How to choose or select a digital camera for purchase

Photography is an amazing art and is not easy as it looks. To take that perfect picture, you need to have the right digital camera. Read the article to learn how to choose and buy the right camera within your budget.

How to buy a digital camera

Picture of Sony Cyber shot
Capturing memories has always been of great importance to everyone, be it as paintings, as pictures, or as a video. With technology leapfrogging, the ability to capture pictures of varying quality has been squarely thrust into the individual's arms. Gone are the days, of films and photo development. Digital cameras have completely replaced the film based camera. Everyone dreams of taking better pictures and camera manufacturers have been feeding this frenzy quite skilfully. A wide range of camera options have been put on display in the shops and it would be quite confusing for the layman to buy one. To know how do you choose a digital camera that is right for you, read the following to find out how to go about selecting the right digital camera.

Step 1: Budget

Before you go out to purchase a camera, it is important to decide your budget. Digital cameras are available across a wide range of prices with a lot of different features. It is easy to get lost and end up overpaying or exceeding your budget for a lot of unwanted features. Hence, having a budget is critical, for being able to shortlist the set of cameras, for the purpose of comparison and selection.

Step 2: Usage Needs

Once you have decided on the budget, it is important to have a good idea of one's usage requirements for the camera. This will allow you to choose the features best suited to your needs. Digital camera's cut across a wide price spectrum and with a wide variety of features available on each camera, it is important to have an idea of what features are required. This has a direct bearing on the selected camera fitting your budget. Very often, sticking to one's budget would mean a trade-off between features.

Step 3: Knowledge Level

Before going out to the market to buy a digital camera, it is important to learn more about digital cameras in general. You must have at least a basic grasp of the terminology being used and what it means. Asking shopkeepers to assist you would mean listening to different technical terms going above your head. In short, it is not possible to compare two cameras without knowing their technical specifications and hence it would be wise to learn what each term means.

Step 4: Understand critical features that define camera quality

The key features that define the quality of a camera are resolution, Lens aperture and zoom. Let's try to understand, what each term mean and how to understand a camera based on these features.

  • Resolution: This is the measure of the total number of pixels, that can be recorded by a digital camera on a photograph. This is usually referred to in Megapixels. What you need to understand though is that more megapixels need not necessarily be better. A higher megapixel count helps keep the picture clear, even when it is blown up. However, since most people will not be enlarging pictures beyond a point, paying more for an excessively high megapixel count may not be advisable.
  • Lens Aperture: This refers to the size of the hole through which light enters into the camera through the lens. Larger the aperture, more will be the light that falls on the lens, and better the photos. A large aperture generally gives better quality pictures, especially in low light conditions. However, larger the aperture, higher the cost of the camera.
  • Zoom: This refers to the amount of magnification available on the camera. In general, there are two types of zooms – Digital Zoom and Optical Zoom. A digital zoom basically magnifies an image already captured and is similar to enlarging a photo during the printing process. An optical zoom, on the other hand, refers to magnification achieved by using multiple lenses in conjunction with each other and zooming before taking the picture. In general, it is better to have a higher optical zoom. However, it must be noted that at high zoom levels, there is a lot of noise instability of the camera. Overcoming the stability issue can be done by purchasing a tripod.

  • Step 5: Do you want Video

    Many digital cameras offer the ability to take videos for a higher price. However, this comes at the cost of memory storage space and very often at the cost of power usage also. It is important to really think, whether one really needs video feature in the first place. Many a times, a still picture is worth a thousand more words than a video. And if video capability is that important to you, then you might as well buy a separate video camera.

    Step 6: Read Reviews

    Chances are you might not be the first to own a particular camera. And hence, there is bound to be a lot of reviews available on the merits and demerits of every model. It would be prudent to readout a few reviews before finalizing a camera. You may come up with different view points on the camera and might just decide to re-prioritize your choices.

    Step 7: Don't Over Compromise

    Very often, people tend to choose a middle path and end up compromising on all the features. While a middle path may work in life. In the case of a digital camera, it would be a big mistake. It is better to buy a camera that is really good at something than buy one that is average at everything. Hence, be clear about the features most important to you (refer point 2) and then decide on the ones, that you will not compromise on. You will end up with a camera that more often than not, makes you happy.

    Step 8: Short-list

    Make sure that once you have decided on your budget, features and brands, you shortlist multiple choices and compare their prices and features. Most camera makers tend to have multiple models available at different price segments. Hence, you can be sure that you will have enough choices for your budget.

    Check this out: Xiaomi YI Action Sports Camera: Is it worth buying?

    Step 9: Warranty

    Try and get a good warranty on your camera. Most cameras come with a one year warranty. However, extended warranties are also available. In case you decide to buy your camera while on travel, an international warranty would be advised.

    Step 10: Buy the Camera

    By this time, you would have done enough research on your dream camera and chances are that you might be confident about the options available. We suggest, you now go ahead and buy the one that seems the best in your point of view. No matter a few features, where it lags the other qualities it might possess. Do understand that, our head must rule over our heart at this crucial final stage.

    Now that you have gone through into the above process and landed at a camera of your choice, what are you waiting for, go out and click those pictures you have been dreaming about. A word of caution though, having a great camera does not necessarily mean great photos. You still need to learn about photography and the relevant human skills. Most important of all, practice taking pictures a lot. There is no shortcut to success!

    Article by Tony John
    Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including,, and many more.

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