Sunday, May 11, 2014

Determining Lines, Inches, and Pixels

If we are aware of the size, density, and number of pixels on a sensor and recognize the other variables to a camera's resolution, are we better able to determine the quality of the images a camera can produce? The answer is a resounding no. Pixels are the units of measurement relating to the camera's resolution only, not the image resolution.

Raw camera resolution is shown in pixels, but image resolution is referred to in ppi, or pixels per inch; that is the number of pixels for every square inch of the photo. A 300 ppi image means there are 300 pixels on each square inch of the image.

Because sensors that are the same size can have a different number of pixels, measuring on the ppi scale is unrealistic. An 8" x 10" photo with a 300 ppi actually has more pixels than a 4" x 6" 300 ppi picture.

Another problem arises when you consider that printers are measured in dots per inch or dpi.  Printers use dots of ink to print, not pixels, and different printers use different numbers of dots for each pixel in a picture. The higher the dpi, the higher the quality of the print will be.

Pixels are made of various colors, contrasts, and brightness values; therefore, the more dots of varying colors and quantities, the better the image will be.

Quality photographic prints will require a printer that can print a resolution between 240 and 360 ppi, since this is the resolution required to produce a photo-quality image at a normal viewing distance. What this tells us is that we need to be aware of not only the ppi of the camera, but also the dpi of our printer in order to come up with photographic quality prints.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Data Storage and File Formats on Digital Cameras

Exif, or Exchangeable image file format, was designed by JEIDA, the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association.

It uses the existing JPEG, TIFF Rev. 6.0, and RIFF Wave file formats, which are the standard methods of compression for digital photography. They additionally use metadata tags which have caused some discussion as to their usefulness. JPEG 2000 and PNG do not support this technology.

TIFF files provide the Exif tags' structure, and there is a great deal of overlap between the standards of the tags in TIFF, Exif, TIFF/EP, and DCF. A broad range of metadata tags appear in the Exif standard:

* Current date and time recorded on the photos are part of this information.

* Information such as the make and model of the camera.

* Orientation, aperture, focal length, film speed, shutter speed, and metering mode are included, even though they vary with each image.

* Thumbnail prints allow immediate viewing of the picture on the LCD screen.

* A few cameras support a GPS receiver.

* Copyright information and descriptions are available on higher-end cameras.

Most of the older programs do not recognize Exif date, which is embedded within the image file, while many of the recent programs recognize it and will retain the majority of it when writing to a modified image. Some recognize it and display it beside the images.

File formats are one way of recording information for storage in digital cameras; it specifies the use of TIFF or JPEG. TIFF is the highest quality, and JPEG is used to save space at the cost of quality. JPEG is the only format available in many of the less expensive digital cameras.

CCD-RAW is another format you may encounter; the data is processed minimally and must be converted to TIFF or JPRG in order to be edited. This format is not standard.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How To Select Underwater Camera

Buying digital underwater camera can definitely make you envision taking pictures in a much different light (literally and figuratively). Today, even non-waterproof cameras can be transformed into underwater cameras by way of waterproof housing and casing. Additional accessories and peripherals for underwater photography pave the way for inspiring and interesting pictures you can capture and share with friends and family.

Today's digital underwater camera is jam-packed with so much technology and new features that you just may become overwhelmed with what to look for. Consider the type of photography you prefer to do first. If it is something you wish to use to capture more casual images underwater, for example of family and friends swimming at the pool or beach, purchase a camera with face-detection tool. It'll aid you very much in catching the expression on people's faces underwater without having to zoom in on them and missing the moment.
Camera models with the tap technology like the ones from Olympus are also great to use. It enables users to merely tap the side of the camera to shoot the photograph instead of struggling about underwater for buttons to click.

