Choos­ing a... Dig­i­tal cam­era

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -

01

A ba­sic dig­i­tal cam­era will suit some­one who wants to take pic­tures to view on their com­puter and cre­ate 7x5in prints. It should cost around £80, but there may be hid­den down­sides such as slow per­for­mance and very ba­sic user con­trols.

02

Spend a lit­tle more and you’ll get a higher res­o­lu­tion. A 16-megapixel sen­sor has the po­ten­tial to pro­duce sharp prints up to A3 size, but only if it and the lens are of a suit­ably high qual­ity. Very high res­o­lu­tions in com­pact cam­eras tend to boost noise more than detail lev­els, so many of the best mod­els strike a sen­si­ble bal­ance by us­ing a 12-megapixel sen­sor.

Back-il­lu­mi­nated CMOS sen­sors tend to pro­duce less noise than CCDs, but check our re­views to find out how a par­tic­u­lar model per­forms.

03

A 3x zoom lens pro­vides you with rea­son­able scope for fram­ing your shots, but a larger range can do won­ders for your pho­tog­ra­phy. Most com­pact cam­eras can man­age a 5x zoom, while pocket-size ul­tra-zoom cam­eras can pro­vide 24x zoom ranges.

Num­bers such as 28-105mm tell you the wide-an­gle and tele­photo lim­its of the zoom range. Big zooms re­quire op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion to avoid blur due to cam­era shake when zoomed right in.

04

Most cam­eras now have a 3in screen. Look out for 460,000-dot or 921,000-dot res­o­lu­tions for a sharper pic­ture. A touch­screen is use­ful for mov­ing the aut­o­fo­cus point.

05

Leave some room in your bud­get for a mem­ory card, as the bun­dled mem­ory pro­vided with a cam­era is never enough. A 16GB card costs less than £10. You may also need to buy bat­ter­ies.

06

Don’t for­get that a cam­era’s spec­i­fi­ca­tion tells you very lit­tle about its im­age qual­ity. You’ll need to read our re­views for that. With a com­pact cam­era, we be­lieve the user shouldn’t have to grap­ple with com­pli­cated con­trols in or­der to take great pic­tures in a range of light­ing con­di­tions.

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