camera buying guide

Best Deals on digital cameras

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Buying the right camera is more important in my opinion than searching for a great camera deal.
A good value at a good price is a deal.

Ask yourself these questions:
* What is the primary use of the camera you are buying? (photos of kids, friends and family, using it mostly while traveling/vacation, taking photos is a hobby, passionate about photography, etc)
* What will be the primary use of the photos you will be taking (Share them with family and friends online, print them and put them in album or hang them on the wall, Get wows- great feedback from viewers for your photos, make money with photos you take, etc)
* What is important in your camera purchase (price, image quality, camera size, brand-name, HD-Video, something special- what is it?-, etc)

Every digital camera is a small computer- a computer with hardware as well as software. When we buy a computer, we pay attention to hardware first (CPU speed, memory, graphic card etc) and then to software (operating system, browser, word processing, etc.)
Same thing goes with a digital camera.

In my opinion, try to look for the best hardware in your camera. Besides its built quality, look and feel, the most important parts in a digital camera are- Sensor (type and size) and lens. Try to buy a camera with large enough sensor. The larger the sensor, the better image quality and more situations where your camera can work. Same thing about lens. The bigger the better. Have you seen most compact and subcompact cameras do a miserable job with a night shot or a low light situation? or in an action shot? Have you seen them fail miserably when you are tying to shoot your son’s basketball game or your daughter’s soccer game? These are the situations when a tiny sensor and a small lens can’t do much for you.
Above these two important hardware pieces are the software parts which manipulate what the ‘the light passing through the lens in x amount of time with (xxx iso) sensitivity and falling on the sensor’ has captured. The digital processing adds brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc. Remember you can play with all these things with Photoshop or free software like Picasa.  I am not trying to underestimate the importance of the software part of the camera.  I am just saying that if you do not like something in the photo you took with your camera, you cay most of the time fix that in your computer with software provided with your camera or with free software like Picasa. You can also buy some software like Photoshop CS or Portrait Professional that will let you do so many things.

So here is my camera buying guide:

1. Compact cameras: Cameras you can keep in your pocket or purse. They have 3 to 4x zoom.
Great fit for:
* Portability- keep in your purse or pocket so you can shoot a photo whenever you want.
* Works great if all your photos are taken with ample day light.
* Most of the photos are of people/faces
* The use of the photos are for uploading on facebook or Picasa to share with family and friends

These cameras cost from $50 to $200.
Personal hint:  Do not spend more than an hour in deciding which camera to buy.  Save time in research.  You do not need more than 6MP camera in most situations.

2. Compact Camera with ultra-zoom. The zoom is from 10x to 20x

* These cameras are easy to carry but sorry, you can not fit them in your pocket.
* So if you like to go out in the nature and you like to travel, then I would recommend you to buy this cameras instead of tiny cameras.
* Usually they have better/bigger lens than the compact cameras so their picture quality is normally better.
My personal favorites: Panasonic cameras with Leica lens.

(to be continued)