Archive for November, 2008

The Technology Behind Digital Cameras

Monday, November 17th, 2008
digital cameras
Roberto Sedycias asked:

Technology has revolutionized the concept of capturing live images. The earlier concept of producing permanent photograph was based on pure chemistry. In 1830, Louis Daguerre, devised the first practical way of producing permanent photographs. Today we are talking about the computerized photo imagery in the filmless picture taken by a device that is smart in electronic intelligence and in appearance – digital camera.

A digital camera takes video, still photographs, or both digitally. It records images on a light sensitive sensor. Instead of using a film, an arrangement of charged-coupled devices-light sensitive semiconductors, which stores electrical charges,-does the job. These digital sensors-composed of pixels -transform the light from the scene snapped into an analog signal which is then converted into a digital version. One electronic filtering system regulates color and other picture components. Another system reduces the picture. The image is finally sent to a temporary storage area and ultimately onto a memory card. Many compact digital cameras can record sound, video and still photographs.

The images are transferred to a computer where they can be modified, printed, attached to email, inserted in web pages, etc. The most significant advantages of a digital camera are its memory capacity and ability to screen the images taken on a tiny video monitor.

The technology of the digital camera relates to the same technology of Video Tape Recorder. The first VTR in 1951 captured images from the television by converting the information into electrical impulses (digital) and subsequently saving them onto magnetic tape. It was in 1960s when NASA had made a major breakthrough by converting analog to digital signals by means of the space probe for mapping the surface of the moon. Also digital imaging had its other uses in spy satellites.

Kodak scientists invented the first mega pixel sensor capable of recording 1.4 million pixels. In 1991, Kodak released the first digital camera system- a Nikon F-3 camera equipped with 1.3 megapixels aimed at journalists. The first digital camera for the consumers which worked with a home PC via a serial cable were the Apple Quick Take 100 camera(1994), the Kodak DC40 camera(1995), the Casio QV-11 with LCD monitor(late 1995) and Sony`s Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera(1996).

The main features of a digital camera can be summarized as follows:

Resolution: Resolution means sharpness of a picture. The higher the number of pixels, the higher is the resolution.

Memory: The pictures are stored like a data file in a digital camera. The size of the memory determines the number of picture which can be taken, stored and downloaded in the computer.

Flash Type: Most digital cameras have a built in flash of a range around 10 -16 feet which is required to provide extra light needed to take photographs in insufficient light.

Optical Zoom: Normally two types of zoom lenses are used viz., digital and optical. The optical zoom lenses serve more purpose like adding detail and sharpness.

Compression: This process helps to reduce the file size.

Lens: The length of a lens determines how much of a scene will fit into a picture.

LCD Screen: A very interesting feature of a digital camera is the LCD screen which permits one to see what the photo will look like before and after taking photographs, leaving room to decide whether to erase or save the photo.

In the market there are several brands of digital camera which are selling successfully and the continuous improvement in Technology is leading way to introduction of more and more exciting features in the digital camera.

Consumer Reports – Digital Cameras

Sunday, November 16th, 2008
digital cameras
Brooke Yan asked:

Digital cameras, which employ reusable memory cards instead of film, give you far more creative control than film cameras can. With a digital camera, you can transfer shots to your computer, then crop, adjust color and contrast, and add textures and other special effects. Final results can be made into cards or T-shirts, or sent via e-mail, all using the software that usually comes with the camera. You can make prints on a color inkjet printer, or by dropping off the memory card at one of a growing number of photofinishers. You can upload the file to a photo-sharing Web site for storage, viewing, and sharing with others.

Like camcorders, digital cameras have LCD viewers. Some camcorders can be used to take still pictures, but a typical camcorder’s resolution is no match for a good still camera’s.

WHAT’S AVAILABLE

The leading brands are Canon, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Olympus, and Sony; other brands come from consumer-electronics, computer, and traditional camera and film companies.

Digital cameras are categorized by how many pixels, or picture elements, the image sensor contains. One megapixel equals 1 million picture elements. A 3-megapixel camera can make excellent 8x10s and pleasing 11x14s. There are also 4- to 8-megapixel models, including point-and-shoot ones; these are well suited for making larger prints or for maintaining sharpness if you want to use only a portion of the original image. Professional Digital cameras use as many as 14 megapixels.

