Guide to buying a digital camera

The digital camera market today offers buyers a large number of choices, with products in widely differing price ranges, sizes and degree of operational complexity. From miniatures the size of a credit card, to fully functional professional SLR (Single Lens reflex) systems, you can buy a digital camera from manufacturers including traditional camera brands such as Canon, Olympus, Kodak, Sony. Then there are other options that include the mobile phone manufacturers, and webcam suppliers.
The advantages of digital photography are numerous. Topmost is the fact that there is no film processing: expensive both in cost and time. But there is also the advantage of smaller sized equipment, portable media and instant picture viewing. And if you don't like what you see, you simply delete it and shoot again: no wastage.
If you like to take pictures, being a digital photographer makes a lot of sense. But which camera is the best one for you? In a field of excess abundance, how do you narrow down what you need? How much to pay? How many megapixels? (What are they anyway?) Which brand? How much memory?

Every shopper is different.

At MyShopping.com.au we recognise this fact, and so we list practically all brands and models from hundreds of suppliers. These listings include the cold hard digital data facts about each camera and a range of comparative pricings offered by different suppliers. But just as every shopper is different, every photographer is different too. And just having the facts may not make you feel any more knowledgeable about which camera is right for you.
You could begin with the question: What sort of pictures will you take with your new digital camera? This is a valid starting point because from here you can begin to qualify your requirements in terms of technical capability and price. What sort of pictures will you take with your new digital camera? Is it simply for happy snaps whenever you get together with friends and family at weekends and holidays? Or are you a serious bird watcher and you want to capture nature at its finest? Perhaps you want a camera for work to record your inventory, or recording information from a client. Maybe you're a PI on a mission. The point is, you need to begin by recognising that your reason for buying a digital camera may not be the same as that of your best friend who is recommending the model she bought.
Once you've figured out the sort of pictures you are going to take, you can then set about deciding on the type of camera that will meet your needs. If you need something highly portable that fits in your shirt pocket or your handbag and lets you take it anywhere you go, make size a big consideration. If you want to take seriously good photographs, and you want to pursue an artistic endeavour, make image flexibility your main concern.
It might also be worthwhile considering your own position in the digital photography experience. Are you a novice about to buy your first camera, do you have some intermediate experience, or are you an advanced user?
Someone new to the market will likely not want to spend a lot of money, nor have a lot of mind-boggling features that leave you confused. There are cameras ideal for beginning users that have basic 'point and shoot' features including optical and digital zoom lens, flexible storage media and built in flash. There is a huge range of cameras available with simple features at low cost.
If you consider yourself an intermediate user with some operational knowledge of digital camera technology, you may want to consider more advanced features that give you more control over the pictures you take. These features usually come in a range of automatic settings and manual settings for capturing the image and different storage options in terms of resolution and picture type (raw data, jpeg, tiff). Naturally there is some cost attached to additional features when compared to more basic cameras.
For advanced users, there are a lot of professional options you can consider; such as SLR view finding and lens interchange ability. Cameras in this range provide much greater control over the image, both before and once it is captured. These options include shutter speed and aperture adjustment, and many cameras offer the ability to manipulate images 'in camera', such as cropping, and brightness and contrast adjustments.

After the picture is taken

A further main consideration is what are you going to do with your images once you have them? The great beauty of digital photography is the simple fact that you can store them on digital media such as CDs and media cards, and view them on computer screens and in many cases, your television. You need print only when and those you want to see, or show to others. Digital photography also gives fantastic opportunities to manipulate your images using popular image manipulation programs, resizing them, altering brightness and contrast characteristics, and correcting problems such as red eye, or removing skin blemishes.
Most digital cameras are computer ready, able to plug directly into your PC or Mac using USB connectors. They usually include proprietary software allowing you to easily and instantly manage your image files in photo albums or slide shows. Many digital cameras also include a video capture facility enabling you to take short motion pictures.
What you want to do with your images after you have them can have an impact on your choice of camera. If you want to make enlarged prints for example, you will want a high megapixel capacity (also talked about as 'resolution'). If you want images for website use, you will want to get the best quality images that can be reduced in resolution without severe degradation.

