How to Buy a Digital Camera - A 9 Step Guide

How to Buy a Digital Camera – A 9 Step Guide


Yesterday I asked ‘when is the best time to buy a digital camera?‘ Today I want to turn our attention to how to buy a digital camera.

I’m not going to talk you through all the different features on a digital camera or tell you which models are best (something that is really quite individual and which changes regularly over time) however there are a few questions and factors to keep in mind when making the decision of which camera is best for you.

When searching for a digital camera there are a few factors that I encourage people to keep in mind when they buy a digital camera (while there are 9 ‘steps’ they are not necessarily a sequence you follow)

So lets get onto some tips for buying digital cameras:

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’

Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

10. Your Tips

The above is my advice on buying a digital camera and comes from my own experience of buying numerous cameras, but I’m sure others will have useful tips to add. Feel free to add your suggestions on how to buy a digital camera in comments below!

Looking to buy a digital camera? Check out the most popular digital cameras as rated by what other DPS readers are buying.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Diana September 18, 2013 02:43 pm

    Lumix has got to be the best digital camera on the market. Got mine from Amazon at a awesome discount price and would like to share the discount that I received with anyone who is looking for a great dependable camera: - Very happy.

  • Jitendra Gupta August 21, 2013 01:40 pm

    Which of the following is better purchase for around INR 32K? (Buying DSLR first time)
    1. Nikon D3200 with 18-55 kit lens
    2. Canon 1100D with 18-55 + 55-250 kit lens

  • Aditya Pandey August 11, 2013 03:12 am

    Fantastic Set of Points You Laid Sir.

    I am willing to learn photography and wish to buy a DSLR . I do not have much of an experience of shooting.
    I would love to have your advice on how to go ahead for that. Please suggest a good beginner DSLR.
    Interested in Canon 600d or Nikon D5100. Budget at max goes to 35000/- INR

  • John Wilson Gladstone June 21, 2013 10:23 pm

    Very good advise! Thanks.

  • Anuarg Painuly June 6, 2013 04:12 am

    yes now i can choose for me a best camera brand for me thans a lot dear

  • Wesly May 18, 2013 10:09 pm

    Great post. I am newbie so this article was very, very useful for me, I have found almost every information that I wanted to know. THANKS a lot.... Keep up with great articles

  • Gerald Stone, IV May 16, 2013 06:42 pm

    THANKS! I go through a camera every 2 months or so. I either lose them or break them. This is exactly what I was looking for. I'm always buying cameras with things I didn't need & not getting what I did need. Megapix vs. zoom. Off to the mall!

  • gaby May 14, 2013 05:05 pm

    Some nice options here :

  • Terrance May 8, 2013 01:35 pm

    I still love the old power shot, they are bang for your buck. And I always use amazon for my purchase. If your interested

  • Diana April 27, 2013 06:58 am

    This is very informative, but I go to to get a video reviews of many cameras before I decide to buy. Make sure that you do good research. The Camera Room is a good source for research.

  • makis March 31, 2013 07:12 pm

    hi , am planning to buy Sony Dsc HX300 ( 20 megapixel, 50x opt zoom ) but i can't find any review about, so i would like to know the experience of others with this camara. thax :-)

  • John @ Digital Camera Best Buy March 21, 2013 11:14 pm

    Hey, great advice at all. Its surprising how many people don;t really think about it. Its all to easy to think that because the phone take a photo with point and click, it works the same way with Digital Cameras

  • Priya March 21, 2013 11:05 pm

    I am planning to buy NIKON L28 can you please tell me is it good ? or there is some better camera in that range ?

  • Justine Vara February 28, 2013 10:03 am

    Hi! I've been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great job!

  • chamara February 24, 2013 09:36 pm

    great. sincerely thanks for your post !!

  • Swathi February 14, 2013 07:54 pm

    Good Advise, It is very useful & helpful,Great Post,I think the most important thing about buying a camera is how comfortable you feel with it.

