Expert Advice About Choosing Digital Camera

Expert Advice About Choosing Digital Camera

Buying a brand new camera and trying to navigate through the world of so many unfamiliar terms can be daunting and challenging, especially for a beginner. The previous post might have sorted out several confusing aspects, but it is a relatively big topic to cover. So if you have some questions left unanswered , this post is definitely going to be of great help.

Do all digital cameras suffer from shutter lag?

Unfortunately, it is true. Digital cameras do suffer from shutter lag. Shutter lag is the time between clicking the shutter button and the picture actually being recorded. When you press the button, your digital camera sets the focus, white balance and exposure time. It also needs to charge the CCD. As a result a brief pause before the picture is taken can prove to be the difference between a great picture and a missed opportunity, which is incredibly annoying. Fortunately, technologies evolve and even though this problem has not been completely fixed yet, nowadays there has been some improvement. In fact in some high-end cameras shutter lag has almost been eliminated. The shutter lag won’t affect your photos drastically, but it is something to be aware of.

Is it possible to determine which cameras support playback on TV?

When you are reading specifications, you should look for a feature called “video out” under interfaces, because not all cameras allow playback with the help of your TV.

What is the best editing software for images taken with digital cameras?

The most popular and famous editing software is Adobe Photoshop. It will let you do almost anything with an image. However, before you rush off to buy Adobe Photoshop there are two things that you need to consider. First it is mostly designed for photographers who need to do serious image manipulation. Which is why This gives it takes a fairly big learning curve to master Photoshop and there are plenty of books and courses dedicated to helping you get the most from the package. Secondly, it is not a cheap software even if it is a great value for money.

There are a couple of very good alternatives to Adobe Photoshop for those of you who are looking for more general editing. Lightroom is, hands down, the second popular software after Photoshop. It is easy to use even those it can take your photos to an entirely different level. Alas, it is not cheap as well. Another option is Adobe Photoshop’s little brother Adobe Photoshop Elements, which has a price at around $100. We should mention Paint Shop Pro, which you can pick up for under $80. I have used this package myself and it does everything that I’ve ever needed.

GIMP is actually a free photo editor, which gives you a wide range of features and tools. It is a great Photoshop alternative, even though that the interface can be a little cluttered.

Visual Watermark is a watermark creator for Windows and Mac. Unlike slow online services it works right on your computer and thus creates a watermark for photos really quickly. It includes a lot of fonts and overall the interface is very easy to start using. There is a fully functional free version. However, it will place a “watermarked with free” version watermark on the bottom of the photos being watermarked. Full version costs $19.95.

Digital cameras seem to have lots of features that I’ll never understand. They must be difficult to use.

It’s true that digital cameras, particularly at the higher end of the market, have many different and pretty amazing features. It is also true that they will only be of use to serious photographers who want to experiment with their cameras and learn how to use the camera’s full potential. Any digital camera has an auto mode that will allow you to just point your camera at an object and press the button; the camera will do the rest for you. What you need to remember is that high-end pro cameras cost a lot of money and they are created for those who have a lot of interest in photography. If you are not planning on becoming a professional photographer at this very moment, then you should buy a beginner’s model with a small set of features and save yourself a lot of money. Those are simple to use, so you will get a hang of it in no time.

How much does a good photo printer cost?

The most common type of home printer is the Inkjet. You can buy an inkjet with a decent level of print quality for around $100 or a little more. However in my opinion you should spend around $500 on a print if you want to print your photos at home.

In order to get the best result you need to use special photo paper, which can be rather expensive. Ink cartridges do not last long, especially if you are going to print a lot of 8×11 pictures. So you have to add the cost of ink cartridges and photo paper to the cost of a printer itself; this can increase the overall price substantially. If you are not planning on printing many pictures on a regular basis then I would advise you to consider having your photographs printed by a printing service company. Otherwise you would pay quite a considerable of money for something that you’re not going to use so often.

