Your Questions About Manipulating Digital Images

Daniel asks…

How important is a working computer in digital photography?

I think having a working computer is just as important as having a great camera. I mean if you have a bad computer or no computer you cant download your pictures, you cant edit your pictures, I mean edits like cropping and truing pictures black and white (I don’t need a speech about how this is not photography) also you can’t post your pictures online if you don’t have a computer. What do you think, how important is a working computer in digital photography?? Thanks!!
Oh if you are wondering why I am asking this question it is because my computer does not work very well and so I am having a hard time doing photography, read this for more info

Pip answers:

It is not only important but “essential”.

Where else can you display, print, store, manipulate, transmit and archive your pictures if not in the computer?

Of course to complement it you also need a good digital imaging software.


Not Free:

You need a decent computer with lots of memory and large storage space and a good internet connection to upload your pictures to the Internet.

George asks…

whats wrong with the digital camera memory card if it has a lock button symbol?

Ok so Im asking this question again cause i didnt get any responses so hopefully someone can help. My friend gave me her digital camera card to develop some of her photos but when I went to view the photos there were these small white lock symbols on some of the photos. Can someone please let me know what to do to get rid of them and what does this mean? Im trying to download some pics for her and her friends but shes away on vacation and gave me the responsiblity. Any Digital photographer experts please help! thank you

Pip answers:

If you can’t view the photos because of a little white lock on it – it usually means that the photos were locked by some photo editing software application, probably the one that came with the camera. The images may also be password-protected and/or encrypted. If they are – you won’t be able to view or copy them without access to and permission of the software application that imposed the security restrictions.

If they are just locked (restricted from opening/viewing) – try this workaround to be able to view the locked images:

1. Connect the camera to your PC via one of its USB ports.
2. Open Windows Explorer, and look for the camera. It should appear as a USB drive or external storage device.
3. Double-click on the device name. That will open a folder showing the contents of the device (the camera).
4. If you don’t see individual image file names, like 091006.jpg for example, then the pictures must be in one of the folders on the camera. Double-click the various folders until you find the individual picture files.
5. Right-click on the folder (or select individual files) and select “Copy”.
6. Minimize the Windows Explorer window so you can see your Windows Desktop.
7. Click in a blank spot on the Desktop, right-click and select “Paste” from the menu.
8. Open the newly-copied folder on your desktop, and double-click on one of the files to see if you can view it now.
This should enable you to open and view the image files you just copied. If this doesn’t work, then you need to try to remove the security restrictions on the image files. Try this:

1. Select the file names of those pictures that are locked (Press and hold the Ctrl key and click on the individual files names). This will highlight them, which means they are selected.
2. Right-click on the selected filenames and select “Properties” from the menu.
3. Select the Security tab.
4. In the “Permissions for Administrators” box, select (check) “Read” and “Write”. Then click the OK button.
5. This should give you the rights (control) to open and view them, as well as be able to copy them.

If none of the above works, then you will need to install the software application that came with the camera, and use it to view and manipulate the images.

Good luck.

Susan asks…

How? Do you think it is possible for poor people to enjoy photography as well?


I should have been more clear and asked if it is, “possible for poor people like me to enjoy photography”?

Pip answers:

There is a great wealth of fine photography available on the Internet, in books, in museums, in galleries, and in private collections which are opened to the public at times.

Many of these venues are free to the public or can otherwise be accessed at special times at little or no cost. The public library system, indeed almost every library – schools and colleges – makes books and computers available to all who apply. Much advertising is done to entice people to attend gallery shows where admission is free (there might even be some refreshments in the bargain.)

So to ask whether or not poor people can enjoy photography seems to me a moot question with the answer being: certainly! And it is not difficult to do so either with the plethora of venues available.

Now, perhaps you are asking whether or not a less than affluent person can gather the necessary technology to enjoy taking part in the production of art through photography. You have not made yourself clear in your question.

However, the answer is that all but the poorest people can enjoy producing photographic art. Cameras are available used and are quite affordable. I recently purchased a very fine digital camera (point and shoot 3.1mp Olympus C3000Z) for a friend who desires to get into photography. It cost $23.00.

It is in perfect condition and is every bit as good as the one I bought 6 or so years ago for nearly $450.00.

She has a computer already but if she didn’t, she might purchase a used one at any thrift store and it would be sufficient for her to load, store, and manipulate digital images. It won’t be the latest or the best, of course but it will be useful and able. That might cost between $25-75. Complete with monitor and hard drive.

She would need software to manipulate her images. All of the software necessary to do a very creditable job of image manipulation is available as open-source or otherwise free software. I am speaking of such programs as GIMP, and FastStone, and Irfanview, among others. All free and quite able.

If you could scrape together around $100.00 you could have a setup to do digital photography. I know that not everyone can even afford that much, certainly the poorest in this country (the US) or, for that matter, the rest of the world, would not be able to afford that much.

But, people who cannot manage to put that relatively small amount of money together in order to purchase the necessary hardware have much more to concern themselves with than whether or not they can take part in the enjoyment of photography. They must be much more concerned with simple survival on a daily basis.

Still, in many cases they can enjoy photography in the vicarious manner that I discussed first in this long but thoughtful answer to your question.

Hope this helps you to understand your options.


Donald asks…

What’s the difference of shooting in RAW vs. Jpeg on a digital SLR camera?

I just got a Canon xti digital SLR and I was told by the salesman to shoot in RAW because that’s best for editing, but I’m not sure I understand the difference between RAW and Jpeg. I’m going to Tokyo soon and I want to take the best pictures possible. Does RAW necessarily produce the highest quality? I would basically be uploading to my computer and printing the pictures in 8x10s. Also, I’m assuming its easy to switch between RAW and Jpeg on the same memory card, etc. I’m also going to try and take some pics for HDR, which it seems RAW is most appropriate. Any information about the differences of these formats and what I can do to produce the best quality would be great!

Pip answers:

Well, in my opinion, You should maybe use the RAW..
Here’s why.

A Raw file is…
• not an image file per se (it will require special software to view, though this software is easy to get).
• typically a proprietary format (with the exception of Adobe’s DNG format that isn’t widely used yet).
• at least 8 bits per color – red, green, and blue (12-bits per X,Y location), though most DSLRs record 12-bit color (36-bits per location).
• uncompressed (an 8 megapixel camera will produce a 8 MB Raw file).
• the complete (lossless) data from the camera’s sensor.
• higher in dynamic range (ability to display highlights and shadows).
• lower in contrast (flatter, washed out looking).
• not as sharp.
• not suitable for printing directly from the camera or without post processing.
• read only (all changes are saved in an XMP “sidecar” file or to a JPEG or other image format).
• sometimes admissable in a court as evidence (as opposed to a changeable image format).
• waiting to be processed by your computer.

In comparison a JPEG is…
• a standard format readable by any image program on the market or available open source.
• exactly 8-bits per color (12-bits per location).
• compressed (by looking for redundancy in the data like a ZIP file or stripping out what human can’t perceive like a MP3).
• fairly small in file size (an 8 megapixel camera will produce JPEG between 1 and 3 MB’s in size).
• lower in dynamic range.
• higher in contrast.
• sharper.
• immediately suitable for printing, sharing, or posting on the Web.
• not in need of correction most of the time (75% in my experience).
• able to be manipulated, though not without losing data each time an edit is made – even if it’s just to rotate the image (the opposite of lossless).
• processed by your camera.

These differences lead implicitly to situations that require choosing one over the other. For instance, if you do not have much capacity to store images in camera (because you spent all your money on the camera body) then shooting in JPEG will allow to capture 2 or 3 times the number you could shooting in Raw. This is also a good idea if you are at a party or some other event afterwhich you want to share your photos quickly and easily.

On the other hand, if capacity is not an issue at all (1 GB and 2 GB flash cards are getting cheaper every week) you might consider shooting in Raw + JPEG, just to cover all the possibilities. If you cannot or do not want to do any post processing, then you simply have to shoot in JPEG. Taking a picture in Raw is only the first step in producing a quality image ready for printing. If, on the other hand, quality is of the utmost importance (like when you are shooting professionally), and you want to get every bit of performance your DSLR can offer then you should be shooting in Raw.

That being said, I know many professional photographers who do not shoot in Raw for one of two reasons: 1.) they don’t know how, or 2.) they don’t want to take the time to process the images afterwards.

Lisa asks…

Is a 1a filter appropriate for digital photography?

I believe they were origianly designed for film. I am confident that it would not hurt my images, as they also have uv protection.

Taking a little blue out of the light to some is a complete waste, but these people seem to think that photoshop is something that always needs to be done. I tend to think that taking the correct shot in the first place is far more important. Some 1a filters, perhaps all also have a slight salmon color cast to them, I could see that as rejectionable.

