Some of my friends have asked about my recommendations for buying a digital camera… I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, however, my co-workers tease me about taking so many photos that I often look like a “Japanese Tourist”.
A basic digital camera should have at least 3 MP (megapixels) of resolution and a 3X optical zoom. It’s important to note that the manufacturer’s “feature competition” on megapixels is in many ways similar to the megahertz competition that we used to see for computers. For most purposes, you really don’t need more than 3 MP for a family camera. In addition, it’s important not to be misled about the “digital” zoom on low-end cameras, you really need to have basic optical zoom.
For most of our family vacations, I use the Canon Digital Elph SD300. This unit provides 4 MP of resolution and a 3X optical zoom in one of the smallest packages. This camera is the size of a pack of cigarettes and costs less than $225. It’s very convenient to carry on your travels and delivers very attractive results.
Since taking high-quality photos is still dependent on the optics, for the more demanding professional shots (e.g., in low light), I use the Canon Digital Rebel XT. This is a professional SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with 8MP of resolution and uses interchangeable 35mm lenses. It provides the complete functionality used by professional photographers at a cost of approximately $800.
For the last few years, I’ve been looking for a camera/camcorder combination, however, these are still very expensive or don’t yet provide the quality desired.