For more casual pictures like family or holidays, a digital camera with face detection and tap technology are great to have. These can prove convenient when you are underwater holding your breath, and attempting to get the expression on your kids' faces when they're swimming underwater. Tap technology, available in waterproof digital cameras similar to some Olympus designs, is when a camera's side can be merely tapped to take photos instead of making you push countless buttons to take a photograph.Your favorite pictures should always matter a lot when you are in the market for the finest digital underwater camera for you personally. Will you be shooting under the surface photographs of your children as they are learning to swim in the pool? Are you a newly certified diver who wants to record your first real foray under the surface? Or do you simply love the notion of a camera that can turn into an underwater one for use during out of town trips?

It should be also essential to read up on the positives and negatives of each model to help narrow down your choices. Some could be affordable but offer fewer features compared to similar cameras. Alternatively, a digital camera could possibly be jam-packed with extras but may be way out of your budget. Learn how to weigh the positive and negative aspects of waterproof digital cameras so you can still get the right possible deal.

You'll notice lots of waterproof cameras and lenses to pick from these days. The bottom line is, you should do some reading before choosing one for yourself. In the end, the digital underwater camera that can work best for you is the one which will conform to your way of life, preferences, and price range. While you are at it, also consider useful features similar to fast shutter response, longer battery life, and lighting in low marine light especially if you want to shoot sea flora and fauna after the sun has set.

Owning a digital underwater camera can drastically change the way you are taking photos. Many think this is a tool merely intended for divers and marine life fanatics.

Visit for Waterproof Camera reviews

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Counting Pixels

Smaller is not always better, especially when you are dealing with pixels.

Varying in size from one manufacturer to another and even from one camera to another, pixels are the little critters found on your imaging sensor, which are the components that record light on most digital cameras. It therefore makes sense that a larger pixel can record more light if they are larger.

Two sensors with the same number of pixels would be compared as follows: The one with the larger pixels would take a higher quality image than the sensor with the smaller pixels. Scientists have gone crazy reducing things to digital size; a smaller sensor with the same number of pixels would, of course, require smaller pixels.

The smaller sensor may be more efficient because of its size, but it won't usually produce the same quality images as the larger sensor with larger pixels will. Miniaturization isn't always the better way to go.

Digital single lens reflex cameras (SLRs) have a better quality of image than compact or point-and-shoot cameras because they have an imaging sensor close to the size of those found on a 35mm film camera. Even the high-end compact cameras costing up to $1,000.00 use a sensor about 1/1.8" or 5.5mm x 4.1mm. Even with a 3-, 4-, or even 5-megapixel sensor, they can't create photos comparable to the 3-megapixel SLR.

Because the technology is relatively new, many customers are confused by pixel numbers, and manufacturers aren't completely upfront when the talk about pixels either.  A camera with 4.3 million pixels may only use 4 megapixels to actually record light information for the image. These are described as the "effective" pixels, and you have to look really hard to find where the manufacturer discusses these in your manual.

However, this is the number you want to use when deciding on the camera's pixel size. If a camera has 3.1 effective megapixels, yet is advertised as a 3.3-megapixel camera, it is still only a 3.1-megapixel camera.

The law requires that the effective pixel count be advertised along with the pixel count, but this isn't always true, so look for it in your cameras manual.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Connecting to a Computer

Connecting directly to a computer for data transfer is available with many digital cameras; this creates the ability for the photographer to choose only the best images for printing. It also allows the photographer to print and store hundreds of images, which would require many rolls of film and necessitate extensive storage for negatives.

These are some of the methods of connecting:

* Early in production they used a PC (personal computer) serial port.

* USB is the most widely used method now; a universal serial bus is now a standard interface device.

* FireWire ports; this is a copyrighted name of Apple Inc for the IEEE 1394 interface.

* USB PTP (picture transfer protocol) may be used as a mode of connection rather than the USB MSC (mass storage device); some computers offer both methods.

* Some cameras use wireless connections.

* A card reader is a standard alternative. It is capable of reading many different types of storage media, and it allows high speed transfer of data.

A card reader also eliminates draining the battery in the camera during the process of downloading data. The power is taken from the USB port, not the camera.  This can be inconvenient if only one reader card is used to directly access the images to several storage media, which requires moving the card back and forth between media.

