It’s best to work out what equipment you really need and how to decipher the marketing spiel of the manufacturers and retailers so that you can make the right decision. Very often, people make the mistake of choosing the camera with the greatest number of megapixels. However, megapixels are not everything! Suffice to say, you only need a camera with a adequate amount of megapixels depending on the size of the photos you will want to print.

Use the megapixel chart below to determine the minimum number of pixel count on your camera you will generally need for your purposes. The numbers represent the megapixels you will need for the different sizes of your image.

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Digital or Film Cameras?

September 4, 2008

Okay, despite the fact that we see digital cameras everywhere these days and that film cameras are long considered ‘ancient’ or ‘vintage’, you will find that some professional photographers still choose to use film cameras. Why, because digital cameras can have their advantages and disadvantages too and in many cases, film cameras are better than digital cameras.

If you’re planning to purchase a digital camera, here is a brief synopsis of some pros and cons of shooting digital:

Advantages

  • More often, better results

Then instant picture feedback allows you to make immediate adjustments to your camera settings and composition of your picture hence this allows you to produce better quality results more often.

  • Cost

It’s irrefutable that digital cameras tend to be more expensive than film cameras, but think of all the money you would have spent on buying and processing film.

  • Control

With the technology built into many digital cameras, you have dar greater control over the final image than ever had with film.

  • Image Quality

This may be a little controversial but compared to similar 35mm cameras, digital cameras are superior at picking out details particularly in low-light conditions

  • Flexibility

You have the flexibility to turn your pictures into various mediums with the wonders of digital code, be it interactive web sites, greeting cards, calendars, and tons more!

Disadvantages

  • Speed

Only top-end professional cameras offer shooting speeds comparable with film cameras. If you like photographing action sports or wildlife, you may be disappointed with digital cams.

  • Power Consumption

Digital cams eat batteries. Serious! You need to make sure you have plenty of spare ones available on those once-in-a-lifetime occasions.

  • Dust

Digital cams have the propensity for attracting particles of dust, which then appear on your pictures as gray blobs or bright spots. The sensor must be cleaned regularly though this is not a simple task, given the fragility of the device.

And that’s it! I hopt you will know be more informed about digital photography and that this may help if you are looking to take up photography as your serious hobby! Hang around, for more quick photography lessons yea?

p.s. And don’t forget to check out www.photographmyfamily.com to some simple tips on family photography.

The Science of Photography

August 29, 2008

Ever wondered how does digital photography work? Here’s a quick ‘science/physics’ on the mechanisms of digital photography to help you better understand and APPRECIATE the wonders of technology. Oh no, don’t you groan now, it’s not gonna be boring! :)

Okay, in principal, digital photography works very much the same way as traditional film photography.

Light passes through the lens onto a light-sensitive material called digital photo-sensor (DPS) this is also the equivalent of the traditional film.

The sensor is an array of millions of light-sensitive cells of photodiodes which respond to the light falling on it when the camera opens its shutter.

A corresponding signal is then created in which it is ‘digitized’ (aka given a number value) so that the computer, in your camera, can read it.

In essence, the sensor in your camera acts like it is painting your photograph by numbers.

Imagine taking a piece of white paper divided into a grid of several million squares. Each square has a number and if no light reached that particular square, the number would be zero and the square would be black. Once the computer reads every square, you will have an accurate black and white picture of the original scene you have taken with your camera!

And that’s! Thats basically how digital photography works in a nutshell. Don’t wanna bore you too much with the details but stay tuned for more quick lessons on photography.

We learn something new everyday huh :) Ciao!

We’ve heard about megapixels and they often become the chief deciding factor when we choose a camera but what really are they for? And do we really need to get the camera with the greatest number of megapixel?

Here’s an article by Dan Feildman, that reveals to us what megapixels are really for:

http://www.learndigitalphotographynow.com/blog/megapixel-and-printing/

And remember, you don’t necessary have to buy a camera on the market with most number of megapixels!

Photography may seem like a boring hobby to some, for all the technical terms (pardon me if I’m generalizing!) Yet, it is really just about capturing the emotions of the moment and making your viewers feel it too. Well, I’m not saying crappy pictures with bad lighting and positioning and all that stuff are good, but I guess we may be too caught up in the technical details of taking pictures that we forget to just let loose and have fun!

If you ask anybody what their main problems with photography is, chances are, you will hear blurry pictures as one of their main challenges. Nothing is more annoying than getting home from a day out with your best buds or a event, and realizing that most of your photos have turned out blurry. URGH!

Well, they say the best way to solve a problem is to first find out the cause of it.

