Digital or film?
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Photography and the web
What camera - digital
There's no point having a state of the art, gizmo-laden, multiple-mode camera with a billion lens if the thing's so bulky that you don't take it anywhere with you, or it's so expensive that your knees start to shake whenever anyone comes within half a mile of the thing.
It's important to get the right kit for the job, so if all you want to document is the staff of urban75 getting drunk at the pub, you'd probably be better off with a cheap, compact, auto-everything camera - preferably a waterproof one!
If you're after photographing something more interesting (what isn't?!), then it's worth looking at cameras that offer more advanced features appropriate to your needs.
If you're after a bit of social realism, sneaky features like swivelling lens will let you capture subjects blissfully unaware of your photographic intentions, while the man-sized zoom lens on Sony and Panasonic digicams will let you live out your voyeuristic fantasies from a safe distance.
If you're really serious about your photography, we'd strongly recommend that you invest in a dSLR - like the Nikon D50/70 or Canon 350D - which generally offer far better handling and performance than an 'all-in' digicam, with the interchangeable lens ensuring the system can grow with your needs.
Most of the more expensive digital cameras offer varying levels of control over exposure and it's really worth fiddling about with them - you'll learn more about photography by experimenting with different settings than letting some all-whirring wonder camera work it all out for you.
Some of the cameras also offer the ability to make short MPEG movies which are ideal for web use. Don't get too excited by cameras offering 'digital zoom' as it's utterly pants.
You can achieve exactly the same effect in any decent photo package (Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop etc.) by simply cropping the area of the image you want and interpolating (resampling) it back up to the size you require.
Make sure you get a camera you feel comfortable with - if looking like a junior member of the paparazzi isn't your thing, invest in an ultra compact that will fit in your pocket.
» DPreview: camera reviews/comparisons
» DCViews: camera news and reviews
» Imaging Resource: digital camera info/reviews
» Unbiased reviews, prices and advice on Digital Cameras
» Digital Primer: Choosing a Camera
Article © Mike Slocombe 2001
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