Considerations When Buying a New Digital Camera
By Meng Vang
It is not easy going to your local electronics store to purchase the perfect new digital camera just for you. Sometimes, it is possible for you to come back home just to find out that the item you purchased does not meet your expectations. So, you are forced to drive back to return or exchange your product for something you should have purchased in the first place. No body likes to waste their time like this.
Doing photography as a hobby for several years, I have seen many people make the same mistake over and over again when it comes to purchasing a new camera, whether it is a simple point-and-shoot or a DSLR. The most common mistake a person can make when purchasing a camera is assuming that the higher the megapixel count is, the better the camera is. As a matter of fact, megapixels, also known as MP, are only used for marketing purposes to trick a consumer into thinking which camera is better. This is known as the Megapixel Myth. No surprise, people who have no knowledge in camera technology will always go for the camera that has a higher megapixel count. When looking at camera ads, manufacturers and sellers will always have bigger emphasis on the megapixel count instead of other features. To understand the most out of a camera, you really have to understand more than just how many megapixels a camera has compared to another.
But what exactly is a megapixel? Megapixels refer to how large the resolution to an image is. I personally think it is funny how most people use nothing more than a 1920×1080 resolution monitor but some still look for cameras with at least 18MP just to upload pictures onto Facebook and Twitter. As a matter of fact, 1080p is only equivalent to 2.1MP, which is not even close to 18MP. If uploading casual pictures onto Facebook and Twitter is all what you do, you are better off spending less money for something cheaper. More megapixels do not make you a better photographer, nor does it make your images prettier. Plus the fact that the larger the megapixel count, the more space it will require when you store it. So if you plan to purchase a camera with a large megapixel count, you better make sure you have adequate storage space to store all of those large files.
A 1080p resolution monitor is only equivalent to 2.1MP. This means if you view any image that has a higher resolution than that of your monitor, you will never be able to see every pixel in that image. Below is an example. These three images were taken with the Nikon D3100 with the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 under different resolutions. They are taken at 14.2MP, 8.0MP, and 3.5MP. Can you tell which is which? All of these images look exactly the same until you view them under their full view.
Megapixels are not the only thing to consider when looking for a new camera. For instance, if you are a casual person who only takes pictures here and there, you will not need anything more than a 12MP camera. 12MP’s is more than enough for casual shooting. However, if you are looking into printing large prints, say for billboard ads, you will need the most megapixels you can find. To sum this part up, unless you are planning to print out huge billboard-like images, you can easily get away with a 12MP camera. There are many other things that you must consider but I will only cover three of the most important, which are ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.