Anyway, I would like you opinion.
I believe a 1a is a skylight filter.

Pip answers:

Filters are useful. They manipulate light, not bits of data. Think of them as music before cd’s. Vinyl will always sound better than digital. Why? It just does. Digital loses the ‘ambiance’ of a recording in the sterilized translation.

But that being said… Today’s dslr’s allow lots of different settings like custom white balance, rgb levels, hue and saturation and contrast controls, etc. Learn to use all your cameras features. If you’re on a budget, you may be able to eliminate a few costly accessories from lots of photos.

It takes a lot less time and produces much better results to get it right in the camera than it does to photoshop any image.

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Your Questions About Digital Photography 101

Mark asks…

Anyone know of any GOOD FILM photography classes in the Atlanta Area??

I tried searching but I guess I am just getting confused. Everything is coming up Digital 101 and things of that nature… if anyone knows of any good FILM photography courses I can take in Atlanta please let me know.

Pip answers:

Try your local community college, or parks and rec department. They both offer various photo courses out here.

IF those dont work, go to the source. Contact a few pro photogs, tell them your interested in film (the old guys will love to hear that, hehe, (joking, everyone, hehe) ) and ask their opinion in local schools.

Thomas asks…

Can you suggest a good site that explains how to do layering with PhotoShop?

And preferably easy to understand.

Pip answers:

I have been using PS for 6 years… I recently took a class from this guy and learned even more GREAT techniques!! It was well worth it! instructor Richard Lynch (copied from Instructor information)

After years of pushing pixels for fun, and with a long history of amateur photography and darkroom experience that stretched back to grade school, Richard Lynch began a career in digital pre-press, layout/design, and image editing as the editor of a photography book publisher in 1991. Since the mid-late 90s, he has written 7 books of his own on digital image editing for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, including his popular book series: The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements. His books teach advanced techniques for image editing and provide custom-made tools that simplify the most difficult image editing processes and make them accessible to anyone.

Richard has been a columnist for Digital Photography Techniques, has written for Popular Photography, PCPhoto, and Advanced Photoshop as well as other magazines, and has taught digital rendering at Daemen College in New York. His newest book, The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book, is a great companion to his Leveraging Layers course on

Richard’s photography tends toward the abstract and experimental, often using extreme editing processes and unusual equipment. His Sigma SD10 sports a range of common Sigma AF lenses, but can be fitted with an old bellows, extension tubes and an assortment of M42 screw-mount lenses from 18mm to 2300mm. He feels that digital has opened the creative aspect of photography to anyone with the will to experiment.

See more about Richard’s books and tools on his Web site for Photoshop Elements users: and Photoshop:

Richard’s four courses on serve as a series:

A beginner-level introduction to Photoshop: Photoshop 101

An intermediate-level course for mastering Photoshop / Photoshop Elements color management Photoshop Color Workflow

A second intermediate-level course dedicated to core imaging correction techniques Correct and Enhance Your Images

And an advanced-level, specialized focus on using layers Leveraging Layers: Photoshop’s Most Powerful Tool
You can start anywhere in the series, or follow it from beginning to end!

Richard has a free Newsletter/Blogto all who are interested in bettering their skills with Photoshop. He also blogs on’s BetterBlogs.

Listen to Richard talk with Jim Miotke in a two-part interview covering his perspective on image editing: Part 1, Part 2

Learn from Richard Lynch with an online photography class here at

Leveraging Layers: Photoshop’s Most Powerful Tool
4-Week Short Course: Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer
4-Week Short Course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
4-Week Short Course: Correct and Enhance Your Images
Richard Lynch’s Web Site:

Mary asks…

What DSLR camera would take 3v lithium batteries (CR2)?

I have a Nikon N65 SLR at the moment…gonna upgrade to digital once I finish with this photography 101 class. I bought a set of four rechargeable 3v lithium batteries for it, and I was wondering if anyone knew of a DSLR camera that would use the 3v whatevers? Or if anyone could suggest how I could find a camera that would take it? Many thanks!

Pip answers:

I dont think any DSLR take CR2 batteries. Have a look at entry level DSLR which are compatible with your lenses

Paul asks…

I want to direct movies for a living?

what is it exactly the directors do? create what the art of the movie looks like? like the background and stuff? they write the movie too right?
so.. Im screwed, Because I want to write the movies, design the backgrounds and etc. My favorire director is tim burton.

Pip answers:

The Art Director is responsible for the art of the movie.

The Cinematographer, or Director of Photography, is responsible for the look of the movie, as well as the lighting.

Think of it this way. When you look inside the movie camera, the director is responsible for anything that moves… Sometimes this even includes the camera.

A director who writes is sometimes referred to as an “Auteur”. An Auteur can also be a director who has a personal style that is easily recognizable.

Here is what you should do to get started:

1) List your five favorite movies. Look each one on IMDB.COM.
2) Research the director of each movie, and list one or two other movies directed by that person.
3) Watch one or two other movies directed by that person that you haven’t seen.
4) What do you notice that all of these movies have in common? Those things that you notice is what a director does.

Once you’ve established what a director does, get yourself a digital camcorder. They are less than $200, and fit in any budget, even if you are in college or high school or even middle school. Just start filming story ideas in your head. If you really want to get technical, you can google how to write a screenplay or how to storyboard or edit, but that isn’t really necessary at first. Just have fun with it!

I disagree with Emmy. First of all I must amend my original statement — the person ultimately responsible for the “look” of a movie is not the Cinematographer, and not really the Director, but the Art Director (albeit with much collaboration with the Director).

The Producer, not the Director, is responsible for the overall production.

The Director has the last word on every creative aspect of filmmaking. However any worthy Director is smart enough to know that the key to doing their job successfully is in hiring the write Art Director, Cinematographer, and Actors, and allowing them artistic freedom, and directing them to integrate their work into the production.

Think of it this way — Star Wars is known as much for its music as for its SFX. But would anyone doubt that John Williams created the original music? Or even that Ralph McQuarrie’s designs were ultimately what ended up being the “look” of the entire saga? George Lucas hired the right composer and designer because he knew that whatever they contributed would be perfect for his movies.

My answer was tailored specifically towards the Asker and not trying to define “Director” according to some Film Studies 101 textbook.

Chris asks…

Is the EASYSHARE Z8612 IS Digital Camera a good camera?

I was thinking about buying it, but i can’t find any pictures taken with it.. So i don’t know if its good or not…

Pip answers:


Any camera in the hands of a capable photographer will produce some great things. The easyshare is a good Point and Shoot camera, there really aren’t too many bad ones out there. The link above proves this camera isn’t shabby.

I’m not sure I would say a camera was bad because it cracked or stopped functioning properly when dropped. Seems a bit unfair yes?

Having a good grasp on photography 101 and various techniques will help this camera put out some great images. Human error is what makes this camera a bad camera.

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Your Questions About Canon Digital Camera Driver

Sandra asks…

Can you use a Canon Powershot a480 as a webcam?

My friend wants to use her digital camera as a webcam so we can chat but we’re not sure how to do it. We want to use it to chat on gmail, can anyone help us? Thanks.

Pip answers:

If your friend has the original software cd that came with the camera, there should be a mention of this if the camera is capable of this. Most ones that I have owned that are a simple usb interface can be used as a webncam, a still camera and a video camera when connected to the computer. There may be a driver that needs to be loaded to enable this so check the software and manual for more information.

Carol asks…

How to use my digital camera as a webcame?

I just got a Canon PowerShot A540 4X Digital for graduation. I was told from someone that I can use my digital camera as a webcame too. Is that possible? If so, how do I install it to my computer. I have tried several times to bring up the webcame part of my camera but it seems like it doesn’t work. Yes, I have installed the software (CD). To let you know, I have a XPS 400 Dell computer. If any one knows how to do help in any way I would be more than happy. Thanks!

Pip answers:

Where u try using cam as web? Yahoo? Aol and does ur cam have live recording not just still shot and u might need to uninstal ur driver and reinstall u might of gotten currupted install even though ur camera taken pics still ur web partion might got corrupted

James asks…

What kind of digital camera should I get?

Now I have been reading that those megapixels are not always ”bigger the better”. My old broken camera had 2 Mp and it was very good for me. Now the cameras have 8 mp in the stores. Is that too much/?
Also had 1600×1200 pixels image. What siz should i get now? What is this comparec to the other megapixel thing?
And i want the camera to still be compatible with my old pentium 3 PC, with win 98. What specifications do I need for that?

Pip answers:

Canon sd1200
the camera cd will have all of the drivers on it

Robert asks…

How do I use my digital camera as a webcam ?

