Digital cameras take higher quality pictures than camera phones, tablets and handheld game consoles. It makes sense to use a good digital camera to capture the precious memories you want to keep forever. When heading out for a quick trip to the zoo, the beach or the Vegas Strip, it isn’t necessary to bog yourself down with a big, bulky camera when a compact digital camera will do. Standard digital cameras slip comfortably into your pocket, purse or brief case, and are easy to whip out to capture those fleeting moments.
In our review of the best digital cameras, we found some differences in image quality, camera settings, photo effects, length of battery life and image storage capacity. We awarded the top spots on our standard digital camera review to the Panasonic Lumix, the Olympus S and the Canon PowerShot A series. Read below to discover other important features and functions to consider when purchasing a standard digital camera of your own. Don't forget to visit our Learning Center to learn even more from our articles on standard digital cameras.
Standard digital cameras are compact and have many automatic settings, making them ideal for taking quality digital images without the hassle of choosing settings and moving controls. Look for a digital camera that is compact and easy to take along anywhere.
Each standard digital camera is very similar in its functions and picture quality since the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), an international organization that every digital camera company is a member of, sets minimum standards that they all follow. There are slight differences between them that we've broken down here.
It is hard to determine exactly what the picture quality of your digital camera will be without taking a picture. However, camera manufacturer specifications can give you an idea of how clear and defined your pictures will look.
Digital cameras come with either a CCD or a CMOS image sensor. This determines how much light the camera captures and uses to create a detailed image. CCD sensors use the most light when capturing your images, so everything in your picture will be well defined and bright. CCD image sensors use a lot of power, so you will need to replace or recharge batteries more often.
CMOS sensors don't use as much light as CCD sensors, though pictures still turn out beautiful and bright. Objects in the background may look dull or blurred with CMOS sensors when compared to CCD sensor images. However, CMOS sensors don't require as much power as CCD sensors, so you will save on battery power.
Image resolution refers to how many little dots, or pixels, are contained within your images. The more pixels, the clearer your pictures will be. The CIPA has set the resolution minimum standard at 6 megapixels for standard digital cameras. This means standard 4 x 6 photos will develop nicely. Pictures taken with higher resolutions can be developed in larger sizes without losing image quality.
Shutter speed determines how much light is allowed to pass through the camera. A fast minimum shutter speed means that the camera will be able to take good pictures at night or in darkened rooms, such as museums and restaurants.
Look for automatic settings such as red eye reduction, white light balancing, image stabilization and motion blur suppression in standard digital cameras, as these will all improve image quality.
Settings & Effects
It is important that digital cameras have enough automatic settings, so you don't have to worry about adjusting for light or other surrounding conditions before snapping your photographs. Sometimes, though, it is fun to be adventurous and try your hand at being creative. Some fun settings on digital cameras are color effects and photo touchup.
The top rated digital cameras include a self-timer. This lets you set the camera and then jump into the shot before your camera clicks. This is a fun feature that allows you to be a part of the memories, too.
Battery Life & Storage
Cameras that come with Li-ion batteries are rechargeable and come with the electrical cords necessary to charge them through both your computer and an electrical outlet. Some digital camera batteries will recharge through your computer as you download images. Li-ion batteries eliminate the need for purchasing and keeping track of traditional alkaline batteries. Li-ion batteries also have a longer battery life, measured in how many pictures the camera can take in between camera charges.
Digital cameras need to have a little internal memory in order to function; however, this is usually not enough to hold very many images. You can increase memory capacity by using a memory flash drive. SD cards are the most common, though others cameras require micro drives.
One thing that sets standard digital cameras apart from other digital cameras is size. Standard digital cameras are compact and fit nicely in your hand. They should not be too heavy to hold and should be easy to slip into your pocket or purse.
The standard screen size for digital cameras is 3 inches, though it isn't uncommon to find cameras with a slightly smaller screen. One emerging feature is touch screen capabilities, which allow you to use your finger to swipe through and choose settings and photo options.
Help & Support
Standard digital cameras are easy to use since just about everything is set automatically. There are times, though, that you need helpful customer service. All of the cameras we reviewed have both email and telephone support available. However, it is not always easy to locate telephone numbers on a company's website. Email inquiries are often processed with an online email form and the response time differs between companies.
Several camera manufacturers have FAQs sections on their websites. Some of the FAQs sections are generic while others are product specific. Some are even searchable, making it easier to look for answers specific to your needs.
All digital cameras come with at least a one-year warranty – the industry standard. Some manufacturers offer a longer warranty, and most will let you purchase an extended warranty for your standard digital camera.
Look for a standard digital camera with a high image resolution, several automatic settings and photo effects that you can change and experiment with. Make sure the camera you choose isn't too heavy and will rest naturally in your hands. Touch screens are a nice bonus feature included on the best digital cameras.
With so many options, it won’t be difficult to find a digital camera to fit your needs.
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