If you are more interested in photography and looking for a great printer that is going to produce pin-sharp quality images, then you can buy a dye sublimation printer. It can give you exactly what you want, but unfortunately the price for it is also higher. A good quality dye sublimation printer typically costs around $400-500.

Printing has gained its popularity back since the introduction of digital photography. There are now plenty of printing companies with a wide range of services at a very reasonable price. You can either go to special shops/kiosks or take advantage of online printing services. The one I use is PhotoBox; I am very impressed by how easy it is to use this service and how little it costs.

I find all the various memory cards confusing. What’s the difference?

Indeed, there are many different types of memory cards around. Usually a digital camera is compatible with only one type of card, but some of them may be able to work with several types. It is important to make sure that the card you’re about to buy is the right one. In case you are having doubts, you should consult with the staff at your local camera shop or simply call to the customer support, if you’re shopping online.

The most common type of card is the SD (Secure Digital) card, which is compatible with Canon and Nikon. Fuji and Olympus tend to use xD cards, while Sony use their own Memory Sticks. More advanced cameras still tend to use CompactFlash, because it can offer you a large storage capacity on only one card.

A memory card of what size should I buy?

The answer to this question depends on the number of megapixels your digital camera has. If your camera has less than five megapixels then you can get away with 1 GB. Ideally you would go for a card with a larger storage capacity, but if your budget is restricted, then you should know that 1 GB is going to be enough to record around 850 images. However, if your camera has more than five megapixels, the number of images to record will decrease. For example, a camera with twelve megapixels will only be able to store a little less than 300 photos on a 1 GB memory card.

You can also use an online memory card calculator to determine the number of images you can store on memory cards of different sizes.

How many pixels does a camera need to produce good quality 6×4 prints?

It depends on how sharp do you want your images to be. A 2- megapixel camera will produce very good 6×4 prints, but if you are looking for a better quality then you will need at least 3 or 4 megapixels. It is the same with 8x11 prints - if you’re looking for sharper and more pleasant prints, than you will need a camera with 5 megapixels or more.

What are compression modes?

Digital cameras use different compression modes to store images. The mode you use - high, fine or superfine - will determine how sharp the images will be. You should remember that pictures taken at a high resolution will require more space on your memory card. Therefore if you’re shooting at a high resolution and you don’t have a lot of memory left, then you’ll run out of storage rather soon.

Are inexpensive cameras good value for money?

It depends on your needs and what you actually want in a camera. Nowadays some cameras can be rather affordable and produce decent quality pictures, so you don’t have to break the bank anymore. If you don’t need much from a camera and you just want to take some nice memorable pictures, then inexpensive cameras can be good value for money.

Why are some memory cards cheaper than others?

Higher priced memory cards have a higher speed rating. It means that an image is recorded on a card faster and your camera will be ready to take the next shot quicker. This feature matters only for those who want to shoot a number of pictures very quickly. Also memory cards with high speed rating tend to be of high quality.

What do effective pixels mean?

Not all the pixels that are on a camera’s CCD can be used when the photograph is taken. Some of them fall outside of the lens range and some are painted black to help with color balance. Therefore it is the number of effective pixels that you need to check when buying a digital camera.

Do all digital cameras offer a movie mode?

The vast majority of digital cameras have a movie mode with the exception of some low-budget and high-end ones. The reason for fancy high end cameras not having this mode is that these devices are aimed at professionals or serious amateur photographers, who won’t use it often. Nowadays all the cameras of the middle price-range have a video mode.

Many cameras are offering a movie mode with a resolution of 1280x720 megapixels. These figures may not mean much to you, but this resolution provide TV quality movies. Speaking of which, cameras can also shoot video, the duration of which is only limited by the capacity of the memory card and batteries. It is also worth mentioning that you can zoom in while shooting a video.

Do you need a card reader to upload images from digital cameras?

