What to look for in a Digital Camera Bryn Jones April 2001
4 A digital camera is exactly the same as a film camera except the film is replaced by a grid of charge coupled diodes. CCDs 4 The CCD determines how many individual pixels can be recorded. 4 This limits the ultimate quality of the photograph at any given size of reproduction. 4 Only very expensive digital cameras come close to the quality of film. 4 Especially if you want to enlarge the result.
4 Basic digital cameras start at around 250,000 pixels. 4 They are suitable only for small photos on screen. 4 1,000,000 pixels (Megapixel) is regarded as the minimum for quality print output at reasonable sizes. 4 Cameras have recently become available with 5 Megapixels at a consumer price (Minolta Feb 2001.) 4 3.5 Megapixels is regarded as equal to a good film camera.
4 Compare the lens focal length with a film based camera. This is not easy because the CCD is about a quarter as big as film so focal lengths are one quarter but some companies use 35mm equivalents. 4 Compare the optical quality of the lenses. 4 Is a zoom facility available? 4 If there is a zoom facility, is it digital, optical or a combination of both? 4 Digital zoom is a waste of time.
4 Floppy Disk 4 Internal fixed Flash RAM 4 Removable Flash RAM cards 4 Memory Stick 4 Mini writeable CD
4 Floppy disk 4 Cable from camera 4 Flash card reader 4 Flash card in a floppy case 4 Memory Stick reader 4 Infra Red 4 Wireless is likely to become available soon!
4 Preferably none required - camera produces JPEG format 4 Some cameras need special software 4 Is it Mac/Windows compatible? 4 Does it work through a Plug in to Photoshop or with stand alone software?
4 Can you review photos on the camera? 4 Can you delete on the camera? 4 How big is the viewing area?
4 Does it use rechargeable batteries? 4 Are they included? 4 Is the charger included? 4 Can the batteries charge in the camera? 4 What is the battery life? 4 Consider battery life with and without flash and LCD 4 Is there a mains power option?
4 Various options are available such as –Video recording –Sound recording –Multiple images one after another. –Multiple images on one photo. –Macro lens. 4 It depends what is useful to you.