What student photographers need to
know about digital cameras
Digital cameras are hot items in the classroom - and it's easy to see why. They're compact, convenient and they let you see your work immediately!
With the ability to view their photo creations on the spot, students are given instant feedback on their work. They can immediately know if they've captured a personal masterpiece or need to correct errors - all without the time lag of photo finishing.
When shopping for a digital still camera, students should check out the amazing assortment of sizes, styles and technological features available this year. There's something for everyone.
Fully automatic point-and-shoot cameras with a picture resolution below 1 megapixel are the least expensive options. These are great for producing photos for a Web site or e-mailing memories to family and friends.
What Is a megapixel?
The megapixel count is easy to understand. Very simply, a pixel is a dot of information. The more pixels that make up a picture, the better the detail.
Think of making a watercolor painting. Each drop of paint would be a pixel. Imagine a painting made of 100 dots. If the picture was small enough, you would get a decent image, but as the size grows, the dots tend to separate and the image gets "pixilated."
The more dots, the more information you have for the picture. A one megapixel image contains plenty of information for a small image, but if you try to blow it up into a poster size picture, you'll see the image as pixilated. There will be spaces and distortion between the dots of information, the pixels, that ruin the quality
of the picture.
For those interested in good quality prints, you can achieve great results at very low costs in the 2 to 3 megapixel category. Digital cameras at this level can produce 4"x 6" photographs without distortion or pixelation.
cameras produce higher resolution images that allow for large, high quality print processing. For 8"x 10" enlargements, your camera should be equipped with a minimum of 3 megapixels. Higher end cameras come equipped with more features, such as advanced exposure controls, but also have a higher price tag.
Prices on digital cameras as high as 8 and 10 megapixels are now within the range of most families shopping for aspiring photographers.
Professional Level Digital Cameras
However, if you're a student aspiring to capture images for National Geographic, a professional digital still camera may be in order. Professional models are capable of producing crisp, clear, vivid images of any size. These cameras feature very high resolution, large memory capacity, expandability and an array of lens alternatives. They are an excellent investment for the photographer-in-training, but for most students an 8 to 10 megapixel camera will provide excellent, high quality images suitable
for just about any project.
cameras are more than megapixels
There are other aspects of a digital camera that make as big a difference to your pictures as the megapixel count. Does the camera have a zoom? Does it have an image stabilizer to keep the blur out. Will it autofocus... where you want the focus? Ask about the battery life. Does it take regular AA batteries that you can pop in if your battery dies at an inconvenient time?
The best camera for you doesn't have to be the most expensive or the most complicated. Look for the camera that meets your needs. Before classes start, try researching camera features and styles. You'll certainly find a camera that will make you - or your favourite photo student - smile!