Digital Cameras and Photos

Buying a Digital Camera

First look at C/net All Digital Cameras and choose the top five cameras in your price range (see filters at bottom of page). Click in the compare box on the left of those selections and go to the bottom of the page and click the Compare button. Pay close attention to user comments. Choose Printer-friendly format and print out these alternatives (in landscape). If you are so inclined, you can use the links below for further information.

If you buy locally, you are going to pay retail for your camera plus taxes. I buy all of my cameras through mail order but chose the companies I deal with carefully. Do not use the companies that advertise in the back of photo magazines. A good place to check prices is here (you'll need to turn on cookies for this page to use your zip code to compute delivery charges.) Check out the companies here.

- Compare CompactFlash card prices here before buying elsewhere. If you have a 2 MP camera and are going on a vacation and won't be downloading the photos for a week, buy a 256 MB card. If you will be downloading daily, a 64 mb card will probably be big enough. If your camera is larger than 4 MP and/or takes video, consider getting a 512 MB card. Don't waste money on a high-speed card unless you are sure your camera can go that fast (most cameras can't). In an emergency, buy a card locally (Target, Walmart). I haven't found brand to make much difference.
- Buy extra batteries and charger here. For a stonger external battery, buy this.
- Buy a Zio flashcard reader for easier downloads. has them bundled with flashcards.
- Buy your camera case locally (Target, Walmart).

If you need to undelete photos from the flashcard, get this software for free.

Digital Photo

PC Photo Review
Imaging Resources

Online Sites
External Battery Pack
Digital Imaging
Yahoo Links


All comments are related to photos of people, not scenery, and are based on my experience with my 4MP Canon camera.

- Green landscape is best photographed in early morning when everything is still moist.
- Usually, photographs taken outside are better.
- Pay attention to the source of light. People photograph better in the shade with the sun behind you unless you are going for special effects. The photo below is fine because it is late in the afternoon.
- Center the people in the photo. If you get too close, the photo may be fuzzy. Too far and you have to crop a bunch. In the example below, I could have been closer when I took the photo but not so close that I disrupted the moment.
- Pay attention to the background. The photograph below would have been better with something more attractive behind it and without the burp pad.
- Hold your hands as still as possible. It takes a digital camera longer to take a photo than a non-digital one.
- Don't take pictures of people eating.
- Most women look better with makeup on and clean hair.
- Practice before you go on vacation.
- My rule of thumb is that I need 12 pictures of the average person to get one good photo.

Software & Printing

I use Ofoto to professionally develop photos although Walmart might be a good local option. I find it cheaper to have photos professionally printed than to do it myself on a cheap printer that costs $100 a year in ink and paper.

You may want to get good software to edit your photos. At the high end is Photoshop ($570 but more than you need for home photos), in the middle is Paint Shop Pro ($80), and at the low end is whatever comes with your camera and the free software you get at Ofoto.

Using Photoshop to Edit Photos

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