Consideration of Choosing a Digital Camera

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Price

Usually, the price differently depends upon the quality of machine and the retailer. The machine which contains higher functions (e.g., high resolution and zoom) usually cost users more money. Users need to know the purpose of using the machine and make a balanced decision between cost and quality. Different stores may have different price for the same product. Users can check price on-line and get the ideas of possible price. An available website is www.pricescan.com.
The price range of digital camera is from $50 to $2500. Most of the digital cameras fall within $200 to $900 and a median price is $450.

Resolution

The resolution of a digital camera refers to the sharpness of its pictures. The higher the resolution, the better the picture. Resolution is expressed in pixels, and refers to the “true” (i.e., noninterpolated) resolution of the camera. Usually, resolution ranges are 1) 640 x 480 pixels—minimum computer resolution, 2) 1280 x 960 pixels—film resolution of 4” x 6” print, 3) 1600 x 1200 pixels—film resolution of 8” x 10” print, and 4) 1920 x 1600 pixels—very high resolution (PCPhoto Magazine [on-line]).

Optical Zoom

An optical zoom has the image using multi-focal length lens, but a digital zoom only enlarges the center 50%. An optical zoom allows you to take more detailed pictures of objects which are far away. Magnification level is measured in degrees, such as “2X” or “3X.” For example, a “2X” optical zoom means that if the camera’s minimum focal length is 50mm, then it has the ability to take pictures up to 100mm. More than 50% of digital cameras on the market today do not have an optical zoom.

Camera Size

Pocket size. This is a very small camera that you can put it in your pocket. Typically, these are extremely light and weight and have widths under 5 inches. They are also quite flat, with depths rarely exceeding 1.5 inches.

Medium size. These cameras are slightly larger than pocket size cameras, especially in terms of depth and weight. A Medium Size camera weighs between 0.5 lb. – 1 lb., averages 0.75 lb. Most digital cameras are Medium Size.

SLR size. The digital cameras which look like a standard SLR (Single-Lens-Reflex) camera. Larger than a Medium Size camera, these typically have a rectangular body with a substantial protruding lens and weigh more than 1 lb.

Storage type

Digital cameras can store images in a internal memory, or on removable memory devices that can be put in and take out like rolls of film. Some cameras offer both internal and removable storage options. The camera will come with some storage, and you can buy more to increase your shooting capacity.

3.5 inch Floppy. With this feature, the camera stores its images on the same floppy disks that you use in computer. To transfer the images to your computer, you would remove the floppy from the camera and put it into your computer’s floppy drive. You don’t need any specific cable to connect the camera and computer. Memory capacity is 1.4 MB per disk. The problem is that floppy storage capacity is very limited, so you won’t find this media used in high-resolution cameras. Examples of product which use 3.5” floppy are Sony Mavica series (e.g., MVC-FD87, MVC-FD92)

Removable memory. Many digital cameras store images on removable memory devices that can be put in and take out of the camera like rolls of film. These can be used with a variety of card readers (depending on the type of storage), which are typically purchased as an additional accessory. PCMCIA Type II or III cards are credit card size memory that do not require a card reader to download the images; you can insert the card directly into laptop computers. One type of flash memory storage called memory stick, manufactured by Sony, which is smaller than a stick of chewing gum. Something important to realize about flash memory is that it’s expensive, and most digital camera maker supply only 8 or 16 MB cards with their cameras. With a mega-pixel camera, a card of this size isn’t going to hold many high-resolution images. “Removable Media” does not include 3.5 inch floppy disks. Examples of digital camera which use removable memory are Sony CyberShot DSC-S75 and canon PowerShot300.

CDR. Some newer cameras use specially made recordable CDs to save images. This gives you the opportunity to save about 150 megabytes of pictures onto a disc that will slip into you computer’s CD-Rom drive, where you can copy the pictures straight to your hard drive. This feature will tend to make the camera larger, and you won’t be able to copy over your pictures once you close the disc, but you may prefer the ease of transfer. An example of using CDR as storage is Sony MVC-CD200.

Transfer images to computer

Infrared. Infrared transmission uses invisible light to transfer pictures to your computer or printer. Also known as “IrDA,” this technology allows one to download images without using cables or wires, but is also extremely slow.

Parallel Cable. This type of cable connection is quite common, and transfers images faster than a serial connection, as it is able to send multiple bits of information at the same time (i.e., “in parallel”).

SCSI Cable. SCSI is a form of image transfer involving a high speed bus cable system, used mainly in Macintosh computers and newer PCs.

Serial Cable. The most standard type of serial cable is identified as a “RS-232” interconnector. This method is relatively slow in comparison to a USB cable connection, but it’s still quite commonly available.

USB Cable. A USB (short for Universal Serial Bus) cable transports images from your digital camera via a connection that is much faster than a serial or parallel cable. It is important to note, however, that this type of connection can only be used with newer Pentium computers, and it won’t work on PCs with slower or older processors. Note that many cameras with a USB cable will also offer a serial and/or parallel connection option.

Flash Type

The flash makes a burst of light for shooting inside the building or in low-light conditions. The types of flash available vary from camera to camera. The flashes built into most digital cameras have limited range and adjustibility (on average, these flashes do not work well beyond 10 feet), in comparison to external flash options which can provide a much more powerful and versatile flash. Keep in mind that a camera with a “Hot Shoe” or “Flash Sync,” will often come with the standard built-in flash as well.

Off/On/Auto. This refers to the basic flash functions, where the flash is always off, always on (for fill-ins, for example), or set to fire automatically when needed.

Red-Eye Reduction. This refers to a mode of flash that helps prevent the appearance of people with red eyes in the picture.

Flash sync. This function allows you to use more powerful flashes, and/or place the flash strategically, by attaching an external flash unit to the camera. Typically, a camera with flash sync will also offer the more traditional forms of flash as well, such as auto flash.

Special Features

People may have different needs for individual purposes. Several features are considered.

Add-On Lens. A lens that attaches to the lens built into the digital camera. While an add-on lens is not as versatile as an actual interchangeable lens, it does provide you with an alternative means of composing a shot, by providing a telephoto or wide-angle option or add-on filters, to name a few. To date, most digital cameras do not offer this feature.

Rotatable Lens. This allows you to adjust the angle of the lens (not the focusing ability of the camera). Some rotate 180 degrees while others can rotate a full 360 degrees, allowing you to compose a self-portrait while viewing yourself on the LCD panel.

Interchangeable Lens. This allows you to physically change the type of lens you use. Interchangeable lens capability is rarely found on digital cameras–and when it is, you can expect a hefty price tag along with it.

Audio Recording. This function allows you to record a short sound bite with each image, allowing you to makes notes for future reference.

Mini Movie. This allows you to create a short movie, for those times when still images simply won’t do the trick.

Remote Control. With this feature, you can take a picture without holding the camera – an alternative to using a self-timer.

Shooting Modes. Perhaps the most important of the special shooting modes is Macro, which allows you to get very close to your subject, usually within only a few inches, and still get a sharp, detailed photograph. This feature is common on most digital cameras today and is very useful (PCPhotoReview [on-line]).

Strength and Weakness

There are many choices on digital cameras with or without different functions. The following is the comparison.

 Features of Digital Camera