Best DSLR Camera July 2020

Advanced DSLR Camera Buying Guide


Buying Guide Glossary | Compare Prices

The Basics: Advanced Digital Cameras

If the ever-growing number of tiny digital cameras in the marketplace has you feeling nostalgic for the days of 35mm film cameras, you might be a candidate for an advanced digital camera.

Advanced models carry the look and feel of those traditional film cameras, with large lenses, boxy camera bodies and a hefty and sturdy feel. After using one of these digital models, you might fool yourself into thinking you’re using film again, just like the old days.

With an advanced digital camera, you’re going to find high-end performance and features. You can control various components of the exposure manually.

Although some advanced digital cameras will operate in fully automatic mode, you’d be wasting your time and money by operating an advanced model as a point-and-shoot camera.

If you choose an advanced digital camera, be prepared to spend some money. They’re expensive models, and they can require a lot of add-on components to achieve the top performance.

Unless you have some experience as a photographer, you probably aren’t going to want to spend the money for an advanced model.

Even a low-end advanced digital camera will cost you about $1,000. You easily can spend a few thousand dollars on an average model and several thousand dollars on a professional-level model.

And that’s before you have to spend money on extra lenses and other items, including large memory cards. Fortunately, the feature list and performance level of an advanced digital camera justify the price — as long as you can take advantage of the camera’s features.

Advanced digital cameras have several benefits, but perhaps the most important one is the photographer’s ability to exercise as much control of the shot as he or she wants.

Experienced photographers can make use of manual-setting features on advanced digital cameras to achieve a certain look or to yield a specific type of exposure. With a point-and-shoot model, the camera controls the exposure and other settings, leaving you little room to make adjustments.

With most advanced models, you can use interchangeable lenses, giving you a lot of options for expanding your camera’s capabilities. You usually can add an external flash to improve indoor photo-quality. You can use tripods and remote shutters with these models as well.

Advanced digital cameras typically carry high resolutions and achieve high-end photo quality. However, unless you’re an experienced photographer making extremely large prints,

You probably won’t notice significant differences between advanced digital cameras and high-quality point-and-shoot or ultra-compact models. Snapshots and small prints typically don’t reflect the photo quality and powerful capabilities of advanced models.

How To Shop

Here are some questions to think about when considering purchasing an advanced digital camera:

Why are advanced models so expensive? Advanced digital cameras carry top-end components, making them work extremely well but also making them expensive.

Advanced models also carry many features and options that more inexpensive automatic models don’t offer. Experienced photographers demand more power and capability from their cameras.

As with most things, if you want top-of-the-line performance, you have to pay more for it.

If I buy an advanced digital camera, will my photos automatically improve? That would be a nice guarantee for manufacturers to provide; however,

if you find such a guarantee, let us know, because we’ve never seen it. If you’re an inexperienced photographer, you might receive improved photo quality from an advanced model, mainly because of the larger resolution, better response times and high-quality lenses with such models.

However, because advanced models often require photographers to control more manual settings, inexperienced photographers might have some problems achieving the same exposure and focus they receive with fully automatic cameras.

Unless you’re making large prints, inexperienced photographers probably won’t significantly notice improved photo quality with an advanced model. Experienced photographers will be able to take advantage of the features of advanced models and achieve high-quality photos.

What are some drawbacks with advanced models? In the world of tiny cameras bodies and ultra-compact models, you can consider advanced digital cameras “old school” models. They’re bulky, which is a drawback for some people who are used to carrying their camera in a pocket.

Advanced models can be very difficult to learn to use, thanks to a large collection of features, many of which you can set manually.

Most advanced models don’t offer fully automatic modes, either. Obviously, however, expense is the most significant drawback for most people. Advanced digital cameras carry a high initial cost, and you will probably have to spend another few hundred dollars — at least — for necessary add-on components.

How do I know if I should buy an advanced digital camera? If you find yourself unhappy with the results of your fully automatic digital camera, wishing you could control the exposure or shutter speed to improve photo quality, you’re a good candidate for an advanced model.

Those who want to make large prints or who are interested in learning more about photography are good candidates, too.

If you’re happy with the results of your point-and-shoot model or if you don’t want to spend the time needed to learn to use an advanced digital camera, you probably aren’t going to be able to justify the investment in a high-end model.

Photographers looking to take their work to a higher level will appreciate the capabilities of advanced cameras.

