Monday, August 29 presents
Rick Sammon, Professional Photographer

What to look for in a Digital Camera
November 22, 2000 Guest Editor Rick Sammon has used all types of cameras to bring back great travel and undersea pictures. Those shots have appeared in Popular Photography, Sport Diver, and Caribbean Travel & Life. Rick explains what features to look for in a new digital or film camera.

Page 1 of 8 Go Digital cameras are hot this year. And a new film camera lets you preview your pictures with a built-in LCD screen. But how do you choose which camera's right for you, or for gift-giving? You can spend up to $1,000 on a digital camera, but should you buy more camera than you need? Tonight, we'll ask pro photographer Rick Sammon to help clear up the confusion. Rick,'s guest editor, will answer your questions about buying a camera this holiday season - whether you're interested in a Kodak product or someone else's.

Rick Sammon: I just want to say welcome, everyone. I am here to help you - let's ask away!

Par4: Rick, is it a good time to go digital? What about my 35mm camera?

Rick Sammon: There's never been a more exciting time to be a 35mm photographer or a digital photographer. Digital cameras have advantages such as the instant preview on the back of the camera (although now the new Kodak Advantix Preview camera has that feature). Other advantages include instant gratification - seeing your pictures on your computer monitor - and instantly being able to send your pictures around the world or around the neighborhood. The advantage of 35mm cameras is that you can use great slide films and great print films for publications in national magazines and for making big enlargements. I shoot both.

Eve's Bayou: When looking at battery chargers for digital camera, NiMH batteries, some chargers mention that it is important to discharge the batteries completely before recharging them - and offer that option on their chargers. Is this important? I've seen many chargers that don't offer this. Any ideas why?

Rick Sammon: Usually discharging the batteries is a good idea. And you can do this by just using the battery in your camera until it runs out of power. Sooooooo, it's always important to have an extra battery or batteries. From personal experience, the new Li-LON battery seem to last much longer than AA batteries. Still, I always have an extra battery.

Destiny's Child: Is the Kodak DC3400 Digital camera suitable for a beginner to photography? Or is there a simpler version?

Rick Sammon: That's an excellent camera for a beginner. It offers a zoom lens, easy hookup to your computer, and auto focus. What's nice about that camera is that it's a 2-megapixel camera. There are less expensive cameras, such as the Kodak DC215, but my son, who is 9 years old, uses the DC3400 and loves it.

Sternchen: I just got my Nikon Coolpix 990 and I discovered that I need an external flash. Which external flash do you recommend? I don't want anything too expensive or complicated - just simple enough to add enough light for the photos. Any recommendations?

Rick Sammon: There are several flashes out there at different price ranges. What you really need to do is think about your needs and budget. Choosing a flash is like choosing a camera. It's a personal decision and you really have to evaluate all of the specifications before you make a decision. An external flash does offer more creative picture-taking opportunities.

Steph: Rick, do all digital cameras cost a fortune or can I get a decent one that doesn't cost $500?

Rick Sammon: You could spend around $10,000 for a digital camera and get great pictures. You could spend around $300 and get a nice digital camera, such as the Kodak DC215. The important thing to look at is the number of pixels. If you are only going to use pictures for the web and for emailing, you don't need a 3-megapixel camera or even a 2-megapixel camera. You can buy an inexpensive digital camera. However, if you want to make beautiful prints at home on your printer, I would recommend either a 2-megapixel camera or a 3-megapixel camera. The higher the number of pixels, the better the picture quality. If you are going to be serious about photography I would recommend at least getting a mid-range digital camera because those cameras also have wider zoom ranges.

Page 1 of 8 Go

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