  • terry walsh January 6, 2013 12:51 am

    darren rowse,top geezer and thanks..just reading the points you made has taught me a lot..well im an artist but only started using a camera 2 years ago.and i limited myself to using my phone camera nokia N95 5pxl and i have to say there cameras are superb..i have a ericsson w995 at 8.1 pxl and i really dont rate it at all..ok, i take pictures only of females and only headshots,i get them put on canvas or AO AI poster.but i photograph a lot of other things such as on my walk(i have trouble breathing) to my local shop and i photo'd sunrise and sunset over a large grass and trees with big high rise surrounding and i needed and bought a samsung NV 15 FOR £18.OO on ebay and its a good little camera but i need a good zoom, its sad when the conditions outside are perfect but the far off buildings (allways night shots) all come out with a less than acceptable picture.i still use thse pics in experimenting using my windows photo gallery.same thing i prefer the basics rather than getting a top range photo i was of the same mind about not needing too many pixels.i have 10mp on this camera and it takes beautiful pictures, but there is no joy zoom wise,lens is a scheider f7.3-21.9mm, and because of looking for you and reading your wisdom, you have tol me exactly what to look for only i dont know the specs of a camera..i would love to know about lenses ad zooming taking notice as you advised of the 'optical' zoom.i dont need all the added gimmicks as such, i do in the editing later.if you have a basic idea of wht im trying to say, is there anything (used is ok) out there with what i need at the most basic price possible(2 kids skin me) i dont want an old developing camera..keep on teaching us mate yourgood at it. anyone can email me with advice.thanks..terry

  • Ning December 20, 2012 05:13 am

    I am looking for buying a digital camera, for taking photos of properties both indoor and outdoor, so I can put the photos on websites.

    I have no experiences on any good cameras, apart from using my little digital and mobile phone. I quiet like the estate agent's photos of property indoors as they made the rooms looking bigger, I guess it is called wide angle lens?

    My budget, max £500, of course it will be better if cheaper.

    Thank you in advance.

  • Thomas December 13, 2012 07:10 am

    Hi Darren,
    I agree with almost everything you said, especially the obsession with Megapixels to the exclusion of everything else. For me the most important thing is the lens (I am talking about DSLR's of course). The sensor Size is very important as well, without a decent sensor size and decent lens the compact cameras and cell phones will never compete, regardless of Megapixels. Video functionality is becoming more in demand and it is important to understand the issues. I was asked recently what would be the best DSLR for video and after some research I wrote DSLR Videos. . In a nutshell Canon has brought out a fantastic package combinging Their T4i with a great lens.

    Thanks Thomas

  • Andrew Sigman December 12, 2012 11:21 pm


    I bought my digital camera from This is a best website for price comparison shopping.

  • nijin October 20, 2012 06:36 am

    hey i want to buy nikon coolpix l810 point and shoot plz suggest..

  • Peter October 17, 2012 12:44 am

    Thank you. Very useful. I currently have a DSLR, love it, but yes it is a little too big for my pocket and chunky to carry around.

  • Amir October 14, 2012 07:24 pm

    i want to purchase Digital camera plz suggest me which camera is good for me??
    1. Sony Cyber shot WX 100

    2.Fuji FinePix SL240

  • Jeremy Bayston October 8, 2012 07:32 pm


    great post. I think the most important thing about buying a camera is how comfortable you feel with it. Of course you are going to have to learn how to use it, but if the functions don't feel intuitive to you, then you may want to try somethng else. There is nothing worse than seeing something happening infront of you and having to stop and think about where the right function button is, or fumbling through the menu. Another issue is weight - particularly if it is an SLR and you have a selection of lenses with you. They can become wuite cumbersome, especially if you are going hillwalking or somewhere where it is difficult to sit down and rest occassionally.

  • Curt September 5, 2012 11:40 am

    bruce m.
    I'd highly recommend considering the Canon Powershot SX40HS. Although it's a little more $, I believe you'll appreciate the improvement in capabilities. The swivel screen will help with the bright sunshine issue you mention, by being able to tilt it into shade, plus it will allow you to shoot angles you never imagined. If you're serious about progressing from novice to amateur you might as well skip the very basic models and save some $ in the long run by purchasing a solid 'bridge' camera. This model is an improvement in an evolution of a few very good prior models. The only draw back is if you absolutely require a pocket size devise... -If this is the case, I'd opt for the SX150IS.

  • Bruce M. September 4, 2012 12:31 am

    Considering purchasing a Canon. Debating between the Powershot SX260HS and the SX150IS. I'm obviously a novice, looking for a quality product. Any thoughts ? Any advice? Would be appreciated. Don't understand why digitals don't have optical viewfinders. Always have had a problem with the LCD screens in bright sunshine. How do these cameras do ?

