Written by: Derek Watterson

Many old-timers had been a strong opponent of digital cameras for their failure to provide the features serious photographers needed. Now, digital cameras do have everything the pros want: lens interchangeability, flash mount, SLR design, ease of use, ease of transition from film cameras, true manual control and, OF PRIMARY CONCERN, no delay between the time you press the shutter button and the camera actually makes the exposure, all at a price under $1,000.

These days there are many great Digital Cameras that fit the bill–that offer the features professional photographers require. With Digital Cameras from Canon, Nikon, etc.

Back in the day, the Nikon D70, was probably one of the first digital cameras introduced that filled most of the requirements needed by digital photographers.

Digital Camera

For a quick rundown on dSLR digital cameras, read on, In the meantime you will need to know a few basic facts about digital cameras. From the digital camera on your cell phone, a point and shoot camera, to a dSLR camera. You can pay anywhere from twenty dollars to thousands of dollars.

Any camera these days will create images that are great for emails, photos, or prints.

All digital cameras use memory cards and have zoom lenses. And they all have LCD display on the back to view photos. What is important – NO MATTER WHICH DIGITAL CAMERA YOU BUY – is having a spare battery for your digital camera because these cameras eat up batteries fast, and a USB cable to easily transfer images to and from your camera.

Digital Point and shoot cameras are small and comfortable to hold. Look for a true optical zoom lens (digital zooms are not good enough) that is easily controlled. One with controls that are well laid out and easy to understand. The ability to change the ISO and switch to Manual Exposure control may be important to you if you want to refine your skills as a photographer.

Digital Cameras

If you are in doubt about how many “pixels” per picture you need (determines the size print you can get) here are the basic guidelines:
(Pixels are simply the total number of dots of color in a photo. The more dots, the more detailed and sharp a photo will be)

For good quality prints up to 5X7 inches: 1500 x 2100 pixels or 3.2 Mega Pixels will do.

For nice 8X10 prints: 2400 x 3000 or 7.2 Mega Pixels works just fine.

And for those big 11X14 prints: 3300 x 4200 or 14 Mega Pixels will do it.

These are based on ideal 300 Pixel Per Inch Printing for photographs. Chances are your printer doesn’t print that high quality and you’re stuck with half the values for normal printing. So basically any digital camera these days will create great pictures for you. To learn more about pixels and resolution see our lesson about Optimizing Digital Photographs for Web Use

As for image transfer. All cameras are sold with software that transfers the images from the camera to your computer and helps you edit them. These programs are quite easy to use. However, these programs will NOT give you the image editing capabilities needed for serious photographic work.

Given all that, buying a better digital camera may not be what you need since most bad photos are cause by one of these three problems:

  1. Punching the shutter button instead of SQUEEEEEEZING it
  2. Poor composition
  3. Not getting close enough to the subject so the flash can light it up

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28 Responses to “Digital Cameras”

  1. Jeez, guy! What year u livin’ in? Have u checked out the latest dSLR’s , Prosumers and even (gasp!) compact cameras? I mean u r talkin’ bout 3megapixel cams and 32/64Mb memory cards! it’s more like 14megapixels and 16gigabyte nowadays. Ya really gotta get out more man.

  2. Gotta say though, the photo lessons still hold valid today. Good job on the lessons.

  3. yeah, this page on digital cameras does need some updating. we’re looking to add a bunch of new digital camera specific stuff. glad you enjoyed the other photo lessons.

  4. well, it is still a good infor/basic for me, even if i am already using the higher end of a digital Canon camera! Good job!

  5. Thanks, this information was extremely helpful. It actually, taught me me more abuot my camera than the owner’s manual did. Though it was helpful too.

  6. This Website is an amazing way to introduce photography to people and get everyone to understand the techenique of art and science, I come to this site everyday for a little inspiration.

  7. Thank you so much for this guide, it’s incredibly helpful for us beginners – even on the digital side of things, it’s no fun to just keep the autofocus button pressed now is it?? I shall keep working my way through the lessons, thank you for taking your time to do this for us.

  8. I have had several digital cameras but did not know what was going wrong with a lot of the photos I was taking. Now that I am getting the mechanics down, it will make photography much more enjoyable and easier to understand. Don’t fret about keeping too up-to-date, most of us need to know the basics instead of who has the most Pixels.
    Thank you very much for helping me enjoy my new hobby!

  9. I thought the info on pixel vs. size of prints is very helpful for beginners like me. Now i know that i can print 8X10 with my Nikon. Good stuff. Thank you!

  10. I am one of those old-timers and this site has helped me begin the transition to the NEW Age of digital Photography. Thank you.

  11. I have a 4 megapixels Olympus digital Camera. can it do for me agood job? am doubting the quality of prints its giving me.

    Thanx for the good work

  12. Tumwesigye see Digital Cameras to learn about Mega pixels and learn what to look for in a Digital Camera.

  13. richard romano on May 5th, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Nice site, I’ve learned a lot of your videos regarding the lights effect of the photography shoots. I hope i can apply it in my jobs…

    Thanks!

  14. I wish to take photographs that may be developed into poster size prints. I guess SLR film cameras 35mm will be best for this requirement. Or, will you suggest a DSLR for this? If DSLR, then which one?
    Also, I need a help on commercial aspects of photography. I have no clue about how professional photographers sell their photographs.

  15. I have liked your web site and I would like to be a student as well. I like photography but don’t have the slightest idea on which camera to purchase. I know I would like a digital camera. I understand the pixel thing though i need more descriptions for the best camera to purchase and i had forgotten, photography lessons.
    sue

  16. Susan, Maybe this article will help you on choosing a camera.

  17. I am a newcomer in this line. Currently I’m using NIKON P100. It has only upto 10.3 mp. I want to participate in a photography competition where 12 X 18 photo print required. I have taken some cool photos based on subject. So what do You think whether my photo quality will be good or not?

  18. Welcome Sankhasuvro, If you take a look at our lesson on megapixels you’ll see that a 10MP camera at that size will be around 200ppi. That’s not ideal (300 ppi) but better than most inkjet printers (150ppi).

  19. edwin morolong on April 28th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    i am a what i am because of this site. the info contained here has made me a better photographer that i am today. keep up with the good work!

  20. Hello! Great classes! Congratulations! Well, as you talked about printers, I´d like to know the relation between PPI (Pixels per inch) and DPI (Dots per inch – as my printer manual uses as especification). Thanks!

  21. @marcio Here’s the difference between PPI & DPI

  22. Vernon Bergmann on December 13th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    When you’re a nonetheless digital professional shooter, in a financial budget, which includes to get creative with the captures, all of us honestly can’t remember a Digital SLR camera much far greater compared to the K-r to fit these needs.

  23. THIS IS GREAT! Great lessons, great pics, great everything!! great job guys! i am learning tons!!! i am a freshmen in high school, but i wanna start learning now, and i found this!! thanks!

  24. The lessons help so much thanks for being there!

  25. Greg Speckman on July 5th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    This is a great site. Thanks so much for making everything so simple. While I don’t have a digital slr yet, I did just pick up a couple of older film sle camers, basically to learn on, without the expense.

    Keep up the good work

  26. melissa beasley on January 20th, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I want to learn how to take good pictures with my Kodak camera?

  27. Helen Marshall on May 20th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I want to learn how to use my camera,Canon EOS1000d.It doesn’t have a memory card,has two lenses. Can you help please?

  28. I want to learn how to use my camera,Nikon L830 thanks

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