Many cameras are now set up to transfer data directly to the printer without the use of a computer. There are several devices that have digital cameras built in, due to limited storage and with the emphasis on convenience; the quality of the images is usually poor, cell phones are the most common of these items. PDAs, laptops and Blackberries are others in this class; even some camcorders have digital cameras built in.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Compromises Made by Your Digital Camera

The means your camera uses to take images and translate them from the image sensor to the computer or printer may not be hindered by the compromises it makes during the process.  You will only know this when the photos are being viewed at the time of transfer.

Storage is one of these compromises; digital images take a great deal of space for storage. They need to be managed in a way that ensures enough images can be stored before they need to be downloaded from the camera.

Cameras use different levels of compression to downsize the images for storing them in memory. JPEG is the most widely used standard, it removes information that can't be seen by the human eye anyway. The higher the level of compression, the more information is deleted.

At the higher compression setting, blocks start to appear in the images. This begins to degrade the image quality, making the resulting file size extremely small.  If quality is the most important consideration, avoid JPEG compression. 

The mid- to high-end digital cameras offer different forms of compression, which don't delete any information, by using mathematical algorithms. They compress the file and save it either in TIFF format or as RAW files, which contain only the information the sensor captured with no in camera processing.

Larger file sizes are the result of this lossless file compression format. However, the higher image quality and post processing flexibility makes up for the loss in image storage space.

Another compromise made in digital cameras is the in-camera processing; these create predefined results. Some cameras have sharpening filters which restore the contrast that is lost in edge details when the image goes through the various optical filters.

This process of sharpening in the camera reduces the ability to sharpen the image once it has been downloaded to the computer. Oversharpening can create unnatural and harsh edges and may even cause shifts in color.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Comparing Film and Digital Cameras

Digital cameras have many advantages over traditional cameras. Some of these advantages are:

* After instantly reviewing the picture, it can be retaken if there is a problem. The photographer simply changes a few settings.

* Taking many shots of the same thing using different settings and angles can be done inexpensively, and you print only the best ones. This is too expensive to accomplish with film cameras.

* Those who want to take hundreds of photos for various uses without printing them can do this at minimal cost.

* Storing large quantities of digital media on the newer computers is much cheaper than film.

* No degradation occurs when copying images from one medium to another.

* You can view pictures on your computer without having to scan them first.

* With a consumer-grade printer and a computer, you can print your own photos.

* Film cameras of equal quality are often much larger than digital cameras.

* While it is necessary to change film after 24 to 36 shots, you can store hundreds of images on the same card in a digital camera.

* With many of the new cameras, you can view your photos on the television with an AV-out function that is included.

* It is easy and inexpensive to experiment with the settings on a digital camera. With a film camera, you could use up many rolls of film trying to learn to use it.

* Some printers can communicate directly with your camera, or its memory card; you don't need a computer to print your pictures.

* Digital cameras make it easy to add information to your pictures, such as time and date.

* Sharper images are now possible with digitals due to the anti-shake tools, making tripods nearly obsolete.

* A color darkroom is as close as your computer, and you can now avoid the very expensive photo labs.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Choosing the Best Digital Camera

Today's digital cameras have gone way beyond just point and shoot. They come with dozens of features, meaning you can customize your camera to your specific needs.
Some of the things you will want to look into when purchasing your camera are confusing, so make sure you know what you are looking for when you go shopping.

The quality of the resolution of your photos is determined by the megapixels (mps) of your camera. Tiny dots called pixels make up your digital photos; a megapixel means 1,000 pixels, or 1,000 dots.

The higher the number of pixels your camera has, the better the resolution of your photos. If you want to crop your pictures or plan on printing larger prints, you need to be sure you purchase a camera that can meet those needs. 

