- First things first: why do you want one?
- How digital cameras work
- Photo Terminology
- Camera features
- Image Compression
- Questions to ask the retailer
The weight of the digital camera should also be a consideration when you're looking at buying one. Those who plan to travel with it, for example, may find that a lighter model is easier to carry around. Also, the physical size of the camera can be a persuading factor: you may prefer one which fits in your pocket to one you have to carry in a bag.
The majority of digital cameras weigh between 200g and 800g, although several lightweight cameras come in at a trim 150g. Be aware that a light camera will most likely have fewer features - and can wear a more expensive price tag.
You should also keep in mind whether the camera has a viewfinder or not. Basically all modern digital cameras come with LCD screens to frame the shot, except D-SLRs which use a different technology that prohibits them from doing this (note: some new D-SLR models circumvent this, allowing you to use the LCD for live review, but these are few and far between). This does however mean many basic units skip the inclusion of a viewfinder all together. So if you're a film traditionalist, or just like the feel of composing a shot using the viewfinder, then this will be an important consideration.
Few cameras come with truly valuable image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements or Ulead PhotoImpact. However, you will find that most cameras include software programs as part of the retail cost. This software is enough to keep you busy once you have taken your photos. You will find some of the software is third party, while others are developed in-house by the camera manufacturer.
The types of software you will see varies. For example, you may get video image editing software that can turn your photos into slide show presentations in AVI, MPEG, and EXE formats. Other software may allow you to edit and retouch your photos, then add special effects or place them in cards, calendars, frames and templates. You can even remove red eyes from pictures. Or, your camera may also come with software that allows you to create your own photo album using your digital photos or even convert your album for uploading to the Web. See here for an example of imaging software in action.
If you are interested in the software, research the camera you have in mind and then check the specs, where you should find any bundled software. If you are unsure what the software does, just copy the name of it in a search engine - and a quick search will yield all the info you need.