I have a Canon Powershot A620 and I would like to use it as a webcam. Would it be possible ? And how would I be able to use it as a webcam WITHOUT using Zoombrowser EX.

Pip answers:

Can this camera be used as a webcam?

The answer to this VERY common question is nearly always “No”.

Read your manual – if it was possible, you can be sure your manual would tell you how to do it.

Even if you COULD find the necessary drivers, software etc, why would you even WANT to use your still camera (think of all the wear and tear on camera and batteries), when a $20 web cam does a perfectly wonderful job of it and can remain all hooked up and ready to use?

Had you bothered to do a quick search, you would have found MANY answers to this.

Chris asks…

How can I use my digital camera as webcam?

I own a SONY HX100V and a canon Powershot A3100. I have windows 7, 500 GB HD, 2 GB RAM on my PC. I think there must be some way to use a digicam to use as webcam. Any advice please?

Pip answers:

Check sony website for some drivers that can help you use it as webcam

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Your Questions About Digital Cameras For Dummies

Sandra asks…

If I buy a high quality digital camera on ebay or amazon etc. what are the chances that?

the camera will be in good working condition and will last for a good few years?

Pip answers:

Some retailers are in fact offering goods on eBay, for example here in Canada the very reputable Henry’s Camera puts some pretty good deals there. But eBay really is a bazaar with a variety of sellers, some of them quite good and others selling used or damaged goods. I’m finding recently that prices between good retailers (on sale) and eBay are pretty close for most items.

It’s post Xmas and you should be able to get a good deal on new equipment from Amazon, B&H or other established sellers. You don’t say if you’re specifically interested in used equipment, which can also be a very good buy – since so many dummies are buying DSLRs who have no clue what to do with them and sell them back – but of course the reliability of used equipment is only as good as the warranty and the seller’s reputation.

Steven asks…


I lost my usb cable for my camera.

Pip answers:

Walgreens sells a universal kit for all camaras

Mandy asks…

Is it illegal to record an area, much like a hidden camera?

i live in a condo where my packages are being stolen by a resident. this may be due to lack of surveillance cameras in the mailroom, ive reported this incident thrice to the police and talked to my condos association, which both were useless since they are ignorant, lazy and have no one as a suspect and obviously cant go inspecting a condo of 72 units.

before, telling me to leave it as hold in my local usps, ups, fedex or get delivery signature, i already do that to my packages since the first incident occurred couple months ago. but this Also happened to me last week again because some companies i order from not only do not have that option, there are occasional faults or delay in my purchases that require another shipping method that im not always informed on time via email by the companies.

i plan to stake out by the mailroom, which is right in between garage and lobby, the police nor ass-ociation wont do anything so i thought it be my best bet to catch this thieving culprit on video with my own camera.

so my question is, is it illegal to plant my digital cameras by both doorS? it is not a personal area, its the lobby and garage. and of course i plan to make the dummy package exclusive so that can tell its my own package in case there are other packages that day.

Pip answers:

You can place the cameras to record for security. Haven’t you seen those people who put surveillance outside there doors and catch people stealing boxes and the UPS guys throwing packages up towards the door and damaging the contents.

They put cameras up all the time for security its no big deal.

Nancy asks…

Which Cannon digital camera should I choose?

I want one in the price range of $500-800. I want one that takes real good shots. Or maybe you have a suggestion for another brand. Just anything will help! Also what is a SLR? What is it? What is good about these cameras?

Pip answers:

Not meaning to sound harsh, but if you cannot spell Canon correctly and do not even have a clue what a SLR is, then I think you having a SLR would be a total waste of money. You will more than likely never open the owners manual, just put the camera in full AUTO mode, (usually referred to as DUMMY mode), and expect the camera to do all the work for you and turn you into an instant “professional”. Sorry, that is not reality.

You need to invest in YOURSELF first. Take some photography courses, get some books on photography, get a friend who is a REAL photographer to mentor you.

Otherwise you will be throwing money away, then coming here asking, “why are my photos no good”?

By the way… SLR means Single Lens Reflex. DSLR means it is a Digital SLR. When you look through the viewfinder, a mirror reflects the image passed through the lens to your eyes. What you see is what you get. The cameras offer lens interchangability and complete control of exposure settings… Something you obvioulsy know NOTHING about, and that is why a camera like this would be a waste for you NOW.

Take the time to learn, then get the SLR. You will be able to USE it properly and will be forever thankfull you did it the smart way.


David asks…

I have a digital camera, and my pics are grainy. Can someone help me with settings?

My camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX07. I need help finding the right W Balance, Sensitivity, Pict Size, shutter speed and Quality settings for regular indoor pictures.

Pip answers:

The grain is probably noise caused by high ISO and underexposure. Shoot using a lower ISO and you will have less grain. Of course, that also means you will have less light. In photography your exposure is determined by the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO. They work as a trio. You can change one of them or all three to achieve different exposures, or get the same exposure with different affects.

As for picture size, always shoot using the highest resolution. It probably says large-fine, or something of that nature. You can always make a picture file smaller, but you can’t make it bigger.

White balance is the color temperature of the light. Some cameras do a fair job on auto. Most have presets you can choose in WB. Or you can set a custom WB for whatever lighting conditions you are working with. Indoors, tungsten lights are yellow, and produce pronounced reddish-yellow color cast in images made with no flash. Fluorescents make green or blue light. Using a flash should default to flash or outdoor on auto. Cloudy balance will warm your image.

As you may guess, all this stuff is not a thing you can learn by reading a few paragraphs here on Y!A. Start by reading your camera manual thoroughly. Pick up a book on beginning photography. “Digital Photography for Dummies” is a pretty good introduction for beginners. “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson is well worthwhile for any photographer’s library. You will get out of your camera and photography what you are willing to put in it. I understand the Lumix is a pretty good camera, you should be able to get nice results once you begin your learning curve. Best wishes.

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Your Questions About Backing Up Digital Images

Lisa asks…

why wont my DVD player play back my downloaded digital images.It just says ” NO DISC”-thanks?

Pip answers:

Most digital images are jpeg format, you need a player that reads jpeg

Robert asks…

digital image editing softwares?

I’m lookin for a photo editing software that you can enlarge a photo then you know when the pixels get to big the pic gets all blurred up i’d like a software that could clear it up without making the pic smaller without there being no other features if you no of any could you tell. :)

Pip answers:

Go to photobucket and sign up then on your albums page you’ll see a box saying upload files click on it then upload wich ever picture you want to upload when finished uploading go back to your albums page and you’ll see your picture there point at it (don’t click) then a scroll will pop up and choose resize then it’ll take you to the edit images page and there you can resize your image. =)

Paul asks…

what is a Phase One digital image capture systems?

Pip answers:

Phase One produces digital backs for film cameras. It provides and LCD system on the back so that you can see exposures, histograms, image information, etc. I believe Phase One only creates them for Medium & Large format camera systems.

You can find them on the web at

Donna asks…

What are the different choices for digital imaging?

Pip answers:

Camera choices range from $30 toys to $30,000 digital backs for medium format cameras.

The choices of image files saved by them are JPEG, TIFF and RAW

You can also scan images of photos into your computer.

What do you want to do with the images?

Maria asks…

What is digital imaging class?

I took 3 years of art in junior high (foundations, 2d, and art 9). My sophomore year I didn’t have room for an art class. So as a junior I am itching to get back to art. Could someone explain to me what digital imaging class is all about? I don’t have a lot of experience with photography. Thanks! :-)

Pip answers:

Digital Imaging Class (called Digital Media in my high school, and Computers in Art in my college) is basically getting your hands in on the digital focus of art. You don’t need to be an amazing photographer, I’m sure you’ll learn in your class, if that’s even it the criteria. There are several things you might learn about in that class. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator(and possibly even Flash). You might shoot and edit movies. You might learn to auto-tune things. It just basically matters what your teacher wants to teach.
I wish you the best of luck!!!

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Your Questions About Nikon Digital Cameras Wiki

Betty asks…

What are some basic rules or math for photography?

I just got a new digi cam I’m so excited but I want to take good picturesl.

Pip answers:

=D Nice! I remember my first camera!

It was a Kodak z740

Now I have a Nikon d300!


Ok, photography tips. First off, keep in mind that you’ll take two hundred photos and only keep fifteen of them. This is normal, and the beauty of digital. Don’t get discouraged, just keep taking pictures.
If you have an idea of something that you want to shoot, then do it, and when you’re done, take a shot from a different angle, or with different props, etc. Even if it wasn’t your original idea, you can come up with some surprisingly good results, just by forcing yourself to do something you hadn’t thought of.

Get a tripod. Even a crappy one. It will help tremendously in taking clear, crisp photos that aren’t blurry. For my $3,000 camera I could have spent $600 on a tripod at a professional store but I went to walmart and got one for $50 that’s just as good. (I hate WalMart, lol But the price is right.)