Optical or digital zooms are available on digital cameras. Optical zoom is like the one on a traditional camera and works the same way -- it goes out, bringing you closer, or in, to take you further away from the subject.  A digital zoom takes the picture as it is and enlarges it; this can lose image quality because it is simply enlarging the pixels (dots) of the picture. Pictures may seem blurry or out of focus.

Preserving the image quality can be as simple as turning off the digital zoom feature on your camera.  Later, during editing, you can zoom in on a specific part of the photo with much better results.

A manual focus can be a great deal of fun, allowing you to focus in and make different parts of the photo stand out.  This allows for a lot of creativity in
your work. And most cameras still have an autofocus, so you can go back to the basics if your aren't feeling extremely creative.

Think about the features that are important to you and look for those features. One important thing to remember is that you will be carrying it around, so consider the size when you purchase your camera.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Change Brought About by Digital Photography

Two-megapixel cameras were offered for less than $100.00 in late 2002, with some one-megapixel cameras offered for under $60.00.  Discount stores began offering development and processing of digital prints for their customers, offering actual chemical prints in an hour. This was in comparison with inkjet prints they could get from their computers.

These prints were about the same price as film prints, even though the different aspect ratio in digitals showed people that 4x6 digital print cropped some of the image.  Some stores now offer prints with the exact same ratios as digital cameras record. The single-use digital camera was introduced in 2003 at a cost of only $11.00. This camera followed the same simple process as the disposable film cameras.

The purchaser would return the camera to the store; receive prints and a CD-ROM of their pictures.  The store then refurbishes the camera and it is sold again. This was the major difference between the one-use digital camera and the disposable film camera.

There are now several of these one-use digitals on the market, most of which are identical in function and specifications to the original one-use put out in 2003.  However, a few now have superior specifications and are more technologically advanced.  These one-use digitals are for the most part less than $20.00 in the stores; this of course does not include the cost of processing the film.

The high demand for digital cameras has increased the number of customer complaints as manufacturers cut corners to maintain competitive prices, with some digital cameras having only a 90-day warranty necessary due to the short service life.

Due to the sharp drop in the price of 35mm cameras, many manufacturers have stopped producing them completely, with one major company dropping out of the camera business altogether.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Can Film Cameras be Converted to Digital?

One of the first questions asked by professional photographers at the development of digital cameras was, "can we convert our film cameras to digital?" The resounding answer was "yes and no."

Most of the 35mm cameras can not be converted to digital; the cost would be too high, especially since lenses must evolve as well as the cameras. The only means of allowing this would be to remove the back of the camera and replace it with a specially built digital back.

While many of the early professional digital cameras were developed from 35mm film cameras, conversion meant that rather than a digital back, the body was actually added onto a large, bulky digital unit. This was often larger than the part that was actually the camera! These were not, however, after market conversions; they were actually built this way in a factory.

One development was the EFS-1. This was inserted into the camera in place of the film, giving the camera storage for 24 images and 1.3-megapixel resolution. These units were developed from about 1998 until 2001, when the company began developing a true digital back.

Included in the category of professional modular digital camera systems are some of the highest-end equipment costing up to $40,000.00. These cameras can be assembled from components and are seldom found in the hands of the normal consumer.

Developed for medium- to large-format film, they capture greater detail and therefore the prints can be enlarged more that your standard 35mm film. These cameras are normally found in studios and are used for commercial production; they are very large and seldom used for action or nature type photography.

The terms "digital back" or "film back" came from the ability to change the backs of these professional cameras to either digital or film use.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Buying a Digital Camera

The price of digital cameras has been lowered dramatically as the popularity increases. You can now purchase a digital camera for anywhere from $30 to $400. As always, remember that you get what you pay for, and don't expect to get top quality photos from a cheap camera; you may end up disappointed!

There are many types of digital cameras on the market, and it will help if you know what they are when you start to shop. Some of the newest models are Digital SLR, Electronic View Finders, and Range Finders.

Digital SLRs are very much like film-loaded cameras. A series of mirrors and prisms control the optical path to produce a digital image on the LCD screen. You actually see what you are photographing when you look through the lens.

