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Best Digital Camera
Differences in Some of the Best Digital Cameras
I can tell you right off the bat that there is no such thing as a best digital camera. I could give you a manual 20 megapixel camera with so many lenses you would lose yourself in them. This is great for a pro, but chances are that amateur photographers don't even know how to put on a lens. You always have to look at the category, the price, your skill level, what you will be looking to snap pictures of. I suppose beginners and intermediate camera users need the information contained here so I will show what you should be looking for, but I will take a wink at some very high models too.
Remember, the higher the price of your camera, the more knowledge you need to be able to take control of the price you paid. What's the point in buying a $1000 digital camera if you only use functions that are found in $200 cameras?
Entry-level Digital Cameras
I consider Sony or Canon to be the best for entry level users because they offer such a wide range that everyone can pick the one that suits them best. If you are a total beginner I would definitely recommend a sub $200 Canon Powershot or Sony Cybershot model. I like the Canon Powershot A430 because it's versatile and it's not one of those ultra-thin models either. I personally don't like the very thin ones because I can't keep it still enough in the wind. A similar cam, although I think superior, is the Sony DSCP93A.
Mid-level Digital Cameras
In the mid-level range there are usually two options. Go for a large pixel count, or go for zoom. These cam's are all near the $300 mark and have either 10x optical zoom and 3-4 mpx or 10 mpx and 4x optical zoom. I prefer zoom to pixel count, I find that 4 megapixels is more than enough for my purposes. I recommend Sony's Cybershot DSCH1, Canon's Powershot S2 IS or alternatively, Olympus' Stylus 770SW, which goes more for pixels than zoom.
Top-level Digital Cameras
Top level cameras are good because you don't need to make the compromise between pixels and zoom, and you also get a lot of extra features that aren't included in the more basic models. These are the cameras to look for when you know about white balance, ISO, shutter speed and so on. Mid-range models usually have some controls for these too, but really knowing how to tweak them plays a greater role here. The Canon EOS 400 for example is a pretty advanced digital Camera. Max resolution is 3888x2592, it has 10.1 million effective pixels, it has 10.5 million sensor photo detectors and I could continue to say how cool it is. You can find may similarly good cams, these are all in the $900 and above range though. If you are serious about taking photos do consider them,they perform miracles in the right hands.