Price range: $200 to $400 for 3 megapixels; $250 to $400 for 4 and 5 megapixels; $300 to $1,000 for 6 to 8 megapixels.

IMPORTANT FEATURES

Most Digital cameras are highly automated, with features such as automatic exposure control (which manages the shutter speed, aperture, or both according to available light) and autofocus.

Instead of film, digital cameras typically record their shots onto flash-memory cards. CompactFlash and SecureDigital (SD) are the most widely used. Once quite expensive, such cards have tumbled in price–a 128-megabyte card can now cost less than $50. Other types of memory cards used by cameras include Memory Stick, Smart Media and xD-picture card. A few cameras, mainly some Sony models, use 3 1/4-inch CD-R or CD-RW discs.

To save images, you transfer them to a computer, typically by connecting the camera to the computer’s USB or FireWire port or inserting the memory card into a special reader. Some printers can take memory cards and make prints without putting the images on a computer first. Image-handling software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Jasc Paint Shop, Microsoft Picture It, and ACDSee, lets you size, touch up, and crop digital images using your computer. Most digital cameras work with both Windows and Macintosh machines.

The file format commonly used for photos is JPEG, which is a compressed format. Some cameras can save photos in uncompressed TIFF format, but this setting yields enormous files. Other high-end cameras have a RAW file format, which yields the image data with no processing from the camera.

Digital cameras typically have both an optical viewfinder and a small color LCD viewer. LCD viewers are very accurate in framing the actual image you get–better than most of the optical viewfinders–but they use more battery power and may be hard to see in bright sunlight. You can also view shots you’ve already taken on the LCD viewer. Many digital cameras provide a video output, so you can view your pictures on a TV set.

Certain cameras let you record an audio clip with a picture. But these clips use additional storage space. Some allow you to record limited video, but the frame rate is slow and the resolution poor.

A zoom lens provides flexibility in framing shots and closes the distance between you and your subject–ideal if you want to quickly switch to a close shot. The typical 3x zoom on mainstream cameras goes from a moderately wide-angle view (35mm) to moderate telephoto (105mm). You can find cameras with extended zoom ranges between 8x and 12x, giving added versatility for outdoor photography. Other new cameras go down to 24 or 28 mm at the wide-angle end, making it easier to take in an entire scene in close quarters, such as a crowded party.

Optical zooms are superior to digital zooms, which magnify the center of the frame without actually increasing picture detail, resulting in a somewhat coarser view.

Sensors in digital cameras are typically about as light-sensitive as ISO 100 film, though some let you increase that setting. (At ISO 100, you’ll likely need to use a flash indoors and in low outdoor light.) A camera’s flash range tells you how far from the camera the flash will provide proper exposure: If the subject is out of range, you’ll know to close the distance. But digital cameras can tolerate some underexposure before the image suffers noticeably.

Red-eye reduction shines a light toward your subject just before the main flash. (A camera whose flash unit is farther from the lens reduces the risk of red eye. Computer editing of the image may also correct red eye.) With automatic flash mode, the camera fires the flash whenever the light entering the camera registers as insufficient. A few new cameras have built-in red-eye correction capability.

Some cameras that have powerful telephoto lenses now come with image stabilizers. These compensate for camera shake, letting you use a slower shutter speed than you otherwise could for following movement. But an image stabilizer won’t compensate for the motion of subjects.

Most new 6- to 8-megapixel cameras come with full manual controls, including independent controls for shutter and aperture. That gives serious shutterbugs control over depth of field, shooting action, or shooting scene with tricky lighting.

HOW TO CHOOSE

The first step is to determine how you will use the camera most of the time. Consider these two questions:

How much flexibility to enlarge images do you need? If you mainly want to make 4×6 snapshots, a camera with a 3- or 4-megapixel resolution will be fine. Such a camera will also make an 8×10 print of an entire image without alteration that looks as sharp as one from a 6- or 8-megapixel model. But to enlarge the image more or enlarge only part of it, you’ll want a 6- to 8-megapixel camera.

