Digital cameras have become all the rage and it is common to find one in every household. From a hi-tech, luxury item, they have become must-have accessories for every occasion and users cannot get enough of the convenience and quality offered by digital cameras or digicams, as they are called. Digicams are very different from conventional cameras. They operate electronically and with a help of a computer as opposed to the chemical and mechanical processes used by conventional cameras. Since images are stored digitally (in the form of 1′s and 0′s), a digicam can store a far larger number of images than a conventional camera, and, with the improvement in digital imaging technology, digicams are being used even by professionals to produce high quality images.
To most general consumers however, the two main noticeable benefits of a digicam are the ease of handling while capturing photos and the ease with which the photos can be shared, printed and stored for life. Due to their growing demand, digital cameras are manufactured by various companies. Some companies like Sony or Cannon manufacture digital cameras along with various other electronic and digital products for consumers, while others specialize only in imaging products and technology like Kodak. The most reliable digital cameras, however, are manufactured by companies specializing in a range of optical devices – lenses, scanners, imaging technology and software, for e.g. Nikon digital cameras. Buying a digital camera can be a bit pricey, and you will obviously be intending to use it for a long time – therefore, investing in a good, reliable brand is worth it.
Most find themselves at a loss while deciding which digital camera to buy. The choice isn’t that easy. You will realize that one manufacturer offers almost 20 different varieties with specifications that might as well be written in Arabic. However, you really needn’t know everything, unless you’re a professional photographer (in which, of course, you will already know everything). For a simple family-use digicam, you just need to have a few criteria in order and making a decision is easy.
There are a few basic questions you need to ask yourself before buying a camera. However, the first thing you need to do is decide how you’re going to use it, since your answers will vary accordingly. If you’re the kind who likes to go hiking and camping, then the most important aspect in a digital camera is battery life. There are no charging points in the wild, so you will need something that can run on AA batteries in the absence of an adapter. Battery powered digicams are hard to find — only three Nikon digital cameras belong to the L-series are battery powered.
Megapixels are another thing everyone seems to be high on. The truth is a 9 MP is not very different from an 8.5 or 8MP. However, there will be a lot of difference between an 8MP and a10MP. Very few digicams have less than 8 MP, most come in the range upside of 10MP. 10 MP works great for long range photographs or family portraits you intend to blow up. In fact, there is only one Nikon digital camera that has 8 MP.
Another thing you need to account for is the zoom. There are two kinds: optical and digital. The important one is the optical since it represents the zoom factor of the lens itself. Digital zoom on the other hand represents how much the digicam technology can enlarge the picture once you’ve captured it. However, a high zoom factor is important only if your photography requires a lot of detailing – as it is with wildlife or nature photography. As it turns out, the moderately priced cameras have a zoom factor of 3 or 3.5. Then there are the ones with 24X zoom like the Coolpix P90 Nikon digital camera which will probably cost you a whole family holiday. Thankfully, there is a large range of Nikon digital cameras with an affordable zoom factor.