Beauty is in the "I"

Great pictures usually come from great conditions. You capture a great moment, the light is just right, the subject is at the perfect distance, the image is perfectly framed. But not every digital camera offers the flexibility to make the best of existing light conditions, or position. Most digital cameras (certainly at the budget end) come with a built in automatic flash, which is terrific for happy snaps in darkened environments. And the automatic flash automatically does not 'go off' in bright sunny conditions. But in those times when you want to use the existing light, you need a camera that gives you manual control over the operation or not, of the flash.
Moreover, most digital cameras in the lower and medium price ranges are highly automated. If you are moving from a traditional SLR film camera where you have maximum control over shutter speed, aperture and ISO speeds, it may be frustrating to not have easy access to the same range of tools to take advantage of existing light conditions.
In the more advanced (and therefore more expensive) range of digital cameras, most lens and aperture functions are available in exactly the same way as other SLR systems. What differs is how the colours and light of the image is translated through pixel capture compared to the chemical processing systems.
You may want a wide range of focus options. Most digital cameras have two different types of image magnification, lens magnification (zoom) that may be equivalent of a 35mm to 150 mm lens, and a digital magnification that may be to ten-fold (expressed as x10). This provides you with zoom lens capability, which may be limited in its depth of field control and is subject to soft focus and movement if the conditions aren't just right, and a digital magnification of the pixel image. If being able to capture magnified distant images is important to you, you need more megapixels, and a lens system that gives you some control over its focus and aperture management.

A final word on accessory

Digital cameras are electronic equipment. That means they run on batteries, and if you use your camera a lot, you will find that you will be frequently replacing batteries. Some cameras have rechargeable batteries; others simply use dry cells (AA), which you can of course load with rechargeable ones. It pays to have spare batteries so that you always have a charged power source. Some cameras have docking stations to help manage the connection with computers. Many digital SLR cameras have interchangeable lens systems, some of which may be compatible with traditional film SLRs.
You can also print your own pictures at home with special printers that handle standard photograph paper, and connect directly to your camera. Although it may be less expensive to simply take your camera's card, or a CD to your local camera store, and now many supermarkets and department stores, and use the automatic printing machines to print the images you want.
There is a lot you can do with a digital camera, and you can pay les than $200, or more than $10,000. It all depends on how you see yourself as a photographer, what you're shooting, and what you want to do with your pictures.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
Electronic Viewfinder with 1.44 megapixel resolutionThe integrated high resolution EVF features advanced aspherical optics, 18mm eyepoint and a 100% field of view. The Olympus E-M5 immerses the you fully into the creative process through a genuine WYSIWYG...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ110
Why make taking great pictures any harder than it has to be? Point. Shoot. Done. Then view them, print them, delete any you don't want, or download them to a computer in just as easy a fashion....

Olympus Tough TG-5
The Tough Lite 850SW is the second-generation model in the Tough series, giving busy families the confidence to share a stylish camera with children without worry. The Tough Lite 850SW inherits the rugged characteristics of the Tough series. Shockproo...

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
The new Canon EOS 5D offers advanced photographers a lightweight, robust digital SLR that uses Canon's superlative EF lenses without a conversion factor. Its full-frame 12.8 Megapixel CMOS sensor combines with Canon's DIGIC II Image Processor, a high-prec...

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS
Blur-free images with amazing clarity and color. Olympus' Stylus line of cameras has always pushed the boundaries of digital technology, and the Stylus 780 takes it to the next level. Get in close to your subject with the ultra compact 5x optical zoom. Ta...

Canon PowerShot SX540 HS
Fujifilm's Picture Stabilization technology utilizes the heightened sensitivity of the FinePix S9100 at ISO1600 and high-speed shutter settings to prevent camera shake or freeze subject movement, keeping blur to a minimum. This easy to access feature (sel...

