Getting The Right Digital Camera For You
There are really great advantages in digital photography:
You can shoot till you drop
Taking digital images on your camera has no implication other then you have captured the image. Then you can review each image on the small screen on the back of your camera. You can shoot as many pictures of the same scene as you like ? store them in memory ? delete the ones that you do not like and print the one(s) you like.
Each image is a winner
Alternatively you can put an image up on a computer screen or email it to all you friends ? can black mail be this easy?
Print at home or in a lab
You can print your image at home on a photo printer ? turn your image into a greeting card, calendar, or a whole other list of photo memorabilia. Or hand over the job to the professionals.
So what digital camera should I buy?
A question we are often asked is 'what sort of camera should I buy'? There are literally hundreds of different models available from a large number of well known manufacturers.
This is a difficult question, which might be answered in a complex way. Rather, here we have tried to emphasise the salient points and assist you in your decision.
Key components of the camera, which will influence your buying decision will include: What do I want to use the camera for? How big an image can I print? Does the camera have a zoom? What size and weight is the camera?
How big an image can I print?
If your objective is to take a camera on holiday, take it onto the beach and up a mountain and to print memorable images of your time on 6 x 4 inch prints, then do not spend a lot of money on your camera. A small compact camera with an image resolution of 2 or 3 Mega Pixels will be adequate for your needs and should you drop the camera or get sand in its workings then you will be pleased that you did not spend too much money. More serious photographers will want to make bigger pints or selectively enlarge. They will want a higher image resolution and will benefit from a zoom lens. So ? what is this MegaPixel thing? Well it is the image size ? quality ? taken by the camera. The higher the number ? the better the quality and the larger the prints which can be made.
Does the camera have a zoom?
In past times zoom lenses were regarded as second best because of their distortion and fogging. This is no longer the case ? zoom lenses are truly brilliant. 3 x zooms are common and 6 x zooms feature on the more expensive cameras. So you can have a single lens which covers both wide angle views and provides a short telephoto. All very usefully packaged in a lightweight camera.
Beware of Digital Zoom. This is a technique, which zooms in on a portion of the image by processing the picture and interpolating the image between pixels ? a technique which always produces inferior results.
What is the size and weight of the camera?
Digital cameras do not have to be bulky or heavy. Indeed there are some very small models available, which will fit inside a handbag. However the more sophisticated gear tends to be bulkier ? and heavier. Professional models with interchangeable lenses and external flash guns will require their own hold all.
Making the Right Selection
There is a fantastic range of digital cameras available on the market. Nonetheless manufacturers focus on their customers and target specific models at certain sectors of the market. The table below summarises the information, which we have discussed.
A fixed lens camera priced at less than £50 [Or $90 USD] which takes digital images of up to 1 MegaPixel - will be adequate for computer or television screen display.
A compact design camera with a fixed lens ? cost up to £150 [Or $280 USD] - taking images of up to 2 MegaPixel - will generate good quality images suitable for printing up to 4 x 5 inches
Another compact design but with a 2 ? 1 zoom lens and costing between £200 and £400 [$350 - $800 USD] taking images or between 3 and 5 MegaPixel which will be suitable for printing up to 10 x 8 inches
A SLR style camera with a 5 ? 1 zoom lens costing between £600 and £1000 [$1000 - $2000 USD] and producing images of up to 6 MegaPixel which will produce prints of up to 12 x 16 inches
An SLR camera with interchangeable lenses and costing upwards of £1,500 [Or around $3000 USD], which will take images of up to 8 MegaPixel, which will print to poster size.
SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. These are cameras, which do not have a separate viewfinder. Rather the operator looks through the lens of the camera. Momentarily before the shutter is opened a mirror flicks up and the light passing through the lens is allowed to hit the sensitive surface of the camera. In many cases the lens at the front of the camera can be changed for another type. A variation on this presents the image as seen by the camera in a digital liquid crystal display either on the back of the camera or through a viewfinder.
Flash. Many of the inexpensive cameras will have on board flash ? remember that these will only work up to about 10 feet, and they might produce red eye. More expensive cameras will expect the user to use an independent external flashgun.
