Posts Tagged ‘Digital Cameras’

If you own a digital camera and it uses AA alkaline batteries, you already know how much it pinches your pocket.  During these uncertain times, it makes a lot of sense to get the most bang for your dollar.  One way is to bring your battery costs down as much as you can.

The first step is to buy rechargeable batteries since you can use them over and over again.  Two normal AA alkaline Duracell batteries will shoot approximately 140 images—with the LCD monitor on—which is not much is you are an active shooter.  In Panama, the price tag is $1.50 for a pair of these batteries at the drug store down the street.  This means that each time you click your shutter, you’re blowing away one copper penny.  It doesn’t seem much, but it accumulates.

The best brands of camera batteries are Duracell and Energizer, as far as I know.   Which is better?  The Energizer AA batteries are rated at 2200 mAh and the Duracells at 2000 mAh (that’s milliampere-hours, a measurement of energy charge).  But the Duracells last a lot longer.

The Duracell family of rechargeable batteries also come precharged out of the package, which is very convenient. They’ve also got USB ports for charging USB gadgets. Both companies offer car and 15 minute chargers.

The Duracell Mobile charger is my favorite simply because it has a car adapter and a wall adapter, and can charge 4 AA batteries or any USB device from those sources.  The only real drawback is that it can’t charge D cells and 9V batteries like the giant sized Energizer family charger can. Both kinds of batteries are NiMH.

Duracell claims their batteries will hold their charge for a year in storage, while Energizer claims only 6 months.

Frills aside, the bottom line here is battery life, and Duracell has a lot more of it than Energizer.  The bunny is cute, but tough on your pocket.  Good Day.

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Canon Inc.)

The Canon PowerShot A720 IS digital camera (Credit: Canon Inc.)

Buying the best digital camera is like asking which is the best car in the world? The answer of course depends on your needs. If you want to win the Grand Prix, you need a Ferrari or something like that. But if you want to give it to your mom to buy groceries from a supermarket a few blocks from your house, a Toyota Yaris will be just fine.

Digital cameras are a little more complicated. The market of digital cameras is full of great choices. If you are in the market to purchase a digital camera, you have surely seen several different types of cameras. It isn’t exactly clear what the differences between the types are, and it can be confusing trying to choose the digital camera that’s right for you. In this post, I will discuss the different types of cameras so you can better understand what to look for when purchasing a digital camera.

I. Family Snap Shooters or Consumer Cameras

They are also known as Point-and-Shoot digital cameras. Most consumer cameras on the market today fall into the category of Point and Shoot digital cameras. A point and shoot digital camera is designed to do just that—take snapshots. They provide limited flexibility with options, although many newer models have some limited options for special effects. The image quality from a point and shoot digital camera is generally good enough for common uses like taking pictures of your family, pets and vacation scenes.

They are very small, lightweight, easy to use and convenient to carry. They have fully automatic and scene modes; some have semi-automatic and manual controls. All but the cheapest provide very good image quality. Low to moderately priced, depending on features.

If you just want a standard, entry level digital camera for family snapshots and auction photos, then a point and shoot digital camera is a budget conscious choice. These cameras usually provide resolutions of between 2 and 4 Megapixels (million pixels) and the size of your photographs would be 4 x 6 inches prints.

II. The Prosumer Digital Camera

They are also referred to as Semi Professional digital cameras. These cameras fall between the Consumer and the Professional DSRL (Digital Single Reflex Lens) categories. The Prosumer digital cameras are geared to advanced amateurs with skill levels between a professional and consumer. They sport high quality lenses and advanced features for creative control. Some have long telephoto zooms lenses while others start at wide angle. A few have a zoom range from wide to super telephoto.

They also frequently offer the user additional settings and greater control over the camera. The increased flexibility does come with a price. Most semi professional models are priced much higher than point and shoot models. A ball park figure for this type of camera is around $1,000.

Typically, these cameras provide resolutions between 5 and 6 Megapixels (million pixels) and the image quality of these cameras is good enough to produce clear prints up to about 8 x 10 inches.