Canon EOS 1300D
HP Photosmart 850 Digital Camera - 56x Zoom (8x Optical zoom + 7x Digital Zoom) - 4.1 Megapixel - 56x Zoom (8x Optical zoom and 7x Digital Zoom) - 4.1 Megapixel camera - adequate EV compensation (+/-3 in ½ steps) accesible - macro mode available ...

Nikon Coolpix D750
A compact, lightweight digital still camera with 2.0 effective megapixels and a powerful 3x zoom lens, the COOLPIX 2100 is an affordable, friendly and versatile model, even for those who are using a digital camera for the first time. The COOLPIX 2100 is i...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100
25mm wide-angle 24x optical zoom f/2.8-5.2 Leica D C Vario Elmarit lens 1,920 x 1,080 full-HD Movie in AVCHD with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator 14.1-megapixel MOS sensor and Venus Engine FHD iA (Intelligent Auto) mode with Motion Deblur mode and Power O...

Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ95
Panasonic introduces the DMC-TZ1, the world’s smallest 10x optical zoom camera. A powerful 10x optical zoom Leica DC lens is incorporated into a compact, easy-to-carry body, made possible by the integration of a retractable lens system with folded optics ...

Nikon Coolpix B700
Taking photos couldn't be easier with the AgfaPhoto Sensor DC-1030s Blue 10MP Digital Camera. The large 2.4" TFT Display shows brillant color images, and the 13 scene modes and the 9 picture frames adds a personal touch to your photos. Key Features &...

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 (Black) Digital Camera ...

Canon EOS 7D
An 18.0 megapixel Canon-developed CMOS sensor together with Dual DiG!C 4 Image Processors combine to deliver outstanding image quality with fine detail and brilliant reproduction of colour and tones. Features also include 19 point Auto Focus, with an ISO ...

Hasselblad X1D-50c
HASSELBLAD H3DII-31 Camera...

Sony Alpha A5100
This fantastic Speed Japan X70 ultra slim digital camera with Sony 7.2 mega pixel (9.0MP interpolated) CCD Sensor is the perfect photographic companion, delivering unbeatable clarity in an affordably priced package. With a massive 3" inch LCD display, MP3...

Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II
Pentax Optio WG-1Digital CameraPentax WG-1 rugged compact is designed to be crushproof against pressures of up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds), dustproof, waterproof up to 10 meters (33 ft), coldproof down to -10ÂC (14ÂF) and sho ...

Leica X Vario
Leica X Vario...

Canon PowerShot G9X
Given the success of Canon's highly acclaimed G Series, it's no surprise that ambitious photographers have been eagerly anticipating the next model in its evolution. The wait has paid off handsomely with the introduction of the Canon PowerShot G9. In imag...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10
The NIKKOR 10x optical zoom captures unforgettable moments with ease, and you can switch to filming Full HD movies at the press of a button. From wide-angle group shots to close-ups of someone special, the backlit CMOS image sensor delivers brilliant deta...

Pentax K-S1
The PENTAX K10D offers advanced photo enthusiasts an array of innovations in image capture technology and camera functionality. These include a 10.2 megapixel CCD contained within the PENTAX developed Shake Reduction system that offers 2.5 to 4 stops of c...

Nikon D500
Creativity at Your Fingertips! Discover the advanced and easy capabilities of the compact, easy-to-use C-500 Zoom. Its powerful 5.0 megapixel CCD captures fantastic photos. Its "one touch" design - including 19 automatic shooting modes - literally allows...

Fujifilm X-T2
The DMC-LC1 has a digital brain but the heart and soul of a finely crafted 35mm camera, right down to its controls. A true breakthrough in digital camera craftsmanship, the 5-megapixel DMC-LC1 brings a traditional photographic experience to the digital wo...

Canon EOS 6D Mark I
Canon 6D Digital Camera...

Sigma SD1
Sigma SD1 DSLR Camera ...

Leica M7
Classics are works that are immune to the passing whims of the present. They are never rewritten, but re-interpreted on the basis of a changed world. The analog LEICA M7 is such a classic. Silver halide photography with a Leica M has a special appeal: the...