  • dody August 6, 2012 07:00 am

    I'm not a professional photographer,but i love photography in my a way that I usually take photos in my Nokia N95. Now i wish to have a D90(Nikon). Some how I found it interesting. I usually shoot out door pictures and landscapes. Please let me know your suggestion.

  • Camera Market Store August 1, 2012 03:16 am

    Before you purchase the digital camera are there other recommendation that comes with following features:
    High optical zoom, image stablizer (my hands tend to shake when taking pictures), optical zoom capability during video mode, compact and hopefully good. Thanks!

  • Tinaz May 2, 2012 02:31 am

    Very helpful blog post for a novice like me...

  • Albertus B. Budi Tjahjono February 18, 2012 02:31 am

    I'm in need to buy a point and shoot camera, which has a black & white mode features. Could you suggest one which has the price range between USD100 - USD125?

  • ali February 6, 2012 02:58 am

    Hi I'm going to Spain, Portugal and Morocco in April and I was wondering what was the best kind of camera to buy for sightseeing and things like that. I have no clue what SLR or powershot or point and shoot cameras are. There's so many different types and I'm confused. Can you help? Im looking to spend more then $100 but not more than $300

  • Cottagemuse January 27, 2012 01:04 pm

    I love digital cameras, I bought mine and took many photos of the southwestern part of the USA. Incredible!

  • kathie December 29, 2011 08:24 pm

    hi fndz,

    I was gifted a digital camera by my father for Xmas. My father bought it for me from Disital Camera. but i need a sd memory card 8GB. how can i get it and use it esily??

  • Flynn December 7, 2011 05:59 am

    Still after reading this article I feel so unaccomplished. I STILL NEED HELP KNOWING WHAT CAMERA TO BUY! I Like small cameras that I can take on trips so I can take pictures of anything I'd like anytime! I like to capture moments when I'm on vacation and that's hard to do if you don't have a camera! Please help me decide somebody!

  • davehbrown123 November 13, 2011 10:41 am

    Thanks for your publiction. Another item is that just being a photographer requires not only problems in capturing award-winning photographs but in addition hardships in establishing the best video camera suited to your needs and most especially hardships in maintaining the caliber of your camera. This really is very real and evident for those photography lovers that are in to capturing a nature's engaging scenes : the mountains, the particular forests, the wild or the seas. Visiting these amazing places certainly requires a camera that can surpass the wild's harsh surroundings.

  • diksha September 22, 2011 11:55 pm

    i intend to buy Sony cyber shot s3000
    pricing 4500 around
    should i go for it?
    give reviews
    thanking you in advance...

  • vinit pratap singh September 22, 2011 05:31 pm

    Thank you so much, i was wrong i thought mega pixel is everything.. but now i understand.

  • August 25, 2011 07:17 pm

    you can find the bestselling cameras at

  • luis August 17, 2011 05:18 pm

    what camera should i get??? i am trying to buy a camera that is in the 200$ i need a camera that is not too small but not a block. also good for taking nature photos(plants. trees,etc) but also for taking photos at night .
    or i it too much to ask at this budget level????? any help is really appreaciated :) p.s also the photo quality needs to be much better than the ipod camera plz help i dont want to waste my money in vain.

  • SUPREET August 2, 2011 03:04 am

    Which one among the below mentioned Digi cams are the best in terms of efficiency / performance & features
    Canon SX 30 IS or the Sony DSC HX 100V ?

  • Lakmal July 31, 2011 11:44 am

    details for the latest cams.

    read this...: Have fun.

  • karan July 28, 2011 12:23 am

    Dear Sir,

    I want to buy an digi cam which company is best between canan , sony and nikan

    please tell us.

  • Pam Beamish July 16, 2011 05:05 am

    We have 10 grandchildren they are very active in sports and I am always taking pictures. we have a kodak 5.0 10x zoom which most of the time they come out blurry. I am condidering the nikon d5000 12.3 dslr any thoughts on this?

  • jon June 29, 2011 03:19 pm

    hey i’ve narrowed down between canon n sony camera models. Sony model has more megapixels & optical screen but canon has a bigger screen & is priced more than sony. Which is a better brand for camera??

  • Sadath June 5, 2011 10:32 am

    hey i've narrowed down between canon n sony camera models. Sony model has more megapixels & optical screen but canon has a bigger screen & is priced more than sony. Which is a better brand for camera?? Please suggest.