Electronic View Finders and Range Finders work much like a video camera, and optical view finder controls the picture instead of a lens. You don't look through a lens to take a picture; instead, you are looking at a digital image.

Many of these cameras have the technology to allow video footage; therefore, it is enabled by the manufacturer. You can shoot up to three minutes of video footage depending on the quality of the digital camera you are using.

Your new camera should have at least 2 megapixels resolution; anything up to 8 MP will provide great shots. 1.9-2.5 MP seems to be standard on today's market, but you can get more than 8 MP in some cameras on the professional market. Any less than 2 megapixels with frequently create poor-quality pictures that are fuzzy and blurred.

Ask to see samples of the pictures taken by that specific camera before you buy, and check the focus and zoom. The quality of the lens will make a big difference in your photos, so be sure it has a good lens. Another important item on your digital camera is a flash; without this, you will not be able to take pictures inside.

Understand all of the features and controls before you purchase your new digital camera. It can be confusing to remember how it works when you get the camera home if you don't understand how each feature works.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Waterproof Cameras-Make Your Camera Wateproof

When looking to buy waterproof cameras it is important to know everything you can to ensure you get the best product. As you can expect, not every camera can go under water for obvious reasons. However they make covers you can put over your camera that will make it waterproof, allowing you to snap amazing underwater photos. But if you are looking for more serious underwater work, then a cover may not cut it. For that you want to buy proper underwater cameras.

When you go to buy an underwater camera there are several things you should look into. Underwater cameras are not that cheap so you want to make sure you get one that you will be able to use for a long time to come and to help you with that is a list of things you should keep an eye out for.

1. Sealing. The most important aspect of any underwater camera is how well it is sealed so water does not get in. A good rule of thumb is the higher quality the camera, the better sealing and less likely for it to fail. You need to pay special attention around areas such as USB ports or the lenses if they can be removed.

2. Picture resolution. Most waterproof cameras share the same resolution as normal cameras, that being around 5 megapixels. Odds are you will probably want to stick with this as going lower really does not save you much money and getting a higher resolution generally is not worth it unless you are doing this professionally.

3. Appearance and size. This may seem simply aesthetic but when it comes to underwater cameras, how it looks and what size it is can actually be quite important. You need to make sure you get a camera that can easily be carried while swimming or diving. As well you could look into getting a camera with a bright color so you can spot it more easily underwater.

4. Features. The type of features available for cameras are always important, however the type of features on an underwater camera can change from normal ones. A good example is the flash, since being underwater is naturally darker, you need a more powerful flash to compensate. Other features that are important for underwater cameras would be auto focus and shutter speed.

5. Maintenance. Waterproof cameras require a lot more maintenance than traditional cameras as the waterproofing can be quite sensitive. Stuff like sand can really ruin your camera if you do not properly clean it after every dive. So you will want to look into cleaning kits and maybe see if some cameras are easier to clean than others.

6. Max depth. When it comes to underwater cameras there is a max depth at which you can use them. If you take them too far down the water pressure will break the sensitive components inside and maybe breach the water seal. So make sure you know your camera well and know how far down it is rated to go so you do not accidently break it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bridge Cameras Face an Unknown Future

Some manufacturers have stopped making high-profile bridge cameras, concentrating on the cheaper dSLRs. Some dSLRs are made of plastic rather than the magnesium alloy required for the higher-quality dSLRs.

In competition with the dSLRs, the bridge cameras are in jeopardy. This is because of the comparable pricing and sizes of the two groups.

The better-known bridge cameras created in 2004 are now discontinued and have no replacements. All of these were made with a 2/3" sensor, which were quite a bit larger than other more common bridge cameras made today. The manufacture of bridge cameras will depend on their successfulness when competing with dSLRs and the creation and viability of the future design known as EVIL (Electronic Viewfinders).

dSLRs are traditionally considered more professional than the bridge cameras, as bridge cameras have been labeled as prosumer or at best semiprofessional cameras.  However, introduction of low-priced dSLRs in 2003 has made the line between the two less distinct when it comes to the decision of professional and nonprofessional cameras.

