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Learn More About Digital Cameras

What kind of digital camera do you need?

2 to 2.9 megapixel digital camera


Ideal for: Printing high–quality 5"x7", as well as 3"x5", pictures.

Key features:

  • Look for optical zoom to maximize the quality of enlarged images. Optical zoom actually enlarges the image. Digital zoom crops the outer edges of the image.
  • Most models in this megapixel range have features such as panorama photography and movie mode, which let you capture more arresting images and take brief MPEG movies (with or without sound).
  • Some models feature digital stitching, which lets you seamlessly blend several still photos together for a super panorama effect.
  • Some models allow you to shoot in color, black–and–white and sepia (for historical feel) and to record up to 30 seconds of voice annotion per digital photo.
  • The more memory (measured in MB, megabytes) the camera has, the more pictures you can take — and the more images you can store. Models in this megapixel range typically come with between 8 and 16MB of built–in memory.
  • Memory size can easily be upgraded by adding a compatible memory card (such as SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, or SD card) as large as 2GB.
  • A larger LCD screen makes it easier to preview your images. Models in this megapixel range have LCD's anywhere from 1.6 to 2.5 inches.
  • Usually comes with a battery that rapidly recharges in 30 minutes or less. Battery life can be prolonged between charging by switching off the LCD screen and using the viewfinder to set–up pictures. Models without rechargable batteries take AA batteries, which some world travelers prefer to using wattage conversion kits for recharging.

What's available: Camera performance can be enhanced with accessories such as 32MB – 2GB memory cards and photo–editing software such as Photoshop™ or Paint Shop Pro™. You can also look for a camera with PictBridge, which enables you to print directly from the camera to any printer (regardless of the manufacturer).

Tip: If you plan to print high–resolution, borderless images from a computer, keep in mind that you'll need a high–quality photo printer, as well as glossy or matte printing paper.


3-3.9 megapixel digital camera


Ideal for: Printing high–quality 8"x10" pictures, as well as 5"x7" and 3"x5" photos.

Key features:

  • Look for optical zoom to maximize the quality of enlarged images.
  • For professional–grade shooting, some models accept attachable flash and have threaded lenses to accept such attachments as wide–angle, zoom, and telephoto lenses.
  • Look for features such as aperture priority, shutter priority, and long exposure modes that let you shoot more creatively.
  • Comes with adjustable modes for capturing panoramas, portraits, outdoor photos, as well as shots in dark or very bright setttings. Also comes with movie mode, which lets you take MPEG movies (sometimes as long as one minute, with sound) that you can email or post on the Web.
  • Some models feature digital stitching, which lets you seamlessly blend several still photos together for a super panorama effect.
  • Shoots in color, black–and–white, or sepia (for historical feel). Most models also record up to 30 seconds of voice annotation per digital image.
  • The more memory (measured in MB, megabytes) the camera has, the more pictures you can take — and the more images you can store. Models in this range typically come with between 8 and 32MB of built–in memory.
  • Memory size can easily be upgraded by adding a compatible memory card (SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD card, MMC card, or XD card) as large as 2GB.
  • Usually comes with a battery that rapidly recharges in 30 minutes or less. Battery life can be prolonged between charging by switching off the LCD screen and using the viewfinder to set–up pictures. Models without rechargable batteries take AA batteries, which some world travelers prefer to using wattage conversion kits for recharging.

What's available:
 Camera performance can be enhanced with accessories such as 32MB – 2GB memory cards and photo–editing software such as Photoshop™ or Paint Shop Pro™. You can also look for a camera with PictBridge, which enables you to print directly from the camera to any printer (regardless of the manufacturer).


4-4.9 megapixel digital camera


Ideal for: Serious enthusiasts and professionals who also need to be able to print high–quality 11"x14" prints, as well as 8"x10", 5"x7", and 3"x5" prints.

