Choosing a digital camera chart

Confused?Buying a digital camera can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many models from which to select, from ultra compact to Interchangeable Lens Cameras that come in various sizes, shapes and weight.

This at-a-glance chart can help make it easier for you to determine what type of camera is best for you, which features may matter to you and how much you can expect to pay. We also offer suggested accessories based on your shooting style.

Shop for digital cameras at Amazon by Brand, Megapixels, Optical Zoom and Display size.

BEGINNER INTERMEDIATE ADVANCED
Your Style Snapshooter/Casual shooter – does not want to fuss a lot Enjoys taking and tweaking photos; take a lot of photos Passionate about photography; want highest quality images
Camera Point-and-shoot Premium compact or SLR-like DSLR or Mirrorless canera
Camera cost Under $200 $250 – $500 $450 – thousands
Features
  • 5-6 megapixels
  • Optical zoom
  • Fully automatic exposure
  • Scene modes
  • Face recognition
  • PictBridge compatible
  • Optional camera dock to transfer, save & print photos at a touch of a button. Charges the camera battery.
  • 6-8 megapixels
  • Optical zoom
  • Semi-automatic and/or manual controls
  • Scene modes
  • Adjustable settings such as ISO, white balance, exposure compensation
  • Advanced face-recognition
  • Some cameras have a larger CCD sensor or back-illumined CMOS sensor that provides better high ISO performance.
  • 10+ megapixels
  • Shoots JPEG, RAW
  • Semi-automatic and full manual control
  • Variety of exposure and focus modes
  • More precise and faster focusing than compacts
  • Flash compensation
  • Save custom settings
  • Hot shoe for external flash
Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight, compact
  • Easier to use
  • Do best in bright light; not so hot in low light
  • Noise at higher ISO numbers
  • Advanced features
  • Have some of the features and performance of DSLRs
  • Some accept a variety of accessories and converter lenses
  • Depending on sensor type and size and lens speed, may produce unacceptable noise at higher ISO numbers.
  • Range of built-in lens can not be changed without converter lens
  • Higher learning curve than most compacts
  • A variety of lens types and focal lengths. Pro quality lenses are expensive.
  • Outstanding low light performance using high ISO
  • Some are bulky to carry
Extras
  • 1 GB+ memory card; check camera specifications for maximum card size.
  • Memory card reader
  • If battery is proprietary, one may suffice until it completely wears out; must be special ordered.
  • Non-proprietary (eg. AA) batteries are readily available.
  • Camera case
  • 2 GB+ memory card; check camera specifications for maximum card size.
  • Memory card reader
  • Extra batteries
  • Converter lenses and adapter if you want a wider or longer focal range
  • Tripod or mini-tripod
  • Mid-sized camera bag
  • High capacity, high speed memory cards
  • Memory card reader
  • Extra batteries
  • External flash
  • Filters
  • Quality-built tripod
  • Portable backup drive
  • Large camera bag
Photo editing software
  • Program that came with your camera
  • Free photo editing & organizing program such as Picasa.
  • PaintShop Photo Express
  • Photoshop Elements
  • PaintShop Pro
  • Photo Impact
  • PhotoFiltre Studio
  • Photoshop CS
  • Photoshop Lightroom
  • Fireworks
  • GIMP (free)
Printing & sharing
  • PictBridge compatible printer or dedicated 4×6″ photo printer
  • Free photo hosting such as Picasa Web Albums or Facebook
  • Photo quality printer with at least five ink cartridges
  • Photo hosting such as Flickr
  • Photo printer that takes six or more ink cartridges; for large prints, consider a wide format printer
  • Photo hosting such as Pbase

Top Selling Compact Digital Cameras

Top Selling Digital SLRs

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