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   LEARN ABOUT digital photography from first principles to advanced techniques.

Before you buy: Make sure you buy the camera which is best for you.  go there . . .
What to look for and what it does:features and functions of the digital camera.
                 more . . .
Quick-start guide: start taking pictures right away.
                 more . . .
Versatility: the choices - from pixels to paper.
                 more . . .
Storage media and sharing your photos.  more . . .
Essentials of photography
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What to look for when buying: 1

Features and functions of a digital camera.

Handling :
As always, choose your camera to suit its purpose. If you want a camera you can take everywhere, choose a compact. You can still have a wide range of features with some of the more expensive models. If you don’t mind carrying something heavier and maybe bulkier you may be comfortable using a Prosumer or SLR digital camera. Keep in mind that to use a digital SLR to its best capacity, you may build up a collection of lenses. Carrying some, or all of these adds to the bulkiness of your photographic equipment.

buy cameras, camcorder, lenses, books, memory and accessories Features :
Digital cameras keep having features added as each new model appears. While a lot of these features are useful, not all of them are necessary. This is especially true if you just want a point-and-shoot model for ease of use.

For beginners, program scene modes are one of the most useful features. These are pre-set settings which cope with the most commonplace situations. Typical might be close-up portraits, group scenes, or landscapes, particular lighting situations such as sunsets, or an action mode for sports photography or other movement shots, using a fast shutter speed.

A top of the range prosumer camera will not only have a good selection of pre-sets, but will also allow you to program your own to suit any photographic special interests you may have.

A camera for serious photography will have shutter/aperture priority and a manual mode. These will allow you greater control over the camera, and therefore the end photograph. Also important is manual focusing, though on most digital cameras this isn't nearly as comprehensive as on the digital SLRs. Most cameras should have exposure compensation, to ensure your photos do not appear under or over exposed. Some have histogram modes that show a levels curve to make it easy to check if your photo has been properly exposed.

Many digitals now have movie capture modes. These are useful, though often limited. They should not be seen as a substitute for a video camera but can be quite adequate for short movie snapshots for emailing or for web sites.

Resolution :
Although it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need the highest resolution camera possible, this isn't the case. Digital camera resolutions are measured in millions of pixels or megapixels. There's no point in buying an eight megapixel camera if you only want to view your photos on a computer screen to send to friends or to print at average print sizes, two to four megapixels is acceptable for this.

If you want the best possible quality, then you will be better off with one of the higher megapixel models. Bear in mind though, that the images they create are larger and take up more room on the memory card, so you'll need to spend more on buying a large card. Also, the camera will take time to process the photograph, and you may have to wait a few seconds before it is possible to take another shot. Recovery periods are improving all the time.

Lens :
If you choose a digital camera with the wrong lens for your type of photography you could be limiting the range of photos you can take.

If you plan on taking a lot of landscape photographs you'll need a wide-angle lens, these have the lower numbers, such as 28mm. Panoramic modes, that let you line up several photos next to each other to allow them to be combined into one very wide photo later, are now common. This is a cheap alternative to buying a wide-angle lens attachment [ link to Focal Length]

If you're planning on photographing, birds, sports or any distant fast moving objects you'll have the best performance from a digital SLR. These have fast focusing and react very quickly to your commands. However they are expensive for any beginner photographers who should look instead for digital cameras with a large zoom lens.

Be careful, when looking at a camera’s specification, to differentiate between optical and digital zooms. Many cameras will have both. An optical zoom will act like binoculars, effectively bringing you closer to your subject, then taking the photograph. A digital zoom will have a set scene in its viewfinder but just allow you a closer look at a small selection of that scene. The end photograph will be inferior in quality to the same shot taken with a quality optical zoom.

Lastly you should try to find a ‘fast’ lens. Basically the lower the f number, the wider the aperture and therefore the faster the lens will take the photograph. On consumer digital cameras, lenses tend to go as fast as f/1.8, though f/2.8 is far more common.

P2 :viewfinder, bracketing, sequence shooting, white balance, batteries, memory, accessories

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