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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Digital Cameras Save Grandparents Big Bucks

Digital Cameras Save Grandparents Big Bucks
Actually a digital camera can save anyone big bucks if you take lots of photos. My biggest source of photos is my grandchildren. The adage of enough typewriters and monkeys and you get Shakespeare holds true with digital cameras. If you take enough photos, eventually you will get some good ones. Digital cameras allow you to take lots and lots of photos.

I have had lots of digital cameras. My most frequent brand is Canon, due to their offering of swivel screens on some models. My knees are not what they used to be, a swivel screen allows me to hold the camera at arms length down and shoot at the level of my grandkids. Equally at a Halloween parade, it allows me to hold the camera over my head (and the people in front of me) with the screen pointing down and I can still see what I am trying to photograph. Now there are other manufacturers that have swivel screens but not many and I haven’t any experience with them. The Canon line has served me well. The A95 shown has taken a boat load of photos and held up to a lot of travel. The S5IS I just purchased was what I used to take the photos of the A95.

I worried when I got my first swivel screen as to it's durability. I have had no problems with any of them and on occasion I even slip the camera without case in my pocket. No issues yet!




The S5IS is reviewed at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_s5is.asp

I find this a great site for a very detailed review. It will definitely help you find the features you are looking for in a camera. The swivel screen was my first requirement and then I wanted the most megapixels with the best optical zoom I could get and not break my financial back. I found cameras with greater megapixels and longer zooms but the Canon S5IS was the best compromise I could find that had the three features that were most important to me, swivel screen, 8 megapixels and 12X optical zoom. The A95 still works great but the 3X optical zoom just doesn’t cut it for soccer games or gymnastic class.

This photo was taken about 80 yards from the action.

I wanted something that would let me get up close and personal for both. I blurred out the faces with Paint Shop Pro from Corel which if you don't want to spend the bucks for PhotoShop is an excellent graphics package.


I got the best price I could find from a web site that was rated well by http://www.resellerratings.com/

US1camera.com was the site, price was good, delivery time was superb and the camera was as advertised.



Generic information on digital cameras.
Use the camera to get use to it. You can’t waste any money because it is digital. The best way to get used to the camera is take lots and lots of photos in varied conditions.

Read the manual.
I know that sounds so obvious but take a look at the number of manuals you have laying around that are still shrink wrapped.

Photo Transfer
Is the most frequent question I get about digital cameras. How do I get my photos out of the camera and into my computer. Most likely your camera came with a USB cable to plug into your computer and download the photos. READ THE MANUAL and it will tell you how to do it. Personally I use flash card readers to do it. I pop out whatever type memory card is in the camera, pop it into my flash card reader and move the photos that way. Works just like a cd, dvd or if you can remember back that far, a floppy disk. Flash card readers can be picked up anywhere for $10.00 or less. I got my last one on eBay for $7.00.

Photo Resolution
Many articles tell you if you are only going to be using the photos on a computer, take them at lower resolution and save the storage space. The problem with that is if later you want to do a print out you have a lousy photo. Storage space has gotten very cheap. I got a 2gb SD card for $12.00 after coupons and savings. So take the photos at the best resolution your camera will give you.

Power Hungry
I carry as spare set of batteries with me whenever I use the camera. I use NiMh batteries and recharge them. The regular alkaline seem to die rapidly in a digital camera and NiCad batteries give up the ghost too soon. I have had very good luck with the Energizer brand of rechargeable NiMh batteries. I have had mediocre results from the Lenmar brand batteries. Get a rapid charge battery recharger or you will despair over how slow the “normal” charger works. I am very happy with the Lenmar Mach1 Speedcharger Gamma that charges four 2500Mh AAs in about and hour and 20 minutes. It is $20.00 and free shipping at Vanns.com I have never purchased from Vanns but they rated well.

Printing the Photos
There are many, many photo printers on the market. Before buying one, check the prices on the consumables. The printer is the least cost item on printing photos, the ink and paper are the biggies. I use a Epson Stylus Photo 2200 that does an acceptable job with photos. The Epson paper provides the best results. I have tried the generic paper, HP paper and others but obviously Epson engineered the ink and printer to do the best on their paper. The photos are not perfect, they are good but if you want better you can use one of the online services. I have used http://www.snapfish.com/ and had good results. $0.12 per photo isn’t too bad. The best part is that after taking 200 photos I can pick out the ones I like and only get them printed as opposed to my old 35mm where I had to pay to get prints that were terrible.

Summary
If you have kids or grandkids, you are nuts if you don’t have a digital camera, you can save time, money and get lots of great photos for peanuts.

2 comments:

Cynthia said...

tweeting this today on http://twitter.com/techy_gran thanks!

ibpurpledragon said...

Thank you for the positive feedback!

Bill

 Money Saving Tech Tips