How can I save some money when trying to buy an advanced camera? You usually can’t save a significant amount on the camera body, unless you’re willing to purchase an older model or unless you stumble on a great bargain.

However, you can save money on some add-on components on occasion. For example, if you already own some lenses from a particular manufacturer, sticking with that manufacturer for your next camera probably means you can reuse those lenses.

In addition, if you know which components you’ll need immediately, you can save some money initially by looking for camera “kits,” which contain a few components, such as a lens or two, to go with the camera body. Such kits usually are a little less expensive than buying each component separately.

When shopping for an advanced digital camera, you will be somewhat limited in where you can shop. Unlike consumer-level models, which appear in many types of stores, you’re more apt to find advanced models only in electronics stores and photography stores.

You might find a low-end advanced digital camera in a department store, but you won’t find high-end models. Some Internet stores carry advanced models, too.

If you’re willing to spend a few thousand dollars for an advanced digital camera, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend always going with the store that offers the lowest price on the model you want.

Because you might need help using the camera to its fullest, you might need add-on lenses and you might need repairs at some point, it’s important when choosing a merchant to take into account the type of service you will receive after the sale.

It might be worth spending a few hundreds dollars more at a store that you know will provide great service versus purchasing from a store that will give you no post-sale service. With budget-priced, easy-to-use models, such service isn’t as important.

Best DSLR Camera July 2020
Canon EOS Rebel T7 Digital SLR Camera + EF-S 18-55mm is II Lens + EF 75-300mm Lens + 500mm Telephoto Lens + Canon Bag + Filter Kit + 64GB Memory Card + Flash + Remote + Tripod – Professional Bundle

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One advantage to shopping for an advanced model: Unknown manufacturers typically don’t enter this area of the market. Only the best camera manufacturers offer advanced models, and many of them are well known from their work with 35mm film cameras.

By sticking with well-known manufacturers, you’ll receive a high-quality piece of equipment.

Glossary

Burst Rate

The number of pictures that a digital camera can capture in rapid succession, and the time necessary to do so. This is similar to a 35mm camera’s continuous mode, except that the number of shots a digital camera can take in this manner is limited by its on-board storage and image processing capacity.

CCD

A light-detecting component used by digital cameras to translate images into pixels.

Compression

A means of storing a greater number of images on a given card size or disk. There are several file formats used, but JPEG and TIFF are common examples. Compression is a trade-off of quality for storage space. Uncompressed images are the highest quality, but severely limit the number of pictures per card. Many cameras let you choose the degree of compression applied.

Digital zoom

A digital blow-up of an image that increases pixel amounts without adding new picture information. As the image gets larger, it tends to distort and blur. Optical zooms are far superior.

Equivalent focal length

Because a CCD is much smaller than a frame of 35mm film, and therefore requires lenses of much shorter focal length to produce the same coverage (magnification) as a lens on a 35mm camera, manufacturers usually specify what the equivalent lens would be on a 35mm camera.

F-stop

The size of a lens opening. Each increasing stop doubles the amount of light emitted.

Focal length

Characteristic of a lens that determines how much of an image is visible. Short focal lengths result in a wide-angle view, whereas long focal lengths offer a narrow field of view. Zoom lenses provide variable focal lengths.

IEEE-1394 (also FireWire or iLink)

A high-speed method of transmitting or transferring data, as from a digital camera to a computer.

Megapixel

One million pixels (picture elements). A good yardstick of picture quality for digital cameras, being indicative of how big the final picture can be before the overall quality, or particularly sharpness, begins to degrade objectionably.

NiMH batteries

Nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries, the optimal batteries for use with digital cameras.

Optical zoom

A zoom lens that focuses on a larger or smaller image area as the lens zooms, maintaining the same pixel count regardless of image area. Optical zoom is superior to digital zoom.

Pixel

A “picture element” or dot that in aggregate creates the image you see on a computer screen or LCD. Collectively, the number of pixels displayed is referred to as the image’s resolution.

A common resolution is 640×480 pixels (VGA resolution). In evaluating a digital camera, a 2-megapixel camera will yield good 4×5-inch photos, a 3-megapixel camera will give you good 5×7- or 8×10-inch pictures, and a 4-megapixel camera will provide good 8×10 or 11×14-inch pictures.

Resolution

The ability of a lens or CCD to discern detail. The resolution of an image or photograph depends on the resolving power of the lens and the CCD. Low-resolution refers to VGA (640×480) resolution, which is adequate for e-mail or posting on the Web.

