Let’s say that photography has been a hobby of yours for many years. Recently you have noticed that your fellow picture takers have a new toy that allows them to see the image instantly and then simply delete it if it is not the image they were trying to capture. You mention to one of them that they must save a lot of film that way and they look at you with an expression that is usually reserved only for those who are senile or insane. You are pretty sure that you are neither of those things, but realize that perhaps it is time to look into a digital camera.
You enter the camera section of your local department store and for a brief period you are not certain anymore that you are not senile. You are pretty familiar with cameras and the way they work, but these descriptions appear to be written in a foreign language! You ask a young clerk for help, but he also speaks in that foreign tongue and leaves you more confused then before. At this point it is likely that you will decide that the way you take pictures is really better anyway and that those new fangled digital cameras are just a passing fad.
That would be an unfortunate decision. Digital cameras are not just a passing trend, but an advanced way to take photographs. They offer a multitude of options that even the most expensive of film based cameras can not. You will need to have a basic understanding of the vocabulary used to find one that meets you needs however. Here are few terms you will need to have a basic comprehension of before you begin your search for a new digital camera.
Pixel Count – There is a lot of technical jargon involved with this, but all you really need to know is that the higher the pixel count the sharper and more detailed the image will be. Also, if you intend to print large images, you will want a camera with a higher pixel count or the images will become blurry when you blow them up.
Sensor Size – Again this is a complex thing, but think about it as the size of the film in a traditional camera. The larger the film size, the better the image. The same is true for sensors. Unless you take very specialized photos a sensor size of 1/1.8” should be enough.
JPEG – This is the game given to one of the files used to store digital images. What this does is allow the image to be stored on your camera without taking up as much space. Storing it this way does lead to a small loss of detail.
TIFF – This is another image storing file. This allows you to store images without any loss of detail but they take up a lot more room so you will not be able to take as many photographs.
Memory Card – Think of this as the digital camera’s film. This is where the digital images are stored until they are downloaded onto a computer. The higher the megabyte (Mb) size, the more images you will be able to store.
Obviously, this is a brief list of some of the basic terms you need to understand when you begin to compare digital cameras. Hopefully it is enough to allow you to ask informed questions, get a camera that will suit your needs and keep you from having to be the receiver of pitying looks from the younger generation, at least for your camera choice.