Unless you are buying an older model digital camera, your camera will have an LCD screen. But, if you have looked at many digital cameras, you will be aware that not all LCD screens are created equal. This feature is one that you really should pay close attention to when purchasing a digital camera.
If you are buying one of the better point and shoot cameras (sometimes referred to as "bridge cameras") or a digital SLR model, it is possible that your camera will have not only an LCD, but it will have a viewfinder as well.
Technology changes viewfinders
All viewfinders were optical at one time in the not-too-distant past, and the majority still are. However, there are now electronic viewfinders on some of the newer models. Optical and electronic viewfinders have one very distinct advantage over even the best of LCD panels. You can see the image even in the brightest of lighting situations. When you are using an LCD screen to compose your image, bright light makes this difficult.
One benefit of an LCD over an optical viewfinder is that, in most entry-level and mid-range digital SLRs, you do not see the entire image in the viewfinder. You lose part of the edges, seeing only 90-98% of the image, while an LCD will display 100% of the image.
Take photos with the LCD or viewfinder
Most photographers who have been shooting for a long time will use their viewfinder rather than their LCD screen to compose and focus their picture. Photographers who are newer to the game, and those who have become used to using the LCD screen for composition may still revert to the viewfinder for a couple of really compelling reasons.
First, it is easier to keep your camera steady when your arms are tight to your body and your eye is against the viewfinder. If you extend your arms and attempt to take the photo, especially if you have zoomed in on the scene, there is much more likelihood that you will get a blurred photo.
The second reason for using the viewfinder rather that the LCD screen has already been mentioned. It is the effect that bright light has on the ability to see the LCD screen clearly.
A third benefit of not using the LCD screen to compose and focus is to save battery power. Viewing an image through the viewfinder takes much less energy, while keeping the LCD screen on all the time really sucks the battery power.
Qualities of a good lcd
LCD panels are much brighter now, though, and in some cases, you do not have the luxury of a viewfinder, because many cameras simply don't have one.
When considering a camera purchase, look at the specifications of the LCD screen. The screen resolution and size plays a major part in the quality of the image you can see in the LCD panel. The larger the number of pixels or dots in the LCD screen, the better the screen will be for use in even the most challenging situations.
Another feature that is being added to many cameras is an LCD panel that flips out and swivels. This gives the photographer much more flexibility for getting better angles from which to shoot. The camera can be held above the head or close to the ground in positions that you could not possibly get your eye to the viewfinder to compose the picture.
Suffice it to say that the LCD viewfinder of a camera is a very important feature. If you are not happy with that part of a digital camera, keep looking until you find one that meets all your needs.