There are two general compositional rules in photography, and they’re quite simple. Go for symmetry, or go for asymmetry. Most times you’ll want asymmetry.
A photo that is perfectly mirrored on each side can be an absolute delight just because of how well it synchronizes with itself, but it is very difficult to pull off and keep interesting.
Most of the time, the Rule of Thirds is a good rule to keep in mind. This rule states that if you divide the photo up with two lines each way, make sure the subject of your photo is on one of the intersecting points. I know it sounds strange, but take a look:

Four: Just because it’s an amazing image, doesn’t mean it will make a good photograph. A good photographer is not one who can make a great image out of anything, but one who knows which images are great to begin with.
This is to say that you can’t make chocolate pie out of shit, so keep a close eye at what is happening in the image.
Here’s an example. On these next two images, one is cluttered and difficult to follow, while the other one has a defined focal point where your eye sees right away. I’ve included two from the same photographer (who I know) just to be fair to them.

Click images to enlarge:

You see that this image is way too busy. No real place for your eye to gravitate to, because of how much is going on in the picture. Very chaotic, not a great composition.
However, this picture:

is very well done. The colours are pleasing and there is a definite focal point that your eye looks at right a way. It also, for the most part, follows the rule of thirds. If it were me I would have taken a bit of the empty snow off the bottom and had the shack a little more to the left in the image, to get if farther *into* the image, but it’s still a lovely shot.

Four and a half:
We just talked about focal point, where your eye goes right away, but let’s look at focal movement. A good photo will want to grab the viewer’s eye, first off, then guide it through the rest of the photo.
Take a look at this image I created:

You’ll see that the first focal point, Brittany’s face, is almost directly in the center of the picture. This is not a bad thing, because of the focal movement that occurs after that. Your eye travels on an outward diagonal along her body, which creates movement, but also an off-balanced feel, which is good in this case. If I had her body laying horizontal or vertical the image would not be nearly as interesting, but as it is, she is lying directly across one of the Thirds intersecting points.
So after your eye travels down her body and along the lines on her corset, it stops at her hand, and wonders what she’s holding. Then, it travels back up her arm, over her shoulder, and across her other arm. This is more focal movement. At this point your eye looks at the rest of the image, which is this textured brick pattern that actually leads your eye back to the center, which is the first focal point. =)

Contrast. There are two types, colour contrast, and light/darkness contrast.
For colour contrast, I’ll save my fingertips and direct you to this amazing tutorial:
Light/darkness contrast is the relationship between different shades in the photo, how striking they are, and how well they balance. In the photo I just spoke about, there is intense contrast happening between the bricks and Brittany’s clothing, and her skin. This makes her skin really noticable, and therefore a natural focal point.
Here’s another example of high contrast:

There are points in the image that are bright, right next to those that are dark. The way it’s balanced, in my opinion, makes for a very striking photo.
I use light/dark contrast mostly when converting to black and white.

I’ll wrap up here, by saying that another very important part about digital photography is your monitor. Make sure it’s calibrated properly so the images you see on it will be as they should be. Research Monitor Calibration.

I hope this essay helped!! Lol. =D

Good luck! I’d love to see what you come up with.

George asks…

what the difference between 14 mega pixel DSLR camera and 14 mega pixel point and shoot camera?

hi i was wondering why there is big difference in price between both cameras that both for example 14 mega pixel, the point and shoot is very lower than DSLR PRo camera while both are the same mega pixel, does the DSLR 14 MP shoot clearer pictures than the point and shoot that also has 14 MP ?

Pip answers:

When it comes to cameras, size matters – sensor size, that is.

14 megapixels means that the digital sensor on each camera is divided into 14 million sectors. It’s the size of the sensor that makes the difference.


For example. You could buy a very nice Honda Accord with a 6 cylinder engine that gives you 278 hp. Or, you could get a Porsche 911 Turbo with a 6 cylinder engine, as well. Guess which one has more oomph? The Porsche will rock you back into your driver’s seat with 530 hp.

As you can see, the number of cylinders the engine is divided into is not the sole factor in the performance of the car. With cameras, the sensor size, the optics in the lenses (especially when you can use interchangeable lenses for different situations), the wider range light metering, and the full manual controls that let an experienced photographer maximize their skills win over megapixels.

Frankly, any well-made older 6mp dslr from Nikon, Pentax, or Canon will shoot rings about most 14mp compacts.

Daniel asks…

whats a good camera for a beginning photographer?

so i turn 16 in september and for my gift i want a nice camera, not like a digital one but like the canon type black ones. im not that experienced in the technical aspects of photography, but i love taking pictures. so whats a good camera that takes good pictures and doesnt have a lot of professional features? the cheaper cost the better. also be specific please as to models and stuff! thanks

Pip answers:

So the black type of camera you are talking about, is called a DSLR. DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex, which means there are a series of lenses/mirrors reflecting up to the viewfinder, which is that little glass square you look out of. The main difference between a normal point and shoot camera, and a DSLR, is that a DSLR has interchangeable lenses. You can have telephoto lenses, fisheye lenses, zoom lenses, etc… Now, I hate to use wikipedia, but you need to read this link to understand it more. Http://
The camera I recommend, is the nikon D40:

Good luck

Sandra asks…

How many megapixels does the world’s best camera have?

Pip answers:

I can only guess at how many pixels are in the two 1.5 million dollar digital cameras mounted on the largest binocular telescope in the world.


Here is the list of the “best” cameras made for everyone else.


As you can see, the “best” has just over 60 mp and the “next best” has only 25 mp.

As you go down the list from there you will notice that two of the Nikon 12 mp sensored cameras out perform the Hasselblad 11th place H3Dii50 which has a 50 mp sensor.

As you can see, just the number of pixels on a sensor is not the best way to pick your camera. The colour depth, dynamic range and low-light ISO performance are very important indeed.

It should not surprise you that Nikon, Canon and Sony rate as some of the best performing digital cameras … At least when it comes to full frame cameras.

The “sleeper” of them all, has got to be the APS-C sensored mid-range Nikon D90 coming in at 17 on a list of over 95 tested cameras

Joseph asks…

I want to take up photography?

I’ve always been interested in photography, and I’ve only used regular digital cameras. I was wondering which is a better brand to get, Nikon or Canon? Also I’d like my camera to have a screen that you can view the pictures on afterwords. Kinda like a digital camera, but with different lenses, and I would like it to be able to focus on different aspects of a picture, like the background/subject. I also want to be able to upload the pictures on my laptop.

Pip answers:

You are describing a D-SLR camera. See link below for the wiki. A Digital Single Lens Reflex.

Just a note – don’t feel that you have to stick to those two brands, there are other brand choices including for example, Pentax, Sony, and Fujifilm.

Look for an entry level model. Don’t go spending too much on a high end model – that will not compensate for your lack of skill or knowledge. Save some money to buy a decent lens instead (most D-SLR cameras come with a cheap zoom lens fitted called a ‘kit lens’. They are not the best).

You have lots to learn, it is an interest that grows over the years.

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Your Questions About Manipulating Digital Images

Paul asks…

I want to make digital surreal art collages. Is there any website where I can get free images for free use?

I’m just doing this as part of my own art work collection,
I’m not going to sell this. But, I am wondering if I am able to just get photos online or is there a website that allows me to where I am able to manipulate images together and without me having to credit etc.

Pip answers:

Wikimedia commons

All images are have the Creative Commons licenses. Also check out flickr and restric search to Creative Commons only.

Michael asks…

Is digital photography art?

I happen to love the method of creating art, and most digital photograpy seems to just not have it for me. A darkroom, chemicals, and a long strip of 35mm is what I want.

But I want to hear both sides. Give me your best arguement. Is digital photgraphy art? Is it a means to an end? Did it kill film? Is there any other way to do photographic art these days?

And if you side with me: what makes standard photography so special anyway? By the time it reaches product stage, what does it do that digital photography can’t?

Pip answers:

Have you embraced every painting you have ever seen? Every sculpture, opera, concerto? Just because a medium does not appeal to you does not make it any less of an artform.

If elephant crap and dead pigs qualify as art, why the heck not digital photography? Because the image can be manipulated with Photoshop after it’s taken? It still has to be taken in the first place. You can’t turn a photo of your bedroom wall into the Eiffel Tower at sunset. (But you can put the Eiffel Tower at sunset onto a photo of your bedroom wall if you’re creative enough.)

Have you ever seen the time and effort artists put into their Photoshop creations, transforming a handful of pixels into a representation of their vision? Does it mean less because they don’t come out stinking of chemicals?

