Digital Camera Requirements
- Web site search to review pictures (both realistic and test patterns)
taken by others and look out for spherical distortion, line aliasing,
graininess, and jpeg artifacting/banding/smashing.
- Stick with one of the major name brands.
- 5-6 megapixel is 35mm film equivalent.
- Larger image sensor chips. Larger ones are typically better than
- Real optical zoom. Preferrable 10x. Straight digital zoom is worthless
and a low-blow selling point.
- Real lens, larger size, non-distorting (no spherical problems). Larger
lens usually collects more light for better pictures indoors.
- Macro function for very close up imaging.
- Good low light level handling (no grainy pictures with room lighting).
- Built in flash with red eye reduction (usually multi/burst flash
- Real battery pack consisting of AA's or AAA's. Good battery run time.
No funky battery packs at all (expensive, can't swap out, never find after
discontinued). AA or AAA batteries allow for the ubiquitous rechargables
and their chargers.
- External power supply (wall wart) so batteries can be bypassed for
long term and time lapse pictures.
- Real manual focus option that is easy to use (auto focus can be brain
- Common and easy to find flash memory chip. This allows for easy
upgrades and multiple chips for more picture taking without having to stop
and dump. Also allows for standard card reader. Chips that come with
cameras are always too small and will be immediately upgraded to something
- Standard USB option that allows for easy transfer of images off the
flash chip and into the computer. The USB option should be smart enough to
also allow the camera to show up as a generic storage device without
having to install funky drivers on every computer the camera connects to.
- Good RAM buffer in the camera for multiple and rapid succession
picture taking (saving 1 at a time is SLOW). This often isn't directly
advertised but shows up as taking 6-10 pictures in rapid succession.
- Raw image save option (usually TIFF) for high quality, lossless
- High quality compressed save option (usually JPEG, "Fine Image"
setting) for normal picture taking at smaller file sizes but without the
JPEG compression noise.
- LCD view finder that can show focus and can actually be seen and
usable in daylight.
- Standard tripod mount for camera (screw in at base).
- Built in self timer for family pics. Time lapse option for effect
- Movie recording a plus, but these usually don't look very good. A
still camera is for taking pictures, not videos. Just like a video camera
is for taking videos and not high quality stills. Eventually the two
technologies will effectively merge, but it will be awhile.
- Automated scripting and programming is a plus.
- Make sure any text overlay on the image can be disabled. Getting
numbers and date stamps permanently burned into a picture is rarely a