards . 30Shutter Lag Comparison Table . 30How Many Pixels Do You Need? . 30Make Your Batteries Last Longer. 30Printing Photographs. 30How Much Zoom Do You Need?. 30Where to Buy . 30Digital Camera Prices. 31Reviews. 31Digital Camera Ratings . 31Page2 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukWhat’s Next? . 32Page3 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukBuying a Digital CameraBuying a digital camera can seem so difficult. There are so many different cameras,brands and features. It can be hard to narrow your search down to find the right camerafor you.The aim of this guide is to point you in the right direction so that you buy a digital camerathat suits your own individual requirements and you enjoy using.The big question is where to start. With this in mind I have broken down the manydifferent types of digital cameras into nine categories.1. Entry Level Digital CamerasRanging in price between 80 and 125 these cameras are straightforward andeasy to use. They are suitable for anyone who is looking for a no fuss digitalcamera and does not want to spend a fortune on one.Read more 2. Super Zoom Digital CamerasIf the type of photos you take dictates you cannot get in too close then a superzoom model could be the answer. These are often snapped up by peopleinterested in wildlife or sports photography. Although some cameras in thiscategory are point and shoot type models the majority offer a wide range ofcontrols and features. This includes fully manual exposure. These cameras willnormally appeal to someone who sees photography as a bit of a hobby.Read more 3. Pocket Sized Digital CamerasDigital cameras small enough to fit into even the tightest pocket are becomingmore and more popular. They tend to have a good build quality with metalbodies. They are not cheap and cost between 150 and 250. In terms offeatures they tend to be fairly basic. This type of camera is likely to be attractiveto someone who likes to take a camera everywhere they go and does not mindpaying a little extra for one.Read more Page4 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.uk4. Stylish Digital CamerasStylish digital cameras have a number of similarities with pocket sized digitalcameras, but are a bit larger. It is hard to find one with less than five megapixelsand they routinely have between six and eight. They have a good build qualityand are also easy to use. Picture quality is normally among the best you can getfrom a point and shoot camera. They cost in the region of 200 - 300. This typeof camera is attractive to people who like ease of use, extra quality and are nottoo concerned by the cost.Read more 5. High Specification Compact Digital CamerasIf you like the idea of being able to take control of shutter speeds and aperturesizes then these cameras allow you to do so. With a price tag between 160 and 325 they offer an opportunity to pick up a camera with controls similar to thoseyou find on an SLR without paying out a fortune. To keep the cost of thesecameras down they have plastic bodies and lack the build quality of Stylish digitalcameras.Read more 6. Water Resistant Digital CamerasWater resistant digital cameras are very hard to come by. There are a fewweatherproof models available, but I class water resistant as able to beimmersed in water. The cameras that are available tend to be quite straightforward in terms of ease of use and have a good build quality. If you are lookingfor a digital camera to take diving then you should also be aware that there are awide range of digital cameras that you can buy underwater housing for.Read more 7. Advanced Digital CamerasThese cameras usually combine a long zoom lens, wide range of features and agood build quality. They are a clear step up from the High SpecificationCompacts. They are also larger. In terms of features they compare quite closelywith the more basic Digital SLRs. They cost from 325 upwards and aretherefore a cheaper option than buying an SLR body and lenses. With theirfeature set and price tag they are most likely to appeal to someone who seesphotography as a hobby.Read more Page5 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.uk8. Digital SLRsAs technology advances and prices have fallen we have seen the introduction ofDigital SLRs for under 400. With a full set of features these cameras appeal toenthusiasts who are serious about their photography. It is always worth takinginto account that you will need to buy lenses separately to the body. With thequality of the lens being paramount to taking good quality photos you need tomake sure your leave enough in your budget to buy lenses as well as the camerabody itself.Read more 9. Professional Digital SLRsOne of the most noticeable differences between the Professional Digital SLRsand the cheaper models is their build quality. Many of these cameras are built towithstand the rigors of life out in the field. Price varies greatly from 1000 to 6000 as people look to buy the ultimate in digital camera technology. Strictly forthe professional or the enthusiast