A Primer on Digital Cameras... Everything you need to know

A Primer on Digital Cameras… Everything you need to know

It wasn’t long ago that digital cameras were essentially for

the rich and the geeks; if you spent just a few bucks you

didn’t get anything worth having, and if you really wanted

something good.. well, you’d better be in the book about the

Rich and Famous.


Technology and costs have changed drastically in the last few

years, and it seems as if today that digital cameras nearly

outnumber all the classic film cameras, and to all but the

classic photography buffs, digital is the way to go.


Even traditional photography studios use digital, often in

combination, with film.


Why?  What’s the attraction?  Instant availability and the

ability to discard unwanted photos without cost penalty is

one main attraction. The second is the ability to share,

publish, store your pictures.


The purist will still argue that for professional grade

photography and the widest range of effects that film is the

only way to go. If he were shooting today, it is doubtful

that Ansel Adams would be using digital.


For the rest of us, digital seems to be the way to go.


Now assuming you have not yet made the plunge, the biggest

question is “Where Do I start?” or “What do I buy?”   or

“How Do I Compare?”


Articles have been written on just these subjects and if we

were to expand on all, this article would be a text book

instead of just a primer.  You can do a search on any of the

popular article sites to find many articles just on that

subject,  (one site for example is ArticleCity.com, but not

to promote one over the other.. chances are you may be

seeing this on an article based site). You can also use

search engines.


But sometimes it’s nice to have interactive expert advice.

We suggest you read and research for background, but then

for selection, visit you closest specialty photography or

camera store. One where that’s all they sell.. not a general

all purpose discount or department store that probably has

that department “manned” with part time help.. but go to the

specialty store.  The person will know what to ask  you and

how to guide you.


Your biggest question will end up being an ethical one:

After you have been taught and guided, do you buy from that

store, or take your knowledge and model to the internet or a

discount store and make your buy.  If you do, keep in mind

that the full service store may offer just that.. service

after the  sale; maybe an upgrade trade in policy, and other

intangibles that must be assigned value.


Before you venture out, choosing the right camera begins

with asking yourself “What do I want this for?”  “What kinds

of pictures do I expect to be taking?”    “How many at a

time?” (Addresses memory and storage issues).  “What kind of

light will most of my pictures be in?”  “Will I be carrying

this camera for long periods of time?”(Think of weight).

And lastly, and this is important.. What kind of batteries

does this camera use; how available are they, and what do

they cost?   Most digital cameras are real battery hogs, so

it  is important that batteries are readily available.. and

possibly rechargeable.. but if you are on a 3 week safari in

Africa and you don’t have chargers handy.. what are your

options?   How many pictures?  Memory cards available

easily?  Or do you have to dump and download often?   On a

long vacation you don’t want to shoot all day and fill up..

and then not have a computer handy to dump into?


Compared to film where it’s just “pop a new roll” digital

cameras purchased that don’t match the photographers needs

can be a detriment, not an asset.


Once you choose, then you need to know how to compare

pricing and benefits.. but that’s the subject for another



Choose wisely and you’ll love your new camera!

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