Long gone are the days of carrying around camera bags stuffed with extra rolls of film and lenses as long as your arm. Also gone are the days, thankfully, of worrying about whether or not the film’s really rewound before you risk opening the camera case in sunlight! Digital photography strips the pain out of photography in several ways: No film means no mess and less expense.
Fewer lenses equals less clutter, and once you get used to using a digital camera, digital photography can even help you take better photos by showing you how to select and time your shots, with the proper lighting levels automatically selected for you. Took a photograph you didn’t like? A digital camera lets you review the shot on an LCD screen on the back of the camera right after you snapped it, and delete it.
Finally, digital photography gives you photos that are extremely portable. You can download your shots to a computer to email or edit with programs like Adobe’s PhotoShop, print them out, or create slideshows – all without having to drop off film and pay for developing it. Some digital cameras even let you shoot quick videos.
Nowadays, even cellphones and watches have entered the world of digital photography making just about everyone a photographer. Below we’ll talk about the fundamentals of how digital photography works. This will be important when choosing a camera.
A digital image, or photo, is made up of millions of tiny dots. The number of pixels determines the quality – also called the resolution – of the image. With digital photography, when you click the camera’s button, a computer chip called the “charge couple device” (CCD) inside the camera instantly records the location, color, and brightness of each pixel. Put all those pixels together and you have the photograph!
Resolution is an important factor when buying a camera. Higher resolutions cost more, but also result in images that can be enlarged digitally without losing quality. When shopping for a ‘point and shoot’ digital camera to use for fun look for cameras with a resolution between three to five megapixels will let you print nice quality 4” x 6” up to 8” x 10” prints.
Another important consideration for digital photography is the size of the memory card in the camera. The memory card is what stores your photo inside the camera – think of it as the camera’s hard drive. Digital images of high quality take up a lot of space. You can fit more low-resolution than high-resolution shots on to a single card.
You can carry multiple memory cards, but who wants to line up that perfect shot and realize the camera has suddenly run out of room? If your camera shoots between three to five megapixels, a memory card with 128 MB to 512 MB should keep you shooting until your fingers get tired.