How much control do you want over exposure and composition? Cameras meant for automatic point-and-shoot photos, with a 3x-zoom lens, will serve snap shooters as well as dedicate hobbyists much of the time. The full-featured cameras in the 6- to 8-megapixel range offer capabilities that more-dedicated photographers will want to have. Two of the more important capabilities are a zoom range of 5x to 10x or more, which lets you bring distant outdoor subjects close and also lets you shoot candid portraits without getting right in your subject’s face, and a full complement of manual controls that you determine the shutter speed and lens opening. ‘

Once you’ve established the performance priorities that you need from a camera, you can narrow your choices further by considering these convenience factors:

Size and weight. The smallest, lightest models aren’t necessarily inexpensive 3-megapixel cameras. And the biggest and heaviest aren’t necessarily found at the high end. If possible, try cameras at the store before you buy. That way, you’ll know which one fits you hand best and which can be securely gripped. In our tests, we have found that some of the smallest don’t leave much room even for small fingers.

Battery type and life. All digital cameras can run on rechargeable batteries of one of two types: an expensive battery pack or a set of AA batteries. In our tests of the cameras, neither battery type had a clear performance advantage. The best-performing cameras offer upward of 300 shots on a charge, while the worst manage only about 50. We think it’s more convenient to own a camera that accepts AA batteries. You can buy economical, rechargeable cells (plus a charger) and drop in a set of disposable lithium or alkaline batteries if the rechargeable run down in the middle of the day’s shooting.

Camera speed. With point-and-shoot cameras like the ones we tested, you must wait after each shot as the camera processes the image. Most models let you shoot an image every few seconds, but a few make you wait 5 seconds or more. They may frustrate you when you’re taking photos in sequence.

Your other cameras. If you’re adding a camera to your lineup or trading up to a more versatile model, look first for one that’s compatible with the other cameras. If it is, you can share memory cards and batteries. Designs within a camera brand line are often similar. So staying wit the brand you have lowers the learning curve on the new camera for family members who switch between cameras.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

For the latest information on this and many other products and services, visit www.ConsumerReports.org.

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Digital Camera – Indispensable for Life

Sunday, November 16th, 2008
digital cameras
Roberto Sedycias asked:

It`s really quite difficult to memorize the events that happen in our everyday life. Certain events of our life are forgotten which we don`t want to forget, but still we can`t help ourselves to remember them. But we can save them in the form of pictures so that we can memorize those precious moments when going through the pages of past events. It is possible when we have a digital camera to seize the moment.

In the early 2000, a digital camera with 1 mega pixel sensor costs nearly about $500 American dollars. But now, a digital camera with 5 mega pixel sensor costs less than $ 100 American dollars. This is possible due to the competitive market. Digital camera prices have dropped seriously and features have increased considerably than the previous days. Everyone possesses a digital camera for his personal use or for professional use. We are presently living in a photo crazy world. To take some brilliant shots we require a digital camera. Then, how can we live without a digital camera in such an environment!

Whenever you desire to purchase a digital camera, certain points should be kept in mind which helps you a lot and saves you from the future troubles you might face. Points you need to keep in mind are:

Thousands of digital cameras are available in the market, but you have to be cautious regarding the features and price you need to pay. Be sure that you get more benefits than the price paid for the camera.

Mega pixel used in the camera is also an important thing to consider while buying. The higher the mega pixel, the clearer the picture would be. The zoom facility of a camera helps you to take better photos. The more zoom facility will enable you to get better options.

Image quality of the digital camera is extremely important. Photographs should be eye-catching so that one gets easily impressed at the first sight.

Memory storage capacity of the camera is equally important as quality. If you take hundreds or thousands of photos continuously, then you have to go for the maximum memory storing digital camera.

Size of the camera as well as the size of grip, display screen (LCD) and buttons is also taken into account before buying a digital camera.

The optimum range for capturing photographs determines the quality of the photographs taken from a distant place. To take some brilliant shots we need to have a digital camera with maximum optimum range.

Photo quality should not change when they are taken in dim and dark conditions. This is another aspect of digital camera.

The digital camera should be compatible to your computer so that you can transfer the images or videos, edit them, add sound and send to your friends and relatives.

Professional photographers use digital camera with binoculars which is an essential gadget for them. With this they can watch birds, animals and objects in distant places easily and capture excellent photos as if they are near to them. The replay facility enables them to view the picture or video immediately after the shot.

