Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That...by Erica Sadun
Impressing folks is a snap when you take digital pictures using the tips and tricks in Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That. . . . Inside you'll find loads of ideas and advice that will show you how to create high-quality photographs and projects that will have 'em "Ooohing and/i>
Discover All the Cool Things You Can Do with Digital Photography.
Impressing folks is a snap when you take digital pictures using the tips and tricks in Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That. . . . Inside you'll find loads of ideas and advice that will show you how to create high-quality photographs and projects that will have 'em "Ooohing and Ahhing" for days. You'll also find a companion CD loaded with a full version of Adobe PhotoDeluxe (a $49 value) for both Windows and Macintosh, plus other valuable software and plug-ins.
Stop Monkeyin' Around and Get the Most Out of Your Digital Pictures.
"Gee Whiz" pictures are at your fingertips. You can tackle everything from learning about the camera's memory to morphing your images. Fix those pesky red eyes, employ cool picture tricks, and uncover the mystery surrounding prints. You'll also find loads of ideas for projects and crafts that range from practical to just plain fun.
Go BananasCreate Eye-Popping Digital Photos.
Let your imagination run wild; inside you'll learn how to:
- Care for your NiMHs and manage your camera's memory
- Use PhotoDeluxe
- Create a photo montage
- Fix problems in images
- Pick the right paper for prints
- Perform digicam tricks
- Transform your photo into a screen saver
The enclosed CD is loaded with a full version of PhotoDeluxe ($49 value) for both Windows and Mac, installers for major site upload software, RealSlideshow, animation software, filters, plug-ins, and much more!
Read an Excerpt
Manage Your Digital CameraKnow your digital camera, and it will serve you well. Today's digital cameras offer so many power, memory, and lens solutions that you can easily become overwhelmed. Here, you will learn the ins and outs of choosing and managing your digital camera.
6 Choosing a CameraThe question I'm asked the most is, "Which camera should I buy?" There are so many excellent digital cameras on the market today that I find this question hard to answer, particularly with any single model, let alone a manufacturer. Instead, I recommend that people evaluate their needs and budget and choose a camera after thinking through a number of points.
For instance, how you will use a camera directly influences the camera type you should buy. Will you use it primarily outdoors or in a studio setting? For family shots or for business? Consider how rugged you need your camera to be. Is waterproofing important? The answers to each of these questions will affect your choice.
When you shop for a camera, you'll find the phrase "Megapixel" bandied about. This refers to how many image elements your camera can produce in a single picture. A one-megapixel camera creates images with approximately one million pixels. This offers basic-quality consumer-grade pictures, and should cost below $300. Middle-grade cameras provide two and three million pixels. These cameras cost between $300 and $1000. As of today, better quality cameras offer four-megapixel resolution, typically running over $1000.
Pixel count greatly influences image print quality. As a rule of thumb, you can always make big pictures smaller but you cannot effectively make small pictures bigger. The more pixels you print per inch, the better any image will look. 300 pixels per inch (ppi) produces the best-quality images. For a 4 x 6 picture, that comes to 1200 x 1800 pixels. If your camera does not support that resolution, don't despair. Even 100 or 150 ppi images look pretty good when printed to commercial grade silver-halide paper by a photofinisher. That comes out to 400 x 600 or 600 x 900 pixels-less than even one megapixel. More pixels just give you more flexibility and quality.
If you're aiming to put pictures on the Web, you can think even smaller. Web resolution typically ranges between 60-80 ppi, with 72 ppi as the most common resolution. Even an inexpensive (below $100) camera provides sufficient image resolution for Web-based imaging.
Many people consider portability to be a prime element of camera selection. Small is good. People like to stuff a camera into their pocket or handbag, pulling it out to capture that special shot. Many manufacturers now cater to this, producing cameras that are ever smaller and more powerful.
Ruggedness is another aspect of portability. Water resistance, and even waterproofness, allows you to take your camera into less civilized terrains. If camping, hiking, and snorkeling are up you alley, look for a camera that can take the punishment you're bound to inflict on it.
A last element of portability concerns battery life. Many cameras balance weight and price with battery duration. When you take your digital camera out to the hillside or on vacation, make sure that it can support long-life batteries.
Optics and Adaptability
Optics are a key element to think about, whether you're buying a digital or a traditional camera. The better the optics, the better your pictures will turn out. Look for high-quality lenses and hardware on your unit. In general, you will pay more for higher-quality components. In the long run, you'll be happy you did. These pay back for themselves in terms of peace of mind, general satisfaction, and excellent pictures.
I'm obsessed with built-in zoom. Zoom is probably the single feature that people most use on their cameras. The better the zoom, the more flexibility you'll have while taking pictures, both in terms of composition and depth of field. A good high-powered zoom can really sell a camera and I suggest you look for a digital unit that provides a wide range of zoom settings.
I will never buy a camera that does not provide an onboard LCD and flash. I recommend the same to you. As with zoom, these two features are invaluable. Other features I look for include a video-out port and an A/C adaptor port, so I can plug in my camera and save batteries. I like Compact Flash image storage, although I've known people who've been happy with both Smart Media and Memory Stick.
