Basic info about Digital Cameras Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers
When thinking about a digital camera you need to consider: the camera, memory cards, rechargeable batteries, a battery charger and possibly a card reader if your camera doesn’t come with one.
When the megapixels of a camera are quoted, they are talking about the size of the picture you can take, 8 or 6 megapixel cameras can at the highest setting, take photos that can be printed out to a large poster size, a 2 megapixel camera takes a photo at the highest setting that can be printed to an A3 (double the size of a piece of photo copy paper)
So by just reading that last paragraph you can already tell that a 2 megapixel camera will meet almost all your needs; after all how many people have the money to print their photos at poster size (this cost about $60 per image last time I looked). So if you are looking for a digital camera to take the place of your old instamatic get a camera that has low megapixels: 2 – 4 megapixels will suit most people’s needs.
Spend any spare money you have on memory cards, rechargeable batteries and a good battery charger.
Most of the smaller megapixel cameras are ‘point and shoot’ which means just what it says; you point the camera at whatever you want to take a photo of and click the shutter. The camera auto focuses, and auto everything’s; most of the time if you have a steady hand, you will get a fairly decent photo.
The really wonderful thing about a digital camera is you only pay for the very best photos to be printed, and just delete the blurry ones.
I mentioned memory cards; memory cards are sort of like the films in old cameras, except they are reusable. So if you buy a memory card or memory stick for your camera that can hold say 100 photos; you take those 100 photos, download them onto your computer, delete them off the card, and you can then go out and use that memory card over and over again.
I brought my first digital camera about 6 years ago, and have kept over 40,000 photos, using the same 3 memory cards. I would have deleted at least twice that many all taken on the same cards.
Memory cards come in various sizes again depending on how many photos they can hold, E.G. a 250 meg card will hold about 300 photos at the largest setting on 2 or 3 megapixel cameras.
That’s the size that could print out as large as A3 size if you wish; although even if taken at that size, they will print as well at the old 3×5 inch size.
Different cameras take different amounts of batteries but most take one, two or four batteries.
However many your camera takes; it’s good to have one set in the camera, and one newly recharged set to take with you as a back-up.
Also a good practice is to keep a set of normal batteries, just in case. Rechargeable batteries lose their charge if left in the camera for weeks at a time, whereas you know, normal old batteries will last for years if the aren’t touching each other.
NiMH rechargeable batteries are the type you should consider buying.. These come in different sizes too; the higher the number the better the batter the battery. the ones I have seen are 1600, 2000, 2300, 2400, 2700, so the 2700 are the better ones to buy; they last longer in the camera, meaning you can take more photos before you have to change them. (the numbers you see are electrical measurements that depict capacity: 2700mAh means 2700 milli-amp hours; what it comes down to is the higher the better)
Battery chargers also are very different. At the moment stay away from chargers that take less than an hour to charge; some charge batteries in 15 minutes and apparently they heat the batteries up so much you can be burned taking them out of the charger. Apart from getting burned, that sort of heat cooks the batteries also.
Any charger that takes longer than an hour to recharge the batteries is fine. It depends on what other features you want the battery charger to have. The two chargers below are ones I most recommend to people.
The one hour worldwide charger: It will charge 2700 AA batteries in about 90 minutes. This charger accepts 100 to 240 volts and comes with adaptor plugs for use around the world. It costs $47.
The Ultra Fast Anywhere charger: It will charge 2700 AA batteries in about three hours. This charger costs $42.50 and includes 240 volt, 12 volt car cigarette and computer USB power input options (this is the one I have). You can also buy overnight universal chargers that cost about $14. With these chargers; the higher the battery capacity the longer they take to charge (up to 12 hours for the large capacity batteries).
Memory card readers:
Using a memory card reader is very worthwhile; as downloading photos straight from your digital camera will suck all the power out of your batteries. With a memory card reader, you take the memory card out of camera, push into the reader, which is usually smaller than a cigarette package, and then just download from the reader to your computer. Again a memory card reader costs very little; the start around about $10.
For $350 at most you can have a digital camera and all accessories you need, to take thousands and thousands of photos. A rough breakdown of cost is a low 2 or 3 megapixel camera is about $250, a couple of 250 MB memory cards around $70, two set’s of 2700 Nihm batteries $15, a battery charger $45 at most, and a memory card reader $10, if you are reading this article you probably have the computer, so that’s all you need.
Your biggest decision is which camera to by. I suggest you visit a place like Dick Smith or Radio Shack. Pickup and hold the cameras; some are so little they are hard to hold steady, others are an awkward shape and are not comfortable in your hand. Remember when you are looking for a digital camera ask the assistant to show you the point and shoot cameras; some digital cameras have so many settings and things to change you need a pilots license just to get a photo of your moggy; and in fact they take so long to turn on, and get the right settings your cat has left the building before you can take the photo.