Have you ever seen the artist whose computer just hiccuped, two hours into a project? Is it any less agonising than spilling your chemicals or having mom open the door at just that crucial moment and ruin your prints?

But none of that is relevant.
To decry any method or medium as capable of producing art is to totally fail to recognise that art is created by the human artist, influenced by the world around him, and freely expressing his thoughts, feelings, passions, ideas, vision.

Art is not created by the camera or the paintbrush or the cleaver. Art is created by man. The tools are just tools. The same piece of wood may be a walking stick or a crutch.

Did photography kill paints and brushes?

Did paints and brushes kill charred sticks and crushed berries?

Helen asks…

What do you prefer? digital or film?

i’m an oldie person, i love film cos developing pictures in the dark room is so much fun..its exciting to see how the pictures come out..but the downside is…if most of it is bad, you waste the entire film…this is why i’m gonna try out digital.
film as manual camera..i mean

Pip answers:

First off…I don’t know who this person who posted first is…but I’ve not heard that ,much bad information in one place in a long time.

Simply opening, copying, transferring a file does not degrade it. If you save a file with a lossy codec multiple times, the compression artifacts get worse and worse each time. If you are shooting in RAW, that is the digital equivalent of a film negative.

Film photographers have been manipulating their images long before a modern computer was even invented. W. Eugene Smith and Ansel Adams have been quoted as saying that a picture is not complete until they have manipulated it in the darkroom to the way they want it to be viewed. The only thing that Photoshop gives you is that it allows darkroom techniques to be applied to a digital image.

Now….after getting off my soapbox….

I have a film SLR(Nikon N90s). I use it as a backup in the unlikely event that my Nikon D50(digital) has a problem(battery dies, run out of memory, camera fails).
99% of the pictures i take are with my digital and I know of no one who can look at my prints and tell which camera I took the image from.

The N90s has a few features that the digital does not have: Faster shutter 1/8000 vs 1/4000, faster autofocus, depth of field preview, digital camera backs, vert. Grp.

In my opinion, film is a more expensive option right now. After you buy the film camera body and lens, you have to buy film. If you develop yourself, you have to have a darkroom and chemicals. If you don’t develop yourself, you need to spend that money on getting someone else to develop the film. You also take the chance that you may or may not get the shots you wanted because you can;t see what you’ve shot until after the film is developed. With digital, you can see immediately what you’ve shot and if it meets your expectations.

Do I need these things all the time. No, so I don’t miss them on the digital body.

It’s just good to know that the N90s can use all the same lenses, speedlights as the D50.

Sharon asks…

What should I know before buying a digital camera?

Pip answers:

You need to figure out what you want to accomplish with said digital camera. Are you trying to get professional looking images? Do you want something small, portable, and simple? Are you looking for the latest and greatest technology? Do you require something with special features, like resistance to water?

If you plan on printing big images and spending a fair amount of money, then you should be looking at digital SLR cameras. Canon and Nikon make the best dslr’s, I prefer Canon. Expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $8,000 depending on what you plan on doing with the camera.

If you plan on taking pleasing pictures with a minimal amount of effort then a point and shoot is right up your alley. You can get some great point and shoot cameras for anywhere between $200 and $1,000. Canon’s Powershot line are fantastic btw. I believe Pentax has a very performing underwater point and shoot as well. A review for Ricoh’s new point and shoot gave it great marks as well. It runs around $369 and will give you the optical zoom of a 200mm lense (which is huge btw). Disregard any mention of digital zoom on a camera as it simply means “Cropping” and is not actually zooming. Imagine taking a regular picture, cutting off a few inches and then blowing it up again to fill the frame. This is cropping. You lose a lot of detail and the result looks terrible.

Mega pixels are another consideration. At 5 megapixels you can generally print an image at 8×10 with little or no pixelation. Higher than that and you can print big posters, and crop in more without losing detail in your image.

Finally, if you are going to manipulate images, you want a camera that shoots in RAW format. Otherwise, any camera that shoots in jpg is amply sufficient.

Ken asks…

I want to know about the image enhancement.Can anyone help me?

As u know, when we try to zoom some small photos,they tend to lose the clarity.For example a picture of a man, the face does not appear clearly.So,how can i get the same clarity after zooming.Is there a tool or software for that? Please someone help me.

Pip answers:

Image processing modifies pictures to improve them (enhancement, restoration), extract
information (analysis, recognition), and change their structure (composition, image
editing). Images can be processed by optical, photographic, and electronic means, but
image processing using digital computers is the most common method because digital
methods are fast, flexible, and precise.
An image can be synthesized from a micrograph of various cell organelles by assigning a
light intensity value to each cell organelle. The sensor signal is “digitized”– converted to
an array of numerical values, each value representing the light intensity of a small area of
the cell. The digitized values are called picture elements, or “pixels,” and are stored in
computer memory as a digital image. A typical size for a digital image is an array of 512
by 512 pixels, where each pixel has value in the range of 0 to 255. The digital image is
processed by a computer to achieve the desired result.
Image enhancement improves the quality (clarity) of images for human viewing.
Removing blurring and noise, increasing contrast, and revealing details are examples of
enhancement operations. For example, an image might be taken of an endothelial cell,
which might be of low contrast and somewhat blurred. Reducing the noise and blurring
and increasing the contrast range could enhance the image. The original image might
have areas of very high and very low intensity, which mask details. An adaptive
enhancement algorithm reveals these details. Adaptive algorithms adjust their operation
based on the image information (pixels) being processed. In this case the mean intensity,
contrast, and sharpness (amount of blur removal) could be adjusted based on the pixelintensity statistics in various areas of the image.
Image processing technology is used by planetary scientists to enhance images of Mars,
Venus, or other planets. Doctors use this technology to manipulate CAT scans and MRI
images. Image processing in the laboratory can motivate students and make science
relevant to student learning. Image processing is an excellent topic for classroom
application of science research techniques.

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Your Questions About Saving Digital Images

Helen asks…

Jpeg image low res in inDesign for Mac?

Trying to create a masthead for a newsletter indesign assignment using Potoshop. I was told to save the created masthead as a jpeg then place it in the text box in indesign. But when I do it is all of a sudden pixelated. The res for it in photoshop was 300. Any way I can fix this?

Pip answers:

The the ppi/dpi does not determine the resolution of a digital image – the ppi/dpi is the output resolution, not the actual image resolution. Digital image resolution is determined by the number of pixels in the image. If you don’t understand the relationship with PPI/DPI and image resolution, you need to read this – The Myth of DPI

You can easily work out what size the image needs to be in pixels when you create it in Photoshop. Say you need something 2″ x 5″, then to work out the number of pixels you need just multiply each dimension by 300 (for 300ppi). So a 2″ x 5″ masthead would need to be 600 x 1500 pixels to display at the right size without pixelisation to be reproduced at 300dpi. You can then set the ppi in Photoshop to 300ppi if you want – but it won’t make any difference to the image resolution. You’ll know this already if you read my link on The Myth of DPI.

InDesign also has display performance settings that may be to blame. You might need to change the settings in InDesign to see the full high res preview of images you place.

To do that, in InDesign click Edit > Preferences > Display Performance > Set the default view to “High Quality”.

BTW for all intents and purposes Photoshop treats PPI as though it were DPI, (although technically they are not the same thing). I agree the whole thing is confusing, but if you read the link I posted all should become clear.

Ruth asks…

Should I save up for a Digital SLR or a nice Digital Camera? What is a good price range/brand?

I have a basic Canon Digital Camera. 8 MP. My camera LCD screen has a black hole-like thing taking over part of the screen now. I love taking pictures – mostly of friends and family – but, I do tend to take artistic shots as well. I don’t know if a Digital SLR is too much camera or worth the investment. I don’t really want to go much over $500. Please leave your opinions, links, pictures, price ranges and camera brands. Thanks.

Pip answers:

It really depends on how often you’re shooting those artistic photos or photos in difficult situations to justify a digital SLR. If you REALLY like shooting those artistic shots, and possibly do a little home printing of those shots…

The Canon EOS Rebel is a gorgeous camera and I’ve owned probably 10 Canon cameras in my day. Canon is reliable, you can change out its lenses easily, and its just a gem of a camera when it comes to reliability. It also fits in your 500 dollar price range;jsessionid=8B655A536F4B57D8C86AA13FED1D9DF3.bbolsp-app06-03?id=1214611419717&skuId=8929699

10 megapixels is also more than enough pixel power unless you’re doing enlargements the size of your bedroom wall.
The cons with a digital SLR is there is a bit of a learning curve if you ever put the camera in full manual mode. Yes you have the control, but sometimes you just dont want that much control of aperture size and fstops and shutter speed. GREAT if you’re shooting photos at night without a flash (invest in a tripod if you want to do these, trust me there, you dont want blurry photos) but really annoying if all you want to do is point and shoot.

