[WWI] Digital cameras again.

Knut Erik Hagen knut.erik.hagen at eunet.no
Mon Jan 10 15:16:12 EST 2005


You should make a list of what you want the digital camera to do and present
to a shop with a decent selection of cameras.

Most compacts are now in the 3-5Mpix range which is good enough for ordinary
use, I rarely use the highest settings on my SLR camera that can go to 12Mpix.

Standard zoom is 3x, comparable to something like 35-105 on 35mm film cameras.
Forget about digital zoom, it is useless.
If you want to take photos inside museums, a wider angle lense would be nice,
it is also an idea to check the strength of the flash if doing indoor work.

Digital cameras ability to do close-up work differs a lot, from the amazing
to not so great.  This is not of interest to most customers, so check that 
it can realy focus close up and has a macro setting for such work.
In fact my best close up photos were made with an old Fuji digital compact.

Lag time and time needed for the camera to get ready is of no consequence when 
taking photos of static objects, but if it is moving you will have problems
with most digital compacts as the lag time (time from pressing the buttom to 
when the image is actually captured) can be considerable.
My little Nikon coolpix has so much of a lag time that it is difficult to 
photograph anything that moves faster than walking speed, frustrating after 
being used to having no delay to speak of on my digital SLR (Fuji S2P).

Something worth thinking about is the kind of card you will use, my preference
is CompactFlash as they seem to have less problems with changes in temperature
and you can get cards up to 1Gb at a reasonable price.
If travelling, it might be difficult to find an outlet to charge batteries,
I prefer cameras that can take both rechargeables and ordinary LR/AA batteries 
that are easily available and  always bringing an extra card and batteries.
And it is better to have two 500Mb cards than a 1Gb card with you as cards
do lock up and you will have to either reformat the card and loose whats there
or connect to a PC and empty the card before running a filecheck.

There are also the larger and more expensive cameras withfixed objectives 
that have a larger zoom range than the compacts, but without the weight and 
complexity of SLRs.  With a digital SLR with interchangeable lenses,
I am fighting a never ending battle with dust that finds it way into the
camera and leave shadows when landing on the chip that captures the image.

If you are to have only one digital camera, I would consider going for one
that is in the range between compacts and SLRs, they have short enough
lag time to take photos of moving obects and a decent zoom (5-10x) without
being too expensive or heavy to drag around.

Knut Erik

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