digital cameras on wooden table, top view

Shooting with Digital Cameras

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.

Nikon D5 DSLR

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 camera rear on tripod

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.

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


  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. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.