Getting Started

The next steps you can take to find a great digital camera

Finding a digital camera today can be overwhelming. Several years ago, there were not that many to choose from. The few that were available were outrageously expensive.

Times have changed, and today there are hundreds of digital cameras to choose from, many priced to fit within a consumer's budget.

But how do you sort through the mess of options, features and manufacturers to find a camera that you are really going to like? One that will take the photos you want to take?

Here are some of the steps that I go through when a friend asks what camera they should get.

Step 1 — Learn the Terms

Imagine for a moment that you're in school and it's pop quiz time again.

Define the following, and why they are important:

Not sure what all of this mean? Start by learning the terms.

This will be important when you actually begin to compare different cameras. You will know what the difference is between a 3.0 and 5.0 megapixel camera (besides a difference in numbers). You will know why you need certain features, and which ones you may never use.

You can be critical about your digital camera comparisons because you will know what a feature is worth to you. For example, if a salesperson is touting the f2.8 28-200mm lens on a camera, you will want to know what that means and how you can use it to take better photographs.

Step 2 — Compare Digital Cameras

Now that you know the jargon, you can begin your digital camera comparisons. Since you know what each term means, and — more importantly — which features you really want, you can begin searching for the camera that matches your needs.

Comparing digital cameras and their features side by side will help you narrow down the field to the few that you might want to buy.

Step 3 — Find the Right Price

You've found the cameras with the features you want. If you're having a hard time choosing the final candidate, price might help you decide.

There is a wealth of information on the Internet about digital camera prices. You can find any camera, for any price, from any retailer. The real trick is getting a good price from a retailer that you trust (because there are a lot of disreputable companies selling camera equipment on the Internet).

A word of warning: if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. The good news is that there are several highly reputable companies that you can buy from, and even if you don't purchase from them directly, they will give you a good idea about the right price for your camera.

Alternative Steps

If you'd just like to jump right into it, use the Table of Contents.

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