Digital cameras have allowed us to find more and more ways to make photography more convenient and take better photos. A lot of new exciting digital camera features have been introduced in recent years. Here are some bells and whistles to look out for:
Video – The world of digital cameras lets you shoot movies, too! Of course, the movies aren't as high-quality as a video shot with a camcorder, but if you like to make short clips of your friends or family, this is a feature you should look into. You can usually even connect your camera to a TV and screen them directly.
Fold-Out Viewfinder – Only available on some point-and-shoot and mid-range cameras, a fold-out viewfinder comes in really handy when you're trying to get a shot in a hard-to-reach place. The downside is that it adds a bit of bulk to the camera.
Touchscreen LCD – A number of digicams are now cutting down on the number of buttons in favor of a touchscreen LCD. The biggest advantage to this is that there are less moving parts that can break.
Waterproof Cameras – Most cameras are rugged enough to stand up to rain and snow, but have you ever wanted to take your camera in the pool? There are a lot of digital cameras out there that will allow you to do that! Even if you don't get a waterproof model, there's probably a case out there for your camera that will allow you to use it underwater.
Image Stabilization – We've all gotten photos back that were blurry. Many new digital cameras try and solve this problem by sensing hand movement and adjusting for it, giving you sharp pictures even in low-light conditions.
Face Detection – A camera with face detection software makes taking group photos easy. Software inside the camera will recognize the faces in the photo, and automatically calculate the settings needed to get the best shot.
Red-Eye Correction – Going hand-in-hand with face detection, this feature will find the eyes in a photo and automatically correct the "red-eye effect" in photos.
In-Camera Editing – Lots of cameras will allow you to perform basic editing functions (like cropping and zooming) in the camera itself before you transfer the images to your PC.
WiFi – Some cameras require you to connect to your PC via a USB cable. Others need a memory card reader. Then there are others that let you sync with your computer via WiFi, which saves a lot of time. On some of these cameras, you can even use WiFi to share photos between cameras with a friend!
PictBridge – If you have a PictBridge-enabled printer, you can use your camera to print directly, without moving the images to your computer. Just be sure your camera has PictBridge output capabilities, and you're ready to go.
Most of the features above are "nice-to-have's" rather than "essentials," but some of them may be deal breakers for you. Better to go ahead and buy a camera with the features you think you'll need than to realize later that you really did need those features.
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