  • Sujeeva May 25, 2011 08:53 pm

    Hi I want to purchase Digital camera, pls can any one tell which Digital camera to buy among this two
    1. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H70
    2. Canon IXUS 120 IS

    Which gives better picture clarity? if any other advice is there pls do inform..

  • zeph May 16, 2011 05:05 pm

    Finding the right digital camera to meet your photography needs, can be stressful and take a person away from actually being able to enjoy the wonderful world of photography. helps customers find the right digital camera whether you are a beginner, amateur or professional photographer., does the research so you can spend less time trying to find the right camera and more time finding that special picture. You'll find all the top brands on the market, such as Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony, Leica, Panasonic and many more quality digital cameras.

  • Nikon Coolpix Digital Camera May 5, 2011 12:36 am

    very useful and helpfull thank you

  • Ratul Paul April 9, 2011 09:46 pm

    Hi !

    I want to purchase a point and shoot digital camera within $220 (Rs 10,000). I'm interested in shooting real life pictures ,but never had any still camera before .I had a video camera sony TRV285E .Quite often i go out for tours ,so i want to have one which at least can take clear pictures of fast moving objects ,or anything that you think will be the best buy for me at this range to start with . Hope you can help me with it !

  • Parveen January 13, 2011 09:08 pm

    Dear Sir ,

    Thank you for your kind advice.I am still unable to decide in buying digital camera.

    Basicaly I am interested in buying digital camera cum binocular(rain,water & fog proof ) throgh which I can take distant pictures.If picture is very small & taken shot the digital camera with binocular ,should have same clarity as original while enlarginging .Because most of the time picture get blurt and of no use .

    Seek favourable response.


  • anna November 25, 2010 05:53 am

    Nikon Coolpix L110 12.1MP Digital Camera with 15x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black)

    you can get it here

  • Tammy November 22, 2010 09:28 am

    Thank you for the great tips & advise. I am looking for a small point & shoot camera that is fast. The Kodak camera I have now doesn't take the picture for a few seconds after I push the button - always missing shots - very frustrating. Any suggestions on a fast reasonably priced ($100-$200) camera that takes clear pictures?

  • Vidi November 16, 2010 07:30 am


    I'm just about to get my first dSLR. I am confused whether to go in for a used camera & invest more on brand new lenses or whether to buy a brand new camera & buy used lenses. Any suggestions please?


  • Avril October 28, 2010 08:08 pm


    I want to buy a new digital camera. I am looking for one which offers some of the functions of a DSLR camera but which will not be so bulky. The features i would like are the ability to take a series of pictures fastly and to be able to focus the lens, a good zoom, ability to take quality photos in black and white/sepia etc. I will require the camera for photos on nights out and family occasions but also for sports and sightseeing. I realise i am asking a lot but am looking for advise on what camera's to look at? my price range is between £100-£200.


  • sanjeev September 30, 2010 03:27 am

    nice article
    its realy useful to me when i will go to buy digital camera

  • Photo Recovery September 7, 2010 05:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a informative article, it helps user to concentrate in all above phase before buying a new digital camera.

  • Pranav September 3, 2010 07:52 pm

    Yes. I agree with you. My canon A-410 is a 3.2 megapixel camera. But its clarity is far better than any other camera. I can accomodate about 50 to 60 photos in 16 mb memory card

  • Digital Camera Photo Recovery September 1, 2010 07:08 pm

    I am looking to purchase a digital camera. Thanks for posting these tips. It will help me a lot. Keep posting......

  • Dings August 19, 2010 12:46 am

    I think that,there is the way,how we get best us as snatching still with our digital camera.

  • dasarathan August 18, 2010 03:01 am

    sir my camera is canon50D thisis good camera?

  • Shawnarox August 14, 2010 03:38 am

    One other thing to think about.... My father gave me his old digi cam when he realized he never used it as the buttons were too small for his thick fingers.... definately "test-drive" a camera you're specifically interested in as if you never use it, you've wasted the money, regardless of how capable the camera actually is!

  • Willoughbys July 28, 2010 04:55 pm

    In finding the digital camera that will best suits you, these guidelines can really help a lot.But the best thing is to choose the digital camera that you will never had a hard time trying to learn how to use all its features.You should always be familiar with all of your digital camera's capabilities so you will be enjoying all the benefits it can give you.