Nikon D5300
Nikon D5300 DSLR Camera...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Make way for the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS2 digital camera, offering all of 7.2 megapixels and a 2.5" preview LCD. Available in silver, pink and black colors. Taking the Lumix FS series to the next level, the DMC-FS2 is compact at just 24.2mm thicknes...

Pentax K1
Compatible with any PENTAX lens ever produced* and featuring Shake Reduction, the affordable PENTAX K100D is the kind of camera that makes history. Picture a large 2.5 inch LCD monitor with 210,000 pixel resolution and a friendly Mode Dial offering Auto P...

Canon EOS 1Dx
Canon EOS 1DX 1D X Digital SLR Camera ...

Canon PowerShot G5X
Dressed in the season’s hottest colors -- Absolute Pink, Red Shimmer, Midnight Black and Silver Essence -- the V530 camera is small enough to fit in this summer’s most trendy clutch. Women can take and share high-quality videos and pictures in style, than...

Olympus PEN E-PL7
The Mju410 Digital is not only the fitting style accessory for any occasion. It also lets you capture the perfect shot without any effort. With its weatherproof, full metal casing, you can even take it to the pool or the slopes without fear of moisture ge...

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Digital Camera...

Nikon D800
D800, built for today’s multimedia photographer includes a groundbreaking 36.3MP FX-format CMOS sensor, Full HD 1080p video at 30/25/24p with stereo sound, class leading ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 25,600, 4 fps burst rate and Advanced Scene Reco...

Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II
Canon PowerShot G1...

Ricoh GR Digital II
A camera that's advanced yet simple to operate, reliable and precision built. Ricoh's GR DIGITAL II has evolved to let you pursue your own ideals. Boasting its forebears' superior imagery and sharpness that only the Ricoh GR Lens can provide yet achieving...

Sony Alpha A7
Sony Alpha A7 DSLR Digital Damera...

Fujifilm FinePix JX650
Fujifilm FinePix JX650 Digital Camera...

Nikon D610
Nikon D610 Digital Camera...

Canon EOS 1D C
The big story with the Canon EOS 1D Mark III is that it's a better, more universally appealing professional camera for more types of professional photographers. I think a lot of intermediate photographers may want to make the jump as well, given its more ...

Pentax K-70
The Pentax K7 is pitched at the middle range of DSLR owners - certainly not an entry level camera but not quite at the Pro level either this will suit enthusiasts....

Canon PowerShot SX60
The 7.1 Megapixel Digital delivers a sophisticated combination of cutting edge technology and flawless style. The fully retractable Canon 3x optical zoom lens delivers sharp, high resolution images while an extensive selection of shooting modes lets you ...

Fujifilm X-M1
Fujifilm X-M1 Digital Camera...

Nikon D4
The Nikon D4, 16MP full-frame professional DSLRis capable of shooting at 10 frames per second with full autofocus. In addition to a host of ergonomic improvements, the D4 also sees the expansion of its video capabilities, to the extent that Nikon is descr...

Nikon D3300
Nikon D3300...

Sony Cyber-Shot RX1R
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R Digital Camera...

Ricoh Caplio GR III
Ricoh has released the GR Digital III premium compact camera with a fast f1.9 28mm equivalent prime lens. Successor to the GR Digital II, it uses a new 10MP sensor with larger pixel pitch than its predecessor. It continues the Ricoh tradition of high reso...

Leica X-E
The new LEICA DIGILUX 2 camera combines the best of two worlds. In the new LEICA DIGILUX 2, modern digital technology and the proven concepts of traditional analog photography are joined in a harmonious combination: Decisive photographic parameters such a...

Pentax K-50
Pentax K-50 Digital SLR Camera...

Sony Cyber-Shot RX1
Sony Cyber-shot RX1...

Sigma SD15
Sigma's SD15 SLR camera is the latest model in Sigma?s SD series. Perfect images are generated by the Foveon X3 direct image sensor and a complete lens system. Sigma's technology advances, but its photographic philosophy remains the same. ...