One way to roughly estimate the largest photo-quality print a digital camera will produce is to divide the resolution by 200. Thus, 640×480 should produce a good 3×2-inch photo, 1024×768 will give a 5×4-inch photo, and 2048×1536 will allow a 10×8-inch image.

Storage media

A magnetic equivalent of film, this is usually referred to as a “card” that stores the pictures as they are taken. Spare cards can be carried, like spare rolls of film.

Unwanted pictures can be erased, freeing space for new pictures. Some examples of these cards include PCMCIA (types I and II), CompactFlash, and SmartMedia. Some Sony cameras use common 3.5-inch computer disks.


Camera Accessory Buying Guide

The Basics: Camera Accessories

Every photographer should at least look into some of the basic camera accessories that are available, from bags to protect your equipment to flashes that alight the scene.

You should consider the type of use your camera and equipment gets, and then decide on how many accessories you need.

Camera bags are the protectors of your camera gear. As such, they need to be sturdy, easy to open and close, have sufficient space for all the equipment you’ll eventually be adding, and they need to be reasonably priced.

For most amateur photographers who get serious about the use of their cameras, the basic three lens set is a great starting point, while for others it is the end of the line, all they will ever need.

Flash units are one of the most important accessories, next to lenses, that a photographer needs. Portable flash is our interest here. Studio, or stationary, flash is far more specialized and expensive. And, finally, tripods are often the absolute last accessory a new photographer buys.

Camera Bags Serve and Protect

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good camera bag, but here we won’t be discussing the hard-sided aluminum, aircraft baggage handling proof types, such as the Zero Halliburtons.

Such bags are exceptionally specialized and very expensive, when compared with soft-sided luggage, such as that made by Billingham, Domke, Lowepro, Pelican, Photoflex, Tamrac, Tenba, and others.

Bags are available today in a variety of fabrics and a slew of sizes. You can find a special case that cuddles your digital point and shoot, or a bag that will easily hold three or more SLRs, a dozen lenses, flash units, several dozen rolls of film, and a changing bag–plus lunch.

For most photographers, starting out with a bag that presents room for one or two camera bodies and two or three lenses, plus some accessories, such as a flash unit, with room for spare batteries, film, filters, and a few incidentals is ideal and inexpensive.

You can readily pay well over $100 for such a bag, but you can also pick up a good, solid deal for around $40 or $50.

Today’s fabrics are often bright, but the standard has been dull black (for decades, camera bag manufacturers have emphasized black and other dark colors, though one of the major tenets of caring for camera equipment is to keep it cool–black, of course, absorbs heat, while lighter colors reflect it).

Ballistic nylon and other super-tough fabrics work beautifully and last a very long time, but even old fashioned cotton canvas is an excellent bet for durability and general protection. Good waterproofing of the exterior fabric goes a long, long way toward providing complete protection.

The biggest buy points probably involve fit with your camera equipment. Some brands have built-in padded camera cradles, while others stick with padded separators.

Both work well. If you already have all the photo accessories you expect to need, select a bag and do a trial fit with your gear. If it works, and leaves room for incidentals, then start considering that bag.

Make sure it is an easy fit for the gear, though, and easy to pick up and carry–this latter is seldom a problem with single camera bags, bags for point and shoot cameras, and bags for digital cameras. The latter two categories are cameras that do not have a wide stock of accessories available.

Eye of the Camera: The Lens

How do you decide what lenses you need? That depends on what kind of photos you want to take. Do you mostly take people pictures? For portraits, you need a 90mm or 105mm lens with a wide aperture to eliminate backgrounds.

Are you a bird photographer? You’ll need a long (200mm+) telephoto (tele) lens. If you like landscapes, you’ll probably want at least a medium (28-35mm) wide-angle lens.

New SLR cameras often come standard with a 28-70mm or 28-80mm medium-range zoom. These focal lengths cover many picture taking situations, such as group and individual portraits, travel pictures, or party pictures.

What they do not do is allow close-ups, wide-angle pictures, or photos of distant objects, such as a bird in a tree or a slide into second base.

If you are a serious amateur or just want to be ready for most any photo situation you encounter, the ideal lens outfit consists of three lenses: a wide angle covering about 19mm to 35mm;

A medium-range zoom in the 28-105mm range; and a long tele from 100-300mm, plus a 1.5 or 2X teleconverter, which lengthens any lens by 50 to 100 percent. Lens designers have developed very lightweight designs, so it is not hard to carry this ensemble in a camera bag.

