Article by Richard Churchill – First Published November 2009
This bonus article focuses on digital cameras, the first decision is what you want, big with lots of features, small and compact or professional quality.
I’ll start small, the most common small digiatal cameras these days are in fact mobile phones. Mobile phone cameras have improved massivly since they were introduced, and are now very good cameras for snaps, they can sometimes struggle in low light or taking pictures of things moving at speed. The next step up is a compact camera, these use the same capture technology as the mobile phone, but they have extra functions and better lenses. Most compact digital cameras have built in flashes, and are able to cope much better in low light situations.
For those that like the feel of a “professional” camera with out the complexity of and expense of a full SLR camera there are a range of very capable Sub SLR cameras, these have a fixed, but versitile lense arrangement, and provice most of the features of a much more expensive SLR camera, often with automatic focus and exposure setting that help make taking great pictures much simpler. Sub SLR cameras will normaly have better image capture technology in them, allowing you to capture much more detailed pictures. SLR cameras are for professionals and professional standard hobbists; they allow you to change the lenses, and to control every setting that affects the picture you take. SLR cameras will have the very latest image capture technology in them producing the best possible images.
While I have mentioned the improvemets in image qulaity that come with each more sophisticated camera, if you just want 6×4 prints to go in your photo album, even a mobile phone camera will capture more than enough detail to provide a very good quality print.
My camera says it has optical zoom and digital zoom, what is the difference?
All cameras have digital zoom, but all your get is a less detailed picture. Optical zoom uses the lenses to enlarge the image (in the same way as binoculars or a telescope), which is then stored at full detail.
What are Pixels and why do they matter?
A digital camera stores pictures as a grid of little single colour dots called pixels, the more little dots (resolution) you have the sharper the image is, you can tell if a picture comes from a low resolution camea as diagonal lines and circles become a collection of very small square steps. Pixels are mesured in Megapixels (millions of pixels) so a 4 Mega pixel camra captures 4 million dots of information.
How may pixels do you need?
A 4 Megapixel image can normaly be printed on a A4 sheet of paper and look perfict to the naked eye.
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