Digital Cameras: A Tool to Showcase Your Products and Services
The digital camera is the first real technological innovation since the traditional film camera. If you want to send pictures by e-mail or post special photos on your Web site, a digital camera is the best way to connect your images and ideas to reality! For exceptional photos and no messy mistakes, you need a digital camera. A digital camera allows you to see the image in seconds on the LCD screen. If the picture is not your best effort, just delete it and take another one--with no wasted film!
The benefits of using a digital camera are endless. You can save your favorite pictures and print them over and over again. With glossy photo-quality paper and a color printer, you'll never have to run to the photo shop or search through piles of negatives again. And if you have your own Web site--what are you waiting for? In the Internet marketplace, lagging behind current technology could mean a marked loss in potential sales. Showcase your products and services with the help of a digital camera.
How It Works
A digital camera is often point-and-shoot, similar to a traditional film camera. More complicated models will have directions in an easy-to-follow manual. The technology behind the digital camera is a little more advanced, however. Digital cameras record images on a tiny photoelectric semiconductor called a Charge Coupled Device, or CCD. The CCD turns the image into electronic dots, or pixels, which are stored in the camera's memory. The camera will then connect directly to your computer using a serial, parallel, or USB port so you can download images instantly.
When you transfer the images to your computer, you need to format them as .tiff, .gif, or .jpeg files that can be read by your desktop publishing or graphics program. Many digital cameras come with software that will let you preview your pictures and download only the ones you want. You can edit the flaws, change the brightness, fix contrast and color balance, eliminate red-eye, and erase blemishes. Express your creativity with special effects or backgrounds.
For your business, you'll want a digital camera with high resolution and bit depth to produce quality pictures. However, the higher the image quality you select, the more you can expect to pay for your camera. Resolution refers to the number of pixels that the CCD can store for each image. Most inexpensive digital cameras have a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, which is fine for general use. A camera that delivers higher resolution (and more pixels) will provide a larger image with finer details; however, these images will use more disk space. Higher resolution in a digital camera will cost more, but is a must if you need professional results for your business or Web site. The highest-resolution cameras available today are megapixel (million pixel) or superpixel (more than 2 million pixel) cameras. They generally cost between $800 and $1,500. (The Fuji SuperPixel MX2900 sells for under $800.) Keep in mind that high-resolution images will take longer for viewers to download.
Top-quality photos devour enormous amounts of your camera's memory. However, you can compress digital images so they will occupy less space. Saving your images in .jpeg format will save you a lot of space, because .jpeg files record as analog data instead of bitmap. Maximum compression of your images will make room for more photos, but can compromise quality. So, you might want to get a camera with a choice of compression ratios to allow more flexibility. With compression options, you should be able to publish photos in everything from the church bulletin to your company's annual report.
Don't forget to check the compatibility of the image files stored on your camera with the graphics program you're using. Virtually all programs can use .jpeg or .tiff formats, so those are safe choices.
A digital camera wouldn't be complete without a liquid crystal display (LCD). A liquid crystal display will allow you to see the image both before and after you shoot. Then if it doesn't look the way you want it, you can delete it from the camera's memory immediately. The best part of an LCD is that it allows you to browse all the shots on your camera and delete the ones you don't need, saving room for more great pictures. The Olympus D-340R is a digital camera with browsing and an LCD.
If you're taking action shots, remember that digital cameras can take from two to thirty seconds to store each image. If you want to take pictures quickly and repeatedly, be sure to select a model that's speedy enough to fit your needs, and be willing to pay more for a faster camera. The Agfa ePhoto 780C, for example, can process images in less than two seconds.
Choose the design of your camera wisely. Take your comfort into consideration. Do you wear glasses? Maybe you should select a model with an LCD that can be held away from the face when shooting. If you'd rather look through the viewfinder in the traditional manner, make sure the camera you choose has one. If possible, try the camera out before you buy. The Kodak DC280 Zoom is a digital camera that does not sacrifice comfort and will feel like your familiar 35mm.
To zoom or not to zoom? Inexpensive digital cameras come with fixed-focus lenses. While these cameras will work well for pictures of small groups or landscapes, they tend to distort close-up shots. A digital camera with a zoom feature or add-on lens will produce sharper images close up.
Choose a digital camera with the type of port you need to connect with your computer. You'll get a choice of parallel, serial, or USB connections depending on the camera's specifications. USB (Universal Serial Bus) is becoming the new plug-and-play standard in peripheral devices. Driver installation and setup is a lot easier with USB than with parallel or serial devices. USB features a 4-pin plug that is very small and easy to insert, and devices can be plugged into any available USB port on the computer. If you have a Macintosh® computer make sure the camera you choose is compatible. And, if your computer has only one serial port that is occupied by a modem, you'll need to select a parallel port or USB camera.
You'll need a software driver for your digital camera. This is the program that allows you to transfer photos from your camera to the computer. Find out if the camera you want to buy has a stand-alone program or an industry-standard TWAIN driver? A TWAIN driver acts as part of your operating system, allowing you to import images directly to your computer from your digital camera without leaving your software application.
Digital cameras designed for home and business use range from $150 to $1,000. But if you take pictures for your Web site or business, you'll save a bundle on film and developing, at the same time avoiding the hassle or cost of scanning. Choose the features that are most important to you and then think of your purchase as a great investment.
A digital camera for your small business is within your grasp. You too can produce digital images that will amaze your clients. Your digital photos will change the way customers see your products and services. Shock your family and friends with your beautiful, flawless digital prints. The possibilities are endless with a digital camera!
Reprinted with permission from www.egghead.com.