People have lots of questions about digital photography. Here are some of the more common ones and answers to them.

1. Is digital photography right for me?

Only you can decide if switching to a digital camera will work for you. It all depends on what you plan to use your camera for. If you’re planning to shoot pictures of your family at home and on vacations, you can easily buy a $100 camera and be very happy with the results. Digital photography is much less expensive since you won’t have film and processing costs. The cameras are also lightweight, making them not only convenient but fun to use.

2. Do I have to be a computer geek to use a digital camera?

The inner workings of a digital camera are essentially a tiny computer. And the process of downloading organizing and manipulating the images is a computer process, so a basic knowledge of computer processes is essential. Using a digital camera without knowing how to operate a computer is like dancing without knowing how to walk.

3. Is digital photography expensive?

While you won’t have film and processing costs, you’re initial outlay will be for your camera and extra storage media cards. Beginner cameras start as low as $80. Storage media cards start at $25US for 64MB. If you shoot a lot of photos, you should plan on buying a 128 or 256MB card or two.

4. What’s the best way to get started taking digital pictures?

If you’re planning on shooting digital photos for fun, you should start with a 2.0 megapixel camera. The images produced by this size camera will allow you to make 4 x 6-inch prints. But if you plan to E-mail or post your images to the Internet, a camera with 1.0-1.5 megapixels will do nicely.

5. Should I buy a digital camera now or wait until better ones come out or the prices go down?

Modern computer devices often exist for just a few months before obsolescence sets in. But changes in digital cameras have begun to slow down. In fact, camera design and controls are beginning to level off and become standardized which means that you can buy a camera, confident that it will serve you well for several years.

6. Which digital camera should I buy?

You should buy the digital camera that first, will fit your needs, and second, will fit your budget. It’s easy to overbuy technology today, given the hype in advertising. If you’re an average person who has been using a point-and-shoot 35mm camera, then you should buy the digital equivalent–a totally automatic, easy-to-use camera.

7. Are there any digital photography courses I can take?

Yes. While there aren’t a lot of good digital photography courses at the moment, there are some. If you do take a course, make sure you take one that’s longer than one session, like the ones offered by Bob Brooke at various locations in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Digital photography isn’t easy to understand for the novice, and the knowledge and guidance of an expert will help you tremendously.

8. I want to share my digital photos with my family. How can I do that?

With family members living so far apart today, you can easily share your digital photos either by E-mail or by uploading them to online photo albums. If you have a large number of photos, say from a vacation or a family reunion, the latter method is best.

9. Is digital "film" harmed by airport X-rays?

Unlike traditional silver-based film, digital storage media is unaffected by airport X-rays. However, since they’re computer-based media, any magnetic source will affect them.

10. Are digital cameras affected by extreme heat and cold?

Yes. Depending on the degree of extreme heat and cold, your digital camera may act strangely or not operate at all. Remember, the heart of your digital camera is a computer sensor. Being so, it, like other computer parts, can be adversely affected if you use your digital camera in very hot or very cold weather. Also, don’t leave your camera your closed-up car on hot or cold days.

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