  • CheapDigitalCameras July 28, 2010 02:34 pm

    Look for your requirements first. See whats your budget. The size and the portability should also be kept in mind. If you are looking for camera even 2 mp, displays good pictures on computer. Click around the site to learn how to choose the best digital camera and check out the reviews of some of the top brands.

  • Naveen R April 2, 2010 09:49 pm

    Fuji Film camera will be a good option.Fuji film have launched their 3d camera FUJI Finepix REAL 3D W1 which has parallax adjustment and multi-frame playback

  • Alex March 16, 2010 01:13 pm

    Hey, I really need a camera that is digital and both still water proof. I am 14 and I would really like nice sharp pictures. I use to be a model (Modeled for bridesmaid dresses etc.) I really like having a well fit camera that is perfect for me I would like a timer too. WHAT SHOULD I GET AHHH LOL?!!!

  • Anonymosss February 13, 2010 10:43 am

    thanks for the useful tips!..i really appreciate it..THANK YOU

  • edie February 7, 2010 07:50 pm

    if you allow me to share information about your web camera. I will be grateful to you. I honestly love the contents of the article you have diwebsite.

  • Jack B January 26, 2010 12:53 pm

    For DSLR buyers I would add: pick the brand first and base the decision on what make of camera your friends have. You'll hopefully keep you camera for a while and future upgrades will likely be with the same manufacturer. Buying similar gear to your friends will allow you to borrow lenses and share tips. If you find yourself running out of battery, there's more chance someone you're with will have a compatible spare. More info:

  • Vinay January 9, 2010 10:03 pm

    The site is really helpful. I am going to buy a camera and was really confused, you helped me in narrowing down.

  • chris December 20, 2009 09:18 am

    here's about the best deal I've seen on an SLR 12.1mp DSLR with lens

  • mansoor ahmed khan December 10, 2009 11:14 pm

    very very very useful and helpfull.
    i cannot tell u how much this article helped me,,it helped 200 percent.

  • Lisa December 7, 2009 03:57 am

    Looking to buy a digital camera any recommendations my son is looking for something that has night shooting mode.

  • Curt November 13, 2009 10:25 am

    I'm surprised how man people left "comments" asking for someone to tell them what camera to buy for their particular situation.... Selfish and inappropriate? Yes. Rude? Maybe, but probably not intended. This is not a forum. The author specifically asked anyone to share experiences that would aid readers in their pursuit to purchase a digicam. My $0.02 is to try before you buy. Go to a store and handle the few cameras you've researched and narrowed that have your desired options.

  • Erin November 12, 2009 02:59 pm

    Your advice is helpful but I bought a camera and it wouldn't take the picture till about two seconds after i clicked, Totally missing the moment. How do I find a fast camera that takes clear pictures?

  • Darcy October 14, 2009 06:00 am

    Don't buy Kodak! My Kodak took wonderful pix. As I'm a truckers wife I take pix out the window of the truck. The 'sport' setting worked great.
    After year and a half of use the lens would no longer extend, and when turned on it shut itself off. kodak chat tried some things, then told me to send it in to be fixed and $150. charge.
    I can't afford to buy a $350. camera, use it a little more then the year warrenty,and have it break.
    I won't be buying Kodak.

  • Gerald Capodieci September 30, 2009 02:29 pm

    In the old days we worried about running out of film. Now I worry about running out of batteries. I use only cameras that use the AA batteries then carry a quick charger and inverter so I can charge them on the road or in a hotel. This requirement narrows the choices down to a managable number, all well built and good choices.

  • chanel September 24, 2009 03:21 pm

    i just have a question im looking for a camera for school im going to get my major in photograhy ill photographing people and land scapes it has 10.5 megapixels total it the canon rebel xs ill be getting it for about $600 includes extra battery two lenses 18-55 mmlens and 75- 300lens i believe it also includes the battery charger and cover along with video cable usb cable eye cup shoulder strap and the software for the computer of course i like the feel of the camera but is 10.5 megapixel good for me? thank you for the time

  • Greatchandeliers September 22, 2009 04:45 pm

    Thanks for clarification about the optical and digital zoom...............
    Appreciate this type of knowledge sharing.

  • Sammy da Bull August 7, 2009 01:46 am

    STEP 2: a300 vs a700 is a GREAT example of this.....

  • Swapnil S July 31, 2009 02:57 am

    Damn good article.......
    Especially highlighting the need of Camera and general misunderstanding about megapixel.

