Talking to digital camera novices about choosing a camera.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Unclaimed Mysteries, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. 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
     
    Unclaimed Mysteries, Aug 12, 2006
    #1
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  2. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Guest

    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.
     
    , Aug 12, 2006
    #2
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  3. On Sat, 12 Aug 2006 17:07:43 GMT, 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?


    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
     
    Daniel Silevitch, Aug 12, 2006
    #3
  4. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Guest

    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.
     
    , Aug 12, 2006
    #4
  5. Unclaimed Mysteries

    VK Guest

    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
     
    VK, Aug 12, 2006
    #5
  6. 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
     
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Aug 12, 2006
    #6
  7. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Guest

    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.
     
    , Aug 12, 2006
    #7
  8. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Bob Williams Guest

    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
     
    Bob Williams, Aug 13, 2006
    #8
  9. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Marvin Guest

    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.
     
    Marvin, Aug 13, 2006
    #9
  10. 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
     
    silverthreads, Aug 13, 2006
    #10
  11. Unclaimed Mysteries

    no_name Guest

    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?
    >


    Probably can't. Get a good idea for yourself what are good quality, cost
    effective digital cameras in a range of different prices and just
    suggest the good ones.

    i.e. "if you want to spend this much, this one or that one is a good
    buy, but stay away from this other one ..."

    Then if they ask why, explain about quality & cost/benefit ratios ...
     
    no_name, Aug 16, 2006
    #11
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