What is a digital camera - and do I still need one?

Love snapping pics with your smartphone? Take your photography to the next level with a compact digital camera…

23 Feb 2016

Do you still need a digital camera? In the age of smartphones and selfies - you may think not. 

But we believe there’s most definitely a case for owning a dedicated digital camera alongside your phone.


Why is a digital camera better than a smartphone?

Well, smartphone cameras have limitations. We may have snapped over a billion selfies last year, and 2 in 3 of us use our smartphones to take pictures, according to Ofcom.

But there are some things a compact digital camera just does better. Images are generally better quality, and you have more flexibility and control over your photography.

We pick out 5 reasons to still own a compact digital camera in 2016, but first... 


What is a digital camera?

At its most basic, a digital camera creates digital images that you can save onto your computer or a memory card. The first-ever digital camera was made in 1975 by a Kodak engineer called Steven Sasson. 

By the early noughties, compact digital cameras were replacing traditional film cameras. They featured LCD screens on the back, for framing your shot and also reviewing pictures you had taken.

Nowadays, the compact digital camera has evolved into something much more accomplished in terms of design, image quality and features.


5 reasons to own a compact digital camera in 2016

1. Higher-quality images

One of the most important elements in taking better quality photos is the size of the camera’s image sensor. The bigger the sensor the more light is used to create the image. This creates a more detailed photograph.

Smartphones are small and slim, and have little space for large sensors. Compact digital cameras on the other hand are chunkier, and can accommodate larger CMOS sensors.Family at the park 

2. Better, more powerful zoom

Both smartphone and compact digital cameras allow you to zoom in when framing a photo.

But when zooming with your smartphone, you’re not enlarging the whole image – merely a section of it. The lens doesn’t move or take you closer to the image. This means enlarging only the pixels, which can lead to a blurry picture.

With a compact camera you have optical zoom. Here the lens actually moves to take you closer to, or zoom into, the scene. This means you’re actually increasing the size of the image. The result? A much sharper photograph.

Many compact cameras have up to 30x optical zoom, which can create incredibly detailed results when zooming to take a shot.


3. Photographing moving objects

A dedicated digital camera will give better results when shooting moving objects like wildlife or sports.

Camera shake is reduced when shooting on a compact digital camera thanks to image stabilization technology – not yet commonly found on smartphones.

You can also keep motion in focus thanks to the wider apertures on a compact camera.


4. You can still share your pics on Instagram

Sharing pics to Instagram is super-easy on your smartphone. 

But you can share photos online from a compact digital camera, if you choose the right model. Many compacts now have built-in Wi-Fi

Some have NFC too, which lets you get your photos onto your phone or tablet by simply tapping the two devices together – pretty neat.


5. They’re portable and budget friendly

If you’re worried about lugging around camera kit, don’t be – compact digital cameras are small, and relatively lightweight.

They’re designed to be slipped in handbags and satchels, and sometimes even pockets. They’re perfect for nights out, days out and weekends away. 

When it comes to cost, you can get a camera that’s an upgrade on a smartphone for under £100.

But spend a bit more and there are some seriously good cameras available for under £200, packed with great design, excellent image quality and interesting features like video, angled touchscreens and Wi-Fi.Family photograph

What camera should I buy? 

Enjoy advanced features and a portable design with the Canon SX710.

You can:

  • create detailed pictures with a large CMOS sensor
  • take great photos at dusk and other low-light situations with the fast lens
  • Get up-close to your subject with a powerful, 30x optical zoom
  • Share photos online instantly with built in Wi-Fi

Of course, it’s small enough to slip in your pocket or handbag too – it weighs little more than a small bag of sugar. 

Ready to start snapping? Find the right compact camera for you.

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