The Power of Light: Camera Flashes

There are several types of on-camera portable flash that either supplement or entirely replace any flash unit that is built in at the factory.

Those small and underpowered flash units are handy for some things, but are awful for photography that hits a person’s (or animal’s) eyes straight on.

We’ve all seen the dreaded red-eye. Moving the flash off the camera and away from the film plane is a help here, though most of the flashes we’ll cover do not do that.

Using a mild degree of bounce is another way to reduce or eliminate red-eye, and all good portable flash units can be bounced.

Portable flash units now are available in dedicated models that work directly with the camera’s computer to give the correct amount of light at the correct time with no need for changing settings on either the camera or the flash:

The dedicated flash units get their information from the camera, which also picks up enough info from the flash to know how powerful it is and how fast its flash will fire.

With those calculations done for you, as well as the calculations of distance and ambient light, getting great flash pictures is easier than ever.

The value of on-camera flash in addition to or instead of pop-up flash is great. First, the portable flash units almost always have considerably more power than do the small pop-ups, allowing for greater coverage in width and height as well as distance.

Second, the hot shoe flash mounted on top of the camera is further out of the direct lens line than is the pop-up, which immediately reduces the intensity of red-eye.

Third, the flash may be bounced, which both reduces the chance of red-eye to almost nil and spreads the light for a softer effect–flash is generally a harsh light, and reducing harshness of flash is almost an effort in itself. Grip-portable flash units move the flash further away from the lens, reducing the possibility of red-eye ruining photos:

Note that almost all wedding photographers use grip flash. They do so for two reasons, one of which is elimination of red-eye, the other is the power available in grip flash units, so that group shots, of which every wedding seems to have dozens, are well lit.

Tripods: Toward Shake-Free Photography

Stability, the lack of movement, is one of the greatest secrets of getting sharp photographs. The tripod contributes greatly to stability. Add a bulb release, a cable release, or another kind of remote release, and camera shake can be almost totally eliminated.

For long lenses (teles 300mm and over, and teles from 135mm and up for shaky people), tripods are an essential ingredient.

If you’re shooting much film, even with lenses in the 35mm to 85mm range, at shutter speeds less than 1/125 of a second, then a tripod is needed at least some of the time.

If you cannot get rid of problems with fuzzy photos, even though your equipment checks out and your processor is a good one, then get a tripod and some kind of remote release.

You will see immediate and distinct improvement. Several features have a bearing on tripod utility and cost.

The photo world will be delighted once come when a lightweight tripod comes along that totally eliminates camera shake, while being easy to carry and otherwise use.

Right now, we’re faced with a need for tripod features that all seem to pull against that ideal. A lightweight tripod is a shaky tripod, for the most part.

The heavier a tripod is, the more stable it is, assuming quality construction. Newer tripods in the lightweight class are stepping away from aluminum and magnesium alloys in some parts and heading towards carbon fiber, which is lighter even than those two lightweight metals.

Wood, still used a lot for tripods for view cameras, is the heavy horse of the industry. Tripod height needs also impinge on weight.

A two-section tripod reaching to maybe 48 inches can be more lightly made than a three-section tripod reaching higher, say even as high as 78 inches.

The telescoping legs make that possible, but such uses also demand thicker diameter legs so that the thinnest of the leg sections has sufficient strength to do the job.

The overall rigidity of the tripod is what keeps the camera from shaking. The tripod must be well enough braced to accept the weight of camera and lens without shaking or flexing, even on windy days if it is used outside.

Center column height can contribute to overall useful height of the tripod, but the center column needs to be fairly massive because the weight of the camera, lens and flash on top of the single column has a tendency to turn that column into a swinging object.

Center columns may be geared or simple sliding columns. Tripod heads are an addition to the story.

Some tripods come with non-replaceable heads, but most of the good ones have heads that can be readily replaced with a different (maybe even better) model.

Some tripods are sold without heads. Without a head, the tripod is essentially some useless tubes, so let’s look at head types. Pan or tilt heads are usually the lowest in cost.

They are also the lowest in ease of use with almost any kind of camera, and use of the camera vertically can be very difficult.

The difficulty here equates more to time consumed setting up than it does to actual real-life refusal to work, and we’re only talking a minute or two, or less, each time a vertical shot is set up.