The functioning of digital camera depends on its battery. Normally the batteries are rechargeable in nature. Still, life of the battery and the stand by time should not be ignored while buying the digital camera.

With such an extensive range of advantages Digital Cameras have already entered into our life. We are no more in a position to ignore its use in our daily life. Moreover, digital cameras make sweet memories sweeter for the rest of our life.

Choosing the Right Waterproof Digital Camera

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
digital cameras
Russ Snapper asked:

Waterproof Digital Camera can capture your memories on a beach, at a nightclub, pool and in many other places because of its high technical configuration. It is specially designed for taking clear pictures of the objects under water that is below five feet and more. Parallel to this, you can view all the pictures instantly and you have quick access of the images taken. There will be lot of differences in taking shots and the working condition also varies when compared with the other digital cameras.

Waterproof digital cameras have different modes that are used for diverse scenes, but you need to have proper knowledge of the camera before use and that can be attained by thoroughly reading the manual. You have to do some research before deciding to buy. Always purchase a camera that is easily accessible by the thumb for clicking and the user interface should be simple. Technical aspects like compact, digital zoom, flash levels, dimensions, internal memory, movie mode etc have to be given importance while buying.

Sony and Canon offer waterproof digital cameras at different prices. Nowadays the waterproof cameras are designed for lifestyle purpose and fulfilling professional needs also. People enjoying vacation on water base always opt for waterproof digital cameras to enhance and cherish their experience. You can take colorful shots while doing underwater snorkeling or scuba diving and so you cannot rely on faulty cameras. In addition to this, these cameras are good options for capturing action shots that are water-based like white water rafting, fishing and kayaking etc. There are cameras available to capture underwater photographs at the depth above 30 feet.

Sealife DC500 is scuba divers delight as it can be used up to 200feet depth. This camera has two underwater shooting options. First one is typical shot for underwater with slight shutter pause or lag. But the Shark shooting option captures intended object and the range or distance is remembered for the following photos and hence there is no lag time with the closing speed of the shutter. It has got a flash and has expandability with other lenses like 3x and 4x optical zoom. Some main features of this waterproof digital camera are 5.0 mega pixels, 3x optical zoom and auto-focus with a LCD display of two inches for viewing the photos.

Olympus Stylus 770SW is referred as the toughest waterproof camera because it is not only waterproof but also freeze and crush proof. Among the waterproof cameras available in the market, this camera sounds like handling anything on the way without any damage. It has got 7.1 mega pixels and as a result gets great resolution and also has LCD display of 2.5 inches. Underwater, the camera is shockproof till 5 feet, can take up crushing force of 220 pounds and waterproof till 30 feet. It also has 30 shooting modes with movie sounds.

Pentax Optio W20 is another waterproof digital camera that is preferred by many photographers because it provides them the needed features. A rubber-sealed seam is an important feature that can be immersed till 5 feet for a period of half an hour. It’s distinctive features are 7 mega pixels, macro lens, 3x optical zoom, 2.5 inches LCD screen, recording videos and underwater settings.

The other popular waterproof digital cameras are Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000, Fuji Fine Pix A400 digital camera and Bonica Snapper-XP underwater digital camera.

Advantages of Digital Photography and Simple Tips to Start Clicking Away With Your Digital Camera

Friday, November 14th, 2008
digital cameras
Cindy Heller asked:

In early days, photography only belonged to professionals. However, when roll film cameras and digital cameras were invented, photography became widely available for public. In the era of digital photography, the most inexperienced individuals can take pictures easily. The best advantage of digital photography is that you can see the picture immediately after it is taken. If you don’t like it, you can just delete the picture without wasting any film.

Nowadays, digital cameras are everywhere and digital photography becomes very popular, especially when camera phones were introduced. It is unnecessary to bring rolls of films anymore as a tiny memory stick is enough to hold hundreds of pictures. Many other inconveniences are also eliminated by digital photography. You do not need to wait for the processing process of the films because you can just simply put the pictures into the computer and share with others. You can delete pictures that you don’t like and it is unnecessary to go back to the store if there is something wrong with the prints.

One of popular aspects in the world of photography is airbrushing. Airbrushing used to be a painstaking process, but it became much easier when digital photography came. After you master how to use photo editing software, it becomes very easy to edit pictures and improve their quality. It is virtually impossible to differentiate whether a picture is edited or real, which sometimes may create an issue.