with money to spend.Read more Page6 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukMarket TrendsMegapixelsThe number of megapixels a typical digital camera has continues to increase. Forexample the majority of the latest batch of pocket sized digital cameras have sevenmegapixels, up from six in the spring of 2006. It fact there are models offering tenmegapixels now. Even entry level cameras are likely to have six megapixels. In fact it ishard to find a three or four megapixel camera any more.The effect of increasing the number of megapixels means that you can make biggerprints. Don’t be fooled though. A greater number of megapixels do not necessarily meanbetter picture quality. A camera with fewer megapixels, a high class lens and the abilityto produce brilliant colours is a better bet than a camera with a larger number ofmegapixels, but offering out of focus photos and washed out colours.ZoomIn a similar way to megapixels being on the increase you will also find the length of zoomlenses is increasing. At the moment this is not a dramatic increase, but cameras withthree times zoom lenses are being upgraded in places to four megapixels. There is alsogreater choice if you are looking for a six times optical zoom. A standard super zoomdigital camera has increased in capacity from ten times to twelve times zoom.SizeWhen it comes to size the opposite is happening. Digital cameras are still getting smallerand smaller. More and more cameras are appearing in pocket sized form. Some of thepocket sized models are getting even slimmer too.PriceEarly indications from the latest releases are that prices are continuing to fall. It is nowmuch easier to find digital cameras around the 100 mark than it ever was before. At thetop end of the market prices has fallen and are likely to go further down. This hasalready made Digital SLRs much more affordable. This area is likely to show a healthygrowth rate in sales.LCD ScreensLarger LCD screens are catching on. This is a very useful innovation. A larger screencan make so much difference when composing or reviewing a photo. Pocket sized andstylish digital cameras are leading the way. More and more cameras are appearing witha 2.5” screen and some have hit the 3” mark. It is hard to see how screens could get anybigger than this. The downside of this trend is that viewfinders are disappearing fast. It isbecoming harder and harder to find a consumer level digital camera with a viewfinder.Page7 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukImage StabilisationThis is a feature that is turning up on more and more digital cameras. It helps to createsharper photos by reducing blur caused by hand shake. Judging from the questions Ireceive a lot of people are interested in it. Last year it crept in on some Super Zoomdigital cameras, but now we have started to see it on cameras with much shorter lenses.There are different types of Image Stabilisation. One method works through gyroscopesin the lens. The other works through software in the camera. Personally I would notworry too much if you buy a digital camera that does not have this feature. It cancertainly make a difference with the Super Zoom models, but I would not see this as amust have feature on a more standard sized lens.ISOISO ratings used to be used to measure how sensitive film was to light. The higher theISO rating the easier it was for film to capture light. This means that if you are taking apicture in lowlight by using a high ISO rating the picture should come out brighter. Not solong ago it was hard to find a consumer level camera offering an ISO rating above ISO400. Now there are consumer cameras offering ISO 1600, with ISO 3200 on its way. Tobe honest though in the tests I have carried out most cameras show a clear loss ofpicture quality at ISO 400. Therefore I would not get too excited by the changes in thisarea just yet.AF Assist IlluminatorAn AF (Auto Focus) Illuminator is a little known and underrated feature. It transmits abeam of light that helps a camera to focus in low light. It is quite a common feature, butthe good news is that more and more cameras have one. Without one it is very difficultfor the camera to focus indoors.Shutter LagAt the time of writing the latest batch of digital cameras are only just hitting the shelf.Therefore I have not been able to test them just yet. I hope that improvements havebeen made in this area. Shutter lag is the delay time between pressing the shutter buttonand the picture being recorded. It spoils many a good photo, especially at the cheaperend of the market.Wi-FiWi-Fi is the ability to transmit images directly to your PC from a camera without the needto attach the camera directly to the computer with a USB cable. Nikon are leading theway in this area and already offer a small number of cameras with this feature. Beforeyou rush out and buy you need to make sure your computer has the necessarytechnology to receive the images you send it.Page8 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukTypes of Digital CamerasEntry Level