Several years ago I bought a Kodak DC240. It's a 1.3 megapixel camera with a 3X optical
and 2X digital zoom. Overall, I'm very
happy with the camera and I've taken literally thousands of shots with it. By the way… a megapixel, for anyone who’s
wondering is 1,000,000 pixels. Multiply
the height by the width of a picture to figure this out: 1,280 X 960 =1,228,800 or 1.23 megapixels. I heard somewhere that film photography is
close to 12 megapixels.
The beauty of a digital camera is that you really don't have
to be too concerned with what your pictures are going to turn out like - you're
free to experiment and delete the ones that don't turn out. And, while on that
topic, you can review and delete the pictures you don’t like right on the spot,
and change your viewpoint to give you a better shot the second, third or… time around. Another bonus is the fact that the images are
SO easy to work with. When you take
pictures with a film camera, you have to have the film developed and pictures put
on a cd, or scan the prints in yourself.
With a digital, you can shoot to your heart's content and be cropping, readjusting
the color balance, or anything else you want in PhotoShop 30 seconds later.
Well, after about three years of the DC240, I decided that I
wanted something more. The “more” turned
out to be a Canon G2, and the pictures it takes are totally amazing. It’s a 4 megapixel and where the 240 was a
point and click system, the G2 is that, plus a whole lot more. The reason for my upgrade was that I wanted
to be able to take 35mm SLR quality photos with the convenience of a digital
camera – and the 240, while providing good picture quality, just didn’t have
the fine control that I wanted. The G2
provides manual focus, manual shutter speed, manual aperture – pretty much
manual everything if you want it, or fully automatic, or anything in
between. My 2 cameras are basically on
either end of the spectrum.
Features to look for
While most cameras offer digital zoom, the
quality is really quite poor.
Digital zoom is the equivalent of blowing up a small picture to
make it look bigger, and that involves a lot of guesswork. Optical zoom, on the other hand, is the
same as you will find in film-based cameras and yields much better
results. The bottom line on this is
that digital zoom is cheap to produce and optical is expensive (it
involves moving parts). My 240 offers 3X optical,
and I personally wouldn’t be happy with less than that; sometimes it’s a
little too little. Another caveat
to digital zoom is that it isn’t usable through the viewfinder,
but only on the LCD screen.
You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a digital
camera that is less than a megapixel these days, and a megapixel
resolution will provide enough detail to have high-quality 4X6 prints made
from. If you have higher
resolution, you can have larger prints made, or crop them to produce 4X6’s
of the detail you want. With my G2,
the image size is 2272 X 1704 (3.87 mp), so basically, I can take 25% of the
full-size shot and make a decent quality 4X6 print.
Obviously, there are other features to be had, but those are
more important to some people than others, and every extra feature adds to the
as many pics as you want – they’re free!
- Prints are getting cheaper all the time... London Drugs offers them for $.39 each when ordered online.
review the shot you just took and delete or retake if it’s not what you
available to edit, print, or share with others.
high initial cost of the camera
- Not as responsive as film cameras (takes up to a second between click and capture)
function well in sub-zero weather (but then neither do I - heheheh)
In closing, I'd like to mention THE online resource for anyone who's considering buying a digital camera: Digital Photography Review. I put a lot of stock in their reviews and advice about digicams, and apparently so do a whole lot of other people (including camera manufacturers). They also have online forums where you can see how happy others are with their cameras before you go and buy one yourself.
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Caution: These are large images