  • Glenn Fernandes July 29, 2009 03:11 pm

    Thanks for the interesting and useful article. All the points are very true. There are different models and brands for cameras and camcorders. According to me, Canon is one of the best brand. Recently I have Canon Powershot A480. Canon PowerShot A480 has impressive features.With the Battery and Media, the whole weight of camera can be weighed at 6.7 ounces.It has a 10 MP camera, image quality is very good. For more details refer Canon Powershot A480 review

  • Nathan July 27, 2009 03:02 am

    For me, the first point: "Determine what you need" is the most important one - you're being 'attacked' by everyone saying "this is the best camera" or "this is the most powerful camera" or "if you want a camera, don't pay less than $400" etc., but when you think for a moment you might realize that in reality all you need is the simplest digital camera you can get for $120 and it will be enough.

  • rajesh June 16, 2009 11:35 am

    which brand is preferably,canon,samsung,nikon.....?
    lithium batteries or AA?

  • Canon April 20, 2009 08:36 pm

    Thank for information about How to Buy a Digital Camera.

  • Anita April 4, 2009 10:21 pm

    Really informative & very systematically explained. I am gonna try it this way.

  • ravichandran March 12, 2009 07:52 pm

    very informative article. hope this will help me to buy a digital camera

  • tagechi February 11, 2009 04:33 am

    Thanks for advice.I'll follow this 9 step.Great post.

  • Allen Reece November 20, 2008 01:37 pm

    I have a real estate ofice. Need to buy a new camera, problem is, I am always on the run so point and shoot is the go (more reality than choice). Would like to get small rooms in one so a 28mm and below is needed, but also need a good staberliser. Some houses are very white walls floor furniture so to get good focus is very hard, having to go back to take the photo is embarassing. What to buy ???????

  • Freed October 26, 2008 02:34 am

    Great info, I keep woundering do I need DSLR or just auto focus??


  • John_GR August 26, 2008 06:50 pm

    Really helped me a lot to decide what type of digital camera should buy. Today, I was going to buy my first digital camera ever, so I had no idea what should I ask. The nine first questions make it clear. Thanks a lot for the suggestions! Regards from Greece!

  • ana margolles August 24, 2008 01:01 pm

    I will be buying a point and shoot camera in san francisco next month. can you please recommend a place in the city where i can get one? Thank you

  • Steve B June 16, 2008 03:06 pm

    Most current cameras take good pictures. So, from a technical perspective, the range of quality anyone would be looking at is rather narrow.

    The things I tell people, based on 30+ years of experience is:

    1. How does it feel in your hand (size/weight/grip, etc)?
    2. How intuitive do you find the controls (regardless of what anyone else says).

    These are crucial because you'll take better pictures with a camera that you enjoy using - if only because you'll then use it more! (practice makes perfect)


    3. How does it fit with your budget?
    4. Does it have the features you'll need for ~80% of your shooting? (Don't go overboard for a feature you'll rarely use - if you *need* it for a small share of your work, then there's probably a way to get by without it.
    5. If you're going to invest serious money into an SLR - don't scrimp on lenses. The quality of your glass is at least equally important as the body's capabilities.

    Finally - a crappy camera that you carry with you will always take better pictures than the world's best in your closet. In other words, if it's not convenient to your life and shooting style - it's not right for you.

    Remember - the best way to take great pictures is to practice.

  • bintang4 May 24, 2008 01:01 am

    I'm planning to learn on how to use a DSLR and want to buy one. This tips indeed help me to consider which type of camera should I buy..
    thanks mate :)

  • Kypster May 20, 2008 08:28 am

    I do PR for a small hospital in rural Washington state. I take pictures for our website, local newspapers, brochures, posters (very large) and newsletters.
    I hate shutter lag and want a fast shutter.
    I also need to get extreme close-ups.
    I don't want to become a photo expert -- therefore don't want an SLR.
    What camera might be the best for me?
    I have looked at the Canon S5-IS and the Canon G-9. The S5 has 8mp, a faster shutter and beefier zoom, but the G-9 offers 12 mp, continuous shutter and video capabilities.
    Whattaya think?

  • Suhas May 10, 2008 11:27 pm

    This is really helpful for a layman who intend to buy a Digi cam. Thanks.

  • Ross Hill April 18, 2008 11:40 am

    I went to the 4 shops in Elizabeth St, Melbourne and it was really disappointing. The first 3 had absolutely no useful customer service, but Michel's on the corner blew the other 3 out of the water. I'm just going to go straight there in the future.

