Digital cameras represent a major evolution in the practice of taking pictures. Among its advantages are: images with better quality, application of effects, provision of resources hitherto available only to professional photographers, possibility of obtaining a large amount of photographs, besides additional features such as recording videos and presenting photos in format slides. But with so many options on the market, it is often difficult to find an ideal camera to suit your needs. It is to help you with this task that Best Point and Shoot Camera under 200 shows you the following twelve tips for choosing a digital camera. It is important to emphasize that the focus of the article are compact digital cameras, for non-professional use.
1 – How many megapixels?
In a nutshell, the megapixel indicates the size of the photo that a digital camera is capable of creating. The higher the amount of megapixels, the higher the resolution of the photograph created. Thus, it is recommended to have a camera with at least 5 megapixels. In this way, you can have excellent sharpness in prints and posters, for example. Fortunately, over time, the number of megapixels increases without this entailing greater costs for the consumer. Nowadays, you can easily find cameras with at least 10 megapixels. Since this feature deals only with image resolution, it’s not that important to most people. Therefore,
2 – Optical or digital zoom?
Zoom is the feature that allows you to take closer pictures of elements that are located in a distant area. For example, suppose you have found a rare bird in a tree and want to make a fairly detailed photo, but only the bird. In this case, just use the zoom, which allows you to take this picture without, for that, you have to approach the animal.
Optical and zoom are the two types. Prefer the first, because the optical zoom makes the image approximate through lenses. The digital zoom, in turn, “magnifies” the portion of the original image chosen, causing the quality of the picture to be impaired.
The zoom capability is measured as follows: If a camera indicates 3X zoom (either optical or digital), the image can be approximated up to three times the original size.
3 – Flash lighting
The flash is very important in the cameras so that the images generated in environment with light deficiency have good quality. In fact, in some cases, it is recommended to use the flash even in environments that are under satisfactory lighting.
Choose models that allow you to make presents in the flash. For example, there are cameras that optimize the flash intensity to avoid the “red-eye” effect in the images. Others allow the emitted light to “last” longer, useful feature in sequential shots. For night use, it is interesting to have a model that allows the connection of an external flash.
Since virtually all current cameras rely on flash, check how far your shots can go. It is recommended to have a camera with a flash range of at least 4 meters.
4 – Storage
The vast majority of digital still cameras makes use of Flash memory to store the images. For this, there are several formats of memory cards, as shown in this article.
It is important to be aware: card compatibility varies by manufacturer and camera model. For example, Sony uses the MemoryStick type in their models. However, most manufacturers prefer the SD standard, which takes the advantage of being cheaper and more popular.
Although memory cards are getting cheaper over time, you may prefer cameras that also have built-in memory, even if they have limited capacity. This prevents the camera from being unusable in case of loss of the card.
5 – Is video and audio worth it?
The vast majority of digital cameras allows the creation of videos, although often with inferior quality compared to a camcorder. This feature is very interesting for when you are witnessing an event that would look better recorded if filmed. The YouTube site is a clear example of this.
So, prefer cameras that have the video recording feature, but watch out for one detail: you can find some models that make movies, but no audio. Of course, prefer the cameras that allow audio in the movie. Also, by current standards, we recommend checking if the video format is widescreen. Many models also make videos in high definition, which can make filming even more interesting.
6 – Battery or batteries?
Nowadays, it is possible to find cameras that use batteries (usually type AA) for electric power, as well as rechargeable batteries. The choice here is a matter of preference: the batteries offer the advantage of allowing them to be replaced almost anywhere. Batteries, on the other hand, usually offer greater autonomy time. When choosing a camera of the first type, use rechargeable batteries because you save money on it and help the environment. If you prefer a camera that uses a battery, you prefer a model that allows easy removal of this device and check with the manufacturer to see if it is possible to get an extra battery – obviously acceptable price – in case the first charge is finished.
7 – Exhibition
Digital cameras are able to offer automatic settings, so even the lay user has no difficulty taking pictures. However, there are cases where it is necessary to generate more enhanced photographs, for example, when someone poses in front of an avenue and wants the cars to appear as spots that give the sensation of movement.
For these cases, it is preferable to use cameras that allow manual adjustments to the exposure parameters, especially the shutter speed (in short, the mechanism that allows the capture of light for image generation).
8 – LCD display
Another great advantage of digital cameras is the possibility of using an LCD screen to take and view photos, so it is an indispensable item. For the most comfortable use, prefer models that have an LCD display of at least two inches (the bigger the better, obviously). Also, make sure that the camera has the option to turn off this screen, which is useful when the battery is low.
It is a good idea to test this feature at the time of purchase when possible to see if the sharpness is satisfactory and to check if the preview is not easily impaired in low-light environments. More sophisticated models can even adjust the brightness and contrast parameters automatically so that the user can have the best possible visualization in the most varied environments.
9 – Time between shots
If you are shooting in an action-packed environment, you may lose an interesting shot if you have to wait for the camera to be ready for a fresh shot. So watch on the models of your interest what the camera offers between one photo and another. The shorter this time, the better.
An interesting tip is to check if the camera has a timer, which allows the picture to be taken a few seconds after the shutter button has been pressed. So you can, for example, leave the camera on a desk, turn it on and run to your friends (hence the need for the camera to “wait” for a few seconds). With this, the camera takes the photo of all together, alone.
10 – Optical viewfinder
Many compact digital camera manufacturers do not put optical viewfinder on certain models to reduce product manufacturing costs and save space. This feature, however, can be quite useful. The optical viewfinder is that little “lens”that shows the image to be captured when you bring the equipment to your face and look at it. The LCD display can do this in most cases, however, in certain situations – environment with strong sunlight, for example – to see something on this screen becomes practically impossible. Hence the importance of having an optical viewfinder. Also, if the camera is low on battery power, turning off the LCD Screen helps save energy, again making the optical viewfinder useful. Therefore, we recommend checking this feature when purchasing a camera.