However, if you’re looking for a great point and shoot digital camera. I love Nikon as well as Canon. Olympus, Kodak and Fuji also make decent cameras on a budget. Your 500 dollar budget would be no problem with these cameras and you’d have money to spare for additional memory cards, cases, etc.


The above Canon is 14 megapixels, more than enough pixel power, it has digital AND optical zoom features which are a must in my opinion for a digital camera owner. It also has a lot of bells and whistles for those family photo moments. It has image enhancers for those artistic shots you also crave. Its a canon, and its a fine camera for a price of half of your max budget.

Http:// coolpix&cp=1&lp=4
This is Nikon’s offering in the 14 megapixel range. Also has a bunch of bells and whistles, and is more than enough camera for your shooting needs.

Best of luck in picking out a camera that works for you!

Donald asks…

Gimp won’t let me save my brush, please help!?

I want to save my watermark as a brush, but I keep getting this error.
The mode is set to gray-scale, and I only have 1 layer, Does anyone know what the problem is?

Pip answers:

Error 1, mention grayscale or rgba, for b&w, you want to edit or save in image> mode> Grayscale, then save as gbr,

if with colour, add “Alpha” channel in rgb channel, right click on image or layer, and add channel,

for temporary use of brush, copy selection and use as stamp/brush,


James asks…

Mac Vs PC image format question.?

Most digital cameras save images to the memory cards as jpegs whilst some offer higher quality formats such as raw. Having downloaded a digital photograph to the Mac or PC what would happen each time that you resave a jpeg file and therefore why would you download a digital photograph from the camera and Save As a native .psd file within Photoshop rather than as a jpeg?

Pip answers:

These image formats are the same no matter what type of computer you are using. JPEG is a universal format. RAW may not be, each camera company does its own version.

However, regarding using a native .psd file vs. A jpeg is easy. Jpegs are lossy files. Each time you open, edit and resave a jpeg, the compression algorithm that the jpeg format uses throws away data. So you are essentially eroding the image quality each time you edit a jpeg. There is nothing you can do about it within the jpeg file, it is the nature of the way jpegs work. A native Photoshop file does not use any compression (which is why the files tend to be large).

Another reason for using a .psd file is that it supports layers, very useful when doing image editing. Jpegs do NOT support layers. You do have an alternative to the native .psd file, which of course cannot be uploaded to a website (generally) nor opened by other image editors (there are exceptions, I’m sure): that is to use a .tif (TIFF) file. This file type will also support layers. .tif files use a non-lossy compression algorithm; they do not remove data when you save them.

George asks…

Can I have digital images framed?

I have a downloaded high quality image that I want to frame. Are there any websites that you can send the image to and they will send it to you in a nice frame? Or would it be easier to print it out on some laminated paper and frame it myself?

Pip answers:

If you want it to look decent, it would be easier to save the pictures on some external device, take it to your local photo retailer like Black’s , or Henry’s and have them print it. I know at Black’s you can print stuff yourself using those standing kiosk’s (select size, crop, select what kind of paper you want). And at those places they have frames aswell. I’m not sure about websites that do printing and framing. Bon Chance!

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Your Questions About Nikon Vs Canon Vs Sony Digital Camera

Sandra asks…

Opinions: Which is the better camera, Nikon D200 or Nikon D80?

Despite having read numerous reviews I still don’t have a definitive answer and I don’t want to invest some $2,000 and then say “Opps” 10 days later so any insight you might have would be appreciated

Pip answers:

You have some great answers and I should leave it at that, but I already have this written from a previous question. Maybe there is something here that the others didn’t cover.

Nikon D80 vs. Nikon D200

Comparison between the Nikon D80 and the Nikon D200:

How do you compare the D80 to the D200? This is a tough call. Here is the recent Popular Photography review of the D80. They make comparisons with the D200 throughout the article. They also have capsule summaries comparing the D80 to the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (400D), the Pentax K10D, and the Sony Alpha 100. In the conclusion, they suggest that Nikon has “gone crazy” releasing this camera for $700 less than the D200, stating that the D80 is nearly the same camera without a few features and without the industrial strength of the D200.


I own a D200 and a D70s, which should feel quite a bit like the D80. The D70s by no means feels “cheap,” but it is lighter and somewhat smaller than the D200. If I had all of the image quality of the D200 available in the D70s, I doubt I would have spent the money for the D200. In other words, if you are looking to move up from a point and shoot, the additional price is probably not worth the difference unless you need the superior construction and all the subtle features of the D200.

Sandy asks…

Nikon D3000 vs Canon EOS1000D vs Sony DSC-HX1?

Am not a professional photographer.

I was very impressed with the picture qualities of “expensive” cameras.

Is the clarity mainly because of the expensive models have good lens?

I tried Nikon D3000 vs Canon EOS1000D. Both gave amazing photos compared to a Compact Digital Camera. Why?

My first priority. Picture Quality. Minimum pixellation even at max zoom. Should I buy
Nikon D3000 vs Canon EOS1000D vs Sony DSC-HX1?

Plz share some light

Pip answers:

First, you are comparing two DSLRs (Nikon D3000, Canon 1000D/XS) to what’s considered a “bridge camera” – Sony DSC-HX1. Not a fair comparison. The Sony HX1, although a fine camera, has a relatively tiny sensor compared to the sensor in the two DSLRs and has a permanently attached lens. A better comparison would be between the D3000, 1000D/XS, a Sony A330 and a Pentax K-x.

Lets look at the features of those four DSLRs.

Penta K-x: Live View, video capability, double/multiple exposure capability, an in camera focusing motor and in camera Image Stabilization.

Sony A330: Live View, an in camera focusing motor and in-camera Image Stabilization.

Canon 1000D/XS: Live View, in camera focusing motor.

Nikon D3000: None of the features of the previous three cameras.

Features Advantage: Pentax K-x

Now lets compare costs (all prices from

Pentax K-x: $513.99 w/18-55mm lens. Available in Bright Blue, Green, Purple, Orange, Navy Blue, Red, White, Basic Black.

Sony A330: $469.99 w/18-55mm lens after an $80.00 Instant Savings from B&H. (ends 6-19-2010).

Canon XS: $499.99 w/18-55mm lens after a $50.00 Instant Savings from B&H. (ends 7-10-2010).

Nikon D3000: $499.95 w/18-55mm lens after a $50.00 Instant Savings from B&H. (ends 6-26-2010).

Obviously, the camera with the most features is the Pentax K-x. For only $14.04 more than the D3000, $14.00 more than the 1000D-XS and $44.00 more than the A330 you get Live View, video capability, double/multiple exposure capability, an in camera focusing motor and in camera Image Stabilization. Only the A330 comes close in features and it lacks video and double/multiple exposure capability.

Advantage: Pentax K-x

With the D3000 you must have Nikon’s AF-I or AF-S lenses if you want auto focus. Since Nikon and Canon chose to have their versions of Image Stabilization in some – but not all – of their lenses you pay for it again and again. With Sony and Pentax any lens used becomes, in effect, an Image Stabilized lens.

The A330 can use every legacy Minolta Maxxum AF lens made since 1985 as well as the current lenses in their catalog. The web site lists over 100 compatible lenses. So a Maxxum AF 70-210mm f4 zoom lens made in 1985 will auto focus on the A330 and be an Image Stabilized lens.

The K-x can use every legacy K-mount lens made since 1975. There are, of course, limitations when using a 35 year old manual focus lens but it can be used. Still, that 35 year old lens on the K-x will be an Image Stabilized lens.

The 1000D/XS uses the EF mount which Canon introduced around 1987 or so with their first EOS Rebel auto focus 35mm film cameras. Unfortunately (in my opinion) Canon has confused the whole lens mount issue with their EF-S lenses. How? By selling a lens line that cannot be used on their full-frame DSLRs like the 5D and 1D. So someone who has the 1000D/XS and 3 or 4 EF-S lenses is forced to buy all new lenses if they upgrade to a 5D or 1D.

Nikon has backwards lens compatibility to the F mount introduced in 1959.

The image quality of a DSLR is a product of its larger sensor and better lenses – and being used by someone knowledgeable about light, composition, exposure (ISO, f-stops, shutter speeds) and Depth of Field (DOF).

I suggest buying the Pentax K-x and enrolling in a photography class.

Donna asks…

What do you think about “SONY ALPHA 100W”?

I’m about the purchase this camera in one month.

Could you please give some more information about this camera, and should I buy it or not.

Pip answers:

The February 2007 issue of Popular Photography has an article where they compared the top 10 MP DSLR’s. The Sony didn’t do so well in the comparison and you might want to read this. I took the scores and ranked the cameras similar to the way Formula 1 gives championship points. I just gave 5 for 1st place down to 1 for last place, splitting the difference when cameras tied in their catagories.

