Cheat Sheet

Digital Cameras & Photography For Dummies

You may already have your first digital camera, or you may be ready to get a new one and are looking for some guidance on what type of digital camera to buy. Or maybe you’ve taken a few pictures with your new digital camera, and the results were less than stellar. You can most likely fix them during editing.

Comparing Digital Camera Types

Shopping for a digital camera is like choosing any device. You can carefully weigh multiple criteria considering expert reviews, or you can buy the blue one. All cameras have features that will be more or less important to you. The following table breaks down the pros and cons of each digital camera type.

Style Cost Pro Con
Basic Point and Shoot (P&S) $125 to $250 Small size. Simple operation. Perfect for snapshots. Limited features/flexibility.
High-end P&S (bridge cameras) $250 to $500 Multiple automatic and manual modes. Powerful zoom lens for getting closer to distant subjects. Larger than basic P&S.
Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) $500 to $5,000 Large photo sensor yields high quality images. Faster operation. Interchangeable specialty lenses (macro, telephoto). Takes time to master. Expensive.

Amazon is a great source for reviews from real people who have used a particular product. For professional reviews of digital camera equipment, visit CNET and dpreview.com.

Editing Your Digital Photos

When you’ve been taking photos with your digital camera for a while, you may not always be thrilled with the outcome and may wonder, “Can this photo be saved?” The answer is often “Yes.” Use the tricks in the following table to edit your digital photos in your favorite photo editor.

Function Explanation Recommendation
Resize Reduce large photos. For e-mailing or the Web
Auto adjustments Automatically perform standard fixes, such as the ones in this table. Let the program make the decisions.
Crop Select an area of the photo to keep while deleting everything outside that area. Crop photos to emphasize the subject.
Red-eye fix A flash causes red-eye or red spots in eyes. Convert red spots into black pupils with this function.
Exposure adjustment Adjust photos which are too light or too dark. Fine tune brightness, contrast, shadow, and highlight.
Straighten Fix photos that show a tilt. Adjust along horizontal or vertical lines.
Panorama Shoot a scene that is too wide or tall for one photo. Stitch separate, overlapping photos together into one.
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