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The main thing that most people don't seem to realize is that good photos can
be taken with any camera.
The two most common types of cameras are the compact, the small rectangular boxes that everyone seems to have,
you look through the viewfinder which is parallel to the lens. And the SLR ( single lens reflex ), when you look
through the viewfinder you see the scene actually through the lens ( it's reflected up to the viewfinder ).
Both come in both film and digital forms. Film is now fast disappearing as the preferred format for most pictures.
Things to consider when buying a camera:
Any well known brand except Kodak. I have had a bad enough experience with Kodak digital to forever consider them
junk. I am partial to Pentax, but that's just me.
Buy any well known brand except Kodak.
The sensor -at least 4 megapixels, the more the better.
The lens - you need optical zoom. Ignore any mention of digital zoom, that just amounts to a con.
The LCD screen - the bigger the better. However in strong light you will not be able to see the LCD properly ,
so make sure the camera's viewfinder is comfortable to use.
Flash - make sure it has auto, always off, always on and redeye off modes. There will be some shots ( for instance
taking pictures of lights or things like fireworks ) when the flash will be of no use. And equally, in strong light
you will find people wearing hats will have dark shadows under the brims, so forcing the flash to fire will give
you a better shot of their face. Redeye will be a problem with any small camera, however most redeye reduction
flash modes are all but useless, it's something you will need to experiment with . You can always remove redeye
after the photo is on your computer ( though it does take some practice ).
Storage - we usually use 1 gigabyte cards ( = 1,000 megabytes ). But you might get better value for your dollar
by buying two 500 megabyte cards or four 250 megabyte cards, depending on where you are buying them.
Batteries - I suggest going for a camera that takes AA batteries, if you run out they are the easiest to buy in
little out of the way places. I recommend the e2 batteries, but in an emergency any AA will do.
Your hand - make sure the camera is comfortable for you to hold.
Buy a camera bag to keep it safe.