III. DSRL Digital Cameras

These type of cameras are used by serious enthusiasts, part time or full time professional photographers. They are the top-of-the line digital cameras. SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. The secret of these cameras are their interchangeable zoom lenses and a zillion other photographic accessories.

Digital SLR cameras provide an amazing amount of creative control over the camera and the resulting images. Also, these cameras provide resolutions over 6 Megapixels and can produce prints of poster size without noticeable distortion. Professional photographer claim that they like these cameras because they provide the advantage of control and readiness of operation.

They have outstanding optics, produce high resolution images and accept interchangeable lenses and sophisticated accessories. They perform better in low light than most consumer cameras that have small sensors. SLRs function automatically, but also have a full range of manual controls. You can buy only a SLR body, and purchase lens separately. The price of professional level lenses can be jaw-dropping. Models include entry level, semi-pro and pro. High priced to extremely expensive.

A Digital SLR camera (without lenses) is a pricey investment indeed. Currently, you can expect to spend $1,500 or more on the camera alone. Accessories and lenses cost extra. Be prepared to pay between $800 and $10,000 or more for a good Digital SLR camera.

Before I go on, I would like to explain two fundamental photographic jargon (i.e., resolution or pixels and image noise). You are sure to find these words in every camera review you can put your hands on.

A resolution is the amount of pixels (picture elements or tiny dots) which make up a photograph. They are expressed in millions of pixels. For example, a 6 Megapixel camera of 2,000 x 3,000 pixels can produce an enlargement 10 x 15 inches without any problem. If you intend to print small photographs, don’t get fooled into buying a camera with many Megapixels. You would be wasting your money.

Noise or image noise are grains or deterioration in a digital image. They are also called image distortion or imperfections. Visibility of noise is often affected by ISO setting or temperature. Higher ISO speeds or temperatures amplify noise while long exposures can also introduce noise in an image. Some cameras are famous for their noise production at high ISO speeds, so please read carefully about this issue when purchasing a camera. You don’t want to take distorted pictures of your loved ones.

I’ve been reading extensively about digital cameras because I want to join the digital photography trend. After much hesitation, I decided to buy the Canon PowerShot A720 IS. It was a very difficult choice. In the final selection process, I had the following cameras in my favorite list:

  • Canon PowerShot A720 IS
  • Fuji S700
  • Canon PowerShot A570 IS
  • Canon PowerShot A650 IS

All of the above had the features I was looking for within my limited budget. I couldn’t afford to pay more than $300 for a digital camera. Below are comments from authorities in digital cameras that made me decide for the Canon PowerShot A720 IS:

The Canon PowerShot A720 IS is clearly aimed at photographers who expect a bit more from their camera than a simple point-and-shoot snapshot can provide, and this naturally includes superior image quality. 8MP is about the optimum resolution for compact camera image quality at the moment, and the A720 performs better than most. The 6x zoom lens is particularly good, providing a huge amount of fine detail with good edge sharpness and very little barrel distortion at wide angle, although there is a little pincushion distortion at the telephoto end. Dynamic range is very good considering the small 1/2.5-inch sensor, with excellent shadow and highlight detail even in very high contrast shots, and color reproduction is typically superb. Noise control is also well above average, with very good image quality at 800 ISO, and usable results even at the maximum setting of 1600 ISO. All in all, an excellent performance from a very accomplished camera.

The Canon PowerShot A720 IS is a delightful point-and-shoot camera with a little extra muscle. In addition to the substantial 8-Megapixel sensor, the A720 IS also comes with an excellent 6x optical zoom, allowing for crisp, long-range shots without the need for a bulky extended zoom model. Also the A720 IS makes great use of the new “Face Detection” technology, focusing in your subject’s face with starting precision.

Verdict: The Canon PowerShot A720 IS is an ideal camera for anyone who wants a bit more creative control than most pocket compacts can provide, and would be an excellent choice for anyone who wants to learn more about photography. Build quality, design and performance are all first rate, image quality is superb and the range of features is hard to match at the price. Battery duration could be a problem, but the ready availability of AA batteries offsets this somewhat.