Here is something useful that I have learned from David Peterson that I hope may be just as helpful to you as it was to me!

Main causes of blurry photos:

  1. Your camera is out of focus
  2. The subject moves while you are snapping a photo
  3. The camera moves while you are snapping

Out Of Focus

An image that is out of focus will appear blurry. These days with Auto Focus, it’s unlikely that the whole image will be out of focus. More often than not, you’ll see one part of the image crisp and clear, but others (including your subject) are out of focus.

To fix focus problems, use the half-press shutter technique. Press your shutter button halfway down and you aim your camera before you take your shot. I feel that this has always improved my pictures tremendously when the camera has fixed its focus on your subject before you snap the photo.

The subject moves while the shutter is open

You can tell this cause by looking at your subject, If some parts of the subject are crisp while others are blurry then the subject has moved while the camera’s shutter was open.

You can avoid blurry images caused by subject movement by changing your camera’s settings so that your shutter speed is faster. Try switching to the sports mode on your camera.

The camera moves while the shutter is open

This is another common problem and will cause the whole image to be blurry.

When the shutter is open for a longer time, tiny movements of the camera can cause the whole photo to become blurry. Even small movements like releasing your finger from the shutter button, or your breathing can cause it. This often happens when you are taking pictures in low light setting or at night.

To solve this problem, the best way is to get a tripod or a automatic shutter device which acts like a remote control in which you press the button on the device to snap the picture without having to touch your camera ;)

Camera Batteries 101

August 2, 2008

Power Sucking Camera Battery Features

Does your camera batteries seem to run out of power awfully quick? I used to have that same problem too but I’ve discovered some tricks you can use to save your battery power!

Here are the three features of digital cameras that suck up your battery life in no time:

LCD Screen: This is by far the most power sucking (haha I just love to use that word) feature in digital cameras. You can turn the screen off to conserve power, however I don’t recommend this because your LCD screen is very useful when you are taking photographs as it enables to determine if you have taken a great shot.

  • LCD Screen: This is by far the most power sucking (haha I just love to use that word huh) feature in digital cameras. You can turn the screen off to conserve power, however I don’t recommend this because your LCD screen is very useful when you are taking photographs as it enables to determine if you have taken a great shot.
  • Flash: Another big power sucker. Try not to use your flash so often.
  • Zooming: Zooming in and out also uses battery power as the motor in your camera is driven. Refrain from ‘zooming’ too much. I recommend staying close to full optical zoom.

Make Your Batteries Last Longer

Given that the two biggest power users on your camera are the LCD screen and Flash, there are indeed ways to reduce the usage of these 2 functions and save your camera power.

If your camera allows you to, reduce the brightness of the screen. This will still allow you to view your photo on your LCD, while using minimal amount of power.

Try to disable your flash when you’re in low light by increasing the light around you. Or increase the “ISO Speed”. Remember, the higher the ISO setting, the less light is needed to record the image.

Other Secrets for Making Your Batteries Last Longer:

  • Most digital cameras have a Power Saving mode. This ’shuts down’ the camera – not switch off – after a period of time without use. Make sure Power Saving mode is on, or simply switch off your camera when you’re not using it.
  • In cold weather, keep your camera and batteries warm in your jacket until you are ready to use them. Cold weather to batteries is like RAID is to bugs!
  • Store batteries in a cool, dry location away from sunlight and other heat sources.
  • Avoid unnecessary playback of your already taken images.
  • If you haven’t used your camera for a while, your rechargeable batteries will have lost some of their charge. Ensure you charge them fully before leaving the house.

Buy a Spare Battery

You can get double the time from of your camera before needing to recharge by using two batteries.

If you don’t need an extra battery all the time, you can have one charging at home when you’re using the other. Then when you get home, swap them.

Never leave your camera behind again because you don’t have a charged battery.

What Kind of Battery Should I Purchase?

You will need to purchase a battery that is compatible with your camera, so I recommend taking your camera’s battery to the shop with you when purchasing so the staff can find another compatible battery.

You don’t need to purchase a battery from the same manufacturer as your camera, although be aware that choosing another brand may void your warranty – check your manual.

Go for a rechargeable Lithium ion battery if possible. These battery types have a greater capacity and longer life than the rechargeable ni-cad batteries and will pay for themselves in a short period of time.

Use the AC Adapter

Most cameras have an adapter to allow you to plug directly into a power point.

If you’re going to be shooting for a long period of time in the one location, a camera plugged into a power point can be very handy.

Note that some cheaper cameras have the plug for an AC adapter, but not the adapter itself.

Gladys Choo

www.TakeFamilyPictures.com