Most digital cameras come with interface cables and PC software bundled. So if you have a PC at home or work you can 'download' images from your camera to your PC, do basic editing such as removing red eye and delete the images you do not want! Your valued images you can store for future generations on CD Rom or another recording medium.
Digital Memory Media
Sometimes known as Smart Card, Compact Flash, Multi Media Card, Memory Stick. These are the memory chips on which your images are stored ? some people refer to them as digital film. The larger the capacity of the media, the more images it can store. So buy one larger then you need ? for now. Images can be deleted from the media ? but back them up on a CD Rom or DVD before you erase the card.
Final Hint ? Keep lots of batteries handy. Digital cameras use a lot of power!
Christopher Thomas is a keen photographer and company director of Viewlink Ltd based in Amersham, Uk. The company provides digital photo developing for both amateur and commercial photographers. For more articles by Christopher Thomas please visit the company website at http://www.view-link.com/guides.html
Digital RAW Workflow for Beginners
Having an efficient work flow is essential for photographers. In the days of film, many of the tasks in the film work flow were handled by the lab. Now, more and more photographers are switching to digital and have to handle many of these tasks themselves. The purpose of this document is to provide a basic digital work flow for working with RAW images that is camera and system independent. Most modern digital SLR cameras, and some point and shoot models, have the ability to record the RAW data from an exposure, allowing the photographer to process the images as they see fit. This can be a daunting task, especially for those who don't have a work flow in place to handle the images from the camera. The following steps will take you through the process of setting up your own RAW digital work flow. Work flow Step 1: Compose and Expose Your digital work flow begins before you ever sit down at your computer. One of the best things you can do to make your work flow more efficient is to get as much of your image perfect in the camera as possible. Many digital photographers have fallen into the "I can fix it on the computer" trap. This costs you time and money. The more time you spend "fixing" a photo after you've tripped the shutter, the less time you are spending with clients. Here are a few tips to help reduce your workload from the time you make your exposure: Set your white-balance to match your scene. If you get the proper white-balance in the camera, you won't have to adjust it later on the computer. See your camera documentation for how to set a custom white-balance. Remember to set your white balance whenever you change lenses, or the quality of light. If you change modifiers, or lenses, change your white-balance as well. Expose for the highlights. Since digital acts similar to slide film, its easy to accidentally blow your highlights. By exposing for the hot parts of the image, you'll save yourself some time in the long run. Scan your frame. Get in the habit of doing a top-to-bottom scan of your frame before you trip the shutter. This will help you avoid stray hairs, lights in your frame, reflectors being visible, and anything that you might have to clone out of the image later. Work flow Step 2: Importing and Backing Up Your Images There are many ways to get your images from your camera to your computer. Some people use a card reader that will read the images off the memory card from the camera. Others connect the camera directly to the computer and import the images directly. No matter how you get the images to the computer, your first step is to setup an organizational structure for the images and create a backup copy of the RAW files for safety. First, create a folder to store your image files. In our studio, we use the folder name to organize our images. For instance, let's say we are importing images from a portrait session with Jane Doe that took place on January 1st, 2005. Our folder name for this session would be P_2005_DoeJane_0101. If we also did a portrait session with John Doe on the same date, our folder would be named P_2005_DoeJohn_0101. This allows us to keep our images organized in a way that we are familiar with. Use whatever folder structure you like, as long as it helps you keep things organized. Next, we will create the folders under our P_2005_DoeJane_0101 folder that we will use during the course of processing the images. We create the following folders: RAW, WORK, and JPEG. The final file structure looks like this: -+P_2005_DoeJane_0101 -|-RAW -|-WORK -|-JPEG The RAW folder holds our RAW image files, the WORK directory holds the processed TIFF files where we will do all of our editing, and the JPEG folder holds the completed files, ready to be uploaded to the lab. Copy the images from your camera to the RAW folder using whichever method you prefer. As soon as this initial copy is complete, make a backup copy of these images. Some photographers backup to writable CD-ROM or DVD discs. Other photographers backup to a separate backup hard drive. No matter what method you choose for your backups, they are CRITICAL. Make sure you can recover your images if something should happen to your memory card. Work flow Step 3: Verify Your Backup Your backup copy of the RAW images files is important. Take a moment to verify that you can read the images you copied to your backup medium. Once you have verified your backup medium, you may proceed with the work flow. Work flow Step 