Digital Cameras Buying GuideHide

Digital cameras were first introduced hardly a decade ago and have undergone some major changes in the process. What once were expensive, low-quality, functionally limited devices have now become affordable, efficient, highly-functional cameras that often outsell most categories of their film-based counterparts.

There are many selling points for switching from film to digital. There are no processing or film costs, you get the advantage of immediately viewing just-shot images, virtually instant uploads to your computer and the Web, quick and easy editing and fine-tuning, and the ability to generate high-quality photographs with almost any inkjet printer. In trying to decide which camera is right for you, you must keep in mind how much you're willing to spend, and what features are most important to you. Usually, inexpensive digital cameras generally come equipped with fewer features. They can produce fair to good but not excellent images. More expensive digital cameras usually offer a long list of features, and image quality tends to be very good or excellent. Read through this guide to decide which camera is right for you.


These are such simple, limited, point-and-shoot devices. Most have a fixed lens (no focus, zoom, close-up, or macro capability), a simple optical viewfinder (no LCD viewfinder), no flash, and only built-in memory (no removable memory card). These cameras have low resolution which relatively is the key factor in producing great image results. These cameras are also distinguishable by their small size. A digital camera in this price range is satisfactory if you want the least expensive, easiest-to-use unit that's easy to take anywhere, and you aren't concerned about getting only poor-to-fair image quality.



These cameras are very basic and standard with no fancy options or features making it very user-friendly. These cameras often come with an LCD viewfinder, removable memory, and a 1- to 2-megapixel image sensor. They are basically point-and-shoot cameras, with image quality being generally good to very good. A digital camera in this price range is great if you are on a limited budget, and don't need all the fancy features of a more expensive and advanced digital camera.



These digital cameras are probably the best overall value for the price. They have adequate features, usability, and a decent pixel count. They are relatively simple to use, most are between 2 and 4 megapixel devices, have auto-focus zoom lenses with macro capability, and include such basic features as built-in flashes, LCD viewfinders, and slots for removable memory cards. There are additional features which can include exposure compensation, manual f-stops and shutter speeds, white-balance controls, burst mode capability, video out jacks, the ability to capture short video clips, and program modes for photographing at night, making portraits, shooting black-and-white or sepia photos, and capturing landscapes.
A digital camera in this price range is perfect if you want your camera to have an optical zoom lens, capable of great image quality, larger prints, limited manual control, and some special features.



These cameras come with a long list of features and have great picture quality with their 3 to 5 megapixel image sensor. These units can have everything from auto-focus zoom lenses; several program modes; manual f-stop and shutter speed settings; and aperture and shutter priority modes. These cameras also feature faster burst modes than lower-level cameras, can do auto-bracketing, and incorporate image enhancement capabilities such as flash-intensity adjustments and color, contrast, and brightness controls. Digital cameras in this price range are perfect if you need certain image effects or improvements and are knowledgeable enough to apply manual settings.



Professional digital cameras are top of the line cameras that produce amazing photographs indistinguishable from regular film cameras. They accommodate interchangeable lenses, have sophisticated 4 to 6 megapixel image sensors and include a variety of accessories. Their prices have lowered significantly, yet pro cameras can still be considered very expensive, especially because they are sold as bodies only which means that you must purchase lenses and accessories separately. To choose a digital camera in this price range is suitable if you want a camera system that gives you lens interchangeability, film-camera-like performance and image quality, total manual control and if price is not an issue.