  • Spoteria April 14, 2008 01:18 pm

    If you are given a choice to choose a free camera between Olympus Mju 780 or Casio Z1200, which one would you choose?

  • Krish Bhowmick March 11, 2008 02:47 pm

    I have read ur article.Its awsome.
    I want to buy a camera with the following specifications

    I am a beginner photographer and want to shot pics at day as well as night ,indoor and outdoor.Printing is not important.

    Please give me the configuration I should opy for.

  • Tony January 6, 2008 10:35 am

    Nice and thorough.

    I hope people actually read your article instead of skimming through it.

  • Nature Wallpaper December 31, 2007 12:02 pm

    Great set of questions, I used to help people, and people have no clue about what they want. I think the main element is size and the use of it.

  • Jim November 28, 2007 08:30 am

    If you plan on purchasing your camera on-line to save a few bucks then skip step number 8. By going into your local store to "look" at cameras just to purchase on-line out of state and save a few bucks you waist the time of the dealer who is there to assist you, feed his family, pay taxes that go to build roads in your community and pay for the schools your children attend. By skipping step number eight you free them up to help people who care about their community and appreciate the service received by paying the few extra bucks.

    Also, if you price driven but know nothing about cameras, don't return to the store with question about the camera and operations that you could not get answered on-line or from the Costco camera specialist. (Oh, that's right, Costco doesn't have a camera specialist)

    Need lessons. Many local stores will offer them free to customers who purchased from their store. They charge extra if purchased elsewhere. Usually far more then you on-line savings. But the expense is worth it if your only other alternative is to box up the camera and return it or gift. If you do attempt to get free help from the store, don't be offended if they give you a cold shoulder. After all, that's what you paid for.

  • A Kid October 27, 2007 07:55 am


  • DISPOSABLE WEDDING CAMERAS October 10, 2007 02:46 am

    i would go with the Fujifilm F31d

    good luck

  • WEDDING CAMERAS September 26, 2007 04:08 am

    i agree there is a lot of good online stores and one of them is
    i was verry happey with them

  • Rahul August 10, 2007 07:48 pm

    Nice site. Unbiased. Great Work. I know most know this, still ... I think its a good idea to go through the online stores, get an idea of the price range b4 buying one out of the show room.

  • Roman July 17, 2007 01:36 am

    Which brand is better?
    I want to be able to take pictures of my young children and basic pictures. I want to be able to blow the pictures up (8 x 10 occasionally 15 x 20) but I don't want something too fancy. It would be nice to fit in a purse since there is so much to carry with babies.
    I know that I want 4-5 MP and 4-5 optical zoom. (I've been doing a lot of research.)
    I would also like a camera that has continuous video, but it's not a requirement as we already have a video camera.
    I would like rapid fire shoot but can't seem to find this feature on descriptions. Is it called something else? I have also seen cameras that take a few seconds after pressing the shoot button to actually take the picture. By that time your subject has already moved.
    I don't mind buying a used camera as long as it works such as off ebay. I also don't mind an off brand. Is Cannon really the best? What about Kodak, and Sony.
    I'm looking for something NO MORE than $80 including shipping and handling. I know this is a lot but I'm in need of HELP from an unbiased person! Thanks

  • Spoteria July 1, 2007 03:54 am

    I am glad to find this site from I am looking for a digital camera and have narrowed down to three models. Fujifilm F31d because of its good review and other manual functions to choose from. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 for the 10x optical and image stabalizer. The Samsung L77, a 7x optical zoom camera with the ability to use optical zoom during video recording mode.

    Before I purchase the digital camera are there other recommendation that comes with following features:

    High optical zoom, image stablizer (my hands tend to shake when taking pictures), optical zoom capability during video mode, compact and hopefully good rich manual functions like the F31d. Thanks!

  • digital photography June 20, 2007 05:35 am

    I have already bought three digital cameras and here is the algorithm how i did it: first i decide what brand i want and it is easy it's canon, because all my cams are canons and most lenses i can use with two my SLRs. Then i think how much money i'm ready to pay for a new cam. After that i decide what are must-to-have features and what features are not necessary and then use search engines to find some variants. Such sites as dpreview and CNET must have such tools as far as i remember.

