Consumes Guide to Digital Cameras
Summary & Suggestions

Mt. Gould in Glacier Park

Summary & Camera Recommendations

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of digital cameras available…especially “Point & Shoot” digital cameras. They range in quality from superb to junk that is not even worthy of being deposited in your dumpster. So, with all the dizzying choices available, where do you start?

Well, let’s start with what I’m familiar with : Canon

I’ve owned four different Canon cameras (three different PowerShot “A series” Point & Shoot cameras and one Canon 20d digital SLR camera) and never had a complaint about any of them. And I’ve suggested Canon digital cameras to numerous friends, all of whom have been quite happy with their purchase.

In terms of pure price, features and quality, you will have a very difficult time beating Canon’s Powershot “A Series” of digital cameras. The Powershot “A Series,” while a bit larger and heavier than the “SD Series,” has proven, at least to me, to produce wonderful photographs with superb durability. While you can’t drop it on the pavement and expect it to survive, the Powershot “A Series” line of cameras can survive most knocks and bumps that your typical camera is likely to endure on a vacation or when wandering around town or when out for a night of wild excitement.

The Powershot SD Series is also very reliable, at least if what I’ve heard and read about the camera is true. The advantage of the Powershot SD Series of cameras is that they are smaller and lighter than the Powershot A Series. The SD Series is, in many ways, nearly a "credit card" camera in terms of size. However, while this is no longer such a huge factor as it was several years ago, be warned that the SD Series uses a proprietary battery, where-as the A Series runs on AA batteries. Thus, if your SD Series camera runs out of power while in the field, you’re rather screwed if you don’t have a spare. By contrast, with the A Series, all you have to do is to stop by a convenience store and you’re ready to go.

Of course, Canon isn’t the only game in town. Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Kodak and countless other brands of digital cameras exist. However, I’ve only ever used Canon cameras, so I’m “just not qualified” to recommend/pan the other brands.

Fine...I'll Get a Canon. But What Specs Should I Get?

For a quick and dirty suggestion where the camera is used for general "all-around use" and you want a Point and Shoot type digital camera (recommended for general uses), I would suggest the following:

  • 8-megapixels
  • 4X Optical Zoom
  • Image Stabilization

Yes, you can get by quite nicely with a 6-megapixel digital camera that has 3X Optical Zoom. However, those two extra megapixels give you editing flexibility (as you can crop your images without giving up size), allow you to print up your images at the highest quality at a size of 8x11 inches, and the extra zoom always comes in handy. Additionally, the cost difference now between a 6 and 8 megapixel digital camera is virtually nothing...so spend a few extra dollars and get a LOT more flexibility with your camera in the months and years ahead.

Other Items You WILL Want to Purchase

If you purchase a digital camera, you will want a few extra things beyond the camera. Just so you don’t forget it, I’ve listed these “key items” below.

Memory Cards : No digital camera in the known universe comes with an adequate memory card. As such, plan on getting at least 1 GB worth of memory for your camera. If you plan on taking quite a few photos during your excursions, or will be away from your computer and thus be unable to download the photos to your computer, I’d strongly suggest getting 2 GB or more worth of memory cards. Remember, memory cards are dirt cheap…so it’s stupid to lose that “perfect photo” due to “running out of room” on the memory card.

Camera Case : A camera case to protect the camera in the event of hard knocks and falls is imperative. Camera cases for Point and Shoot digital cameras are inexpensive, and they also have numerous handy pockets to store your memory cards and spare batteries in, too.

Camera Batteries : What type of battery you need will depend on what type of camera you get. If you get a Powershot A Series, you will want to purchase some rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable NiMH batteries (at least the good ones), while expensive to initially buy, will save you mega-money down the road as you’ll never be dependent on overpriced batteries from the store again. Moreover, quality NiMH rechargeable batteries typically, I found, last at least twice as long as normal lead-acid batteries. How many batteries should you get? I found four is all you need….two go into the camera, and you keep two spares with you (neatly tucked away in the camera case you hopefully remembered to buy).

Next Page : Where to Buy Your Camera & Other Camera Stuff

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