The Best Amateur Cameras

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When picking out the best digital camera, it's hard to make a bad choice. Nowadays, even your cellphone can take a great picture. So it's important to understand what your needs are when shopping for a camera. The first task is understanding megapixels. How many megapixels are enough? More importantly, how many megapixels do you need?

Understanding Megapixels

  • Those with even a cursory knowledge of cameras are familiar with the term "megapixels." The cost of a camera often correlates with the amount of megapixels it packs into each image. Without getting too technical, the more megapixels, the better overall image quality. But most cameras -- even your cellphone camera -- can produce wonderful images if your only goal is to email photos or post them on sites like Facebook. The amount of megapixels a camera offers becomes more significant if you choose to enlarge and print the photo. For sharp pictures, a standard minimum resolution should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). By contrast, the average picture you see on the internet is only 72 dpi. If you want to make prints of up to 8-by-10 inches (at 300 dpi), then a camera with at least seven megapixels should do the trick nicely.

Nikon Coolpix

  • The Nikon Coolpix S8100 offers 12.1 megapixels. It is a high-speed camera which translates to superior capability for shooting in low light. Infosyncworld.com says this camera is "a premiere example of why the low light revolution should be proud." Like many cameras in today's market (and even some cellphones) the camera has the capability of shooting 1080 HD video. With this model, you can shoot with manual adjustments or auto mode. It has a 10x optical zoom. As of April 2011, this camera retails for U.S.$299.00.

Canon PowerShot

  • The Canon PowerShot A3100 offers 18 shooting modes, 12.1 megapixels, optical image stabilization and a 2.5 inch LCD screen. Photographyblog.com says that "every aspect of the Canon A3100 has a quality feel with nothing flimsy." Exposure is also set automatically for skin tones. The movie mode shoots VGA and QVGGA for up to an hour on a 4 GB disk. The camera comes in a variety of colors and as of April 2011 lists for as little as $99.00.

Fujifilm FinePix XP10

  • The Fujifilm FinePix XP10 has many of the same features of the higher end point-and-shoot cameras but at a lower cost. It has 12.2 megapixels, but what really sets it apart is that it is waterproof. It can take pictures under water up to ten feet deep. The FinePix shoots video at dimensions of up to 1280x720 pixels, and can take two photos in quick succession, one with and one without flash, so the user can choose the best image. This camera is designed with social media in mind. Pictures easily upload to YouTube or Facebook. LearntoCatchCatfish.com recommends this camera for people who fish, hunt, camp or are around water. As of April 2011, the XP10 retails for less than $100.00

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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