Some Basic Digital Camera questions

txtom50July 6, 2011

I have a Kodak easyshare C183, 14 mp camera. I've been using it for a couple of months and am finally smart enough to ask some questions.

I email a lot of pics, but always wind up reducing the size so as not to be sending really large pics. Is it better to shoot the original at 10-14 mp and then reduce the pics, or shoot at 1 or 2 mp?

Why is there such a delay after taking the picture until the camera is ready to shoot again? I have the camera set to record to the 2 gb SD card. Somebody told me there are different kinds of SD cards - all I've seen in the store are SD and high capacity SD.

What's a good picture size to use for posting on forums like gardenweb?

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Hi Tom and welcome to the Photography forum.

I have no personal experience with your camera so I opted to call up a copy of the owners manual to check some of the specifications, and I must say, for a point & shoot camera I was very impressed.

I will try to take your questions in order and I am sure others will follow with even more information.

Q: "Is it better to shoot the original at 10-14 mp and then reduce the pics, or shoot at 1 or 2 mp?"

A:..Digital cameras record pictures by breaking them down into microfine dots of colored light, then recording the position of those dots. The term MP (mega pixels) is defining how many million dots per inch that is actually being recorded. In photography we refer to the quality of the detail as the "Resolution" of the picture. In a nutshell, the more MP that are recorded by your camera, the finer the detail it records.

The question then becomes, how many MP do I need?

The answer here depends upon what you intend to do with the pictures. If all you really desire are 4x5 or 4x6 full frame photos for the family album, then in most cases anything in the order of 4 to 6mp will suite your needs but, if you intend to go into post processing (editing and correcting on the computer) you will no doubt want to occassionally "crop" a photo, which means you cut a smaller section out of the photo and blow that up to full frame or you may occassionally have a photo that you want to blow up to 8 x 10, 11 x 14 or even poster size at 24 x 36. In order for your computer to expand the image it has to widen the dots and when we begin to seriously enlarge an image we begin to see a loss in image quality and often microfine white dots, which are defined in the electronics industry as "noise". Technically speaking the noise is generated when the dots are expanded too far and the camera or computer is left with open spaces between the dots, which it fills in with a white dot, but you need not know all that. Just suffice it to say that the larger the output you desire the more MP of information you need to give the computer to work with.

Although nearly all cameras today are shooting in the 10 to 15MP range, even 6MP is sufficient to produce very good results for full frame images enlarged up to 8x10.

Having said all of that, it also depends upon the physical size of the digital sensor that is in the camera. Obviously even if they are both rated at 12MP a 1/4" wide sensor in a cell phone cannot record as much data as a 2-1/2" sensor in a professional DSLR.

Q:..Is it better to shoot the original at 10-14 mp and then reduce the pics, or shoot at 1 or 2 mp?

A. I would always shoot the photo at the maximum resolution. In this manner you will have an archive photo that can be reduced for email or printed to a larger size. When I want to post a photo in a forum I pull the photo up in my editing program, reduce it, then hit "save as" and give it another file name or an extension on the file name, by example, when I reduce a photo for email I give add the word email to the file name and save that as a separate file.

Q: Somebody told me there are different kinds of SD cards

A. Basically there are two types of cards, SD cards and SDHC cards, which are high capacity cards.

Tyically HD cards range from about 128kb to 2GB while the HD cards go up to 32GB and possibly more.

I checked the specifications on your camera and the internal software will support using both SD & SDHC cards up to 32GB although I personally don't use any cards larger than 4GB. You can buy 2GB or 4GB cards on Ebay for about $5 to $7 with free S&H, whereas a 32GB card is in the order of $80. I just find it cheaper and more convenient to carry a couple spare 4GB cards, although in all honesty generally even one 4GB card is sufficient for most of my outings. By example, when shooting my Pentax K10d (10.2MP) if I shoot in RAW mode, which produces the highest resolution I can get up to 175 photos on one 4GB card or if I opt to set the camera on the highest resolution in JPEG mode I can get 804 frames on the same card. If I were to select the lowest resolution in JPEG mode I could get 2366 frames on one card.

As you can see, if you were to get even one 4Gb SDHC card you could probably take your camera on a weeks vacation and never worry about running out of film, so to speak.

If you do shoot a lot of photos I would stronly encourage you to get a couple extra rechargeabe batteries. They take up precious little space in the camera bag, but there is no worse feeling that being somewhere and just as your ready to shoot, the battery is dead.

My camera will shoot over 700 frames on one battery, but I still never go in the field without two spares.

Q...What's a good picture size to use for posting on forums like gardenweb?

I use "Photoscape" to resize my photos for the web. The program is a free download from Google and in the editor mode it has a button marked "Resize". When you hit that button a window opens and you choose the width size you want. For the Web I generally hit the 900, which produces a photo at 900 x 598MP. (careful here, when you resize the photo be sure to use the "Save AS" and add an extension or give a new file name. This way it will not effect your archive photo.

i sincerely hope this have offered you some help and I am sure others will soon add more info.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 1:02AM
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Lazypup - thanks very much for your explanations. They clear up a lot of my uncertainties about digital cameras. Just looking at my pictures on a laptop, I can't see a lot of difference between the smaller mp pics and the 14 mp ones. I will download and try Photoscape and see how I like it. The software I've been using has become a little too "full-featured" for my needs. I've been resizing to 800 x 600 for email so I may stick with that - at least my sister has quit complaining about "loading up her smartphone with huge pictures."

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 6:16AM
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The difference between a larger high res photo and a smaller low res file can be seen on a monitor when both files are viewed at 100%.
The high res file is MOST important when you print.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:25PM
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