Nikon Coolpix 950 1600 * 1200, 367k

Digitale fotografie

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Nikon Coolpix 950

The first camera i really owned was a Nikon 950 coolpix. Ultimately it didn't produce pictures as good as the Sony DSC 505, but i was looking for a smaller camera, one that could do with standard batteries, was faster than the Sony and didn't use that damned MS. And the 950 fitted just in the pocked of my 501. Another feature of the Nikon compared with the Sony is that the Nikon produces smaller file sizes. Oh, yes, it's me on the picture. One of the last i took (numbered 4061) before selling it for a 990.

Resolution

When you buy a camera, you will be asked which resolution you want. The resolution is the 'grain' of digital photography. It's the number of photocells (we call them pixels AKA picture elements) in the camera. We are not talking in thousends, but in millions. Each digital picture is composed of small elements (like chemical molecules, you can't split them further). One pixel contain encoded information (like a CD, the information is purely digital) for the red, green and blue color component. A red pixel will have values of 255-0-0, a white pixel 255-255-255, and so on. The magnitude of a pixel color is limited to 256 values (read above about the differences between digital and film cameras). Storing pictures in RGB format is not the most effective one. Video-recording, where you have a very limited bandwith uses a much better storage method, splitting the information in a high bandwith luminance channel and a smaller bandwith chrominance channel. High end digital cameras are pushing their own format for storing pictures without losing too much magnitude, resolution and subtle gradations.
It's very important to know that a higer resolution camera (higer number of pixels) will not necessary produce a better picture. For normal use, 3.3 megapixel is enough. However, cameras with a lower pixel count tend to have bad lenses, slow autofocus,.. Years ago, a 3.3 megapixel camera was top-notch, now (in 2005) no shop owner would sell you a 3.3 megapixel camera. But higher resolutions mean that you need more light (since they are more light-hungry pixels). Using a high-pixel camera will result in more noise, whereas a lower-pixel camera will produce fine pictures. Ultimately, the number of pixels is not important: the lenses are most important, the available features, the speed, ... anything you could name.
In all digital cameras, you can select a smaller resolution than the native high resolution. If you are sure the following pictures will only be used on a display, you can store your pictures at a smaller resolution.

Nikon Coolpix 950 1600 * 1200, 321k

Sony DSC 505V 2240 * 1680, 578k
When coming to our shop, some people ask us how to keep the batteries in good condition.
  • The first rule (and it applies to all types of batteries) is to avoid over-discharging the cells. Digital cameras and other electronic appliances will shut down before this point is reached, but leaving the batteries in the appliance will further discharge them beyond their safe limits (because a camera continuously drain some power, even when not operating).
  • If you don't use the batteries for some time, charge them before storing them (outside the appliance and charger) to avoid that the cells become too depleted.
  • Cycle the batteries (complete charge, discharge and charge) to reactivate them if they were not used for some time. The whole refresh operation will take some time, so be prepared!
  • New batteries also need to be activated before reaching their full capacity. Charge the battery for at least 8 hours.

It seems to go without saying that you always can reduce the resolution of a picture by resampling or cropping it afterwards, but the reverse is not possible. You can't recreate details that were not saved. But if you are running low on memory, switch your camera to a lower resolution and you'll be able to take some more pictures.

Sony DSC-505V

The Sony DSC 505V was actually a 505 with a 3.3 megapixel sensor used instead of the standard 2.1 one. Because the sensor was larger, only part of it could actually be used, resulting in a net 2.6 megapixel resolution. Some digital processing was also done, resulting in a very high pixel count, but of course that didn't translate into higher resolution (look carefully at the picture on your right). It was just past noon when the picture was taken, resulting in a very high contrast level, one that the camera couldn't render (both houses in the middle of the picture are over-exposed).
Look at this picture and compare with a last-generation camera.

Batteries

Most important when buying a camera: the batteries. Without one, you won't be able to take one single picture. Batteries are also the only component prone to wear. I've had them all, from the lead-acid batteries used in vintage videocameras to the last generation of lithium-ion batteries.
JVC GC-S5
Hardware
Showing your pictures
Sony DSC-F505
Digital vs. Chemical
Compression
Nikon Coolpix 950
Resolution
Sony DSC-F505V
Batteries
Olympus Camedia C3030
Nikon Coolpix 990
Action pictures
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Sony DSC-F707
vs.
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Nightshots
ON4CHL
Nikon 5700 vs. Sony 707 vs. Nikon 990
Nikon 5700 features
Comparing the Sony DSC-F828 Nikon 5700 Canon 300D Sony DSC-F828 Nikon 5700 Nightshots and flashlights Comparing the Sony DSC-F828 and Canon 300D Portrait photography with the Sony DSC-F828 and Canon 300D Mannelijke modellen en fotografie