You picked the venue, hired someone to design your wedding cake, and of course, booked a photographer for your wedding. And sure, the wedding photographer(s) will get all the stereotypically beautiful shots: the extended family hobnobbing, the flower girl walking down the aisle, the "you-may-kiss-the-bride" moment. But what about the events around your wedding? Unless you have a mountain of cash lying around, you probably haven't paid a film crew to document your bachelor party, your honeymoon, and your first vacation. Yes, the reality sets in - you need a new camera. Don't worry. Your pals with the groomsmen gifts at GroomStand have you covered. We'll take a quick look at the mitigating factors in choosing a new digital camera.

Camera Price vs. Features Balance

Just like with cell phones and laptops, the digital camera market has become more crowded and confusing than ever these days. It's easy to get ripped off. To that end, it helps to have a set of ground rules; things you must have in a camera. Once you determine all those things, it just becomes a price game at that point. Some things to look for:

    • Megapixels - Sure, it's important, but please see my caveats on interpolation below.
    • Video Capability - It's not gonna be like your camcorder, but it's nice to have some on-the-fly video functionality and a decent built-in mic for capturing audio. Some even have YouTube-ready formatting!
    • Geo-Location - If you're flying to a foreign location for your honeymoon, some cameras have neat GPS tagging options so you can see exactly where you took that snapshot on your remote hike in the Peruvian Andes.
    • WiFi & Docking - Want to upload pics directly to Flickr or Photobucket from your camera? It's possible now if you have a solid WiFi connection. And there are wide ranges of docking stations that will make instant printing and transferring pics to your computer really simple.
    • Memory Card Slots - If you obsess over snapping every little shot, you're going to need a bigger memory card. Most digital cameras only have a sliver of onboard storage. Good news? 1GB SD cards are dirt cheap these days; around $10-$20 if you know where to look.

Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon and a wide range of other manufacturers make comparable models, all of which do cool things for low prices. That's where you have to look at what the experts say, and more importantly, what owners say about each camera. Over at Imaging Resource they have a great little cheat sheet for sorting camera reviews by price, by manufacturer, and by megapixel.

Image Interpolation

Interpo-what? It's a big word that means a camera with more megapixels might not always produce better images. has a great write-up on the details of image interpolation and why it'll make all your photos look fuzzy and pixilated, but this pretty much sums it up:
"...interpolation is the practice of hardware and software manufacturers sampling neighboring pixels to predict or invent additional pixels, adding resolution to an image."
The sales hounds at Best Buy will try to sell you on megapixels, but if you ask them about interpolation and their response is to stare blankly into space, go elsewhere or shop online.

Camera Alternatives & Closing Thoughts

If we take smartphones out of the mix - which can do pretty much anything here in the iPhone-era - there are some notable alternatives to digital cameras. My favorite, though, is the Flip Ultra HD. For around $200, the thing takes up to 2 hours of HD video that's stupid-easy to share via Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube and it has HDMI output for TV playback. So keep that in the back of your mind if the price tag starts to get a little hairy on the digital camera you're scouting. Remember, whatever you wind up getting, it'll be worth the investment; you'll be capturing truly special moments that will take on a life of their own outside the bindings of your wedding album. Looking for groomsmen gifts for your fellow shutterbugs? Or something to store all those pre-and -post wedding snapshots? Check out this manly, yet sentimental personalized photo keepsake box.