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Buying a Digital Camera

Benefits of an Optical Viewfinder

SUMMARY: Many lower-priced digital cameras lack an optical viewfinder - will this pose a problem?

Many low-cost digital cameras, especially compact cameras, lack an optical viewfinder for you to look through when taking photographs. Instead, you must use a LCD screen / viewfinder to compose images. Not having an optical viewfinder may cause the following problems:

* A LCD screen requires power, causing batteries to drain faster than if you had an optical viewfinder.

* During the daytime or in any other situation with a high amount of ambient light, the LCD may be difficult to see. You may need to turn on a backlight, if applicable, and this requires even more battery usage.

* A LCD screen may lack the detail of an optical viewfinder, crucial in some photo composition situations.

* Since the LCD screen may be located near where you hold the camera, you might accidentally get fingerprints on it, blurring the image when composing photos (but not the resulting photos themselves).

* It may be harder to properly hold the digital camera in a way that reduces camera shake, especially in low light situations. A tripod, monopod, or other steadying device may prove beneficial.

Of course, when taking photographs where the camera is pointed directly at or near the sun, you should never use an optical viewfinder.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.