How to buy an outdoor camera
An outdoor camera buying guide
Digital outdoor cameras are those that are designed to capture images in an outdoor environment. Outdoor cameras are able to take quality images in a variety of conditions and are often moisture and shock resistant. When thinking about how to buy an outdoor camera, there are a few points you will want to keep in mind.
>> Which is the best outdoor camera for you?
Selecting an outdoor camera system requires an understanding of the factors that make a camera an outdoor camera. Outdoor cameras range from easy to operate point and shoot models to sophisticated digital SLR cameras that are feature rich and used by both amateur and professional photographers.
- Rugged and waterproof - An outdoor camera comparison must include a class of digital cameras that are rugged and capable of withstanding falls but one that is also waterproof. A waterproof outdoor camera features a non-telescoping zoom lens for capturing subjects at a distance.
- Point and shoot - Point and shoot digital cameras are prized for their compact size which makes carrying them to even the most inhospitable environments a breeze. This is the best outdoor camera to buy if you are looking for one that is very simple to use, inexpensive and able to deliver high quality images.
- Interchangeable lens - An excellent outdoor camera system if you are looking for the versatility of a DSLR in a smaller size that allows for lenses to be changed is the interchangeable lens camera. This is one of the best outdoor cameras because it matches the ease of use of a point and shoot with the adaptability of an SLR.
- DSLR - Among the top outdoor cameras are DSLRs. They are valued for their ability to change lenses and provide maximum control over settings such as exposure. These are by far the most sophisticated type of rugged and outdoors cameras and are the choice of amateurs and professionals.
>> Consider various aspects of outdoor cameras
Digital cameras, like other electronics supplies, have various aspects that make each one unique. In order to be able to buy an outdoor camera, you'll want to think about the following items and how each one pertains to you.
- Megapixels - Digital outdoor cameras function by capturing light and image information and converting it into individual picture elements known as pixels. 1 Megapixel equals 1000 pixels. Higher megapixel counts increase the size of the image that can be reproduced when printed. This is different than instant cameras which take fixed size pictures on film.
- Viewfinder - The best outdoor cameras offer two types of viewfinder, traditional and LCD screen. A traditional viewfinder is an opening in the body of the camera that you look through so that you can see what the camera sees when composing a photo. An LCD viewfinder screen displays a live image of what the camera lens is pointing at. This type of viewfinder allows you to switch your own point of view quickly and easily from what the camera is pointed at to the surrounding area and back again.
- Zoom - A significant benefit of an outdoor camera system is its ability to bring distant images into view by zooming in on them. The first way the best outdoor cameras do this is by using the lens to optically zoom in. This method creates the sharpest and highest quality picture. Ultra zoom cameras will use a telescoping lens to greatly extend the length of the camera's vision. Many top outdoor cameras have the ability to digitally zoom in on a subject as a means of extending the reach of the optical zoom. Digital zooms interpolate the image information from surrounding pixels in order to build a more detailed image than the one they can discern optically.
- Image stabilization - Outdoor cameras benefit from having small gyroscopes in them that automatically adjust for movement and deliver clear, sharp images.
- Raw mode - Pictures taken in Raw mode have had a minimal amount of processing done by the camera. This enables you to take the largely unprocessed image and manipulate it using external image editing software.
>> Consider and choose outdoor camera features
When doing an outdoor camera comparison, you will find that different cameras will highlight different features. Having a firm understanding of each is vital to choosing the best outdoor camera and which digital camera accessories you will need.
- Storage capacity - This is a measure of the total amount of space available on your camera, usually on a removable memory card, for storing images. The greater the storage capacity, the more pictures you can take without having to download them or put in a fresh memory card.
- Battery - Outdoor camera systems require batteries to provide a source of power in order to operate. These batteries can be alkaline rechargeable or single use or NiMH. Having spare batteries or a charger on hand ensures that you will always be ready for your next great photo opportunity.
- Scene modes - Many outdoor cameras feature two or more scene or shooting modes. These are specialized modes that are intended to capture specialized images like portraits or sports or nighttime images.
- Video - Sometimes the best way to capture a memory is with video. Some outdoor cameras benefit from the ability to capture video as well as quality still images.
- WiFi - Built in WiFi really comes in handy when you can't get to a computer, but you want to post pictures online. This feature allows you to connect to an available network and upload your images.
- GPS - Remembering where you took a picture is easy with a GPS enabled camera. The best outdoor cameras come equipped with a built in GPS system that will automatically tag your photos with their GPS location making them easy to find when you want to go back and take another picture.