I purchased my camera at PanaFoto in Panama City, Panama. The price of the camera was $239.55 excluding VAT taxes. The dealer had a promotion of a free Canon camera bag and 2 free 1GB memory SD cards. Since I knew the camera demanded a lot of battery power, I also bought 4 AA NiMH rechargeable batteries and a charger. In total I paid $298.22—exactly what I had in my budget.

I plan to take a photography course at Ganexa University and should be taking my first photos by mid December. Just in time for the holiday season.

If you like to read technical stuff, these are the specifications for the A720, if not, please skip this part.

  • Price: $239.55
  • 6X optical zoom lens.
  • 8 Mega pixels resolution for excellent for large prints with significant details.
  • Face Detection processor – will expose up to 35 faces.
  • Great looking images.
  • Extremely accurate color reproduction.
  • Accurate white balance.
  • Adaption to a range of indoor and outdoor lighting conditions.
  • Bad images at ISO 1600, better left unused.
  • Optical image stabilization to counteract camera shake.
  • Basic automatic scenes like portrait or landscape.
  • 2.5 LCD screen.
  • Point-and-shoot camera for beginners and more engaged photographers.
  • Kingston Ultimate 120x 2GB memory card (SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC PLUS, HC, MMC Plus Media)
  • Dimensions: 3.83″ x 2.64″ x 1.65″
  • Weight: 7.05 ounces
  • Two AA alkaline batteries will yield 150 pictures.
  • Two AA NiMH batteries will yield 400 pictures.
  • 1GB memory card holds 286 pictures at maximum size and quality.
  • Optical viewfinder
  • Warranty: 12 months
  • Recommended: A couple of sets of NiMH rechargeables and a charger as well.
  • Optical lens converters:
    • Conversion lens adapter (LA-DC 58G)
    • Wide converter (WC-DC 58N)
    • Tele-converter (TC-D58H)

I hope you didn’t spend more than ten minutes of your valuable time reading this post. If you exceeded your time allotment, I apologize. However, I’m sure you know a lot more about digital cameras than before. It was time well invested. Au revoir!

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As the popularity of digital cameras increases, the quality of color photographs will be more closely scrutinized. For example; colors will have to be displayed the way there were meant to be, meaning, bright, rich and full of life.

I know that some photographers are disappointed with the quality of color pictures on the web. One of these photographers recently wrote in his personal blog, “One thing that has always irritated me about looking at pictures on the web is that browsers don’t seem to display photographs properly. And by ‘photographs’ I really mean ‘colors’.

“I spend a lot of time tweaking pictures in Photoshop, but when I upload them to my Flickr account and look at them in Firefox 2 the colors aren’t the same — they’re more washed out, dull, and lifeless. It’s a subtle thing, but annoying nonetheless.”

Fortunately there is a way to enhance the way colors look on your monitor. It’s called “color management” or “color profile support”.

Color Management is a standard technique defined by the International Color Consortium to ensure consistent color presentation for images no matter if they are displayed on paper, a computer monitor, an LCD TV set, fabric or any other media.

While image color improvement will not be as dramatic as I would like, the truth of the matter is, there will certainly be a difference. Let me explain myself. When you take a picture with your digital camera (specially in RAW format), it not only saves information about the colors, but also the amount of light available, distance and other factors that may affect how an image is perceived. This details are stored in a color profile which as of Firefox 2 is just ignored.

Firefox 2 does not include support for color profiles, so the browser renders colors as best it can without doing special tweaks based on your system or custom color profiles. The good news is that Firefox 3 does include full support for color profiles. In Firefox 3, these profiles are used to tune up the image to your display to better reproduce the original image; a must for amateur and professional photographers, clothing and fabric related e-stores, paint, food, and mostly everywhere a true representation of color is important.

The bad news is that color profile support will be turned off by default when Firefox 3 ships. To enable it you must set gfx.color_management.enabled to true (via about:config) and restart Firefox.