  • Rajesh Patalay May 11, 2007 08:58 pm

    Excellent article. Here is my one cent -

    After you have drilled down to a few models on which camera to buy, download the user manual from the manufacturer's website (most websites have the manuals on their site in PDF format). Going through the manual will give you valuable and intricate insights into the functionality and features of the camera. This may help you narrow down further on the model of your choice.

  • Michael Conger March 5, 2007 06:29 am

    If you're a beginner (like me) and looking at point-and-shoot digital cameras, it's a good rule of thumb to limit your search to brands that have a pre-digital history of quality camera making (ex. Canon, Nikon, Leica, etc) rather than computer companies who got into cameras because of their digital expertise (ex. HP, Panasonic, Casio, etc). Of course, there are exceptions on both sides of the equation, so your mileage may vary.

  • Ronny Hermans January 4, 2007 07:39 pm

    When going for a dslr reviews are important, but at this point the image quality of any new dslr is comparable to any other. It is more about how you feel about the camera, so don't go only on reviews, step into a shop and ask them to hold/try the camera. And also ask them to show you how the settings are changed, some camera's will feel just right while others not. If you like the reviews but the camera doesn't feel right for you just go back to search for another. A dslr lifetime is longer than a standard point and shoot.

  • Kay Headley December 31, 2006 01:51 am

    I've got a great little Kodak EasyShare 5mp + 10 zoom, which I use in sport mode most of the time taking pics for my son's wrestling team. However,the flash is so bright that I get white eyes which redeye reduction in editing will not remove. A friend suggested putting a semi-opaque piece of plastic (such as one of those clear film cases) over the flash to disperse the light, or put a white piece of paper under the flash and angled up slightly to reflect it up instead of direction out. I haven't had the opportunity to try either of these. Any other suggestions on how to avoid this?

  • Lynn Letteris December 24, 2006 05:20 pm

    Am in the market for 6 mp., 10X optical zoom, image stabilizaton, ISO 800 (or more), good low-light photography important. In researching, come up with positives - want to know the negatives about the cameras I am considering - in the $3-400 range. All sites tell you what is good - want to know that, but want to know the imperfections, too.

    What camera do you recommend?

  • Sab December 24, 2006 03:33 am

    This being a wonderful site, I am a little bit confused to choose the camera with a good flash. My exp shows, some of the latest cameras do not take good pictures at night time whereas my old 3.1 MP Fuji takes the pic in night much better. Any sugegstions? I am trying to get the specs regarding the flash for all the camera I am looking at.
    Please advise.

  • Christopher Murray December 11, 2006 01:39 am

    This is good site. I appreciate your insights.

    I like for information about cameras. They appear unbiased and go into tremendous depth when reviewing equipment.

  • Crystal December 9, 2006 03:36 pm

    I had a Nikon DSLR and it took wonderful pictures when on a tripod but it was just too heavy for me to hold steady otherwise. I heard about the new Sony A100 so when I saw one in the store I picked it up and played with it. After a battle with my conscience - "you already have a DSLR and it was expensive" - I bought the Sony and couldn't be happier. Even with a telephoto lens I can handle it and the steady-shot feature is wonderful.

  • Philip Talmage December 9, 2006 04:18 am

    Indeed MPs aren't everything. But perhaps it's worth noting that the more you start with, the more you can afford to throw away when you crop the image.

    I'd also suggest that, for many people who don't really want to become serious amateurs, size matters - it may be inconvenient to have anything too large to slip easily into a pocket - and the number of bits & pieces - do you really want to fiddle with changing lenses?

  • dfg December 8, 2006 10:42 pm

    Pay attention to noise level, many manufacturers in order to achieve more megapixels, are cranking up their sensors, pictures may have higher resolution, but also a lot higher noise level. All the cameras nowadays have more then enough Mpix, that’s why you should focus more on the noise level and ISO capabilities.

  • debatosh sengupta December 8, 2006 02:55 pm

    i appreciate the advice on how to purchase a digital camera. particularly the column dealing with Megapixels are NOT everything. there is a tremendous misconception on the issue.

  • krish December 8, 2006 02:21 pm

    very good advise. i bought a pentax iSTdl as i had a pentax Z1P, earlier and thought all my accessoroies will work on this. barring a few lenses i had to buy all accessories again for my iSTdl. in dubai even the most basic accessories for the iSTdl like the remote shutter release is not available. how i wish i has bought a cannon dslr for which all accessories and good after market lenses are available!!!!!!. am not lucky. my advise will be check about the accessories before you buy the camera