Digital Camera Memory Cards

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Digital Camera Memory Cards

Does it really make a difference what size memory card you use? To your camera, no; to you, however, it could mean the difference between getting … Continue reading

How Many Mega-Pixels Do I Need?

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How Many Mega-Pixels Do I Need?

One of the confusing things in choosing a digital camera is deciding how many mega-pixels you should look for. The answer depends on what … Continue reading

Focus Modes in Digital Cameras

Focus Modes in Digital Cameras

While some of the least expensive digital cameras have only automatic focus, meaning the camera does all the work on bringing your subject into the best possible focus, most SLR digitals offer three different focus modes:  manual, single auto focus and continuous auto focus.  All three of these will be addressed here.
With manual focus, the camera stays out of the focus equation and you, the photographer, make all the decisions regarding this.  This is done by setting different buttons or actually using an attached focusing ring that rotates on the camera lens.  For those who like to have complete creative control of the finished product, this is the best focus mode.

In single auto focus mode, the camera automatically focuses when you press the shutter button either all the way down to shoot a photo or half way down to lock the focus.  This mode is useful when shooting static objects.
In continuous auto focus the camera continuously focuses on the objects in the photo.  In this mode the camera continuously corrects the focus as the objects distance from the camera changes. This mode is useful when you shoot photos of moving objects such as a race car during a race or airplanes during an air show. You can hold the shutter button half way down and continuously move the camera to follow the object. The camera will continuously keep the object in focus.
Like any other feature automatic and manual focus modes have their pros and cons. The first step to using them to your advantage is to understand how they work and what they were designed for. The next step is to experiment shoot photos using different focus modes and different types of objects and see how the camera behaves. Once you have done that you will be ready to instinctively use the best focus mode for each photo situation.

Digital Camera Terms To Know

Digital Camera Terms To Know

It helps when learning to use your new digital camera to also know what some of the more common terms mean. Below you will find many of these common terms defined..
Automatic Mode — A setting that sets the focus, exposure and white-balance automatically.
Burst Mode or Continuous Capture Mode — a series of pictures taken one after another at quickly timed intervals with one press of the shutter button.
Compression — The process of compacting digital data, images and text by deleting selected information.
Digital Zoom — Cropping and magnifying the center part of an image.
JPEG — The predominant format used for image compression in digital cameras Lag Time — The pause between the time the shutter button is pressed and when the camera actually captures the image LCD — (Liquid-Crystal Display) is a small screen on a digital camera for viewing images.  Lens — A circular and transparent glass or plastic piece that has the function of collecting light and focusing it on the sensor to capture the image.  Megabyte — (MB) Measures 1024 Kilobytes, and refers to the amount of information in a file, or how much information can  be contained on a Memory Card, Hard Drive or Disk.
Pixels — Tiny units of color that make up digital pictures. Pixels also measure digital resolution. One million pixels  adds up to one mega-pixel.  RGB — Refers to Red, Green, Blue colors used on computers to create all other colors.  Resolution — Camera resolution describes the number of pixels used to create the image, which determines the amount of  detail a camera can capture. The more pixels a camera has, the more detail it can register and the larger the picture can be  printed.
Storage Card — The removable storage device which holds images taken with the camera, comparable to film, but much smaller. Also called a digital camera memory card…
Viewfinder — The optical “window” to look through to compose the scene.
White Balance — White balancing adjusts the camera to compensate for the type of light (daylight, fluorescent, incandescent, etc.,) or lighting conditions in the scene so it will look normal to the human eye.

Digital Zoom Versus Optical Zoom

Digital Zoom Versus Optical Zoom

Many digital cameras offer both digital and optical zoom. These two often confuse the average camera buyer, until you know what you’re looking at.  Optical zoom works much like the zoom lens on a 35 mm film camera. It changes the length of your camera’s lens and draws the subject closer to you. The optical zoom keeps the quality of the picture. Digital zoom works differently. It simply takes the picture and crops it then enlarges the part that is left. It causes the quality of the photo to be reduced, sometimes greatly.

What this means in terms of output is you may have a larger view of an object with the digital zoom, but chances are your image will become unfocused. Details will become lost. It is actually best to turn off the digital zoom feature of your camera if possible. This will prevent you automatically zooming in too close as the digital zoom is often an extension of the optical.

There are a couple of things you can do if you want a closer view of a subject but want the quality of your picture to still be good. Try moving in closer when you take the picture. Often only a foot or two will do the trick. If this isn’t possible, you can set your camera to take a picture at its highest file size. This will result in a photo that can be cropped to include only your desired subject, yet allow for an image that is still clear.

Digital zoom has its place. It can be used if the only destiny of your photo is the internet. Photos online can be a much lower quality in the camera and still appear acceptable when sent through e-mail or posted on a web gallery. If your goal is printing, however, seek a camera that has a greater optical zoom and turn off the digital zoom. Your pictures will be better in the end, even if they are not as close up.