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Cameras with figures in this column have a digital zoom that increases the magnification of the optical lens by the quoted figure. To do this it uses part of the CCD so the resolution is reduced to allow for the increase magnification. If you dont intend making big enlargements this is useful other wise stick to the optical zoom. Most cameras have the option to turn the digital zoom on or off.
This is the eye of the camera and is used to capture the image it sees onto the camera's light sensitive film, or CCD in digital camera. The size of lens is measured and indicated as a focal length. Cameras come with either a fixed lens or zoom lens with a range of focal lengths (see lens range) and on some SLR and rangefinder cameras the lens detaches so others can be attached to increase versatility. With a detachable lens camera it's often possible to buy just the body with a lens of your choice.The amount of light passing through the lens is controlled by an aperture, which is often quoted with its maximum aperture setting.Buying adviceSLRs: If you intend buying a specific lens in the future make sure that it's available in the same mount as the camera you are considering or own. Also if you're upgrading cameras, buy one with the same lens fitting or one that can be adapted to save the cost of replacing all the lenses you own.Digital and compact cameras: A fixed lens camera can often be much smaller so could be selected if you need to travel light. It's also less expensive if your budget is tight. It's better, though, to choose a camera with a zoom if you can afford to, rather than using a digital zoom or cropping the picture later. Go for one with a wider angle zoom if most of your pictures will be landscapes, interiors or family group shots.Choose a version with a longer telephoto setting if you want to shoot long distance subjects, portraits and wildlife.
A new feature that some digital cameras have to magnify the preview image on the LCD panel. This is useful for checking image quality, which is difficult to check on a normal unmagnified LCD view.
Extreme wide-angle lens that gives 180 degrees coverage and is uncorrected for curvilinear distortion so you produce a heavily distorted photograph. If the photo turns out to be rectangular or circular, and how distorted it looks, depends on the lens and the camera. There are basically two kinds of fish-eye lenses for photography: 1. Lenses that produce a circular image, typically 8 or 10mm lenses, used on 35mm cameras or full-frame digital cameras. They produce a circular image with dark corners (due to most photos being rectangular). A similar lens is available for digital cameras with a so-called "cropped sensor". To achieve the same circular effect, it's a 4.5mm lens. 2. Lenses that produce a rectangular image. These lenses enlarge the image to cover the whole rectangular frame of a photograph. They are typically 15 or 16mm lenses. On a 35mm or digital full-frame camera they produce rectangular but still heavily distorted images without dark corners. The same lenses on a digital camera with a cropped sensor will still have a distorting effect, but less so. Fish-eye lenses used to be prime lenses only, but one company has gone so far as to produce a 10-17mm fish-eye zoom lens. This lens still produces distorted, curvy images, but zooming in lessens the distortion.
All but cheap and cheerful digital cameras now have an LCD that's used as a viewfinder to compose pictures and to review previously taken and stored images. On digital cameras, many functions are selectable from menus displayed in the LCD.Playback options may include a choice of full screen, zoom magnify or thumbnail views. Some also have a slide show mode. Buying adviceIt's great to have an LCD as a viewfinder, but check that you can see it well in daylight. Some have a brightness control to help when in bright conditions the screen view is poor, alternatively you may be able to buy a hood to shield the screen from reflections. Also use the LCD sparingly as batteries can drain quickly with use.