4: Culling the Herd Converting the images you never want the client to see wastes time and money. Use your preferred image browser to go through the RAW images and delete any that you know you won't use. Don't worry about deleting the wrong file, that is why we made a backup. If you delete a file you wanted, just bring it back from your backup. Once you have selected your "keepers" from the RAW images, it is time to move on to the next step. Work flow Step 5: File Conversion Most cameras come with software specifically designed to convert the RAW image data from its native format into TIFF files, JPEG files, or some other format that is compatible with the popular image editing software. At our studio, we convert the RAW images into 16-bit TIFF files, because we like to have the maximum amount of data available for editing and processing. Your needs may vary. There are many articles on the Internet that deal with the different file formats and the pros and cons of each. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to assume that the files are being converted to 16-bit TIFF files. We now open the software that came with our camera and set it to convert our RAW image data to 16-bit TIFF files, and save them in the TIFF folder we created in Work flow Step 2. This step can be time consuming, so we often go out to eat while the images from a session are converting. Once the conversion is finished, you will have a folder of 16-bit TIFF files to do editing and retouching on. We use TIFF at our studio because it is a loss less format. That is, we can save the file as many times as we like without degrading the image quality. JPEG is a lossy format, every time you save a JPEG file, you lose a little more data to compression. Work flow Step 6: Editing and Retouching This step of our work flow is where the real work is done. You will open each TIFF file in the image editor of your choice and make sure your colors and exposure are correct, the crop is the way you want it, and the image is ready for printing. At this point you will make any edits to the image, such as changing the crop, converting it to black and white, or doing any needed retouching. If you use the TIFF file format, you can save as many times as you need to during this process without having to worry about losing image quality. Once editing and retouching is done, save your work file and move on to the next step. Work flow Step 7: Saving the Production File One of the cons to working with 16-bit TIFF files is that they take up an incredible amount of disk space. Once we have reviewed the images with the client and ensured that no further edits/retouching need to be made, we convert the TIFF file to a JPEG production file for archive purposes and sending to the lab. Open the TIFF file in your preferred image editor and save your file as a Baseline Level 10 JPEG in the JPEG folder we created earlier. Why not save as a Level 12 JPEG, you might ask. When printing your image, there is no discernible difference between a level 10 JPEG and a level 12 JPEG. Try it for yourself and see. Once your files are saved as JPEGs, move on the the next step. Work flow Step 8: Backup Your Production Files This is a good time to make a backup (either to CD/DVD, or to another hard disk) of your JPEG production files. This ensures that you have a copy of all your hard work and if something should happen to the original files, you know you have a good backup. Work flow Step 9: Cleaning Up the RAW and Work Files Once we know we have a good backup of our production JPEGs, we delete the entire WORK folder and the entire RAW. This frees up the large amount of space that TIFF files require and leaves us with a manageable set of files from the job. However, we have already made backup copies of the RAW files and the JPEG files, so if we ever need to re-edit an image, we have the materials to do so. Work flow Step 10: Final Touches At this point our production JPEG images are ready to print or send to the lab. Make any final adjustments to the image size and print or upload your images. Final Thoughts With an efficient digital work flow, handling large amounts of digital images is easy and relatively stress free. I hope this tutorial has given you some ideas on how to best setup your own RAW digital work flow.
Underwater Photography: The Wonders Under the Sea
The world of photography is an amazing one. It's been with us for quite a while now but it is constantly changing. Cameras are changing and improving. Methods of developing are changing and improving as well. We have digital cameras that allow people to take a view of their pictures immediately without traditional developing. Another change in the world of photography is underwater photography.
Diffusion & Softening of Digital Photography Images
Like many people who've made the switch from film cameras to digital, I've discovered that the lens tools I once used so effectively on my cameras to soften, diffuse and vignette my images for quality "finished" professional results won't do for digital what they did for film.
How to Easily Select the Important Photography Category for Your Home Based Business
You may have already started to make money from your photography, but if you are still a gifted amateur, then there are effective methods you can use to kick start your chances of making a profit. At the present time there has never been more opportunities for the photographer. New technologies in the form of digital cameras are changing the face of the industry. However that has always been the case for photographers, and it is no reason to get discouraged.
