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Old Feb 3, 2004, 5:52 AM   #1
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Default The steps of Buying a new digital camera


This may seem somewhat presumptius giving that I dont even own a digital camera yet but I am about to buy one and I,m using a sorting system that might help others in the same situation. Instead of stating the obvious "everyone has different needs and uses their camera differently" Im going to talk about me, and then the reader can decide if they agree or not.

What am I going to use it for? I, like probably most camera owners like to take pictures of what happens to me and my family and friends, to have something to remember our activities by. Because this is something you do quite often it is a quite big hobby (I spend at least as much time fiddeling with my camera as I use my cd-player) I also have a slight gadget-love, enjoying technical toys.

This meens three things:
1. Money is not the primal concern. Although I by no means am rich, (the contrary actually) a gadget you use as much as your camera must be alowed to cost you, If you have a camera that bugs you it will annoy you more than a less than perfect for example walkman.

2. You will want manual settings. Point and shoot will not suffice the whole time, and if you bring your camera with you every day, you will learn basic photography skills. Look at the booming sale of digital photography magazines, people want to evolve their photography.

3. You want to have it with you all the time, like your cellphone.

Ok for me this meant the first question is size. There are three important sizes in cameras, the ones you could walk around comfortably in with the camera in your jeans. The ones you will have to stick in your jacket or purse, and the ones you need a bag for. I ruled out SLRs because for me it would be awkward to bring a camerabag along all the time, they are more likely to be stolen, and they make the ones you want to photograph somewhat ill at ease (I noticed this before, people you dont know that well are often Ok with beeing in a pocket camera shot while intimidated by a professional looking camera). I ruled out real pocket cameras because the areas you reach with them where you cant bring your jacket is above all, discos or other badly lit indoor areas where you wont be able to make particually good fotos anyway. The lense and CCR quality loss you get because of the size doesnt pay off. So mid sized cameras it is.

Then what would you like. Well any camera could take a good picture of a mid distance sunny scene, but what extras would be nice? For my documentation of my everyday life I wont need a super zoom, let face it almost all the time you can walk closer and get a faster blender, its nice to be able to shoot i.e animals but not essential.Widezoom is better because cramped rooms are a common place to want to save a memory. I also have low use of a nice macro, flower closeups could be nice but they will not be the most interesting pictures. What I do need is a good autofocus and a neglectable delay after I take my shot. Things in life are seldom static, they change fast and a second makes all the differance when you portray people, the overwhelmingly most common object in my Photos. What I also need is good low-light capabilities. I live in Sweden where the sun goes down very fast in the winters and when I look at my old pictures the easily most common problem is that there is a lack of light. Removable strong external flashes could be a soltion but preferably the lowlight normal photos should alsa be good. Long battery life is nice, but you have to recharge so many things, its not that big a differance if you have to charge one more when you come home.

Picture quality is of cause the most important thing, but there are differances. The problems you get that you could balance in photoshop afterwards, like white balance and colour aberrations are not as bad as artefacts and low detail. (I know Im slightly on thin ice here, having never owned a digi-cam! I hope I will be able to provoke a responce from someone, so I can make corrections before I choose my camera).

Well this is my view. By the way for the moment I,m leaning towards a Sony DSC V1

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