Saturday, August 07, 2004

     To answer Gloria's question in yesterday comments, here's what I look for in a digital camera.
     1. At least a 3 megapixel picture size. This will produce excellent 4x6 photos and good 8x10. If you think you're going to print a lot of 8x10 photos or larger, choose 4 or 5 megapixel and be prepared to pay more for it. All the photos on this blog were taken by a 3.3 mexapixel camera.
     2. An optical zoom. A lot of cameras have digital zoom, which basically only increases the size of the information already there. This adds "noise" and "jaggies." An optical zoom is best.
     3. A flash that allows at least these four settings: Always on, Always off, red-eye reduction and automatic. If you can find one that has a hot shoe to attach a flash, all the better, but those are only on high-end digital.
     4. Memory card expansion slot. Usually these are Compact Flash or Secure Digital, which are the most common and cheapest to buy. You're going to want to buy the largest cards you can afford.
     5. A mount so that you use a tripod. A tripod will allow you take great close-up pictures and portraits so you need a camera that will accept a tripod.
     6. A size that feels comfortable in your hands. The emphasis today is on smaller and smaller cameras. Some of them, however cute and cool, aren't practical. No place to place your fingers, and you need a toothpick to operate their controls. Go to a store that allows you to pick up a camera and see how it feels.
     7. The largest preview screen that you can find. This is helpful indoors, but don't buy a camera that doesn't have an optical viewfinder. Those LCD screens are useless in sunlight or bright light.
     As for brands, I like HP and Epson. Olympus, Nikon, Canon and Kodak also have some nice digital cameras. My personal fave: HP for the way it meshes with their printers.
     I hope this helps, Gloria, and I hope to see your pictures on your blog soon.


Joel said...

Wow. By sheer coincidence, my spouse and I were discussing what to look for in picture sizes. I mentioned your posting and promised to contact you for some more info.

Imagine to my surprise when I found my answer in this posting. Thanks!

(By the by, we'll be purchasing the Canon A80.)

TECH said...

Glad it helped. A friend of mine has a Canon, and she really likes it. Just remember: take lots of photos! :)

Erudite Redneck said...

I have a question. I encounter this all the time as a newspaper section editor. Most of the digital photos that people submit to me for use in the paper (I have two features that invite people to submit pix) are of poorer quality than I'd like; some are simply unusable. Generally, it's because with photos taken for use on the Web, the biggest consideration is often file space, and I could not care less about that. I want the best, sharpest photo available. Now, TECH, fill in the gaps here. I know it has something to do with dpi and pixels, etc., but I don't know what exactly. I just know that most of the pix I receive are of poor quality.

Joel said...

Ack! Apparently the A80 is being phased out as the A90 is released. Will have to decide to go for the former or the latter now.

Anonymous said...

It helps tremendously. Thank you!
- Gloria Williams

TECH said...

Joel, our tech gets old quick. The companies want us to continue to buy the latest and greatest.

Gloria, my pleasure.