Digital Camera Resources

Here is some good info taken from the www.upgradesource.com.

How many megapixels do I need?

The number of megapixels a digital camera supports will determine the absolute maximum resolution of the photos it can take, along with it's equivalence to a film print.

2-Megapixels: Typical maximum resolution photos of 1600x1200, equal to film quality on a 4x6" print. A great choice if you're not heavily into printing the pictures you take. Normally produces very clear pictures at high resolutions. Makes great prints at 4x6".
3-Megapixels: Typical maximum resolution photos of 2048x1536, equal to film quality on a 5x7" print. If you like to print the pictures you take, this is the best choice for non-professionals. Produces exceptional digital photos at very high resolutions and outstanding prints at 5x7" and smaller. Most digital cameras produced at this time are 3-megapixels.
4-Megapixels: Typical maximum resolution photos of 2272x1704, nearly film quality on an 8x10" print. If you want exceptional digital photos and prints, but can't quite afford the higher-end 5-megapixel cameras, these cameras provide a viable alternative.
5-Megapixels: Typical maximum resolution photos of 2560x1920, equal to film quality on an 8x10" print. This is the best type of consumer digital camera technology currently available. These cameras produce the highest level of digital photos at extremely high resolutions and film-quality prints at sizes up to 8x10 inches! If you are a professional photographer or will be converting many of your digital pictures to prints, this is the type of camera you want.

How about zoom?

Camera makers specify both a camera's optical zoom along with its digital zoom capabilities. Optical zoom is the actual zoom ability of the camera lens. This is the "real" zoom ability that the camera is capable of without compromising any image quality. Higher quality cameras typically have higher zoom levels. Most digital cameras have an optical zoom in the 3x range. Digital zoom is the capability of the camera to go beyond what it is physically capable of by using internal software to enlarge the image. Today's mid to high-end cameras have great digital zoom abilities, but still give up a small bit of image quality to "artificially" zoom image.

What does the camera use for power?

Today's cameras use either traditional batteries (typically AAs) or a rechargeable battery pack (as well as an AC adapter). A camera that uses a rechargeable battery pack will obviously be more cost effective than one using regular batteries that need to be replaced. If you plan on keeping your camera plugged in using the AC adapter (usually an optional accessory) while in use, it won't matter which type of battery power the camera uses.

How does it connect to my computer?

Most cameras produced today connect to your computer using a high-speed USB connection. This allows you to transfer photos to your PC relatively quickly with a typical 1024x768 photo taking about 2-3 seconds to transfer. Older cameras or ones with very few features connect only via serial cable. This is an extremely slow method and these cameras are for those who don't mind waiting a bit. However, you can purchase amemory card reader for your PC that will read the memory card from your digital camera directly at high-speeds. These readers are available for all types of memory cards.

What type of memory card does it use?

The most popularly used memory card in digital cameras is SD memory. SOme cameras useCompactFlash. Sony cameras all use aMemory Stick. All of these types of memory cards are readily available and are produced in sizes from 16MB to 8GB (Memory Sticks max out at 128MB). Nearly all digital cameras include a starter memory card so you can begin taking pictures immediately without havin to purchase a card. Usually, these are smaller size cards of 16MB to 32MB (higher-end cameras come with more). You can always purchase additional cards at UpgradeSource.com for price a that's affordable.

How about a camera's LCD screen and viewfinder?

The most well-designed cameras today include both an LCD color screen (usually around 2x2") and a viewfinder. The viewfinder is simply a window similar to what you use on a film camera to see the subject. This is useful when you don't want to waste battery life by using the LCD screen. There are a certain few cameras that do not include a viewfinder. Try to avoid these cameras, especially if you depend on prolonged battery life.

What else do I need to know?

All digital cameras use different types of lenses. So, even two 3-megapixel cameras can take different quality pictures. The color quality may differ, as may the contrast or brightness of the photos. Most camera makers have actual photos taken with their cameras on their web sites. Take a look at these and compare. There are many additional features that today's cameras can include, such as full-motion video capability, various shutter speeds and photo modes, and the ability to add accessories to the camera like lenses, flashes, and tripods. These features among others are also a key selling point once you've narrowed down the models you are interested in.

Advantages of digital photography

  1. only print or pay for the good pictures
  2. edit your snapshots on the computer (cut out the bad part of the shot)
  3. take as many pictures as you want without wasting money
  4. back up, archive all your photos easily
  5. digital files are easier to keep track of than negatives
  1. Picassa - free photo organization tool
  2. Google - this is the best place to search for info on anything.
  3. Imaging Resource Web Site - looking for help selecting a digital camera. This is a great place to start.
  4. Web Photo School - If you want to take professional photos, check out these free lessons.
  5. Digital vs. Optical Zoom
  6. Adobe Photoshop Elements - good cheap photo editing software.
  7. Consumer Reports
  8. From Pixels to Printing
  9. How many Pixels are enough?
  10. How many megapixels do I need?

How large a photo card do I need? (Digital Film)

Approximate Number of Images per Capacity

Camera Type:

File Size

32 MB

64 MB

128 MB

256 MB

512 MB

1 GB

2 GB

4 GB

2 Megapixel Camera:

900KB

35

71

142

284

568

1,137

2,275

4,551

3 Megapixel Camera:

1.2MB

26

53

106

213

426

853

1,706

3,413

4 Megapixel Camera:

2MB

16

32

64

128

256

512

1,024

2,048

5 Megapixel Camera:

2.5MB

12

25

51

102

204

409

819

1,638

6 Megapixel Camera:

3.2MB

10

20

40

80

160

320

640

1,280

 

Approximate photos per card using "hi-res" JPEG mode

Card Size:

16MB*

32MB

64MB

128MB

192MB

256MB

320MB

512MB

640MB

1GB

1 Megapixel Camera:

45

91

182

365

548

731

918

1462

1828

2925

2 Megapixel Camera:

17

35

71

142

213

284

355

568

711

1137

3 Megapixel Camera:

13

26

53

106

160

213

266

426

533

853

4 Megapixel Camera:

8

16

32

64

96

128

160

256

320

512

5 Megapixel Camera:

6

12

25

51

76

102

128

204

256

409

6 Megapixel Camera:

5

10

20

40

60

80

100

160

200

320