Digital Photography Basics

The Basics of Digital Photography

Before you rush out and buy a digital camera, it's a good idea to know something about digital photography basics and what this sort of photography is all about. One of the most important aspects that relate to digital photography basics is the world of megapixels. Another aspect of digital photography basics is working out what you need from a digital camera so that you can choose the best camera to meet your needs.

So first start out by assessing your needs. Once you have done this, you can make a decision that also relates to your budget.

Ask yourself these questions. What are you intending to do with your digital camera? Are you planning to do photography as a hobby or do you want to try and make some money out of your photographs? Do you eventually hope to become a professional photographer? What form do you want your photographs to be in? Do you want to print them or will you simply post them on the Internet or view them on your computer screen? Are you likely to want to email your photographs to friends?

If you are going to print your photographs out, you will need a camera that can produce good quality, high resolution images. If you are only going to display your pictures on Internet sites or on your camera screen, then you can use a camera that produces low or medium resolution (res for short) images. The size that you email pictures will depend on what the person you are sending them to plans to do with them. If you aren't sure what you are going to need, then it's best to stick to a camera that produces high res images, because you can minimise them and make them smaller for the Internet or for your computer screen.

Now you need to understand that resolution is what megapixels are all about. Instead of using good, old fashioned photographic film (which, incidentally some contemporary cameras still use), digital cameras have a special device known as a sensor that captures light and converts it into an electric form that is fed into the camera's in-built computer. Once it has been captured in this digital format, the information can be printed out as photographs or transferred to your computer.

Basically a pixel is a tiny dot of information captured by your camera's sensor, and every megapixel contains a million pixels. When we talk about a million megapixels, we write this as 1 MP. So 6 MP means six megapixels.

The only reason you need to know this is that the more pixels (or megapixels) a camera has will determine how much detail it can capture in the form of a digital image. So the more megapixels it has, the higher the resolution of the pictures will be, and the larger your prints can be.

For example, a 2 MP camera will produce pictures that you can enlarge to a print size of 8 in x 10 in (about 200 mm x 250 mm), but a 3 MP camera will enable you to produce photographs that are more than double this size. A professional photographer will use anything from a 6 MP to a 22 MP camera.

The other thing to remember is that the more pixels your camera has, the more memory each picture will use, because each one will, quite simply, use more digital information.

So before you go shopping for your digital camera, make sure you understand these digital photography basics.

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