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Technology Research Center Main

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Digital Camera Research Center

Find a digital camera with our helpful research tools.

Staples has a wide selection of the latest digital cameras including SLR, compact system cameras, point-and-shoot, long-range zoom and even waterproof. And with this helpful research center, choosing the right one is easy. Compare models, shop by brand, watch helpful videos and more.

Get started with these helpful tools.

Compare camera types

SLR: single-lens reflex cameras

SLR cameras offer extensive control, features and flexibility. By manually adjusting settings, like aperture and speed, you can use your own photography knowledge and skills to create exceptional photos. You can also change out different lenses to customize your photos. And if you don’t always want to change settings manually, SLR cameras also have automatic settings.

View all SLR cameras

entry-level-camera

Entry Level

For casual and avid photographers alike, these cameras are designed for everyday use. Their bodies are compact and lightweight with no shortage of easy-to-use features like built-in flashes, LCD view panels, and multiple shooting modes.

mid-level-camera

Mid Level

Designed for the more serious photographer, each of these cameras features a durable body with top-quality lenses, quick-response controls, and high-resolution results. Use to capture everything from travel and sports images to portraits and landscapes.

advanced-level-camera

Advanced Level

Whether for commercial or personal use, each of these performance models delivers professional digital results. With an ultra durable body, high volume-battery, and quick-operation buttons and LCD control panel, you’re sure to get perfect picture quality every time.

csc-camera-nikon

CSC: compact system cameras

A compact system camera, or CSC, offers the portability of a point–and–shoot and many of the professional features of an SLR — like interchangeable lenses and the ability to change between manual and auto modes. Best of all, a CSC is as easy to use as a point–and–shoot so it's never intimidating, even for a beginner who wants superior shots.

View all CSC cameras

Standard point–and–shoot camerasstandard-pas-cameras

Basic and easy to use, point–and–shoot cameras offer great results at an affordable price. They're also smaller, lighter and more portable than other cameras. Look for models with more optical zoom for higher–quality pictures. And many offer macro settings that make close-up photos especially clear. Other features to consider are red-eye reduction, megapixels and auto modes like portrait, sports and candlelight.

View all point–and–shoot cameras

Buy a Fugifilm Finepix digital camera at Staples

Long–range zoom cameras

A great camera for photography enthusiasts or anyone looking for better zoom capabilities. They're generally more expensive than point–and–shoot cameras but offer better zoom, more control and higher megapixels.

View all long–range zoom cameras

Olympus Tough digital camera

Waterproof cameras

These cameras offer point–and–shoot functionality with the added benefit of extreme durability against the elements. In addition to being waterproof, these cameras are shockproof and freezeproof.

View all waterproof cameras

The top 5 features to consider

Zoomtigers

Digital cameras have two kinds of zoom – digital zoom and optical zoom – and it's important to know the difference between the two.

Digital zoom focuses in on the part of an image that's already been captured, discarding the edges, and then inflating it digitally. This is a little like cropping and enlarging an image on a computer – you can focus in on one area, but you'll lose a bit of the image clarity when you blow it up.

Optical zoom uses the lens to magnify the subject of the photo itself, and then captures the image. Optical zoom tends to be limited or even nonexistent in low-cost cameras, but more expensive models can go up to 24x or 30x (which would be considered super zoom). These cameras can pick out objects in the far distance and magnify them with no loss of picture quality.

Optical zoom of 3x–5x is fine for everyday photos such as close–up pictures of people. If you want to take a larger variety of quality pictures — of wildlife, for example — then you may want to consider investing in a camera with longer zoom, of 7x–15x. Serious photographers, who need the ability to capture crisp images of very distant objects, may want to go all the way up to 30x.

Canon printerMegapixels

The number of megapixels a camera has determines how large you can print your photographs. The number of megapixels used to be a good guide to the quality of the camera, but now there isn't an enormous difference between the number of megapixels contained within budget cameras, which tend to start around 10MP, and those of expensive digital SLR cameras, which average around 16MP. Both are fully capable of dealing with every size and kind of image with clarity. Higher–megapixel cameras will have an edge, but it's not a dramatic difference, so be sure to consider other camera features as well.

HD videoHigh Definition Flat Screen

Cameras with HD video capabilities allow you to capture high-quality videos that can be watched on your large-screen HDTV or other devices. HD video is available in either 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) or 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p, 1080i). It's generally agreed that 720p is better for fast-moving video such as live sports.

So should you forget your camcorder and rely on your digital camera's HD video? Certainly the new digital SLR cameras are pretty impressive when it comes to quality, with the ability to produce professional-quality video that will look great on an HDTV, and many photographers will welcome the chance to carry around just one device.

But digital cameras can't shoot film for the same length of time as a dedicated camcorder and don't have the same range of features. So if you want to film long movies, you may want to think carefully about purchasing a dedicated video camera.

Low light photo examples

Low light photos - ISO sensitivity

International Standards Organization (ISO) sensitivity refers to the light sensitivity of an image sensor. A higher ISO number means a higher sensitivity to light, which means it's easier to capture images in low light situations. However, the higher the ISO, the more grainy the photo will look. So it's best to choose a low ISO number when you're not in low light.

  • 100-200 ISO is generally accepted as “normal” and will give you great photos outside in sunny conditions or inside with good light.
  • In the evening, or if it's cloudy outside, choose an ISO within the range of 400-800.
  • At night, or in cases of very low light, increase the ISO to 1600 or higher.