Pan, tilt, and vertical three-way heads are a good compromise, removing the long pan arm, and using two locking levers.

How to Shop

Buy your camera bag to fit your camera carrying needs, as noted earlier. Look for a durable, heavy cloth, with a back panel of smoother (but still exceptionally durable) material. Ballistic nylon, Cordura, cotton canvas are all good choices.

Bag fabrics should be waterproofed, and a waterproof lining added is nice. Flaps over some pockets may be zippered or closed with hook and loop (Velcro) sections. Zippers need to be heavy duty, easy operating, and self-lubricating. Check the strap.

It must be adjustable over a range that allows the loaded bag to easily fit your shoulder, with the bag falling at the height you prefer.

Waist bags for a single camera, often with a provision for a zoom lens mounted on the camera, are very popular and are great totes for the vacationing amateur who doesn’t want a mass of camera gear cluttering up his life during what is supposed to be a relaxing time.

While it may seem obvious, you need to make sure of camera model and type before going lens shopping.

You must know the type of camera–here, we’re discussing primarily 35mm single lens reflex camera lenses–and whether or not it is an autofocus (AF) or manual focus (MF) model. Simply put, manual focus mount lenses will not work on AF cameras, and vice versa.

And, of course, Minolta mount lenses will not work on Olympus, or any other, camera. The reverse is also true.

There are a few independent brand cameras now that will take a basic Pentax mount, and that’s something you need to know before shopping for lenses.

When shopping for lenses, you can buy a lens made by your camera maker. The lenses are generally good quality and designed to work perfectly with your camera’s electronics.

They also are expensive. An excellent and usually more affordable alternative are lenses made by generic lens makers, such as Tokina, Tamron, Sigma, Phoenix, or Vivitar.

Such makers also may offer a wider variety of choices in zoom ranges and single focal lengths. Some of these companies offer lenses simply not otherwise available.

Buying a tripod isn’t a complex procedure. Check camera and lens weight against the apparent heft and stability of the tripods being examined, and make sure the weight of the camera, with the biggest lens and flash you use will not create flex, leg creep (legs creeping into themselves soon tip a tripod over), or similar problems.

Then consider the locking of the legs. Twist collar locks are great, if they secure easily and you have no hand problems (arthritis or similar). Make sure they twist to a secure lock at any position on the tube.

If there are lever locks, make sure they lock at all points along all tubes. Check the elevation method of the center column. A simple slide tube must move smoothly up and down and lock positively with little effort. A crank style geared column must move smoothly and lock easily.


Ultra-Compact Digital Camera Buying Guide

The Basics: Ultra-Compact Digital Cameras

When it comes to high-tech devices — outside of the big-screen HDTV — smaller is better much of the time.

Cell phones are continually shrinking in size, while adding more features. Every new generation of MP3 players seems to be smaller than the last one.

The chips that drive computers shrink constantly. Although some photographers prefer the look and feel of an advanced digital camera that is similar to traditional 35mm film cameras,

A quick look at the shelves of any store selling digital cameras will show you the trend in the digital camera market: smaller is better.

Manufacturers are focusing a large percentage of their models in the digital camera market toward the ultra-compact category.

Ultra-compact digital cameras are those that measure less than 1 inch in thickness when powered down, allowing them to fit easily in a pocket or purse.

Ultra-compact models are ideal as “on-the-go” cameras, allowing you to take them almost anywhere.

They typically cost around $300 or less, making them a nice value. And the photo quality and performance level of ultra-compact models have improved greatly in the past few years, so they are a popular option.

Typically, manufacturers aim ultra-compact models at beginning photographers, where high-end camera performance isn’t quite as important as style, a slim camera body, reasonable performance and an affordable price.

Point-and-shoot simplicity and fully automatic controls are the driving forces behind most ultra-compact digital cameras. Most are about the size of a pack of playing cards,

At least when powered down. When you turn on the camera, the lens typically extends beyond the camera body.

Very few ultra-compact cameras offer high-end features. You will find resolutions typically equal to or less than 8 megapixels, although some ultra-compact models offer up to 10 megapixels.

You will find response times that are good — not great — meaning you might miss a few action photos.

Most models do not offer a viewfinder; instead you must use the LCD to frame all photos, which can drain battery power more quickly and which makes it tough to follow a subject in continuous-shot mode.