The word "prosumer" is a combination of the words "professional" and "consumer," implying an involvement in the production of the product they consume. It also indicates a professional-consumer.

Ultrazoom, or long, lenses are a feature of the average bridge camera, which consists mainly of a "do it all" lens; prosumer cameras are occasionally confused with SLR digital cameras because the bodies are very similar.

The mirror and reflex system of dSLRs is missing in the prosumer cameras, and have been produced, to date, with one nonchangeable lens; they can however, be accessorized with wide angle or telephoto converters.  These converters are attached to the front of the lens.

Slower than a true digital SLR, they are able to create a good quality image and provide adequate overall performance. They are also lighter and more compact than DSLRs.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bridge Cameras

High-end, live-preview digital cameras are referred to as either bridge or prosumer digital cameras.  While DSLR cameras operate on the same mechanical principles as the autofocus 35mm film single-lens reflex camera, the key difference is that a CCD or a CMOS image sensor takes the place of the film. This allows for creation of images in-camera without the need to chemically develop an image on actual film.

The major advantage over other digitals is the defining characteristic of an SLR: the light goes directly from the main lens, instead of reflecting from an off-axis viewfinder.

The advantage of seeing an exact copy of the image has been duplicated in the LCD displays of many of the digital compact cameras. However, the SLR retains the best quality of image due to its being in real time and more detailed.

LCD displays tend to have a time lag, causing the view to be clear, but not exactly what you are looking at. If something in the shot is moving, this movement will actually be viewed a second or two later. While bridge cameras are comparable in weight and size to the smaller dSLR they lack the mirror and reflex systems which are characteristics of dSLRs.

Referred to as "bridge" cameras because they hold a place between the digital consumer compacts and the dSLR's, prosumer identifies their high-end more advanced technology.

The lines between the two are not clear-cut -- the LPD category includes both the bridges and compact cameras. Mainly they both have live-preview on an electronic screen, which is their principle means of previewing an image before taking the photograph. There are also several nonessential characteristics applying to many of the bridge cameras, but not all of them.

For instance, there is the single fixed noninterchangeable lens and a CCD sensor, which is much smaller in the bridge cameras than in the dSLRs. A few of the new bridge cameras have defied these nonessential qualities and now have larger sensors of different types that are equal in size to those found in some of the dSLR cameras.

Bridge cameras still do not have interchangeable lenses; however, this may change in the not too distant future.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Batteries for Digital Cameras

The power need for digital cameras is very high. As they get smaller in size, the challenge has been to come up with a battery that would meet those requirements and still be small enough to fit into the smaller digital cameras.

No one would be happy with a camera that didn't have enough power to run it for a reasonable amount of time. There are two divisions of batteries for digital cameras, and these divisions are very broad:

* Off-the-shelf batteries While a few cameras have AAA batteries, AA (or CR2 batteries) are the more common in use. These are lithium-based and are intended for only single use; they are also commonly seen in camcorders. The alkaline battery, which is nonrechargeable, provides only enough power for a very short time in most digital cameras. Most photographers have moved to the AA nickel metal hydride batteries along with a charger; these provide the necessary power and can be easily recharged. Mid-range and low-end cameras may use off the shelf batteries, but only a few cameras (DSLR) accept them.

* Proprietary battery formats These are the second type of battery. Specifically built to the manufacturer's specifications, they can be either OEM or aftermarket replacement parts.  Most of the proprietary batteries are lithium ion. The battery life begins to degrade after a certain number of charges, usually about 500 cycles; yet they are very powerful for their size. Because of this, both high-end professional cameras and consumer models at the low end have lithium ion batteries.

Digital photographers, both professionals and amateurs, will find many types of batteries available; all will be within the two categories mentioned above. It is possible to find as many opinions about the type of battery to use as there are photographers using them. Only the consumer can actually make the decision about which they choose.