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How To Shop For Your First Digital Camera
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How to Shop for Your First Digital Camera

Are you looking to buy a digital camera but you’re confused by the jargon, such as 12 mexapixels or 4.3” LCD, and what it means? Do you need a secret decoder key to figure out which features matter to you and which ones don’t? Then look no further. This article will break down some terms and abbreviations that commonly appear in digital camera ads so you can feel confident when shopping for your first digital camera.


The abbreviation CCD stands for charge coupled device and refers to the type of sensor in a digital camera. Since the sensor determines the quality of your photograph (not mexapixels – they determine resolution), purchasing a digital camera with a high grade sensor is important. CCD sensors have been around for a while and are known for being user friendly and producing high quality images, so looking for a camera that has one is a good idea. Just remember to always pay attention to the type of sensor in the digital camera that you’re looking to buy as it will directly impact the quality of your digital photos.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is a mechanism in the camera that reduces blur resulting from normal, minute shaking of a lens due to hand-held shooting. It is a particularly useful feature to have if you plan on photographing things while holding your camera as opposed to mounting it on a tripod.

ISO #### (for example, ISO 1000)

This number tells you the maximum sensitivity to light that the camera’s sensor has. With ISO, the higher the number, the more sensitive the sensor is so a camera with an ISO of 1000 will be able to capture a photo with less light available than a camera with an ISO of 400. If you know that you’re going to take a lot of pictures at night or in a dimly lit room or another low light situation, then you should look for a camera with a higher ISO.


LCD stands for liquid crystal display and it refers to the television-esque component of a digital camera where you can see the picture that you just took or the scene you’re about to shoot. The number associated with it in advertisements is the same as in tv ads; it explains how long the screen is from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner. Having a larger LCD makes it easier to see details in your photograph which is helpful when determining whether or not you need to take another picture because, say, Aunt Irma blinked when you snapped the extended family photo. However, it’s a tradeoff because LCDs drain the camera battery more quickly.


Digital cameras run on batteries and LIB means that the camera you’re looking at uses a lithium ion battery. Some advantages of having a camera that takes lithium ion batteries versus alkaline are less weight, longer lengths of time without recharging, and slimmer design. No matter which type of battery your digital camera takes, you should consider investing in a rechargeable battery system so you can limit the amount of money that you spend on batteries and help save the environment.


Technically speaking, megapixels (abbreviated MP) are the bundles of one million pixels, or bits of electronic information that comprise a digital photograph. Point and shoot camera advertisements like to boast about how many mexapixels they have but the truth of the matter is that more is not always better. A high mexapixel camera requires more memory in order to store the copious amount of detail about your picture that it promises to and that means you need a large memory card, which is expensive. A 10 or 12 mexapixel camera will record more than enough information about your photograph for amateur use, including printing 8x10s and using it as the wallpaper on your computer, without breaking the bank.

Optical Zoom

Digital cameras can have two types of zoom, optical and digital. Optical is the superior type of zoom because it zooms in using the lens, not the camera’s internal computer which is what digital zoom does. It’s handy to have a camera with optical zoom when it is impossible for you to physically move closer to your subject but you should always move closer if you can because either type of zoom will compromise the quality of your photograph on some level.


Both of these terms are abbreviations that describe the type of memory card that the digital camera takes. The capacity of a memory card dictates how much information your digital camera can store and, as you would guess, the greater the storage capacity, the more expensive the memory card is. Researching the cost of the memory card type that the digital camera you’re looking to buy takes will help you make an informed decision about the total amount of money you’ll end up investing in your new camera.


SLR stands for single lens reflex. In other words, the digital camera has a semiautomatic moving mirror system in it which permits you to see in the viewfinder exactly what will be recorded by the camera’s sensor when you take a picture. Typically, SLR cameras are fancier in that they allow you to manipulate individual settings for shutter speed, aperture and ISO in a way that point and shoot cameras do not.

Whether you want to purchase a digital camera that will put you on the path to becoming a professional photographer or you simply want a compact camera that will allow you to capture life's memories on the fly, it's important to know which features your camera has so that you can learn how to use them to take better pictures. This article gives you the knowledge that you need to understand the difference between common features of digital cameras and why it's worth investing in them so you can make an informed purchase of your first digital camera.

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