Certainly, some models can deliver high-end features, but most do not. However, it’s worth noting that today’s ultra-compact digital cameras are far more powerful and feature-rich than those from just a few years ago.

Ultra-compact cameras are not going to offer a lot of add-ons components that will give the model more power.

You can’t add an external flash to an ultra-compact model to give it more flash power, for example. You also usually cannot swap out lenses to give the camera a more powerful zoom lens.

How To Shop

Here are some questions to think about when considering purchasing an ultra-compact digital camera:

What are the primary strengths of an ultra-compact camera? You will find three key strengths with this type of model: thin and stylish camera bodies that fit easily in a pocket, easy-to-use features and low prices.

The idea of being able to carry a small camera with you almost anywhere you go contributes to the popularity of ultra-compact models.

Because these models don’t offer many manual-control features and appeal to beginning photographers, manufacturers make these cameras easy to use. Finally, you won’t find many ultra-compact models that cost more than $300.

What are some drawbacks you’ll find with an ultra-compact camera? Because they are so thin, ultra-compact models sometimes can be difficult to hold and use comfortably.

It’s also easy to smudge the LCD screen on the back of the camera because the screen usually occupies a large percentage of the back panel.

These cameras typically aren’t going to provide top-of-the-line features, meaning you might outgrow their capabilities as your photography skills improve.

What are some hidden costs with ultra-compact cameras? You really won’t find many hidden costs with this subcategory of digital cameras, in large part because most ultra-compact models cannot accept add-on accessories.

These models just aren’t upgradeable for the most part. You will have to purchase a memory card with most models, and you might want a second battery for some.

However, with most models in this subcategory, you can begin shooting photos immediately upon taking the camera out of the box because most of them include some internal memory.

How do I know if I should buy an ultra-compact camera? Ultra-compact cameras and beginning photographers go together very nicely, because these cameras are easy to use and don’t ask you to adjust settings to achieve the best photos.

Some more experienced photographers will want an ultra-compact model too, usually as a complement to a high-end camera.

Basically, anyone who wants an easy-to-use digital camera that can be carried in a pocket will appreciate the capabilities of an ultra-compact model.

You likely won’t be able to shoot a photo that you can turn into a pristine 16×20-inch portrait with an ultra-compact camera, but you can shoot quick photos and print them at smaller sizes that your friends and family will appreciate.

What is the key feature that buyers often overlook with ultra-compact cameras? For the most part, with an ultra-compact model “what you see is what you get.

” With such an easy-to-use type of digital camera, you aren’t going to find hidden features and overlooked capabilities.

However, one key component that you can’t measure looking at the model’s specifications list involves the camera’s LCD.

Because most ultra-compact cameras use the LCD as the only viewfinder, it’s important to have an LCD that’s viewable in all types of light, especially in bright sunlight.

Some LCDs have problems with glare in bright sunlight to the point that you cannot see the subjects when trying to shoot a photo, which can be a serious problem.

If possible when shopping, try to view the LCD’s performance in bright sunlight before you buy a model or at least ask the salesman about this.

If you’re looking for a solid camera at a great price, you will have dozens of potential candidates, allowing you to stick with well-known brands.

If you want to emphasize a particular function — such as response times or high resolutions — you will have fewer options to choose from, meaning you will want to do plenty of research ahead of time.

Shopping around at various stores is helpful, because some stores might have a special price or might include a free memory card. If you find a low price at an Internet retailer, see if your local stores will match it.

Finally, if possible, try any model before you decide to buy it. Because ultra-compact models are so thin, they can be tough to hold and use, depending on the positioning of the controls. Make sure the camera’s ergonomics fit your hands.

Glossary

Burst Rate

The number of pictures that a digital camera can capture in rapid succession, and the time necessary to do so. This is similar to a 35mm camera’s continuous mode, except that the number of shots a digital camera can take in this manner is limited by its on-board storage and image processing capacity.

CCD

A light-detecting component used by digital cameras to translate images into pixels.

Compression

A means of storing a greater number of images on a given card size or disk. There are several file formats used, but JPEG and TIFF are common examples.

Compression is a trade-off of quality for storage space. Uncompressed images are the highest quality, but severely limit the number of pictures per card. Many cameras let you choose the degree of compression applied.

Digital zoom

A digital blow-up of an image that increases pixel amounts without adding new picture information. As the image gets larger, it tends to distort and blur. Optical zooms are far superior.

