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Choosing  a Digital Camera

By Cathy Margolin ,, Reviews Editor 

  1. What is Your Purpose? What features do you require?

·         Usually some Macro capability, zoom lens.

·         Is size important? 

·         Price Range – avg. about $ 600-900 average for a 5 to 9 mega pixel camera. For EBay pictures, 2-3 mega pixels are enough.

·         Do you need wide angle? (for groups in small rooms ).

·         What kind of image storage do I want?

·         How do I want to connect it to my computer(  USB, Firewire)?

·         See Camera review sites(see,, Digital Photo Sites article)


  1. Pro and Con of Digital Cameras


·         No film, no processing needed.

·         Pictures appear instantly so you can tell how they came out (not having to wait for that once in a lifetime shot).

·         You can erase on the fly, if you do not like the picture and take another picture over it! 

·         Already in digital format to e-mail to friends, so no scanning needed.

·         Easy to touch up- color, brightness, cropping off those ugly things that somehow got in the picture.  


·         Initial cost (but if you do sell on EBay – it pays for itself very fast).

·         Uses batteries fairly fast (best to use rechargeables)

·         Flash is usually not very powerful (some now have a hot shoe for an external flash).  For Ebay pictures use indirect light not flash (or external muted lights, so no highlights)

·         Must have a computer to put pictures into or carry extra memory cards.


  1. Image Storage

·         Compact Flash has the most capacity (Max. 4 gig),

·         Secure Digital (also called SD) (Max. 2 gig),

·         Smart Media (Max. 128 meg),

·         Floppy disk ( not big enough for the 4 mega pixel cameras),

·         Memory stick (works only with Sony, and expensive),        

·         XD- used by Olympus and Fuji cameras,        

HOT Note: Actually I use old Memory from old cameras in little drives that act as USB Flash Drives such as this Lexar Single Card multi Reader at CompUSA  - it reads Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMedia Card (MMC), Secure Digital and xD-Picture Card. It is great to carry with you (small) but will act as extra storage like a Flash drive or as a card reader.


  1. Now I have it, what do I do with it?

·         Take pictures,

·         Yes, read the manual. 

·         Install the cable and software on your PC to  pull the pictures into the computer.

·         Pull Pictures into your computer. 

  1. Most cameras come with some photo manipulation software (cropping, contract, brightness). 
    1. Use what came with the camera first, since it is free and probably optimized for the camera to pull directly into the photo manipulation program.
    2. Other photo manipulation software I use : Corel Photo Album 6  ( $49 -previously called Image Expert then owned by Jasc, now Corel)  which is the simplest to use. Others are: Compupic ($79), ACDsee by ($49.95), Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 ($89), Corel PaintShop Pro X ($129) , Adobe PhotoShop CS2 ($599). The last three give you more tools such as getting rid of people in the picture (that old wedding picture after the divorce), but require some learning/ more menu traversing.  First three have a free trial download from their website.


  1. Fix your Digital Picture

·         You can Crop, change Brightness, Contrast, and Size of final picture and file format.

·         For eBay, save two pictures, one a thumbnail size (about 200 by 200 pixels) for faster loading, and one that the buyer can click on to get the full detail (less that 600 x 600 pixels or it will not fit on a screen). 

·         When you are finally done correcting the picture, save it as a  .jpg file (smaller file size, better for pictures). JPG is a losy format which means that each time you edit it ,  it looses lots of  detail (resolution). But it is smaller to send via the Internet, so people at the other end do not have to wait for it to download. 

  1. How do I get the picture so people can see it on the web?

·         Send via e-mail attachment.

·         Or store it on the Internet somewhere, so people can see the picture-

1.        on your own webspace that came with your e-mail,

2.        a free photo storing site (like -- they are disappearing),

·         If you use the first option,  you will need an File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program such as  “wsftp light”  ( for free version) to copy the files from your computer up to a “space” on the Internet.

·         Most of the photo storing sites walk you through this process.

Digital Photo Site Links

This is a list of Digital Photography Links that will show you some of the latest reviews, free short courses in digital photography, some photo manipulation software (to change colors, brighten, equalize, etc.) and some web sites you can put your pictures up for FREE.

Digital Photo Camera Review Sites: Digital Camera review- Very nice comparisons between cameras. Some very extensive reviews! - Steves DigiCam – lots of reviews and info then choose Consumer Electronics,Cameras. Lots of Reviews and will search for lowest price. Digital Camera Resource

Digital Photo Courses/Info Very good overview, explains different file formats

Agfa photo course


Updated 11/2005



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