Friday Feast #25: Digital Cameras and Advancing Technology
Many of us in web design and development include photography in our arsenal of tricks to some extent. Digital photography has also become commonplace, which is a huge help to our work, but trying to figure out the best digital camera for one’s needs and budget can be a daunting task, and that’s assuming you already know what to look for in a digital camera.
I first braved the new world of digital cameras two years ago when I bought my teenage son a Kodak DC280. I chose that one after scouring through quite a few reviews and after learning about digital cameras and what to look for so I could make an educated decision. My son has quite a flair for photography, and image quality was and remains important. He also wanted something simple to operate that would integrate easily with his laptop. The DC280 has been a good fit for him with its two megapixels, optical zoom, durability, and point-and-shoot capabilities. Two years later it’s performing beautifully, taking terrific photos, and holding its own just fine despite technology changes.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the world of digital cameras has advanced quite a bit the past two years, though, such as higher megapixels and even more choices and features.
Now in the market for a digital camera for my business, like my son I want high quality images with a simple-to-operate digital camera that will integrate easily with my computer. With thousands of digital camera choices, I had to start somewhere and naturally chose the Internet to explore possibilities and learn about the latest in technologies and features.
Let the adventure begin...
ZDNet’s ZDNet Shopper section is often one of my first stops to check reviews and the latest in technology products. Their Digital Camera section is a gold mine of reviews, prices, and information. I started with their section on the 50 most popular digital cameras before exploring the cameras by product categories, broken down by megapixels or brands.
Keeping those browser windows open, a quick search at Google for best digital camera resulted in plenty of good resources to continue my exploring, including Digital Photography Review’s “Buying Guide: Features Search” and PCWorld’s November article, “Top 10 Digital Cameras.”
Digital Photography Review’s “Buying Guide: Features Search” is a handy, helpful tool for selecting which features matter from the menu choices and then being guided to cameras that match those features. I tried a variety of selections and got on-the-mark recommendations, so I found it to be a helpful tool.
PCWorld’s “Top 10 Digital Cameras” article provides reviews, test reports, and typical street prices for the top 5 Point-and-Shoot digital cameras and the top 5 Advanced digital cameras. There’s also a tool to choose two or more of the above cameras for a side-by-side feature comparison. Nice.
In addition to the above links, MyCamera.com, an entire site devoted to cameras, has a helpful Digital Camera comparison guide comparing megapixels, highest resolutions, zoom, media type, and prices for quite a few digital cameras, from inexpensive to top-of-the-line cameras.
Imaging-Resource.com’s Digital Camera Review section also has plenty of reviews, a camera finder tool, a comparison guide, and more. I also appreciated Dave’s Picks for his camera recommendations for travel, small places, long shots, Mom, families, photo students, tight budgets, and more. Then there Dave’s recommendations by resolution.
Another great site devoted to digital cameras is MegaPixel.net, a monthly digital camera web magazine. I’d mentioned a link to their site above regarding what to look for in a digital camera. They also recently updated their informative article, An Overview of Digital Camera Memory Formats that includes the new xD Picture Card (xD), the MultiMedia card (MMC), Secure Digital card (SD), CompactFlash (CF), SmartMedia (SM), and others. The MegaPixel.net site is packed with insightful reviews, articles about digital cameras and photography,a glossary, a classified section, a forum area, and more.
One for every budget and skill level
It’s clear that it’s fairly easy to buy a digital camera that takes decent quality photos within nearly every budget and level of expertise. There are some helpful sites for price-comparing online such as Pricegrabber.com. A friend recently told me about Overstock.com, which has a good digital camera section, too.
Does size matter?
Just for fun, there’s the tiny little Cubik digital camera, smaller than a set of keys, and it even doubles as a videocam. The SpyZ digital camera is about the size of a lighter. In March Casio also claimed to have the smallest digital camera with its EXILIM EX-S1.
If you want small but also want high quality images, the Canon PowerShot S200 is getting rave reviews. About.com also lists the five smallest digital cameras that also have high image quality. In About.com style, there are links to lots more about digital cameras, too.
While I haven’t yet made a decision, at least now I know that 4.0 megapixels and optical zoom won’t bust my bank account, and even a bit of video recording appears in quite a few models. I also have an idea of price ranges, what’s popular, and which models are getting the best reviews. So I’ll sit back and read a little more while I also keep an eye out for the best prices.
And a word of warning...
I hope the above adventure is helpful to any of you thinking about digital cameras for yourself or as a gift. The only danger in following these links is that hours can pass you by, as it’s far too much fun exploring. Even more fun, though, is venturing out with a camera for a day of photography.