Equivalent focal length

Because a CCD is much smaller than a frame of 35mm film, and therefore requires lenses of much shorter focal length to produce the same coverage (magnification) as a lens on a 35mm camera, manufacturers usually specify what the equivalent lens would be on a 35mm camera.

F-stop

The size of a lens opening. Each increasing stop doubles the amount of light emitted.

Focal length

Characteristic of a lens that determines how much of an image is visible. Short focal lengths result in a wide-angle view, whereas long focal lengths offer a narrow field of view. Zoom lenses provide variable focal lengths.

IEEE-1394 (also FireWire or iLink)

A high-speed method of transmitting or transferring data, as from a digital camera to a computer.

Megapixel

One million pixels (picture elements). A good yardstick of picture quality for digital cameras, being indicative of how big the final picture can be before the overall quality, or particularly sharpness, begins to degrade objectionably.

NiMH batteries

Nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries, the optimal batteries for use with digital cameras.

Optical zoom

A zoom lens that focuses on a larger or smaller image area as the lens zooms, maintaining the same pixel count regardless of image area. Optical zoom is superior to digital zoom.

Pixel

A “picture element” or dot that in aggregate creates the image you see on a computer screen or LCD. Collectively, the number of pixels displayed is referred to as the image’s resolution. A common resolution is 640×480 pixels (VGA resolution).

In evaluating a digital camera, a 2-megapixel camera will yield good 4×5-inch photos, a 3-megapixel camera will give you good 5×7- or 8×10-inch pictures, and a 4-megapixel camera will provide good 8×10 or 11×14-inch pictures.

Resolution

The ability of a lens or CCD to discern detail. The resolution of an image or photograph depends on the resolving power of the lens and the CCD.

Low-resolution refers to VGA (640×480) resolution, which is adequate for e-mail or posting on the Web. One way to roughly estimate the largest photo-quality print a digital camera will produce is to divide the resolution by 200.

Thus, 640×480 should produce a good 3×2-inch photo, 1024×768 will give a 5×4-inch photo, and 2048×1536 will allow a 10×8-inch image.

Storage media

A magnetic equivalent of film, this is usually referred to as a “card” that stores the pictures as they are taken. Spare cards can be carried, like spare rolls of film.

Unwanted pictures can be erased, freeing space for new pictures. Some examples of these cards include PCMCIA (types I and II), CompactFlash, and SmartMedia. Some Sony cameras use common 3.5-inch computer disks.

Some Great Tips For Looking Fantastic In Photographs

 Isn’t it a shame when sometimes on holiday or at a wedding party we have gone to great efforts with our hair, makeup and outfit to realise afterwards that we have taken a bad picture. It could be that we were slouching, our faces are shiny, we look like we’ve suddenly developed a double-chin … that special pic that we wanted to keep to remind ourselves of the happy occasion just gets thrown into the darkest recesses of our desk not to surface again. There are, however, some simple tips that many photographers use which can vastly improve our photos and create a picture fit to be framed and not hidden away.

Posture

  • Stand with your feet pointed 45 degrees away from the camera and then turn towards it – this gives a great slimming effect to your body profile and it is a trick that many celebrities use. Alternatively, stand and look back over your shoulder with your head towards the camera. Watch closely the next time you see a red carpet event on TV and you will see this is a very popular and flattering pose.
  • If you are worried that your arms are a bit on the plump side, hold them slightly away from your body, especially if the picture is taken from the side as this has a brilliant toning effect.

Faces

  • If you are having a portrait taken, stretch out and elongate your neck whilst holding your chin down – this has the effect of widening your eyes and also ridding you of any double chin creases.
  • Remember if it’s a warm day to ensure that your nose is powdered nicely or you use a tissue to dab away any excess oil on your skin as this will be sure to shine out either in a sunny daylight picture or if using flash photography.
  • I would suggest for girls wearing a little bit of makeup – preferably foundation which matches your natural skin colour – just to even out your skin tones. This can be done using Photoshop afterwards but all professional photography studios will apply full makeup before a photoshoot.

Outfits and Mood

  • Accentuate your best feature, if you have gorgeous shoulders wear a strappy or sleeveless top – think about which item of clothing suits you best and is one that you feel great in.
  • If you are having a professional photoshoot remember to have a giggle, play some music and try not to feel self conscious and if you are at an event just remember some of the tips above, have a great time and your pictures will come out great too.

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