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(price as of Sep 25, 2016)
How to buy a great digital camera for your needs!
People looking to buy digital cameras obviously want to get the best possible unit at the best price. There are an incredible number of choices at every price level. Which model to buy? There really is no perfect answer to this question but there can be a best digital camera for you to buy. This will depend on your budget and how you want to use the camera.
Megapixel (MP) Rating
One way of ranking digital cameras is to compare their megapixel, (mp), count. The pixel is a single picture element. Having a lot of them generally allows a better image to be captured. There are limits to the megapixel count, however. First, more megapixels usually result in a more expensive camera. This is less true now than in older times, (5+ years ago). Now you can buy 12mp to 16mp cameras for very low prices. The other limit involves the final display method for your photos. If you take photos that are only displayed on a computer screen, emailed to friends or posted as small thumbnail shots, practically any camera will do. For years, people have been displaying their 6mp photographs this way. Now you can barely even find a camera with such a low megapixel count.
If a high megapixel count is not needed for posting photos to the Internet, what are 12mp to 18mp digital cameras good for? Such a high number of megapixels allows for smoother transitions across a large photo. This means that shots can be printed as posters and still have great image quality. Most digital photos are not printed at all, let alone poster size, so this feature is not much use to many people.
Another good feature that a high count of megapixels offers is the ability to zoom in to a small area within a photo. With few megapixels, there is not much image detail within a shot. With a high count, the photo can be zoomed in to show magnified detail in the background or other areas within the shot. This is often a nice feature to have. Zooming in on a photo does expose optical issues on many cameras, however.
You may want to consider the number of positive reviews a digital camera receives from purchasers. This is an interesting way to evaluate cameras because you can see how many people love, and hate, a particular unit. When you buy a brand new model digital camera, or an upgrade to an existing model, you may not have much data to work with. You can, though, evaluate previous offerings from a company to get a sense of owner satisfaction.
Unfortunately, many of the camera owners report that their units failed at some point. This is sometimes due to water, dirt or other contaminant getting into the camera, but sometimes not. Despite claims that some cameras are rugged and waterproof, some have failed in shallow water regardless. Many people have no trouble but a few do. Be very careful if you intend to get a rugged model; you still need to treat it carefully.
One measure of user satisfaction is the analysis of "1 Star", or poor, reviews compared to the total number of reviews for a camera. In many cases, there are 10% poor reviews. So a camera which has 60 reviews might have 6 poor ones. This seems bad but not all bad reviews are a like. Some are for dead units right out of the box. These are unfortunate but they have happened. A quick in store or warranty replacement usually fixes these problems. Other poor reviews are for poor optics that result in lower quality photos, especially in some circumstances like night photography. These may or may not be important to you.
When examining owner reviews, keep the 10% "poor" measure in mind. It is quite common for a camera to receive this many poor reviews. If a unit has 5% poor reviews, that may mean that it is a superior model. Similarly, one with 15% poor owner reviews possibly indicates a major fault with the model. Those wanting to buy a new model digital camera should be aware that fewer owner reviews may be available for newer units. For these, particular attention should be paid to the type of poor review. Again, 10% or fewer poors may be good. Of those, dead on arrival units can be easily explained. If the rest seem to be for weird system errors, the new design may have inherent issues. If they are for poor optical quality, the digital camera may be cheaply made.
Evaluating Manufacturer Support
In reviewing the owner reviews before you buy a digital camera, you may notice that some manufacturers tend to deal with problems better than others. This is truly an unfortunate situation which can have long term negative effects for companies. In some cases, customers buying low priced digital cameras have been told that their unit requires repairs which exceed the price paid for the new unit. Buyers might want to check the cost of an extended warranty, and accidental damage coverage, for a new digital camera, regardless of price. Such policies are available at low cost and can often be a major benefit later. Keep all receipts, of course.
Putting It All Together
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2 MP is perhaps the best digital camera option available when all measurements are evaluated. It offers 12.2 mp in the photo sensor. It has many available options for lenses, flashes and other advanced gear. It is easy to use for both beginners and experts alike. The owners report many favorable reviews and very few have reported any negatives, 1.5% - way under the 10% mark. Canon is a great company that produces perhaps the most popular line of digital cameras in the world. This unit, however, does cost more than $400 which does put it out of reach for many people.
Another digital camera that you might want to buy is the Canon PowerShot A2300 IS 16.0 MP with 5x Digital Image Stabilized Zoom. This unit is much cheaper than the Rebel T3 but it provides many excellent features. It has 16 megapixels, has great owner reviews and is well backed by Canon as well.
Another Great Camera at an Amazing Price
Amazon Price: $289.00 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 25, 2016)