Article by: Dan Feildman
Photography is a beautiful art... simple in all its complexities and breathtaking in the results it produces. From preserving those priceless moments with your loved ones to creating exquisite works of art, the applications of photography are many. Once confined to bulky, expensive cameras and yards of film, photography has seen a new dawn with the advent of digital cameras. Swifter, a lot easier to use, and growing ever more compact with every passing day, digital cameras have indeed opened several avenues to the casual photographer as well as the seasoned expert. And now that you've decided to take the plunge with the digital brigade, your very first concern is choosing the best camera to suit your needs.
The multitude of models and makes that swarm the marketplace definitely don't make your choice any easier so how do you decide which camera is the best for you? To start with, you first need to understand that every make of digital cameras is developed to cater to a certain set of needs. Hence, in order to determine which camera you need to buy, you first need to establish the purpose you're going to use it for. A high speed camera which is developed in keeping with the interests of sports photographers will certainly not be a viable option for you, if all you're going to use it for is the odd vacation photograph. Also, if you're looking for more minute detailing in your photographs as well as a higher resolution, then the sleeker options that you find may not completely cater to your needs. This is because a majority of these models have been developed to ensure portability, and many include little more than the basic features.
Your second step would be to understand the world of digital photography. This would include familiarizing yourself with the most commonly used photography terms. For instance, you would need to know that an LCD is a screen attached to most cameras in addition to the viewfinder. This screen allows you to view your image before and immediately after you capture it, allowing to fine tune your focus and even re-capture the image if need be. However, several cameras are equipped only with the viewfinder, thus compelling you to hold the camera at an arm's length while capturing the photograph. As one of the key requirements to a clear photograph is a steady and sure hand, without your face to rest the camera on, your image is at a higher risk of being distorted.
You must also learn to distinguish between an optical zoom and a digital zoom. An optical zoom functions like traditional cameras, magnifying the image you are shooting. A digital zoom enlarges the final image by doubling the size of the pixels, which may also lead to fuzzier images. Digital images are comprised of mega pixels which in turn determine the quality of the image. The higher the number of mega pixels, the clearer the image. You may also want to check if your camera comes along with a stand which is invaluable in ensuring a steady and clear picture.
Once you gather this basic information, you can then start looking around for models which catch your eye. Start making a shortlist, comparing and contrasting the different makes and strike those off that do not meet your budget or requirements or both! At this stage, you can also start referring to photography journals and magazines for expert reviews and advice, which will also enable you to learn about first hand experiences with some of the relatively unknown models, you may come across.
If you aren't too comfortable with the notion of parting with your reliable old bulky camera, expense of film notwithstanding, but would still like the clarity that digital images offer, you can scan digital versions of your existing photographs and have them retouched with editing software or opt for an online photo service which will convert your film into digital reality. You can even use photo services to edit your photographs for minor glitches like red eye removal and adjusting the brightness and color.
Digital photography is a great way to explore your creativity, without worrying about how much you're spending on developing the film you've shot and printing charges. You can easily transfer your images from the memory card or stick onto your laptop or computer and then email them to friends or even upload them onto online albums. The key to mastering your digital photography skills is to keep practicing whenever possible and soon, you'll develop a style which is intrinsic to you and the envy of others!
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