Digital Cameras What to look for in a Digital Camera Bryn Jones April 2001
Size of CCD • A digital camera is exactly the same as a film camera except the film is replaced by a grid of charge coupled diodes. CCDs • The CCD determines how many individual pixels can be recorded. • This limits the ultimate quality of the photograph at any given size of reproduction. • Only very expensive digital cameras come close to the quality of film. • Especially if you want to enlarge the result.
How Big is Big • Basic digital cameras start at around 250,000 pixels. • They are suitable only for small photos on screen. • 1,000,000 pixels (Megapixel) is regarded as the minimum for quality print output at reasonable sizes. • Cameras have recently become available with 5 Megapixels at a consumer price (Minolta Feb 2001.) • 3.5 Megapixels is regarded as equal to a good film camera.
Lens Quality • 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. • Compare the optical quality of the lenses. • Is a zoom facility available? • If there is a zoom facility, is it digital, optical or a combination of both? • Digital zoom is a waste of time.
Storage System • Floppy Disk • Internal fixed Flash RAM • Removable Flash RAM cards • Memory Stick • Mini writeable CD
Photo Transfer System • Floppy disk • Cable from camera • Flash card reader • Flash card in a floppy case • Memory Stick reader • Infra Red • Wireless is likely to become available soon!
Software required • Preferably none required - camera produces JPEG format • Some cameras need special software • Is it Mac/Windows compatible? • Does it work through a Plug in to Photoshop or with stand alone software?
On Camera Playback • Can you review photos on the camera? • Can you delete on the camera? • How big is the viewing area?
Power Supply Options • Does it use rechargeable batteries? • Are they included? • Is the charger included? • Can the batteries charge in the camera? • What is the battery life? • Consider battery life with and without flash and LCD • Is there a mains power option?
Options • Various options are available such as • Video recording • Sound recording • Multiple images one after another. • Multiple images on one photo. • Macro lens. • It depends what is useful to you.