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Choosing a Digital Camera

Above: view from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong taken with a Canon Power Shot S45, one of the cameras used to take photos on this site.

(cont'd from first page on choosing a digital camera for traveling where we talked about the main factors - size, zoom, LCD screen, ISO, movie, batteries.)

Other things to know about

  • Pixel count - this determines how much detail you can get on your photos and how large you can print the photos and they still look good. As technology progresses, this goes higher and higher for the same price. If your rarely print any photo larger than a 3x5", this is one thing you don't need to worry about because even a 6 or 7-year-old digital camera has 4 million pixels, enough to give you a good 3x5". Nowadays, it is common for newer models to have 8 million pixels. If you mostly just put up your photos on your computer, even as the desktop wallpaper, a 6-million-pixel photo is enough.

  • Memory card - this is like the film in the old film cameras, except that it is refillable free of charge! Since it works like a tape recorder where things can just be erased to make room for new photos, theoretically you just need one (at least that's what you can tell your spouse). Usually with a little cord that comes with the camera, you can just download the photos you have taken without even removing the card itself. And nowadays, as soon as you connect the camera to the computer, the latter recognizes it like it does an extra harddisk. And you can simply drag the photos like you drag files into your computer.
    • How big a memory card should you get?
      It depends on how many pixels your camera has. The card that comes with your camera can probably take a hundred or two photos. That may sound like a lot, but if you go on a trip for two weeks, you may just run out of room. Then you are stuck since you can't just go down to the corner drug store to buy another "roll". Besides, it costs a little more than a roll of film. I would suggest you to get a card large enough to be just less than those that are too expensive. That should last you for a while. By the time you would like a larger card, they have come down in price enough to afford. And if you're not too tight on your budget, get an extra card. It beats having to delete shots that you might want to keep.
Above right: Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui with Wan Chai
across the Victoria Harbor. Photo taken with a Canon S70 camera.

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