Introduction to Digital Photography PART 1

Look inside a digital camera by Steve JurvetsonGone are the days when we had to wait for our photos to be developed before we could enjoy them.
In today’s age we are more and more accustomed to getting what we want immediately. And photography is no exception.

Digital photography allows us to see the results of our photographic endeavors almost instantaneously. In addition, pictures can be edited and uploaded to the internet where they can be shared with friends and family without the need of development or printing costs.

Over the recent 5 years or so the prices for digital cameras have fallen significantly. Simultaneously, the quality of pictures these cameras can take has improved tremendously.

When choosing a digital camera, you should initially consider 2 main factors:

● Megapixel rating
● Automatic vs manual

Megapixel Rating

Digital cameras can be divided into different groups according to their “Megapixel Ratings”.

“Amount of megapixels” is probably the most important requirement for shooting high quality images (although it is by no means the only one).

Megapixel ratings indicate how much information the camera sensor can capture when you take a photograph. Obviously, the more information the sensor can process the better the image quality.

However, the more megapixels you want, the more you have to pay for your camera.

As a rule of thumb you can assume that a camera with around 5 megapixels can already produce images with a quality similar to film. This is certainly sufficient for family photos and pictures taken at the office party.

Nowadays, most digital cameras in the price range of USD 100 probably have 5 megapixels capability.

If, on the other hand you are thinking of

● taking more sophisticated artistic photos and
● maybe even selling prints or
● posting high resolution pictures online,

you need a camera that is equipped with more megapixel capability. You are looking at cameras with 8 – 12 megapixels.

You can find them in the price range of USD 400 – 600.

Manual vs automatic

If you decide to purchase a digital camera in the lower price segment you might find that the camera does not offer you the choice between manual and automatic settings. Instead, you have to rely on the camera’s automatic abilities.

For most situations, this is absolutely fine and no problem at all. Remember, that you can always edit your photos later in case you are not 100% satisfied.

However, the camera’s automatic settings can be easily fooled and sometimes a little bit slow in reaction time.

Changing to manual settings allows you to get the most out of your camera and shoot photos of exceptional quality. The downside is that you have to learn how to use the different manual settings first.

Once you have mastered this step, however, a whole new world of possibilities will open up.

This concludes Part 1 of our “Introduction to digital photography”. In Part 2 we will examine the most important manual settings and how to use them easily.