Digital Camera Buying Guide

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Digital Cameras

How do I buy the Digital Camera that’s right for me?

Need a new digital camera but don’t have a clue which is the best one for you? Use this Digital Camera Buying Guide to help you find your ideal camera.

Whether you’re a happy snapper or a budding pro we have lots of digital cameras to choose from. From compact digital cameras right through to Digital SLR (DSLR) cameras from leading brands such as Canon, Casio, Fujifilm, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, Sony and Vivitar – Asda Direct has something for everyone.

Discover how simple digital photography is even if you’re an absolute beginner. Impress your friends and family with photographs you never dreamed possible.

The tips and advice in this easy to understand digital camera buying guide will help you to pick the right camera whatever your budget.

Which type of Digital Camera is right for me? A good starting point is to be aware of what digital camera types are available. To make things easy we have broken the range down in to five different categories.

Find out more about compact cameras

Find out more about point and shoot cameras

Find out more about zoom cameras

Find out more about digital slr cameras

Confused about a particular aspect of digital photography? Our Digital Camera Jargon Buster has all the answers.

DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) - Price range from £300 to £2000+

Digital SLR cameras have a higher specification than your average compact camera and allow you to have more creative input over the pictures you take. They are great for photographing a wide variety of subjects and put you in complete control of just about every function when taking a picture. DSLR cameras are speedy; they will switch on and load quickly, so you never miss that important moment.

Digital SLR Features and Benefits

DSLR cameras allow you creative control over every image you take. Manual adjustment of white balance, flash synchronisation, contrast and aperture will help give high quality images with plenty of depth and detail.

DSLR cameras use a much bigger sensor than compact cameras and generally perform better in dim light because of this.

DSLR response times are quicker, with ’instant‘ start up and no shutter lag. You can also take a number of images in rapid succession with minimal movement.

DSLR cameras benefit from a higher build quality, are built to be robust and withstand harsher conditions.

When buying Digital SLR cameras, the higher the specification and equipment for the camera the more you can expect to pay. Depending on your interest and lifestyle you can spend anything from £300 up to around £2,000+. With Asda Direct there will be something out there to suit your lifestyle and your budget.

Compact Cameras – Price range from £40 to £400

Compact cameras are, as the name suggests, small and fit neatly in to your pocket or handbag. Simple to use with easy navigation you can take them anywhere and everywhere so you’ll never miss that ‘once in a lifetime’ shot.

Compact Camera Features and Benefits

Compact cameras often have easy shoot modes and face detection technology. This ensures that your cameras settings are right for the environment you are in and helps to keep subjects as sharp and in focus as possible.

Compact cameras normally have a higher ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) sensitivity and anti blur modes to avoid out of focus images that normally occur in low light conditions or when not using a tripod.

Compact cameras are great for all occasions as they are easy to use, designed to withstand the elements and importantly lightweight.

Compact Camera Price Ranges

£50 - £150

  • Provide a range of different easy shoot modes.
  • Face detection technology will select the faces in an image and adjust flash settings, focus and more where appropriate.
  • Higher ISO sensitivity in some models and anti blur mode.

£150 - £250

  • Wide angle zoom allows you to fit everyone in the picture and still zoom in
  • Dual image stabilization to help avoid blurred images
  • Some models have High Definition recording so you can film mini 60 second movies
  • A higher ISO sensitivity so in low light or fast action situations you won’t suffer from blurred images or areas with poor contrast and brightness

£250 - £400

Generally, you should expect a much higher specification camera when you pay this kind of money. The sort of extra features to look for are:

  • Higher quality LCD screen to avoid glare from the sun making it easier to see your subject
  • AF(Auto Focus) tracking which is great for taking action shots and fast moving objects
  • Face detection technology (a person’s face will always be in focus)
  • iAuto (automatically selects different shoot modes for you)
  • An HDMI cable (you can connect and see your images on any HD ready TV)

Point and Shoot Cameras - Price range from £50

Point and Shoot cameras do exactly what they say, perfect for those moments you want to point, shoot and capture. They can also be great for photography beginners or someone using a camera for fun whilst with family and friends.

