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Cameras Buying Guide

Looking for a new digital camera? If so, the Sears Cameras Buying Guide can help you make sense of the terminology and make an informed camera decision.


The digital camera has changed the way the world takes pictures. No longer do you have to conserve film and worry about each shot being perfect. Composition and focus can now be an afterthought as you merrily click away without a second thought given to how the images look until after, when you can simply delete the bad ones and keep the good ones.

You do have to ensure that you get the right digital camera for you, though. DSLR or point-and-shoot? What, exactly is a megapixel and how does it help you? The right research will help you get the camera you need while staying within your budget.

Types of Digital Cameras

There are two main types of digital cameras available – Point-and-Shoot and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR), each with their own pros, cons and ideal situational usage.

Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Point-and-shoot cameras are the more basic camera option and are designed for people looking for high-quality images but not necessarily professional-quality ones. Point-and-shoot cameras are traditionally very easy to use with fewer buttons and options/features to figure out compared to DSLRs. Point-and-shoot cameras still provide hiqh-quality images that will look great on a website and can be printed out to reasonably large sizes (this is ultimately dependant on the camera’s sensor and megapixels, which will be discussed later). Eminently-portable and exceedingly easy-to-use, a point-and-shoot camera allows novice photographers and schooled veterans alike to capture beautiful moments with ease and confidence.

Point-and-shoot cameras are ideal for vacations, parties, days at the beach or just about in any situation where you want a lightweight, easy-to-manage camera. And the durable, compact design makes them perfect for your pocket or purse.

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR)

If you’re looking for a more professional-looking picture and like to play around with the settings on your camera to create more artistic shots, a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera may be right for you. DSLRs have the most features, and can use many interchangeable lenses. They also feature a through-the-lens viewfinder and the largest sensors, ensuring the best-quality images in all light situations. They're also the heaviest, most expensive cameras.

The two key benefits of DSLRs over point and shoot cameras are:

  • Lens versatility: you can change the lenses (telephoto, wide angle, macro) quickly and easily to suit just about any situation.
  • Ability to take pictures quickly: point-and-shoot cameras sometimes feature a sizeable lag between the moment you push the shutter button to when the picture is taken, which can cause you to miss a great candid shot or a moment of action. The delay with DSLRs is almost non-existant.

DSLRs are ideal for almost any and all situations – from family reunions to vacations; from sporting events to walks through the park. However, their size may make them prohibitive in certain situations (such as backpacking holidays), and their price tag may give you pause when considering bringing them to a party or the beach.