Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Buyer's Guide 2005: At The Camera Counter
A digital camera buyer's checklist
The LCD is one of the most important parts of the camera, and not all LCDs are created equal. They vary widely in both size and positioning. Some are stationary and others swivel, rotate and flip to give you a clear view even when the camera is pointed up, down or sideways. Some are easy to view in bright sunlight, and others require you to be indoors or in the shade to view it clearly. You definitely should compare the LCDs of the cameras you're considering. View them in the store and, if possible, outside as well to see how easy they are to view in varying conditions.
The swiveling, rotating and flipping LCD designs are terrific and a feature you'll get used to quickly. Even if your typical style of photography doesn't require acrobatics, you'll still find the ability to reposition the LCD quite valuable, as it also helps to alleviate the difficulties you may encounter viewing the LCD outdoors by changing the angle to reduce glare on the screen surface.
It's important to note here that while D-SLRs have an LCD, they're not a "live" LCD like those found on compact digital cameras. This means that they don't display an image while you're composing. You can use these LCDs only to review images after they're captured or to make menu selections. If you want a live LCD, you must choose a compact digital camera.
Most digital cameras come with a variety of shooting modes, from old standbys, like aperture and shutter priority, to specialized Scene modes, fine-tuned for specific situations such as night exposure, landscapes, portraits and more. If you like to shoot manually, the number of modes offered by the camera likely won't be important, but be sure to choose one that has a manual setting. If you like the camera to evaluate your exposure for you, or if you plan on sharing the camera with less-experienced photographers in the family, then a model with several specialized automatic modes would be a better choice.
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