A Conversation for A Beginner's Guide To Digital Cameras

Cheap ones may be worth buying

Post 1

dElaphant (and Zeppo his dog (and Gummo, Zeppos dog)) - Left my apostrophes at the BBC

The statement that the cheaper 1 Megapixel cameras are probably not worth buying is a little bit broad. It really depends on what you intend to do with the pictures.

For quick snapshots that you intend to put on a web page or e-mail to friends, the inexpensive cameras are fine, provided they have a good lense and other features you need. Photos that will be distributed electronically should not have too many pixels. The most immediate reason for this is file size and download times - the more pixels, the longer it will take for the photo to load on a web page or download via e-mail. The second reason is that computer monitors display graphics at very low resolution, usually estimated at 72 pixels per inch. If you have a picture that you want to dispaly as 3x4 inches, some quick math (3 x 72 x 4 x 72) reveals the maximum number of pixels that will actually be used (62,208 - far short of 1 megapixel) - the rest ends up as useless information that increases the download time without improving the quality of the image.

The higher megapixel cameras really only matter significantly if you intend to do a lot of digital editing of your photos or when you are printing images since printers use higher resolution (usually estimated at 150 pixels per inch but it depends on your printer). The same 3x4 snapshot would require 3 x 150 x 4 x 150 = 270,000 pixels to look OK when printed - which is also certainly within the 1 megapixel range, but larger prints would need a better camera.
smiley - dog

Cheap ones may be worth buying

Post 2

Kryptyk Fysh

This being an argument I recently had in Dixons, where I was quite specific in wanting a cheap, not magical camera for the pruposes mentioned above, i.e. posting pics of items on the net. No, nothing naughty, just things to sell, and I don't know... the family dog or something.

The chap behind the counter was /adamant/ I'd need to spend approximately 200 pounds for this purpose, despite the fact I was asking to see a small 30 pound model on display behind him. As it was, it eventually ended up with me getting exasperated and walking away.

Nobody won. The sales bod didn't get to sell his 200 pound camera, or even a thirty pound one, and I don't have /any/ camera whatsoever, and still don't even know whether the 30 pound model would have met my requirements since he wouldn't even let me look at the thing.

So, trusting to the experience of those hereabouts, I feel forced to ask; /Can/ one attain pictures of a reasonable quality for under a hundred pounds or so?

Cheap ones may be worth buying

Post 3

Steve K.

I agree. I've got a 1 Megapixel Kodak DC3200 that cost less than $100 a year or two back - no zoom, small LCD and optical rangefinder, 64 MB Compact Flash for about 200 pictures, etc. Its great for casual photos where no distance is involved. Plus at that cost I don't worry so much about breaking it or somebody stealing it. I leave it in the car all the time so I'll have it if something comes up - even in the intense heat in Houston, Texas, which fries film, no problems. I think 4"x6" prints on a photo printer are acceptable, and of course computer images are fine, email, etc.

For serious pictures, I'll still haul out my ancient Canon AE-1 35mm SLR with 70-210 zoom lens (or 30-80), great pictures and it gets you past the barricade sometimes smiley - smiley But that thing is HEAVY, you gotta WANT good pix. smiley - puff

Cheap ones may be worth buying

Post 4

Flying Betty- Now with added nickname tag!

Ah, but sometimes they really are not worth it at all. I have one that was definitely overpriced at its 20 dollar sale price. It takes small, very blurry pictures in bright light and its basic purpose in life is for you to be able to say "Looky, looky, I have a digital camera!"

Cheap ones may be worth buying

Post 5

dElaphant (and Zeppo his dog (and Gummo, Zeppos dog)) - Left my apostrophes at the BBC

Of course you can go overboard and go too cheap. You still need a good glass lens, correct focus, a good seal against light getting in the wrong places, proper shutter control etc. - in short, all the same things that make a good film camera. In many ways, the fact that the image is stored digitally rather than photo-chemically is one of the least important factors.

Some of the best advice I heard was to look at manufacturers who have a reputation for making good film cameras, and stick with them. Even the inexpensive models from Kodak, Canon, Minolta, etc. will be a decent digital camera.
smiley - dog

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