Tips & Tricks
Understanding digital cameras and how to get the most from them
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
In this section you'll find a lot of resources that will help you better understand your digital camera and what to do with it. We explain all aspects of a digital camera and how they differ from film cameras. That's important. While a true flair and talent for photography come in handy regardless of the type of camera used, digital cameras are very different from film in many respects. If you're totallly new to digital cameras, start with Arthur Bleich's Digital Camera Primer. It explains all the basic concepts and provides a wealth of tips and inside information.
If you're only just contemplating the purchase of your first ever digital camera, you may have a whole lot of questions and there are a number of decisions you need to make. Like what kind of digital camera you want (A simple snap & shooter? An ultra-slim? One with a big zoom? One with lots of manual features? Or perhaps a digital SLR?), how much you want to spend, whether the type of memory card the camer uases is important, whether you need a lot of handholding (Kodak and HP provide that) or whether you'll be using your own imaging software of choice, and so on.
Next, unlike film cameras where the print you got back from the photo lab was pretty much it, with a digital camera, the initial image is just the beginning. Once uploaded into your computer, you can view it on a large screen and then crop it and manipulate it to your heart's content. With film people were pretty much limited to cropping and perhaps "retouching" flaws. With digital images, the image manipulation and enhancement possibilities are endless. Most cameras come with some basic image manipulation of cataloguing software and some of it is quite powerful and may meet your needs. If you want more, Adobe and others offer extremely powerful graphics software, often at very reasonable prices. In this section we'll offer many tips and tricks on howw to do certain types of image manipulations.
Those who are technically inclined will be interested in our series of articles on the underlying and enabling technologies. Unlike film cameras which relied primarily on good mechanicals and optics, digital cameras rely on ever-improving electronic wizardry to do their magic (and, of course, good optics -- some things never go out of style). Therefore, it's interesting to examine how a digital camera's CCD actually works (see Inside the CCD) and to learn the basics of other technologies used to make digital cameras better, faster, and more powerful all the time. You've undoubtedly come across all those impressive sounding acronyms camera manufacturers use for their proprietary technologies. That's the imaging equivalent of the KFC Colonel's "secret blend of 11 herbs and spices" and meant to set one maker's offerings apart from all the others. We examine and explain those technologies as well, in simple terms and with an emphasis on what they actually mean to you, the photographer.