Monday, October 8, 2007

Buyer's Guide 2008: Digital Camera Accessories

Gear and gadgets to make your photography more productive, rewarding and creative

Like hard drives and processors in computers, bigger capacity and faster operating speeds are the trend with memory cards. 8 GBs are common these days, and SanDisk now has a 16 GB CompactFlash card with a read/write speed of 20 MBps. Amazing!

How much room you'll need on a card depends on your camera, how much shooting you typically do and what mode you prefer to shoot in. If you use JPEG, you'll get more mileage, but even JPEGs fill up a card quickly when shooting multimegapixel images. If you shoot in RAW or TIFF, space gets used up much faster.

To give you an idea, an 8-megapixel D-SLR at the highest resolution in either RAW or TIFF format records files that are about 23 MB. One gigabyte equals 1000 MB, so a 2 GB card can record about 87 images. A 4 GB card holds about 174 images, etc. If your camera is 10 or 12 megapixels, the file sizes are even larger at the highest resolution, so you'll use up memory much more quickly.

With the handy OmniPod camera support from Kirk Enterprises, you can put your camera anywhere—on the ground, a rock, a wall or a tree branch. The 9x4.5x1.25-inch base easily fits into most camera bags and provides stable support for any D-SLR, even with a long tele-zoom lens attached. The OmniPod is available in two configurations—bundled with a QRC-2 quick-release clamp or with a standard threaded screw to attach directly to your camera or lens.

If you want a simple way to determine what ƒ-stop to select to achieve a certain depth of field, the ExpoAperture2 Depth of Field Guide is a helpful tool. It instantly shows you the relationship between focal length, focus distance and aperture so you know how much of your image will be in sharpest focus before you snap the shutter. You don't have to wait until you get home and see the images on a large screen, and suddenly realize the depth of field isn't what you wanted.




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