They evaluated Image Quality (giving this twice as much weight as anything else), Ease of Use, Control, and System Flexibility.

The final order and my scores are:

Nikon D80 – 17.5 points
- BEST in Image Quality, Control and System Flexibility
Canon Rebel XTi (400D) – 13.5 points
- Tied for best in System Flexibility
Pentax K10D – 11 points
- Tied for best in Ease of Use
Samsung GX10 – 11 points
- Tied for best in Ease of Use
Sony Alpha 100 – 7 points
- LAST in Image Quality, Ease of Use and System Flexibility.”

Then again, this is the same magazine that put the Sony Alpha 100 dead last in this comparison named it the camera of the year in the previous issue! (In a follow-up to this seeming error, Pop Photo published the explanation that only the D80 and the Sony had been tested by the end-of-year deadline for choosing the Camera of the Year. Sony won on the strength of low price and built-in image stabilization. The other 3 that beat Sony in shoot-out were not tested until after the Camera of the Year was selected, because they were not yet available.)

Go to the original question and read the responses for more opinions.


If you want to get the “best” for the real world, consider the Nikon D200 or Canon 30D if you can afford it. For about $300-500 less, look at the results of the recent PopPhoto test and choose from that list according to your taste.

Personally, I use a Nikon D200 and would recommend it without hesitation to someone who has some knowledge of photography. For someone who wants the “best,” but is starting with somewhat of an “entry level” knowledge base, I’d suggest the Nikon D80.

There are people out there who will state their preference for the Canon cameras and I will not argue with them. The Canon 30D and 400D are excellent cameras as well. You would have to visit a camera store or camera department and pick them up and see what you think.

This article is available online at:

Here’s another reference from outside the photographic press. Consumer reports compared the Nikon D80, Canon Rebel XTi and Sony Alpha. Personally, I’d say that the Nikon came out on top here, also. It beats the Sony in “noise-free ISO” with an acceptable rating at ISO 1600 (kind of optimistic, I think…) compared to the Sony’s ISO 400. It beats the Canon (in my opinion) by having a spot meter that the Canon does not offer.


Here’s another comparison of interest:

[Note the navigation menu near the top of the review]

The next thing to consider is what lens to start with and where you go from there. If you are new to this, I’d say to just get the “kit” lens, which seems to be the 18-135 lens for the D80, and get started. Once you know where you really want to go with your photography, Nikon has an almost unlimited family of lenses to choose from.

David asks…

Digital SLR Cameras Cannon Vs. Nikon?

Okay i know that the cannons have great lenses and that they are really good when it comes to portraits and the Nikons are good when it comes to taking pictures of sporting events and that the nikon is faster then the cannon soo what else can you tell me about the Nikon and the Cannons and is sony any good?

Pip answers:

At the high end the Nikons and the Canons are the same in capability. Both have similar quality, both get you outstanding pictures, both have a huge array of gadgets that will help to solve some of your photography issues. So from a quality point of view, you can flip a coin. At the entry level the Nikons are more functional and more robust. If you’re after a high end camera there’s no contest but if you’re starting with an entry model you might consider Nikon.

There is however a difference. Each tends to design their cameras differently so one brand might feel better in your hand than the other. For me that’s the Nikon, it’s a bit bigger than the Canons and I find the key controls slip comfortably under each finger making the camera a joy to use. However, there are people who say the same about Canon too, it depends on your hands and what kind of work you do. So in the end you have to physically hold each model to determine which you prefer.

The other difference is historical. Nikon tends to be more conservative and slower to innovate but in return when a new model of something does come out it’s incredible both in quality and functionality. Canon innovates faster so in any given moment they seem to have more solutions than Nikon, but by rushing things to market they end up selling things that aren’t really fully debugged and working. Their new stuff works well to be sure, but if you wait a few months or a year, Nikon’s version ends up a hell of a lot better. When Canon catches up again the Canon users have to buy the feature again to finally have a perfected version.

Nikon also tends to stay away from wizbang stuff. Canon often builds in features which seem just wonderful to the novice photographer but in fact they are features that you’ll never use since there are better ways to achieve the same end. Still though, it sells a lot of cameras since people are taken in by features even when the features have no value. Nikon doesn’t build in stuff that you don’t need, they put their resources into making sure that what you do need is functional and effective.

Nikon tends to better protect your investment. Canon has obsoleted it’s FD lenses that were sold in the seventies during the film era. People who spent thousands on those lenses were screwed and had to buy new lenses all over again if they wanted to use the later Canon SLRs. Canon has a history of doing that kind of thing. Nikon protects your investment. Any Nikon lens you bought since 1977 will work on the digital SLRs. Nikon lenses that were bought before 1977 would need a modification usually costing about $30 before they will work on the digital SLRs but they too will work. That impresses me. It means that whatever I invest in Nikon I can use even when new camera bodies come out that I decide to buy.

At the consumer level Canon also tends to go on the cheap and try to build sexy looking bodies. But that means you’ve got something you better not drop for fear it will break and it means you don’t always have the controls you need to work effectively. For instance Nikon has two dials to control its cameras, Canon only has one. That means Canon users have to hold down a button to turn the single dial to make some adjustments where Nikon users simply turn two dials. Nikon doesn’t build sexy cheap bodies, theirs are very robust, able to take quite a bit of abuse and they are replete with controls exactly where your fingers expect them to be.

If you’re just into snapshots either brand will give you outstanding quality, flip a coin and have fun. If you’re into more specialized stuff it’s not the camera that is the issue, it’s the lenses and other accessories that are important, they will help you achieve the goals you set for yourself. The Nikon lenses all fit and work with all their digital SLRs. With Canon some lenses work with some SLRs and some with others. You can’t mix and match.

People who believe a camera should be a solid piece of work and be designed to be easy to operate often prefer Nikon. People who believe a camera has to be small and light and are willing to accept more cumbersome controls will pick Canon. And both will tell you that theirs is the best.

Oh yes, and what do I use? I use a Nikon D200. I started with a D70s (now replaced by the D80) and eventually migrated to the D200. Both bodies placed the critical controls under my fingers and both bodies fit comfortably in my hands. With the D200 I never have to go to a menu to turn something on and my eye never has to leave the viewfinder either. To me those kinds of things are critical because often seconds count when you’re taking a picture.

Finally, I find Nikon technical support better. I used Canon for twenty five years in the film days. Often when I needed help they didn’t respond to my emails. Later when I wanted to go digital I asked them if I could use my $6,000 worth of FD lenses on their digital cameras. They didn’t even bother to answer my question. The answer I later learned from research I did after was no. So I went Nikon since I already knew they would support older products and their customers. I’ve never had to use their support for my two cameras but I did use them for a slide scanner I bought from them and also for advice on some of their accessories. I got a response to my emails within 24 hours and it was always helpful.

In the end though, you have to touch them both to decide what is right for you and what compromises you are willing to make. I’d download the user manual for each camera you are considering and read it. That will tell you a lot about whether it’s intuitively designed to meet your needs. I’d dream for a while – what kinds of lenses and flash do you eventually want to own? Which maker can meet those needs best? I’d also hold each after reading the manuals to see if the controls are comfortable and easy to access and use. Then I’d finally make a decision. My decision after all that was Nikon.

Oh yes, and Sony? Forget them. First of all they’re proprietary, you have to use a Sony flash in their SLR, nothing else will attach to the hot shoe and you have to use the memory stick instead of Compact Flash or Secure Digital cards that are becoming world standards. While Sony did buy Minolta to get into the camera business, they don’t understand how photographers work. You won’t find the many controls that exist on a Nikon and Canon on their bodies. For many things you will have to go to a menu which can cost you a picture. And besides all that, when you outgrow your SLR where is there to go? There’s no higher end professional model though that might change eventually. With Nikon and Canon you have a good migration path as you get more sophisticated. Sony is an electronics company not a camera company. Stick with Nikon or Canon. Both of them have been building cameras longer than Sony has been in business.

I hope this helps a little. Good Luck!!

Paul asks…

Canon VS Nikon VS Sony DSLR Help?

I’m beginning to research on what camera i would like to buy.
I’m sticking out of the high-end level area, it gets too expensive for my uses.


I would like it to have great video, and great quality photos if possible. I like things to be strong, and built very well, and I want this camera to be something I can take with me on trips all over for years to come.