Photo storage and sorting are very simple in the world of digital photography. Perhaps you still remember how you need to spend days to glue and tape photos into photo albums. Now, it is easy to sort and categorize photos into separate files in the computer. There is no problem whatsoever if you want to see and print them in the future as long as you have a good filing system.

In addition, with a photo album, normally only two persons can watch the photos at the same time. On the contrary, a digital photography album can be transferred to a compact disk and played in the DVD player so the whole family members can see the photos together. You can add some music and change to a slideshow format to make it more interesting, especially if you want to show it in a big gathering of some sort.

Tips to enjoy your digital camera

Some people are intimidated with technology including using a digital camera. They get used to the old film camera and feel that a digital camera is too confusing. Surely there are differences in using film and digital camera, but if you know how to handle a digital camera properly, you will enjoy it. The following tips are useful to make you have enjoyable experiences with your digital camera.

The first tip and also the most logical one is that you must read the manual book. You will know how to use your digital camera and understand what capabilities that it has. Read the manual before taking photos even if you have used other digital cameras before. There may be some features that you never know before. Without reading the manual, after a long time, you may end up finding that the camera has certain capabilities that you never think before.

The next tip is to make sure that your digital camera works, especially on important occasions. Extra memory cards and extra batteries will do the trick. You don’t want to face with full memory card or even worse, died battery, when you find a special moment that you want to capture quickly.

Many people tend to use low resolution setting so they can save many photos in the memory stick. This is not a good idea because you reduce the quality of the photos significantly. It is better to select midway setting for general use and the best setting for capturing special moments. Lastly, you should take photos as much as possible to familiarize yourself with a digital camera. After a short period of time, you will enjoy your digital camera and leave the old film camera behind.

How to Choose a Digital Camera

Saturday, November 8th, 2008
digital cameras
Anmol Taneja asked:


So you have finally decided to go out and get that digital camera that you have always wanted. But how can you be so sure about which one to by? Sony, Nikon Coolpix, or a Digicam, the list is endless, what matters is, how you decide that the model that you are going in for, isn’t just big on words and empty on performance. Well, there are certain basic factors that you need to know before you choose the type of camera that you buy.

Megapixels: The higher the better, and more expensive too. This is one of the key factors behind choosing a digital camera. It defines the number of pixels and the more the number, the clearer the resolution of the picture you take. If you just want to share pictures over the computer, then a 2 megapixel camera works just fine. 3 megapixels will let you print for normal use, while 5 or above is professional quality.

Optical Zoom versus Digital Zoom: This one’s simple; digital enhances the image size more, but hurts the picture clarity whereas optical zooms allow enlarged pictures with good clarity.

Memory Storage: How many pictures will you be taking at a time? A 2 megapixel camera with 32Mb of memory stores up to 35 pictures. Although most cameras come with 8 – 16 Mb of built-in memory, external memory cards are available for more flexibility. Only thing to be careful about here is that these cards that you buy for you digital camera, may not be “hot-swappable”

Computer Compatibility: Ensure that the digital camera is compatible with the computer that you are going to plug it into for regular use.

Microphone: Check to see if there is a microphone to enhance your video mode. Will you be using it if there was?

Night Mode: if you are a creature of the night and will be using the digital camera in poor light conditions then it is useful to buy one that has a night mode feature.

Pre-programmed features: these allow you to have pre-determined settings for special light conditions in your digital camera.

Hold one: Hold the digital camera in your hand and see. A camera should feel right in your hands and should be comfortable to hold.

So before you rush out there to buy a digital camera, it is advisable to research a few models over the web and check for features, size and user friendliness. Buying a digital camera is an important investment and it is the key to a long list of memories. So make sure that when you go for that next family picnic, your ideal camera resides in your hip-pouch.



Canon Powershot Digital Camera is a Superior Pro-sumer Product

Saturday, November 1st, 2008
digital cameras
Muna wa Wanjiru asked:


You will find that digital cameras can be used in a variety of situations. These can be functions, weddings, birthdays and even pictures of nature. The Canon digital cameras are suited for these many events. In the Canon range the Canon PowerShot Digital camera has the ability to fulfill this role quite well.