Another way to turn color profile support on is to install the Color Management add-on (which will work with Firefox 3 Beta 5). After you install the add-on and restart Firefox 3, color profile support is enabled, and you can specify a custom color profile by going to the Tools menu, selecting “Add-ons”, and clicking the Color Management add-on “Preferences” button. If you do not specify a color profile, the system default profile will be used, which should be OK for most people.

I’m elated that Firefox 3 has added support for color management technology. Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate photography; mainly by reading the blogs of my good friends, Abraham Lincoln and Don Ray. Having color management feature in my web browser will greatly enhance the enjoyment of viewing color photographs.

I have plans to get my feet wet with color photographs in a couple of months when I buy myself a digital camera. Right now I’m feeding my piggy bank. -)

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  So it would be a good idea to start thinking about what you would like to give your sweet heart.  I can suggest a nice gift if your darling is a photography fan.  The perfect fit for him or her is a Gorillapod.  No, it has nothing to do with an African Gorilla, even though it shares it’s strength.

A Gorillapod is a jack-of-all-trades tripod that secures your compact digital camera to just about anything, anywhere and everywhere.

Unlike traditional tripods the Gorillapod doesn’t require an elevated flat surface for you to take the perfect picture.  The flexible joints allow you to rotate and bend 360º to form the perfect shape. This opens up a lot of new poses and angles for your photos and it’s also safer for your equipment—no more crazy acrobatics and precarious positions for your valuable digital camera.

The Gorillapod is lightweight, compact, bendable, wrappable and easy to carry. It’s the perfect accessory for getting great photos in any location. Please note, camera not included. :-)

The Gorilla Pod is available for the following models of cameras:

  • Gorillapod Original:  For compact cameras up to 9.7 oz (275g) at $21.99.
  • Gorillapod SLR: For SLR and compact video cameras up to 1.75 lbs (800g) at $39.99.
  • Gorillapod SLR Zoom:  For tripod mountable cameras and professional tripod heads with a maximum weight of 3kg (6.6 lbs) at $49.99.
Go ahead and make your sugar pie a happy professional photographer by clicking hereHappy Valentine’s Day!  

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Something that never ceases to amaze me are the witty creations in the technological world. The brilliant minds submerged in this roller coaster industry come up with the most far-out products and services. I wonder where they get their ideas?

For example, yesterday late afternoon, I saw several digital cameras which are particularly strange-looking. I don’t how good they are, mind you, but they sure grabbed my attention.

The cameras are:

  1. Canon Snap
  2. Sony Top
  3. FlapCam
  4. Nikon 360
  5. Kodak 1881
  6. Triops
Of the whole bunch, I think I would give the Canon Snap a try. It’s pretty cool to take snap pictures at the tip of your fingers. Digital cameras will continue to get smaller and smaller so long as technology successfully miniaturizes high quality optics.

Canon has a new concept camera, the Canon Snap. Still just an idea and not an official product but it’s one that could be pretty fun to use. Sure it may be a perfect tool for those would be spies, but it would also be nice for the average person who just wants to be able to get some cool pictures without having a full featured and full sized camera.

Due to its small size and ring form, this miniature snapshot camera can be always with you. Against the trend of putting more and more functions into electronic devices, the idea for this camera was to make it as simple and easy to use as possible. The most important point for a snapshot camera is of course that you have it active the right moment. Therefore the whole electronic is put into a flexible gel ring that can be easily worn on the index finger. In combination with the easy to use one button interface quick accessibility and fun taking snapshots is guaranteed.

The Canon Snap concept is a look into what a future device might look like. The Snap is tiny enough to wear on your index finger yet powerful enough to give today’s bigger cameras a run for their money. The single button interface makes it easy to take a picture at a whim’s moment; perfect for your James Bond 007 tendencies. Com’on now, you know you’ve got it in you. We all do.

Designed by David Münscher, this is one of the more outrageous digital camera designs to be released in a long time.

If you are in the mood for innovation in digital cameras, please click here.

The convenient Canon Snap at the tip of your fingers
(Credit: TechEBlog)

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