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Taking Photos 1 – Digital cameras

Simple Compacts  

                                   These are non-optical zoom point and shoot cameras, often

                                   small or very small, working on ordinary alkaline batteries.



                                   These are low range (usually 3x) optical zoom small cameras.

                                   They may work with alkaline batteries or use a Lithium

                                    battery for extended battery life. They may have more

                                    sophisticated controls and control options.


Ultra Zoom

                                   These are high range (6x – 60x) optical zoom cameras. They

                                    normally have Lithium batteries and very sophisticated

                                    control systems. Many have image stabilisation,  and face-

                                    reading auto-focussing. Some have manual exposure and

                                    shutter controls. Many only have automatic settings for these.




                                   These are high-end professional and semi-pro cameras that are usually

                                    very expensive. They use through the lens metering and

                                    viewing and have interchangeable lenses. They also have

                                    much larger image sensors to produce very high quality

                                    and very high detail pictures.


Megapixel Guide


1Mp    A5 (half A4 size prints) possible.

2Mp    Good A4 prints with reasonably good ½ crop pictures to A4.

3Mp    Excellent A4 prints with quite good 1/3 crop pictures to A4.

5Mp + Allow cropping to smaller/ much smaller crop pictures to A4 size.


For A4 (non-cropped) prints, above 3Mp only the camera image quality will make any noticeable difference!


This guide is for prints taken in bright sunlight or high contrast lighting. Resulting satisfactory print size will be smaller/ much smaller for pictures taken in poorer or poor lighting conditions, depending on the ISO used for the photo..

16Mp images will allow poster size prints at maximum sharpness and detail, provided of course the photo is sharp when taken. Specialist image-enlarging software will allow 16Mp photos to be enlarged to any size.

Larger than 16Mp allows cropping and using the cropped image for sizeable (poster size or above) enlargements.


Camera Image Quality


Read reviews/ see sample images on internet reviews….


Image Stabilisers


Compensate for camera shake – not subject movement. Recommended for all optical zoom cameras, especially ultra-zooms. Usually work extremely well and apart from at very low shutter speeds (below 1/15 second), mostly eliminate the need for tripod or supports.




May use a LCD screen - but may be difficult to see in sunshine - some have enhanced

screen brightness to compensate. Variable angle LCD screens are very useful both in bright light and for taking photos at different levels than eye level. Look through finders avoid this brightness problem, as do DSLRs which view through the lens. Some ‘look through’ viewfinders use a mini LCD screen instead of optics. Modern DSLRs also have an LCD screen, and many of these have a Live View, which replicates using the LCD sreen as a viewfinder, additionally to the traditional view through the lens viewfinder.

DSLR Format

This describes the size of the image sensor. Full Frame have a sensor the same size as old 35mm film photos. AP-C have a sensor 2/3 this size, 4/3 cameras have a sensor 1/2 this size.

DSLR Lenses

There are some remarkable lenses available now and Nikon for instance has a DX (AP-C) 18-200mm lens with optical stabilisation that is high quality optically and reasonably priced. The only other lenses you might need with this lens are a 55-300mm lens for extended telephoto and a 12-24mm or 10-24mm lens for extra-wide angle photos.You can also get teleconverters of 2x or 1.4x strength, but these give respectively two or one stop less aperture when in use. Higher zoom quality lenses and zoom lenses with F2.8 aperture are extremely expensive. I have a 500mm mirror lens that is quite compact, these are rather out of fashion, but you may be lucky and get one secondhand. If you know you won't be using telephoto, and want lenses to use in poor light, F1.8 35mm or 50mm lenses are a very good choice to use as a prime lens.

Lenses should match the sensor size and of course the camera lens mount.

Full Frame lenses give the best results, as they gather more light, but against this, the camera body is larger and heavier, as are the lenses, and the lenses and camera are considerably more expensive.

Mirror-less cameras

These are a recent innovation (not to be confused with compact cameras) that have the larger DSLR type sensors and hence image quality to match and have interchangeable lenses. They are however comparatively rather more expensive than an equivalent DSLR, tohough with a lighter and smaller camera body that isn't always to evryones liking.

Beginner DSLRs

These may (or sometimes may not) have the image quality to match more expensive DSLRs but lack some or many of the features that are useful to advanced photographers. They, of course, are much cheaper especially compared to Pro DSLRs.

Recent Super-Zooms

If you don't want poster size prints and are happy with maximum A4 or smaller size prints, the very best of these produce photos that are sharp and crisp and will give good detail with smaller enlargements. For this kind of use, without getting out a magnifying glass, very good Super-Zoom images are practically as good as DSLR photos. You won't be able to get fuzzy backgrounds in some portrait type photos that excel in DSLRs, but otherwise you can get excellent results.