Digital CamerasEntry level digital cameras tend to cost somewhere between 85 and 120. You can buycheaper, but if you are looking for a current digital camera from a name brand then thisis the sort of price that you will need to expect to pay.At the time of writing this type of camera commonly has between four and sixmegapixels. Three megapixel models are now rare with most models having four, five orsix megapixels.Within this category cameras tend to have fewer features than more standard digitalcameras. The upside of this is that they are easier to use. In fact one of the biggestadvantages of this type of digital camera is ease of use. This is an area wheremanufacturers have put in a great deal of effort over the last couple of years and manycameras are now very straightforward.Obviously you have to accept that these digital cameras will have some limitations whencompared to more expensive models. The cameras are routinely made of plastic andthere is often a noticeable difference in their build quality when compared to other typesof digital camera.You are also likely to find that the cameras struggle indoors and in lowlight in general.This problem leads to a degree of blurring in photos where the camera is unable to focusproperly and also a darkening of each photo. There are exceptions to this rule if you lookaround.Shutter lag is also an issue. This is the time between pressing the shutter button and thepicture being taken. This can lead to photo opportunities being missed. There are asmall number of cameras available that can overcome this problem, but there are alarger number where this is a major flaw.Another area where cameras can suffer from limitations is with the movie mode. For TVquality movies I recommend a resolution of 640 x 480 and a recording speed of 30frames per second. Many cameras in this category cannot meet these requirements.You may also find examples where no sound is recorded and the recording time for themovie is strictly limited.In an effort to keep costs down many digital cameras no longer come with a viewfinder.Another reason for this trend is the increasing size of LCD screens. Even some entrylevel models now boast screen sizes of 2.5”.Pros:PriceEase of useCons:Page9 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukIndoor photosSmall LCD screensShutter lagLimited movie modeBuild qualityLatest ModelsCameraMegaPixels Zoom Click for:Kodak EasyShare C4334Specification3xLowest PriceSpecificationKodak EasyShare C74373xLowest PriceSpecificationNikon Coolpix L575xLowest PriceSpecificationNikon Coolpix L663xLowest PriceSpecificationOlympus FE-17063xLowest PriceSpecificationOlympus FE-18063xLowest PriceSpecificationOlympus FE-20065xLowest PricePage10 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukSpecificationPentax Optio M2073xLowest PriceSpecificationSony DSC S50063xLowest PricePage11 of 32

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006Cameras.co.ukSuper Zoom Digital CamerasIf you are looking for a digital camera suitable for sports or wildlife photography then aSuper Zoom model could be the answer. These tend to vary in price between 150 and 320. This is certainly the cheapest option if you are looking for a powerful zoom lens.At present the zoom capability tends to be either 10x or 12x. This equates to a focallength in 35mm format of around 36-432mm. Some of the cameras can also use teleconverter lenses to further increase the telephoto capacity. To add one of these can addan extra 100 to the cost though. In most instances you will also need to purchase alens adapter before you can fit the lens converter. If this appeals to you then you need tocheck before you buy to ensure your camera has this facility.Almost all the super zoom cameras I have tested offer fully manual exposure controls.This includes aperture and shutter priority. The more expensive ones offer a very widerange of features. This makes them suitable for people who see photography as a hobbyrather than someone who is looking for a digital camera to take a few snapshots with.Most of the cameras are designed along the lines of a traditional SLR camera. Thisenables you to get a good grip on them when you take a shot. The downside of this isthat they can be heavy and bulky. You need to take this into consideration when buyingand I would suggest considering a camera bag to carry them around with.When you use cameras with long lenses there is a tendency for camera shake tobecome an issue. This is accentuated in lowlight and any time when you are using aslow shutter speed. Manufacturers have attempted to combat this to some degree byintroducing image stabilisat

Nov 08, 2006 · Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide Christmas 2006 Cameras.co.uk Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide . you find on an SLR without paying out a fortune. To keep the cost of these . Early indications from the latest releases are that prices are continuing to fall. It is now much easier to find digital

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