Monday, August 13, 2012

Digital Photography- Introduction

Digital photography is a form of photography that captures images focused by the lens by using light sensitive sensors as opposed to an exposure on light sensitive film. The captured image is then stored as a digital file ready for digital processing (colour correction, sizing, cropping, etc.), viewing or printing. Until the arrival of digital technology, photographs were made by exposing light sensitive photographic film which used chemical photographic processing to develop and stabilize the image. On the other hand, digital photographs can be displayed, printed, stored, manipulated, transmitted, and archived without chemical processing but uses instead digital and computer techniques.

 The camera's sensor exposed 
Undeveloped Arista black-and-white film, ISO 125/22°

The tool used for digital photography is the digital camera itself which takes video or still photographs by recording images on the electronic image sensor. Most cameras sold today are digital which are incorporated into many devices ranging from PDAs and mobile phones (called camera phones) to vehicles.

The Two Types of Digital Cameras

There are two general “types” of digital cameras:
Comparison of DSLR and digital point and shoot

       a. the digital equivalent of a “point and shoot” film camera
       b. the lens is built into the camera and can’t be removed. 
       c. the viewfinder does NOT look through the lens- doesn’t allow you to see what the lens is seeing

       a. the digital version of the now ancient standard 35mm camera
Leica I- 35mm camera, 1925
       b. lens can be removed from the camera and, 
       c. when you look through the viewfinder, you see what the lens of the camera see.

Advantages of a DSLR:
1. Provides sharper and more crisp images (assuming you use high quality and expensive lenses). 
2. Better handle to challenging light conditions (sunset or for night photography)
3. Offers more flexibility to meet a demanding photographers needs due to the ability to swap out lenses.

1. a steep learning curve, 
2. photographs that are often WORSE than if you let the camera itself take the photo (auto setting), 
3. weight and bulkiness
4. high cost.

For a discriminating photographer who is even a bit knowledgeable with digital photography, the advantages provided by a DSLR camera are considerable. You need not be an expert to appreciate the photographic options the device can present especially if it was bought with a specific purpose in mind such as to support a hobby (scale model photography, on line business photography, etc.) or even digital photography itself for business or pleasure. In order to make the most of the expensive equipment you bought, you should not only be contented with using the auto function of your camera. If this will be the case, you might as well just buy and inexpensive point-and-shoot camera which may as well serve the intended purpose. Going beyond the auto function of your camera may require some work, learning and effort on the part of the user. Take note that without the extra effort of learning, it commonly happens for DSLR newbies to take WORSE photos than they took with their “point and shoot” digital cameras initially. Only by taking the time to experiment and learn how to fully utilize a digital SLR camera will a photographer truly reap the benefits of using digital SLR cameras. 

It should be considered also that for most people, DSLR photography and the learning curve it entails can be more of an overkill. If your only purpose is to take effortless, decent, sharp images without planning to go beyond aiming and shooting your subject, then you do NOT need a digital SLR camera. Majority of “point and shoot” digital cameras nowadays take wonderful photographs right out of the box. Combined with a basic knowledge and application of photography composition principles, most people would discover that images taken with an ordinary  “point and shoot” would me more than enough to meet their needs- at a fraction of the cost of a DSLR. Come to think of it, only if you plan to do photo printing (not just viewing them on your computer) does the sharpness of the photo even matter. 

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