Picking Up a Digital Camera Gift

So you have decided to buy a digital camera for someone. Digital cameras are hot gift items. They are also high tech devices with many features and options. This article will try to help you pick up the right digital camera by understanding the considerations when buying one.

Current camera: If the gift receiver is already using a digital camera you should get the model number, the memory storage and the accessories they have. In such cases getting a digital camera would only make sense if you can afford to buy a new digital camera that is significantly better than the current one they have. A better camera is not simply one that has more mega pixels. As you will see later other considerations like lenses, flash and battery are no less important.

Photography and technology level: If the gift receiver is savvy when it comes to technology and photography you can consider higher end cameras that allow more flexibility and options but are harder to use. Digital SLR cameras fall into that category. If the receive is not into photography or technology you might want to choose a camera that is easier to use such as a digital point a shoot one. It can result in high quality pictures, is easy to use and thus can be very satisfactory to the amateur user.

Expected usage: What is the expected usage of the camera? It is hard to answer this question but you can try to estimate based on knowing the gift receiver. For example if he or she travel a lot for long periods you want to pay attention to features such as camera weight, size, battery life and memory storage. If he or she hardly travel these features are less important.

Additional cost: The cost of owning a digital camera is not limited to the money paid to purchase the camera. In most cases the owner will spend more money on accessories and other additional products. When giving a gift you want to make sure that the receiver would not have to spend more money in the near future for such additional accessories. To make sure that it does not happen the gift should include additional accessories such as batteries, memory cards, lenses and cables as needed.

How many megapixels: It is hard to avoid this question. New cameras are packed with an ever increasing number of mega pixels. Is more mega pixels better? it really depends. More mega pixels is important if the receiver is going to print photos (especially enlargements) or if they are going to zoom in and crop fine details out of big photos. If they just plan to view the photos on their computer screen and maybe print a few 4X6 prints every now and then than 2 or 3 mega pixels is more than enough (yes… just 2 or 3). When buying a gift you would want to buy what is considered the standard megapixels number to date. A good advice is to buy what is considered standard. If after budgeting for extra accessories you still have more money to spend on the gift you can always go for a higher megapixels number.

Batteries: There are two kind of batteries that can power a digital camera: disposable or rechargeable. The advantages of disposable batteries are that it is easy to buy a few, carry them and replace the ones that are empty. They are available in any store and thus very convenient when traveling. The disadvantages of disposable batteries are the cost of buying new batteries every time your batteries are empty and the capacity (in most cases disposable batteries do not last as long as good rechargeable batteries). Disposable batteries are not friendly to the environment you do not want to get them for someone who is environmentally conscious. Rechargeable batteries require only one purchase. The disadvantage is that if you run out of batteries during a photo shooting session or somewhere away from home or a power supply you can not just buy another battery. If you know that the gift receiver travels a lot and might be involved in long photo shooting session you might want to include an extra battery in your gift.

Zoom: There are two types of zoom optical and digital. Optical zoom works by physically moving the camera’s lenses and changing the focal length. By changing the focal length you can make objects appear bigger and fit the full photo frame. Digital zoom works by applying built-in software in the camera to define a portion of interest in the photo. Once chosen the software crops the rest of the photo and enlarges the area you chose to fit the complete photo frame. The downside of this digital process is that the enlarged photo quality is lower than the original photo’s. The conclusion is that optical zoom is superior to digital zoom. From a practical point of view digital zoom should not be considered zoom at all.

Some manufacturers state the camera’s zoom figure without specifying if it is optical or digital. This information is confusing and done on purpose to inflate their real zoom numbers. When you compare different cameras zoom always compare their optical zoom capabilities. You can totally ignore the digital zoom figures.

By: Chris Marshall

About the Author:

This article can be reprinted as long as the resource box including the backlink is included. Ziv Haparnas is a veteran technologist. You can find more information on digital photo printing and photography in general on printrates.com – a site dedicated to digital photo printing Ziv Haparnas writes about science and technology.

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