  • Look for optical zoom to maximize the quality of enlarged images.
  • For professional–grade shooting, some models accept attachable flash and have threaded lenses to accept such attachments as wide–angle, zoom, and telephoto lenses.
  • Manual controls (such as aperture priority and shutter priority) let you adjust color balance, light exposure, and shutter speed for more accurate, professional–grade shooting.
  • For those who would rather take the guesswork out of shooting, 4+ models also offer up to 16 scene modes (from portrait to panorama).
  • Captures brief MPEG movies (sometimes as long as one minute, with sound) that you can email or post on the Web.
  • Some models feature digital stitching, which lets you seamlessly blend several still photos together for a super panorama effect.
  • Shoots in color, black–and–white, or sepia (for historical feel). Most models also record up to 30 seconds of voice annotation per digital image.
  • The more memory (measured in MB, megabytes) the camera has, the more pictures you can take — and the more images you can store. Models in this range typically come with between 8 and 32MB of built–in memory.
  • Memory size can easily be upgraded by adding a compatible memory card (SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD card, MMC card, or XD card) as large as 2GB.
  • Usually comes with a battery that rapidly recharges in 30 minutes or less. Battery life can be prolonged between charging by switching off the LCD screen and using the viewfinder to set–up pictures. Models without rechargable batteries take AA batteries, which some world travelers prefer to using wattage conversion kits for recharging.

What's available: Camera performance can be enhanced with accessories such as 128MB – 2GB memory cards and photo–editing software such as Photoshop™ or Paint Shop Pro™. You can also add a PictBridge, which enables you to print directly from the camera to any printer (regardless of the manufacturer).

Tip: If you choose a camera with 4–4.9 megapixels, you may want to consider upgrading your computer's RAM to 256MB. Images from a 4–4.9 megapixel camera are rich in detail (and therefore demand more memory). Having at least 256MB will enable you to download and view images on your computer without closing other applications.


5.0 and up megapixel digital camera


Ideal for: Serious photo enthusiasts and professionals who need to be able to print professional, high–quality 12"x18" prints, as well as 11"x14", 8"x10", 5"x7", and 3"x5" professional prints.

  • Look for optical zoom to maximize the quality of enlarged images.
  • For professional–grade shooting, some models accept attachable flash and have threaded lenses to accept such attachments as wide–angle, zoom, and telephoto lenses.
  • Manual controls (such as aperture priority and shutter priority) let you adjust color balance, light exposure, and shutter speed for more accurate, professional–grade shooting.
  • For those who would rather take the guesswork out of shooting, 5+ models also offer up to 16 scene modes (from portrait to panorama).
  • Captures brief MPEG or VGA movies (sometimes as long as one minute, with sound) that you can email or post on the Web.
  • Some models feature digital stitching, which lets you seamlessly blend several still photos together for a super panorama effect.
  • Shoots in color, black–and–white, or sepia (for historical feel). Most models also record up to 30 seconds of voice annotation per digital image.
  • The more memory (measured in MB, megabytes) the camera has, the more pictures you can take — and the more images you can store. Models in this range typically come with between 8 and 32MB of built–in memory.
  • Memory size can easily be upgraded by adding a compatible memory card (SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD card, MMC card, or XD card) as large as 2GB.
  • Usually comes with a battery that rapidly recharges in 30 minutes or less. Battery life can be prolonged between charging by switching off the LCD screen and using the viewfinder to set–up pictures. Models without rechargable batteries take AA batteries, which some world travelers prefer to using wattage conversion kits for recharging.

What's available: Camera performance can be enhanced with accessories such as 128MB – 2GB memory cards and photo–editing software such as Photoshop™ or Paint Shop Pro™. You can also add a PictBridge, which enables you to print directly from the camera to any printer (regardless of the manufacturer).

Tip: If you choose a camera with 5+ megapixels, you may want to consider upgrading your computer's RAM to 256MB. Images from a 5+ megapixel camera are rich in detail (and therefore demand more memory). Having at least 256MB will enable you to download and view images on your computer without closing other applications.


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