Recently, the term "Digital Camera" has become an oxymoron since the manufacturer of film cameras, except for the disposable type, has virtually ceased.
The term "digital" in digital camera refers to the method used to capture the image. In virtually all digital cameras a CMOS image sensor measures
the intensity of red, green and blue light and converts it to a digital value.
The most important elements to consider when purchasing a digital camera are:
Point and Shoot digital cameras are targeted at beginning photographers and those interested in a lightweight travel camera. SLRs (Single Lens Reflex)
are targeted at advanced amateurs desiring more control over their photography. SLRs allow for removable lenses, manual focus, external flashes and other professional
equipment to be attached to the camera.
The quality of the lens determines the detail in the image captured by the camera. An older digital camera with a superior lens can capture better
images than a modern camera with a poor quality lens. In almost all cases, removable lenses used in digital slrs are designed to create a superior image.
The image sensor is the "film" in a digital camera. The sensor is divided into millions of individual light sensitive elements that record the light intensity
in different parts of the image. The more elements (or pixels), the better. Modern camera have sensors with up to tens of millions of elements.
While the lens and resolution are the most important purchasing things to evalaute in a digital camera purchase, other factors such cost, battery life,
portability, type of memory card, brand and warranty, should also be examined.
As an advanced amateur I would recommend purchasing Canon, Nikon and Sony brands, as each of these manufacturers have an established service infrastructure
and very good track records with previous Digital Camera models.
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