Digital Cameras

There's a lot of different digital cameras on the market. Read on to determine the features and functions you need.

Photo Terminology


One of the most critical ways to judge a digital camera's image performance is by its resolution. A camera's resolution is defined by multiplying the number of pixels on the sensors horizontally with those vertically - otherwise referred to as the pixel rating.

Pixels (short for picture element) are minuscule dots which, when put together, create the image that appears on a digital screen. The more of these pixels there are on the screen, the sharper the image created and the greater the flexibility when taking and printing your photos.

Typically, CCD resolution ranges from 4-megapixel (in lower-end products) to as much as 12 megapixels. This can also be represented as 2272 x 1704 pixels to 4288 x 2848 pixels.

Alongside these figures, several manufacturers use two terms to describe the camera's resolution: effective versus total resolution. The total resolution figure represents the total number of pixels on the CCD. Effective resolution represents the number of pixels which are used to produce the image. Not all of the pixels on the sensor are used in generating the image, partly because some pixels are used as part of the circuitry for calculating the levels of charge across the sensors, and also because the CCD or CMOS device can create picture degradation on the very edge of the device.

So, a digital camera with a total resolution of 2384x1734, for example, can only generate images with a maximum effective image resolution of 2272x1712. Therefore, the figure which accurately gauges the camera's resolution is the effective one.

If you intend to take pictures only to e-mail to friends or to print at snapshot size, a camera with a low resolution will do. Even so, more pixels give you greater flexibility - you can print sharper pictures at larger sizes, or crop small pieces out of pictures. Basically any reasonably good 5 megapixel model will produce more than adequate shots up to a print size of 6in x 8in or so, but for bigger enlargements or more creative work, you'll want a more advanced device.

Cameras on the higher end of the resolution scale will have a steeper price tag, though, so make sure you know what you want to use the digital camera for before buying.

Digital cameras will also come with a selection of resolution choices, which often confuses the user. Setting an image in a high or "fine" resolution will result in a better quality picture, but will inevitably take up more memory than an image set in a lower resolution mode.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?