Better cameras offer lens threads to add-on filters and other components. When choosing a camera, look at the range of accessories offered. Many digital camera manufacturers choose odd-sized thread sizes (such as 14-mm for my Nikon Coolpix). When I buy standard filters, I use a step-down adapter so that the components will fit onto my camera. Although the Nikon-brand filters fit perfectly, they are quite expensive and don't offer the wide variety of the more standard sizes.
Cost and Reviews
After sorting through camera types and determining your needs, you'll typically be left with a few models to choose from. At this point, you'll want to start a full investigation. Get on the Internet and search for those model numbers. You'll find endless sites with a variety of user tests and feedback. This knowledge can prove invaluable in making your decision. I particularly like the reviews at the Digital Camera resource site (www. do resource. com).
After settling on a model, take time to search around the Internet and find a good price. Some retailers, such as Sears, will price match online sites. If you're willing to take the risk, and order online, pick a dealer with a good reputation, such as B&H Photo (www. bhphotovi deo. com) and make sure to pay with a credit card, to maximize consumer protections. If you're a bargain hunter, stop by the Anandtech forums (http : //forums. anandtech. com/ categori es. cfm?cati d=40) to search for a hot deal on your digital camera.
7 Batteries and Power CellsDon't forget to feed your digital camera. It needs good, reliable power. You should be familiar with the various types of batteries and power cells that can help your camera function at peak levels, as well as how to tend and care for your batteries. Treat your batteries right, and your camera will thank you. Remember that digital cameras are power-hungry. Feed them the finest "juice" you can.
A Power-Source Bestiary
You can power your digital camera in many ways. Over the past few years, new battery types have entered the marketplace. These batteries offer alternatives and features far beyond old-fashioned AA batteries. Most digital cameras accept a wide variety of battery types. This creates a broad spectrum of, ahem, "power tools" to choose from.
NOTE With the exception of generic batteries, most manufacturers' warranties require you to use designated proprietary power sources. Doing otherwise may void your warranty and cause problems down the road. Check that your camera's voltage and amperage requirements match your power source before you plug in and power up.
Alkaline batteries are a type of non-rechargeable power cell. They are the most commonly available batteries. Unfortunately, alkalines drain very quickly under the demands of most digital cameras.
You can pick up a set of alkaline batteries at nearly every Mom-and-Pop store in the country. They are freely available at drugstores, groceries, and so forth, at very reasonable prices. You can expect their shelf life to run for about five years, making for excellent backup power. Consider keeping a set on hand for emergencies. The bad news is that alkaline batteries do not perform well in most digital cameras. They drain rapidly, and you can't recharge them. Using your camera's LCD screen means an almost-certain quick death for your alkaline cells. Alkalines are not recyclable and must be disposed of with care.
NOTE When your alkaline batteries seem to run out of juice, you can usually squeeze out an extra shot or two. Just tum off your camera and let the batteries cool down for five or ten minutes. Turn the camera back on, and you can often take one or two more photographs before the batteries truly die.
Lithiums are a type of non-rechargeable power cell. They provide greater power and endurance than alkalines but at a greater cost.
More and more stores have started to carry long-life lithium cells. Although they're not cheap, lithium battery prices are dropping. You can probably pick up a set at a Radio Shack near you.
Lithiums provide excellent performance in digital cameras and will not drain quickly, as alkalines do. They have an astonishing ten-year shelf life, which means that they make a superb backup power source. They give steady and dependable power output throughout the life of the battery.
Among all of the battery types, lithiums perform the best in cold-weather conditions. Other batteries fail at near-zero conditions; lithiums provide dependable power in subzero temperatures as low as -40 E Environmentally, lithium batteries produce fewer hazards than alkalines do. They also weigh in at the lightest weight of all of the battery types.
Unfortunately, lithiums are still about five to ten times as expensive as alkalines. Also, like alkalines, they cannot be recharged.
Nickle-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
Looking for the digital camera power source of choice? You'll find it in NiMH batteries. NiMHs (pronounced "nimms;") are a type of rechargeable cell. NiMH batteries offer the best renewable power source available today.
NiMH batteries provide environmentally friendly, reliable power for your digital camera. You can charge cells up to a thousand times, furnishing years of use. You can also recharge them after a partial drain without creating a charge-level "memory" which might otherwise limit their power capacity.
However, NiMH batteries do have a few disadvantages. They may cost slightly more than the other types of power cells. Their shelf life is limited to a few weeks, usually less than a month. Also, NiMHs can be damaged by overcharging and overdischarging. Make sure to juice up your batteries on a regular basis, following the manufacturer's instructions for maximum charge time...
Meet the Author
Erica Sadun began working with image capture techniques in 1984 and bought her first digital camera in 1996. She holds a master's degree in digital imaging from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech's Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center. She wrote the first edition of the best-seller Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That... as well as Digital Video! 1 Didn't Know You Could Do That...
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