Choosing a digital camera
What will you do with your images?
What size prints do you want to make?
How much money do you want to spend?
How “big” of a camera do you want?
What to look for when buying
Zoom (optical /digital); wide angle
Video (HD, 720p, 1080i)
Storage (compact ﬂash, SD card, etc.)
LCD screen size
Know your resolution
1MP - low quality, good for screen-based images
2MP - mid-quality for computer and small prints (4x6)
3MP - good quality for color prints (8x10)
4MP - very good quality (11x14 prints)
5+MP - excellent quality (cropping photos)
Pixels and megapixels
Pixel = Picture (pix) elements (els)
Mega = million
Megapixel (MP) = million pixels
A pixel is a very small light-sensitive area
More pixels = better quality = more money
What resolution to use
Shoot at the highest resolution you will need, and consider
if you will be cropping.
More realistically: if you’ve got the memory, shoot at the
highest resolution you can. You can always make images
smaller, but never bigger.
Get the ﬂash away from the lens
Bounce the ﬂash off the ceiling
Turn on room lights (lets pupils contract)
Use red-eye reduction ﬂash
Have subject look slightly away from camera
Move camera closer
Don’t use ﬂash
Optical = good
Digital = bad
Try to ﬁnd a camera with at least 4x optical zoom
(and ignore digital zoom)
Allows you to shoot very close
Camera won’t normally focus that close
Determines how long light comes in
1/15th of a second would be a long exposure letting
lots of light into the camera
1/2000 would be a short exposure, letting in very little light
Slow shutter speeds allow blurring of the subject
Fast shutter speeds stop the action
The sensitivity of light of a photosensitive surface
Film is measured in ISO, and most digital cameras
have this adjustment
Low ISO indicates low sensitivity to light, but generally
higher resolution with less “noise” or “grain”
A 100 ISO setting is twice as sensitive to light as a 50 ISO
DOF: Distance from camera
The closer the subject, the less depth of ﬁeld
The farther away, the more depth of ﬁeld
The greater the focal length (zoomed or telephoto),
the less the depth of ﬁeld
Therefore, for the greatest depth of ﬁeld you would need a
wide angle lens, with a closed aperture, and a subject at a
Using this information
Or, using it on YOUR camera
When you want to take a snapshot without worrying about
the mechanics of photography, leave the camera on Auto.
This mode sets all exposure levels automatically, and it
usually locks you out of making any minor adjustments
Like auto mode on steroids, this mode automatically sets
aperture size and shutter speed for a perfect exposure — but
it also lets you tweak settings, giving you more creative
control. You can change white balance and exposure
compensation, for instance, and even nudge shutter speed
up or down a bit.
When you set the size of the aperture, and your camera
automatically provides the right shutter speed to deliver the
correct exposure. Rely on this mode to blur the background
or to keep the entire image in sharp focus (depth of ﬁeld).
Shutter mode: This setting is your best option for taking
action photography. Shutter priority allows you to freeze the
scene or artistically blur the photo. All the while, the camera
keeps the exposure matched to the aperture.
This mode gives you total control. Exact opposite of Auto
mode. You use buttons on the camera’s body to set both
shutter speed and aperture size. But you are working with no
safety net. The camera won’t protect you from under- or
overexposed photos. Use the LED screen lots.
Your camera picks the best aperture and shutter settings for
the greatest depth of ﬁeld when taking photos of landscapes
and other outdoor photos.
To focus on extremely close subjects — within a few inches of
the lens — choose the tulip. You can take life-size photos of
insects, ﬂowers and other small subjects in this mode. But the
focus range (depth of ﬁeld) is very narrow.
Snow and sand
Brightly colored or glaring backgrounds can trick the camera
into underexposing the subject. This mode overexposes the
scene to gain details that would otherwise be lost.
The action (or sports) mode sets the camera to the highest
possible shutter speed, increasing your odds of getting a
clear shot of people in motion.
This mode lets you capture nighttime scenes by combining a
ﬂash, which freezes people in the foreground, with a slow
shutter speed, which allows lights from buildings, cars and
other elements to show in the background.