You don’t necessarily need a card reader to upload images. Digital cameras come with a USB-cable, with the help of which you can connect your camera to a computer. There might be some glitches and problems from time to time, though. A card reader simplifies the process by creating another folder on your computer. Then all of your images are transferred in that folder, so it’s pretty straight forward. Nowadays some cameras have wi-fi, so you can connect your camera to your phone or a computer, but with this method you might experience some substandard quality of your pictures.

Is camera’s battery life short?

It is true that a camera’s battery can run out pretty quickly, but there are a couple of things you can do to prolong your battery life in case you’re going to shoot something important. The simplest way is to turn off the camera when it is not in use. It sounds obvious, but it can be tempting to leave your camera running, so that you are always ready to take the next shot. Another tip is to turn the LCD screen off when it’s not in use. The LCD eats up a lot of batter life, which is why you may run out of power rather quickly. Another thing to remember is that the movie mode can drain the life out of a battery quicker than anything else as well as connecting your camera to your phone via wi-fi.

Fortunately, nowadays digital cameras use rechargeable batteries, which means all you have to do is to invest in a couple of back-up ones, so you won’t have to worry about your battery dying at the most important moment.

What is the purpose of an LCD screen?

On the back of a digital camera you can see an LCD screen and it has two functions. First of all, it displays menu options. Here you can tweak the setting of your camera - choose a format for your image, for instance. However, the main function of LCD screen is to show you the images: either the ones that you are about to take or the ones that you’ve already taken. Note, that some DSLRs may show you the image’s preview before you take the shot only if you witch to the preview mode. This function may be absent from the older models.

The ability to see what image looks like immediately after it was taken is one of the biggest advatages of the digital cameras over a film ones. It can aide a lot to inexperienced photographers, because you can identify what you need to improve and re-take the shot with some changes. In a way the LCD screen gives you a second chance at taking an ultimately great photo.

What is the best place to buy a camera?

When it comes to buying digital cameras, you have loads of choices at your service starting from the limitless Internet, plenty of different electronics stores to special camera shops. If you know very little about digital cameras then you should probably study the subject thoroughly or at least to be well-aware of this things you need to pay attention to. The Internet is obviously a great place to start the research, but it may also be worth to buy a magazine or two dedicated to photography. Shopping around on the Internet usually leads to the best deals on digital cameras and I would certainly advise anyone to take advantage of the price comparison websites to make sure that you can actually save some money on your purchase.

I have heard that digital cameras use a CCD. What is it?

The CCD is the Charge Coupled Device. It is a light sensor that sits behind the lens in digital cameras and records the images you take. It is a grid of million tiny light sensors. The capacity of the CCD is measured in megapixels. The higher the number of megapixels, the higher the resolution of the picture.

There are so many different digital cameras. Which one is the right for me?

This is the number one question of anyone who wants to buy a new camera - either to begin their photographic journey or to upgrade their equipment. Unfortunately, the only person who can answer it is you. There is plenty of information on this website, but these are just guidelines to navigate you and give you as much knowledge on the subject as possible. But whichever of the wide range of cameras you choose, it has to be ultimately your decision. There are a lot of top lists of recommended digital cameras on the Internet as well as specifications, reviews and price comparisons. You should use all of the facilities to sort through the wide range of cameras and find the one that is right for you.

Must I buy a digital camera if I want to have digital images?

Not necessary. You could buy a digital scanner or when you have your photographs developed you can order to make a digital copy. If you have a film camera and you are happy with your equipment, then this option is certainly worth considering. With digital copies you have the same freedom to edit your images, use them on websites or send them by email that you would if you had taken them with a digital camera.

What is a burst mode?

The burst mode allows a camera to take a number of pictures in one quick succession. Frames per second is essentially the rate at which a camera is taking photos, while burst rate shows how many frames can be taken. The number of seconds denotes the period of time during which the camera is able to operate for.

If you’re thinking about buying a new camera, check out our 25 things you must know before buying digital camera for more information.