More than just megapixels—what you need to know about your digital camera’s core component
At the heart of every digital camera is an image sensor, a silicon chip that contains millions of tiny light-sensitive photodiodes. Each photodiode produces a pixel of the captured image, and the number of pixels (resolution) is the horsepower spec that gets the most attention. However, the quality of the final image isn't determined by the number of pixels alone. When comparing cameras and their sensor specs, you need to do more than merely count megapixels—there's a lot more about sensors that you'll want to consider.
Cameras and housings perfect for poolside
Whether you're content to shoot from shoreline or want to dive in to snorkeling or scuba, with the right accessories, your camera also can come along, without fear of damage. Underwater housings protect your gear from the elements—even the salty seaside air can wreak havoc, and sand is no friend either. So before you hit the beach, get your photo gear a swimsuit, too.
- July/August 2008
Toolbox: Wide Zooms
Get an exciting perspective on portraits, scenics and more with these zoom lenses
Wide-angle lenses display their merits in many different situations and are highly desirable for any photographer. Specially designed optics make them perfect for capturing large expanses in landscape photography or big groups of people confined to tight areas. When you further combine wide-angle lenses with the flexibility to zoom, their appeal suddenly becomes even greater.
A Cloning Primer
Use these tips to master the subtle power of the Clone Stamp tool
No matter how hard you try to keep everything looking good in the picture area, sooner or later something creeps in that doesn't belong. Visual trash creates a distraction from your subject and your composition. It keeps you from enjoying your photo as much as you'd like, and every time you look at the image, that junk just seems to taunt you.
Try this software solution for a jolt of creative inspiration
Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, in addition to other digital image-editing programs, offer photographers many filters and adjustments to expand their creative horizons. The creative process can be enhanced further by using plug-ins.
July 2008 Helpline
Bang For The Buck
About a year ago, you helped me decide on an SLR camera, and I love it. I've taken a short camera class only to learn there's so much more to learn. Now I want a versatile lens, so I can carry just one lens with me. I'll need a zoom (150mm to 300mm?) as I'm sure to be far away when I want to take pictures of tennis players and capture action shots. I know from friends that the lens can't be too long or you can't take it into sporting events, and I need a lens with stabilization. Also, I teach first-grade speakers of other languages, and I enjoy taking their pictures, too.
Pro Tips: Black-And-White
The classic look of monochrome is as popular as ever. Here’s how to get the best results.
Getting good black-and-white prints used to mean mixing batches of chemicals, being secluded in a darkened room, calculating exposure times, dodging and burning, then finally watching an image magically appear out of the developer soup onto a sheet of paper. While digital photography made it easier to get images without the effort or cost of processing film, it wasn't until the last few years that software applications and, more importantly, inkjet printers were equipped to handle the ever-growing desire of photographers to create and print black-and-white images that rival—or sometimes exceed—what once was the domain of the traditional darkroom.
Pro Tips: Turning Pro
How a course in photography inspired big changes
A mid-career switch from electrical engineering to photography wasn't exactly what Paul Kline had in mind when he began taking pictures again. But photography is how he makes his living now, with corporate and editorial clients demanding his services, including Random House, The New York Times and Ketchum.
For the best image quality, focus your sharpening on the areas that need it most
Digital photos typically need some sharpening in Photoshop to bring out the original sharpness of the scene as imaged by the lens. But not all photographs have everything in sharp focus, so they don't need overall sharpening.
The Need For Speed
Must-know techniques for capturing fast-paced action
My guess is that most of you won't be in a situation where you'll be photographing a subject speeding toward or past you at 220 mph, but that's exactly the challenge for Barry Zeek, who specializes in capturing lightning-fast motor-sports action. You may, however, find yourself photographing fast-moving subjects such as darting birds, dashing animals and running athletes or skiers, high divers, snowboarders, skateboarders and wakeboarders flying through the air. Shooting action can be tricky, but with these tips, there's a much better chance that you'll come home with successful images.