Becoming A Digital Artist On A Budget
So, you want to become a digital artist but paying several hundred dollars for Photoshop seems too much. Don't worry, there are dozens of very inexpensive tools you can use available on the Internet.
Optimize Your Photos for the Web
It doesn't matter if your emailing photos of your grandson or putting images of your latest product on your online store. Too many people don't consider optimizing their photos for the web. We've all been on too many web pages where it seemed that the photos would never load, and sometimes they didn't. So here are some steps to make sure that your photos show up on your site.
The Best Wildlife Camera To Take On Safari
Good wildlife camera equipment on safari can make the difference between pictures you will be proud to show your friends and family when you get back and ones where it's difficult to figure out exactly what you were photographing because it's only a fuzzy black dot surrounded by green vegetation.
Digital Camera Auto Exposure and Auto Focus
The digital camera being a fantastic and technologically advanced device contains many different applications of its own. Many users of this fabulous device are unaware of quite a few of these functions which can actually do wonders. And it is the duty and right of every person possessing the digital camera to intervene into the depths of knowledge to understand their prized possession and their varying qualities in order to foster the true respect that this device deserves. This article deals with providing information regarding one those qualities - Auto focus and auto exposure!
Where Do Great Ideas Come From?
At a Photo Club meeting I attended recently, the President made a comment on another meeting he had attended, where someone in the audience asked the presenter where to find good subjects to photograph. The presenter in question started giving specifics instead of identifying the core issues in question, Attitude and Perspective.
Proper Handling and Storage of Paper Photos
Youv'e taken that perfect photo in the perfect light at the perfect angle and it has turned out beautifully.
Digital SLR Camera versus a Compact Digital Camera
Digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras are excellent cameras that produce clearer, sharper and more colourful images than most point and shoot digital cameras available. With prices falling rapidly, they are now more affordable then ever. With the price gap between an entry model digital SLR camera and the most expensive compact digital camera narrowing; the question is? do I spend the extra money and get a Digital SLR camera? or save a few hundred dollars and purchase the best digital compact camera.
Start Your Own Photography Business from Home
Anyone with the right camera equipment, and the necessary skills can set up a home business, marketing photography. You need only to convert a room of your house into an office, and then you can work immediately.
The Benefits of Disposable Cameras
Disposable cameras are cheap and easy to use. If you just want to take some snapshots and have fun then this is the camera for you. You can buy them in bulk for weddings and other special occasions. You can even take some of them underwater. Whether you take them snorkeling or to a messy kid's birthday party, you won't have to worry about ruining your expensive equipment.
Using Film Speed Effectively (Black & White Film Thoughts)
It's hard to find sometimes but it's making a resurgence, black and white film. If you've never used this film now is the time to try it out. Here are some tips to using b&w film and what you can expect from the results.
Buying the Best Digital Camera for Your Needs
Choosing a digital camera can be a daunting task with the wide number of choices available in today's market place. There are lots and lots of things that you need to keep in mind while going to choose a camera for yourself. The best digital camera for your friend might not be the best option for you.
Studio Photography and Digital Backgrounds
The article given here was written for Adobe Photoshop 5,6,7,CS, and Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 and 3.
Camcorder Techniques: How To Make Home Movies Your Family And Friends Will Be Excited To Watch
Kids grow up so quickly and while we are often left with countless memories, most parents have only a drawer packed with school photos, blurry holiday snaps and the forced grin of the inevitable yearly birthday picture to account for the years gone by. It's time to stop bemoaning the latest photograph of your thumb obscuring your adorable baby and get on with improving your skills as a photographer.
Photography Contest - a fun and rewarding experience
Do you like to take photos? Are you always standing by with your camera waiting for that moment that is meant to be captured on camera? You may even be taking photography classes or maybe you have already completed a photography course and you want to share your photos with others. You may want to get into photography as a career and winning a photography contest will help you get recognized. Maybe you are just an amateur that has a favorite photo that people keep telling you to enter.
Wildlife Scouting Cameras
For years I wondered how big the bucks were that were roaming our property in the dark of night. After all, I knew that monster bucks had to be eluding me during the daylight hours only to roam the woods at night. In an attempt to reveal these mysterious nocturnal monsters I purchased a scouting camera in 1996.
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