Digital Camera QuickStart for the New Year
by Derrick Story
If you were lucky enough to score a new digital camera over the holidays, or you know someone who did, here's a QuickStart guide that cuts right to the chase.
Also, it's never too late to turn over a new leaf with your existing camera. Make 2003 the year you start taking great shots.
- Memory Check -- If you only have the 8 or 16 MB memory card that came with the camera, add "buy new memory card" to the top of your ToDo list. 128 MB is the minimum, 256 MB is better. Don't procrastinate, just do it!
- No Big Email Attachments! -- For gosh sakes, save your friends the pain of downloading 1 MB email attachments that when finally open on their computer display some freakish body part at 100 percent. Keep your friends and your dignity by learning how to "sample down" your images to 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 pixels.
- Set the Clock! -- Once of the great features of digital cameras is their ability to record metadata such as date and time. This information persists with the image so you always have a vital information accompanying your picture. But if you don't set your camera's time and date, you record gibberish.
- Devise a Catalog Strategy -- Now's a great time to figure out how you're going to organize and retrieve your exciting new images. I encourage Mac users to launch iPhoto and use it as your digital shoebox. If you're not on a Mac, there's lots of great software to help you manage your images. Make 2003 the year that you catalog every shot you keep.
- Customize Your Camera Settings -- Today's cameras provide you with lots of options for recording images. I recommend that you choose the highest resolution setting, best quality (least amount of Jpeg compression), "warm" white balance (the "cloudy" setting), and "flash off" as your default settings.
- Shoot Pictures! -- You'll be surprised at how quickly you become adept with your new mate if you take the time to shoot. Take lots of pictures. Have fun. Impress your friends.
memory card sizes
While your point about 8mb and 16mb cards being too small is completely correct, I'm not so sure 128mb should be the bare minimum. At least with a 2 megapixel camera, a 64mb card should be enough to hold plenty of photos without needing to unload them all the time. Even when taking lots of pictures, the beauty of digital cameras is you can delete unwanted pictures on the fly. 128mb or 256mb is great, but I find 64mb to be fine.