Image stabilizationsoccer-kid2

Image stabilization and vibration reduction are different manufacturer's terms that essentially describe the same feature. Both work by using sensors to detect motion before and during image capture, then shifting the optical image to compensate. This feature is designed to reduce blurriness caused by the motion of the camera itself, rather than the motion of the subject.

Anti-shake technology on the other hand is designed to have a similar effect, but it works by increasing the shutter speed to counteract the effect of movement. While this may help reduce the blurriness caused by movement slightly, it isn't as effective as true image stabilization or vibration reduction.

Digital camera accessories

Camera caseDigital Camera Protection

Digital camera cases and bags.

View All

Storage diskPhoto Storage

Memory cards, digital frames, CDs, DVDs and external hard drives.

tripodsTripods

Choose from a variety of secure and adjustable tripods for optimal positioning.

View All

Camera lensDigital Camera Lenses

Zoom, fixed focal length, macro and, fish–eye and wide–angle lenses.

View All

Print and scanPrinting & Scanning

All-in-one printers, scanners, photo paper and more.

Watch videos

Learn more about features and benefits with these helpful videos.

Which digital point–and–shoot camera should I buy?

Digital point–and–shoot cameras are a great choice for almost everyone's needs, and they're pretty affordable. Staples offers dozens from top name brands, but not all models are the same. Watch to learn more.

Which digital point–and–shoot camera should I buy?

Which digital camera should I buy — SLR or point–and–shoot?

Learn about digital SLR cameras and lenses.

Which protection plan or accessories should I buy?

What is a compact system camera (CSC)?

Glossary of terms

  • All terms
  • Compact system camera (CSC)
  • Digital single-lens reflex camera (SLR)
  • Digital zoom
  • Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
  • Exposure
  • High definition video (HD video)
  • Image sensor
  • Image stabilization(IS)
  • ISO
  • JPEG file
  • Liquid crystal display (LCD)
  • Macro
  • Megapixel
  • Optical viewfinder
  • Optical zoom
  • Pixel
  • Point–and–shoot camera
  • RAW file
  • Resolution

Compact system camera
The newest type of cameras that bridge the gap between the point–and–shoot and the SLR. CSCs have the portability of smaller cameras but also have interchangeable lenses and accessories, making them far more versatile. They have the same image sensor as the SLR and can be used manually or automatically. They're capable of producing high quality photographs comparable to professional models.

Digital single-lens reflex camera (SLR)
The SLR is a professional camera designed to the same standards as the 35mm SLR film camera. Light from the lens hits a mechanical mirror system and directs it to the optical viewfinder. This, along with interchangeable lenses and accessories, as well as options for manual and automatic settings, produces professional quality photographs.

Digital zoom
Electronically magnifies an image beyond the capabilities of the optical zoom. The digital zoom will lessen the quality of the image.

Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
The LCD screen usually located on the back of the camera that is used to show the subject the camera lens is focused on, to view photos after they have been taken and to display settings.

Exposure
Refers to how much light is allowed to reach the image sensor. Over exposed photos appear too white, underexposed photos appear too dark. The optimum exposure is created by balancing the aperture (the amount of light that is allowed to reach the sensor) and the shutter speed (how long the light remains on the sensor).

High definition video (HD Video)
Generally a recording with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels or 1920x1080 pixels. It is also defined as a recording with a resolution that is higher than Standard Definition Video.

Image sensor
When light comes through the camera lens it is captured by the Image Sensor. The two main types of image sensor are the Charged Coupled Device, commonly known as CCD, or the Complementary Metal- Oxide Semiconductor, usually called CMOS. These are electronic devices that are formed from millions of pixels (individual elements that make up the picture).

Image stabilization (IS)
A collection of mechanical and digital methods by which the camera stabilizes an image to eliminate blurring when light hits the image sensor. This is particularly useful when motion is heightened, such as in action or zoom lens photographs.

ISO
ISO stands for International Standards Organization and is a number that signifies how sensitive the image sensor is to light. The speed of a camera's light sensitivity is measured by the ISO, so the lower the number, the more slowly the image sensor responds to light, and vice versa. Many cameras allow you to adjust the ISO setting to work with the light you have.

JPEG file
A digital camera's standard form of file for compressed images. The level of compression is decided and processed by the user before the JPEG is automatically saved in the camera's memory system.

Liquid crystal display (LCD)
The type of screen commonly found on digital cameras (and also TVs, laptops, tablets, etc). This is a low-energy screen, which saves on battery while presenting color display of settings and photos.

Macro
An extreme close-up of a normally miniature subject.

Megapixel
Refers to an image sensor that provides a resolution of one million pixels.

Optical view finder
The small window usually located at the top-back of the camera, through which the subject that the camera lens is focused on can be seen.

Optical zoom
Magnifies an image without lessening the quality. This magnification is done through the use of the lens' optics.

Pixel
The independent parts of a picture that go together to form the final digital image.

Point–and–shoot camera
A small, digital camera that is designed to be lightweight and portable. These cameras come with a built in lens and flash and offer standard functions such as auto focus and auto exposure. Some models have zoom capacity that ranges from 3x upwards.

RAW file
The unprocessed picture data captured by the image sensor. The file is then taken off the camera and imaging software is used for individual processing before the file can be edited or printed.

Resolution
The number of megapixels provided by a specific camera.

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