Point and Shoot Camera Features and Benefits

Point and Shoot cameras typically have easy shoot modes so you can start up the camera quickly and get shooting; essential when you only have seconds to capture that perfect picture.

Point and Shoot cameras often have a high sensitivity mode so you can take pictures in most light levels.

Point and Shoot cameras usually have an auto mode which will adjust exposure, contrast and flash automatically so you don’t have to think – it just does it all for you.

Point and Shoot Camera Price Ranges

£50 - £150

  • Automatic scene and shoot modes.
  • Higher picture resolution for clearer images.
  • Faster shutter speeds and anti shake modes so you can take consecutive images and keep them in focus.


  • Both optical and digital high zoom modes.
  • Some models will have dual image stabilization, to keep your images clear and focused.
  • Face detection technology (a person’s face will always be in focus)

Zoom Cameras - Price range from £100

If you want a bit more from your megapixels then look out for cameras with high optical and digital zoom. These features will allow you to zoom into a subject and keep your images sharp and in focus.

Zoom Camera Features and Benefits

High zoom features can be found in many compact and SLR cameras and do a good job of bringing the subject closer to you.

Extended zoom is ideal for capturing an object from a distance whilst still maintaining the image quality. Many extended zoom cameras feature optical zooms of 10x or greater.

Zoom Camera Price Ranges

£100 - £200

  • Wide angle zoom to capture more
  • LCD screen
  • Automatic shoot modes that will assess your surroundings and adjust accordingly.
  • Some models may have an in camera re-touch.


  • Stronger wide angled zoom
  • Image stabilisation
  • HD movie modes
  • Manual control over features keeping you in control

Jargon Buster

Mixed up about megapixels? Confused about contrast? Our jargon buster will help you out.


Stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex/Single Lens Reflex.

Depth of Field

This is the portion of the image that looks sharp and in focus; this can on some models be manually altered.


Your cameras exposure modes are defined by shutter speed and aperture. This can be done automatically or in some models you can alter the setting yourself.

  • Shutter Speed: The length of time that the cameras lens is open when taking a photograph.
  • Aperture: This is measured in ‘F Stops’, the smaller the F Stops number the larger the opening when taking a photograph. The larger the opening the more light is let in. Aperture is great for creating effects with depth of field.

Focus/Auto Focus

You use the cameras focal length to get your subject clear in the photograph you are taking. Auto Focus automatically holds it focus on a subject when the shutter button is pressed half way down.


The ISO setting determines how sensitive your camera is to the light conditions around you whilst you are taking a photograph.

LCD Screen

LCD, liquid crystal display has pixels that are made up of tiny liquid molecules that change colour. These are lit from behind by a sheet of light that varies in strength from an electrical signal.


A megapixel is one million pixels. Pixels are what a digital image is made up of. The higher the megapixels the more tiny dots there are on the cameras sensor. This means you can print images much larger whilst still retaining good image quality.


Where your pictures are stored. This can be internal memory or on a removable memory card.

Movie Mode

Integrating the features of a camcorder into a digital camera, this allows you to take mini movies on your digital camera.


Allows you to print images simply by connecting your digital camera to a compatible printer via a cable connection. You select the images from your camera and print, without having to connect to a computer.

Red Eye

This is caused by the bright flash of the camera reflecting off our pupils within the eye. On many digital cameras this can now be reduced by one large flash and then a series of low light flashes, helping to reduce the intensity of the one large flash.

Self Timer

This function allows you to set the camera up to countdown before it takes the picture – so you don’t always have to stay behind the lens.

USB (Universal Serial Bus)

Often used now as the standard method for connecting devices to computers. The USB cable will connect your digital camera to your computer, allowing you to download, edit and print your images.

White Balance

This helps to control the colour levels in an image. If used correctly this will stop any orange, yellow or blue colour cast over your images.


The ability to magnify your subject

  • Digital Zoom: Crops your image and zooms in by magnifying the area cropped.
  • Optical Zoom: An optical zoom lens will manually move to magnify your subject.