The many Canon PowerShot Digital cameras are about the size of a credit card. The Canon PowerShot Digital camera is considered to be among the smallest digital cameras that have been produced. While this camera is small it still manages to give you high quality pictures.

The Canon PowerShot Digital camera case is made from steel. The exterior appearance of the digital camera is flat fronted. To protect the lens of the camera you will find that this digital camera comes equipped with an automatic lens cover. This cover will protect your digital camera when it is not in use.

Since the camera is made from steel and it has a protective covering for the camera lens you will not have to worry about handling the camera in the worry of something happening to it.

As the Canon PowerShot Digital camera is stylish due to the steel casing which lends it a sense of sophistication you are more likely to take this camera along with you when you go out. This means that you are more likely to take a fantastic photograph with the Canon PowerShot Digital camera.

The various Canon PowerShot Digital cameras all belong to the Canon Digital Elph family. These cameras are all designed to be small is size and yet they give superior performance value.

Most of the digital cameras that are being sold in the world are known by one name like Pentax, Minolta and Kodak digital cameras. The Canon PowerShot Digital camera is however given other names in a variety of countries. These names are Digital Ixus in Europe and South East Asia. In Japan this camera is called the Ixy Digital camera.

The best fact about the Canon PowerShot Digital camera is that it has been designed to merge traditional photography with that of digital photography products. This allows you to take conventional photos without having to worry about setting the cameras to various settings. All that you need to do is to point and click.

The many experts who have reviewed this camera state that the Canon PowerShot Digital camera is a good buy for the average consumer. This digital camera is known to be a superior pro-sumer product.



Buying Tips for Used Digital Camera

Saturday, November 1st, 2008
digital cameras
Russ Snapper asked:


Used digital camera is a good option for purchase if you have budget limits. Digital cameras are high-tech photographic equipments that are becoming more affordable. Most cameras that are technically superior are expensive equipment and cannot be affordable for average consumers. It is digital photography everywhere today and is in more demand by common people also.

Cheap digital camera is available at large merchandising store at a price of $50. Most of us buy digital cameras because of simplicity in use and to get high quality pictures. With greater technology, even novice photographers can get fantastic shots. Everybody can become good photographers because of its ease of use with greater image quality. With the increase in resulting quality of the images, your interest of the product also gets increased and so initially many buy cheap digital cameras for learning purposes and then upgrade their equipment with latest models.

A restored digital camera, also referred to as rebuilt photographic equipment offers all the services that a new model can do. It allows the photographer for viewing the photograph instantly and also to retake the shot within few seconds. Since you are able to see the pictures before developing, it gives you the option to delete unwanted photographs.

A restored digital camera does not require film purchase and picture development, as all the work can be done when connected with a printer and a computer. It gives you the advantage of printing pictures of your choice at anytime. Photographs taken with used digital camera can also be edited before printing. You can experience lot of exciting options when you buy a used digital camera.

Used digital cameras are available in camera shops situated at larger communities. Refurbished cameras and their accessories are offered in these shops at a cheaper price with all recently introduced models. The biggest source for buying used digital camera is the online sources. Auction sites in the Internet have exciting offers with extreme discounted pricing.

The only drawback is the quality control that may be lesser than the refurbished camera. The best method of buying good and cheap digital camera is to buy from the manufacturer. The manufacturer often gets returned products from the buyers due to various reasons. All these digital cameras are checked out for minor adjustments and are again sold to buyers with the manufacturer’s guarantee. This method is safe because the standard and quality of the product will be good and you also get guarantee for the refurbished digital camera.

While buying used digital camera, the most important factor to be considered is the reliability of the product and the seller. Reliability depends on aspects like whether the digital camera is cleaned, tested and upgraded before coming for sales again. Find out from the seller regarding warranties and testing done. Other than the manufacturer’s offer, some retailers go beyond offering extended warranty. If you have decided to purchase a digital camera that is already used through an unknown source online, like an auction site, try to get referrals and feedbacks from past customers before making payment.

The extraordinary creation of God can be enjoyed though photography in a wonderful way which makes you relaxed from your busy lifestyle. So try to learn all the aspects of digital photography and get ready for taking incredible snap shots.