Can you name the best 3 digital cameras to buy for under $200? How about the worst? It can be pretty intimidating for those unfamiliar with digital camera technology to really know if their getting value for their dollar, or just getting ripped off. How do you distinguish the flood of technical specifications between important features, and marketing hype? Knowing what to look for and what to ignore can help ease your buying decision. And save you money.
First things first. Let me just say, that megapixels (MP) don’t mean a damn thing anymore. I know, I know. The biggest print on the digital camera ads and packaging next to the manufacturers name is the number of megapixels the camera can store. The first thing some salesman is going to tell you about, is the number of megapixels. Just ignore them. Five or six years ago, when the majority of cameras had below 4MP, it was a significant item to consider when deciding which digital camera to buy. Today, it’s practically impossible to buy a new digital camera with less than 6MP. The manufacturers (all of them) still continue to flaunt megapixels, like it’s the holy grail of digital imaging. It’s really a disservice to the consumer and they know it.
In fact, cramming too many megapixels into a camera with too small an image sensor can seriously degrade your image. You end up with too much noise in your pictures. In addition, more megapixels means you need bigger memory cards, and more room on your computer to store your pictures. That’s just an added expense for you the consumer. Image sensor size (CCD) would be a better specification to judge your buying decision on, but your going to have to dig through the fine print to find that.
Bigger LCD’s are a big sales point these days with manufacturers and sales staff alike. In this case size is nice, but there are
. LCD resolution is important to consider as well. It allows you to view the LCD from off center, and ensures that likelihood that you’ll be able to view your screen in bright sunlight. Unless your budget is under $150, I wouldn’t settle for a LCD resolution less than 230,000 pixels. If you do buy a digital camera with a large LCD (3 inch or more), be sure the camera has an old fashion optical viewfinder as well. That’s the little square glass piece you can look into to frame your picture when your batteries have been sucked nearly dry by your big LCD screen. It’s a nice option to have.