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Talking to digital camera novices about choosing a camera.

 
 
Unclaimed Mysteries
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      08-12-2006
When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:

1) Lens quality
2) CCD size
3) pixel count

How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
choices out there?

--
It Came From Corry Lee Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.
http://www.unclaimedmysteries.net
 
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grruffbowwow@yahoo.com
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      08-12-2006

Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:
> When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count
>
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?
>
> --
> It Came From Corry Lee Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.
> http://www.unclaimedmysteries.net


I usually ask what they want to photograph. They'll say "family" or
"nature" or "vacations" or "art to hang on my wall" or whatever - it's
a great starting point.

 
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Daniel Silevitch
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      08-12-2006
On Sat, 12 Aug 2006 17:07:43 GMT, Unclaimed Mysteries <the_letter_k_and_the_numeral_4_doh@unclaimedmyste ries.net> wrote:
> When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count
>
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?


For complete novices, explaining 1 and 2 is rather difficult. 1 because
there are a whole bunch of ways of measuring lens quality, and 2 because
of the obscure naming scheme for CCD size.

I usually start by asking a few questions:

1) How big of a camera do you want to carry around?
2) How much money do you want to spend?
3) Do you think you'll make a lot of prints? Do you think you'll be
making any prints bigger than 4x6? Bigger than 8x10?
4) How important is it to have a lot of optical zoom?

The answers to those questions goes a long way towards narrowing down
the field of possibilities to recommend.

Oh, and I _always_ tell people to ignore the digital and "combined" zoom
numbers that the manufacturers love so much.

-dms
 
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mianileng@yahoo.com
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      08-12-2006

http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:
> > When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> > megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> > camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
> >
> > 1) Lens quality
> > 2) CCD size
> > 3) pixel count
> >
> > How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> > choices out there?
> >
> > --
> > It Came From Corry Lee Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.
> > http://www.unclaimedmysteries.net

>
> I usually ask what they want to photograph. They'll say "family" or
> "nature" or "vacations" or "art to hang on my wall" or whatever - it's
> a great starting point.


Except for the fact that such novices often don't really
know what they want to do with a camera, and may just be
groping for something to say when asked the question. They
may want to do an entirely different kind of shooting six
months, or even a month, later.

I'm faced with a similar situation all the time when
people consult me about buying a computer, or ask me to
assemble one. The analogue to megapixel here is Megahertz
or Gigahertz - it's about all they know about in advance,
and vaguely at that.

I live in the kind of region where buying a computer is a
major family investment for most people. I usually have a
long chat with them and probe their interests and likely
requirements. For example, the presence of a teenaged boy
or young man in the family generally calls for at least
reasonable gaming capability. The important thing is to
discuss and explain, and guide them through to what they
are likely to need.

Regarding budget, I avoid asking them to state a flat
figure at the outset. Most people can stretch a bit if
necessary, and if the estimate is lower than they expected,
great. The exact configuration can be tailored to their
needs and budget.

The same principles can be applied when advising people
about choosing a camera.

 
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VK
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      08-12-2006

Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?


I dont. If the person is serious about photography, then they will
make an effort to understand the various factors involved.

If they arent, then virtually any digicam will do. I usually check to
see if they have any special requirements (large prints, low light,
varied interests) and offer a few choices accordingly.

Vandit

 
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Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)
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      08-12-2006
Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:

> When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count
>
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?
>

Add Shutter lag

1) Lens quality
2) Sensor pixel size
The real parameters are:
2a) Full well capacity in electrons
2b) read noise in electrons
3) Full Press Shutter lag
4) pixel count
5) metering accuracy (prevents high end blow-out).

Given that lenses tend to be pretty good, Lens quality might
be lowered, depending on uses. Saying CCD size might get
misinterpreted as number of pixels. Also, if you had really big
pixels, the lens does not need to be as good as with small
pixels, given the same number of total pixels.

Roger
 
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bruin70@mail.com
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      08-12-2006

Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count


i kinda know more than the average person about cameras, and i
certainly know what i want.

you will always have a hard time steering people away from mp count,
because that is how cameras aere advertized, and bigger/faster is what
technology is all about.

ccd size over most people's heads.

i would focus on color. tell them all cameras treat color differently.
if there was availabilty, i would show them the same image from
different cameras. or send thwm to a site that has color samples. color
is what most people see and what they think they understand,,,and is
certainly what blows them away. two cameras, one pic from a colorful
mardis gras scene, one pic of a grey day cityscape,,,,,they will pick
the camera with the mardis gras scene, even though it may be inferior.
the thing is,,,there isn't THAT much difference between all cameras,
but color is the most obvious and easiest to induce.

 
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Bob Williams
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      08-12-2006


Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:

> When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count
>
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?
>


It's a real bitch of a problem.
I have gone thru the litany of standard questions and suggest they visit
review sites to compare features etc......But this is like talking Greek
to them.
Now, I listen to their answers and then decide for them.
I will say, "This is the perfect camera for you"
I'm batting about 500.
Sometimes they go right out and buy my suggested camera. Other times
they go out intending to buy my suggested camera but get switched to
another brand/model by a glib salesperson who overwhelms them with phony
jargon because he doesn't have the camera in question.
I have my best success by locating the camera at B&H, J&R, etc., finding
a good deal on a memory card, spare batteries, chargers if required etc.
Then they can just order online without "Advice" from salespersons.
Bob Williams

 
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Marvin
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      08-13-2006
Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:
> When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count
>
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?
>

The start is always to decide what the camera will be used
for. Then, whether a point-and-shoot is enough, or some
control over factors like f-stop is wanted. And don't
forget convenience of use, quality of color rendition, etc.
These are, of course, not equally important.
 
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silverthreads
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      08-13-2006
I believe:
4) Form factor (will it fit in my shirt pocket?)
5) Optical Zoom
are also important considerations.
Also ask what is your prey (which does not necessarily indicate that
you are a predator)
Sports
Family Vacations
Family Events
Wildlife
etc...
Don't go after bear with a BB gun.
Unclaimed Mysteries wrote:
> When trying to steer people away from the trap of looking only at
> megapixel count, I often talk about other factors that go into a digital
> camera's performance. As a general rule, I rank them as:
>
> 1) Lens quality
> 2) CCD size
> 3) pixel count
>
> How do you tell newcomers how to assess the zillions of digital camera
> choices out there?
>
> --
> It Came From Corry Lee Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.
> http://www.unclaimedmysteries.net


 
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