I’ve been considering things such as:
Nikon D3100
Nikon D5100
Nikon D7000
Nikon D90
Canon T3i
Canon 60D
Canon 600D
Sony A55
Sony A77
(future) Sony A57

I’m looking for small or mid sized too

Thanks for the help!!
if it helps any, i am a rock climber, so it would be nice to have something that can shoot well for those scenes

also- i love cars, so i may be doing video at the track

Pip answers:

I am a big fan of all Nikon cameras. I think it is the best brand for cameras ever. Out of all the models you mentioned for me Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens is the absolute winner. I can compare the D3100 and the D5100 in detail for your better understanding.

Advantages of the Nikon D5100 over D3100:

1. Significantly better image quality 80.0 vs 67.0
2. Significantly lower noise at high ISO 1 183 ISO vs 919 ISO
3. More dynamic range 13,6 EV vs 11,3 EV
4. Significantly higher resolution screen 920k dots vs 230k dots
5. Has an external mic jack Yes vs No
6. Has in-camera HDR Yes vs No
7. Has a flip-out screen Yes vs No
8. Better color depth 23,5 bits vs 22,5 bits
9. Better maximum light sensitivity 6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
10.Higher true resolution 16.1 MP vs 14.2 MP
11.Shoots faster 4 fps vs 3 fps
12.Better boost ISO 25,600 ISO vs 12,800 ISO
13.Longer battery life 660 shots vs 550 shots
14.Larger sensor APS-C 23.6×15.6mm vs APS-C 23.1×15.4mm

The only plus point of the D3100 is that it has 400 ms startup delay whereas the D5100 has 500 ms. So the D3100 has 20% less delay when turning on otherwise the D5100 is the best choice.

Best price for D5100 from my research:

Read this helpful review about the overall performance of the camera. It will help you make your decision:

Best price for D3100 from my research:

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Your Questions About Sony Digital Camera With Wifi

Nancy asks…

how much should i pay for a PS3 20GB?

my friend bought the 20GB PS3 when it came hes selling it to me..i know they r coming ot wit diff GB of it so….how much is it worth now?

Pip answers:

I think that $350-$400 should be a good price to pay for the 20GB PS3 if it is used. I would recommend getting a 60GB PS3 because you could have WiFi and the Digital Camera Memory Card slots, I guess that the price may be too much for you but if you save a little bit longer then you could get it.

Also, the 40GB PS3 is just a rumor, it hasn’t been confirmed yet by Sony, but I heard someone on Yahoo Answers say that Sony is supposed to announce something around the middle of October.

But right about now is the best time to get a PS3 because some of Sony’s biggest exclusive games are coming.

Mark asks…

Help to choose Best Android Mobile in India?

Samsung galaxy 3 Vs HTC Wildfire Vs LG P500 Vs Motorola Quench xt3…………Plz help me to choose the best one and why over others.

Pip answers:

On comparing I find LG P500 and Motorola Quench out of battle just at first step i.e. Display. Both have 256K screen which runs them out of the race. Galaxy 3 and Wildfire both have 16M color display which make them worthy opponents and choices.

Having a look at them:

>>Both have TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 240 x 400 pixels, 3.2 inches.
Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate, Proximity sensor for auto turn-off and Multi-touch input method. While Galaxy has Samsung’s patent TouchWiz, Wildfire runs on SenseUI.

** The difference is Galaxy 3 has normal buttons while Wildfire has Touch sensitive buttons and a track ball.

>>Both have 3.5 mm audio jack

**Galaxy 3 has DNSe (Digital Natural Sound Engine) which adds up a +1 to it

>>Galaxy 3 has 512MB ROM, 256MB RAM, microSD, up to 32GB, 1GB card included
Wildfire 512 MB ROM; 384 MB RAM, microSD, up to 32GB

** RAM size of Wildfire is more but not a drastic difference that cannot be overlooked.

>>Both have GPRS – Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE – Class 10, 236.8 kbps, and 3G – HSDPA.

**Galaxy 3 offers 3G at max speed of 3.6 Mbps while Wildfire gives 7.6 Mbps, if you use 3G more, wildfire is your right option

>>Both have wifi, Galaxy has bluetooth v3.0 while Wildfire has v2.1 both with A2DP (doesn’t make much of a difference). Both have micro USB v2.0

** Its a draw.

>> Camera:
Galaxy – 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, Geo-tagging, face and smile detection, QVGA@15fps
Wildfire – 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Smile detection, geo-tagging

** If you need a camera too, go for Wildfire

>>Both runs on android, Galaxy has v2.2 froyo upgrade available while there is no possibility so far for wildfire to get 2.2 now.

>>CPU: Galaxy – 667 MHz processor
Wildfire – 528 MHz processor

** I’ll go for galaxy for high end games

Well choice is yours, still you wanna look for LG P500 and Motorola Quench you can look at but you won’t get satisfaction with 256K screen. Also I’ve seen many cases of poor battery performance from HTC. I myself have used many cell phones from samsung, nokia and htc, some from motorola and only one from lg and sony.

All the specs I listed are from and the suggestions are according to what I felt best for me. I would suggest you to look more in the market and then go for a set and android is the best option.

Daniel asks…

Can I use a magicgate Sandisk 512mb memory stick on my psp?

well a psp that i will get. will the memory stick that i use for my digital camera fit in my psp? also, how much space do games take up because im probably gonna have 5 games or so. how do u take pictures on it? will music and movies take up a lot of space?

Thanks for answering my questions!! :D

Pip answers:

That memory card wont fit in your psp, but you can buy a psp memory card at a game store, the memory goes up to 8 gigabytes but you can only save demo games on it unless you get your psp modded, then you can save full games on it. Demos dont take a lot of space like locoroco only takes 7000kb but demos like mlb 07 the show takes like 150mb and nba 07 takes like 70mb. Sony is coming out with a camera for the psp and if you update your psp then you will be able to attach it. To download demos you go to rss channel on your psp and click on rss guides and if you have a wifi connection it will take you to the psp website and their will be a controller icon on the top right hand corner and click on all demos and then select your demo and download it.

Sandy asks…

How to stream live video?

I have a Sony Handycam (DCR-DVD108) I also have unlimited Data and a wifi hotspot available via my cell service. Is it possible to stream a live video (such as a soccer game) to a specific website?
What equipment would I need for the camera to communicate via a usb/wifi through my android cellphone to upload live? Thanks!
P,S. I prefer not to use the phones uStream capabilities with the phone camera…I need the camcorders wide-angle capabilities.

Pip answers:

To do what you want with only the parts at hand:

The DVD based camcorder does not allow USB streaming.

Connect the camcorder’s AV-out to an analog/digital converter.
See Elgato, Black Magic, Roxio and many others.
Connect the analog/digital recorder’s USB to the computer’s USB.
Connect the computer to a network connected to the internet.
This might mean connecting the computer to the phone for data access – whether wifi or macro cell network.

Camcorders are not designed to not record. Doing this will start the camcorder’s “sleep” timer. Read the camcorder manual to disable the sleep timer or plug the camcorder into AC power.

The step from camcorder to analog through USB will reduce video quality.

Note that for “good quality video” this is not a suggested method at UStream. Use of a firewire based camcorder (generally those using miniDV tape) is *strongly* recommended.

Mary asks…

I want to win a GPS System for my friend. Any Good Sites?

Does anyone know any sites that are not scams and doesn’t make you do a survey?

Pip answers:

Thats the thing most of them are scams
The best one is to enter into a competiton like gadget show
You get to win all of these
All our Top 5 Water pistols
A 42 inch Philips Eco LCD TV
A a 32 inch LCD TV
A a 20 inch LCD TV
A an In Focus DLP projector
A Jamo DMR 45 Dolby Virtual Speaker system
A MacBook laptop
A hi end desktop PC
A pair of Yukon Tracker Night Vision Goggles
A Magellan in car sat nav
A Dirtsurfer
An all-in-one printer/scanner/photocopier
A portable Picturemate photo printer
An Apple iPhone
A Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit and a DS Lite
A Microsoft Xbox 360
A Sony PS3 and a PSP and a selection of games for all the consoles
A Pair of Mordaunt Short speakers and an Arcam Solo stereo
A Hi Def Blu Ray player
A Hi Def Sony SR7 camcorder
A Panasonic 9.1 megapixel DMC TZ5 compact digital camera camera
A Nikon D60 digital SLR camera
An iPod Classic
An Archos 605 Wifi
An Urban Mover electric Mountain Bike
A pair of Bose noise reduction headphones
A pair of SHURE SE530 earphones
An ‘Alert Me’ home security system
A Kyam Igloo tent
A LA-z-Boy gadget Chair
A pair of Nike + trainers
And an appropriate WiFi router
A Leatherman Charge multitool
A G Shock Gulfman watch
A Sound Asleep iPod compatible pillow
And a Roberts Gemini DAB radio.
A eStarling WiFi picture frame
A Corsair 8Gb rugged USB memory stick
A Trilobyte robotic vacuum cleaner
A Scooba robotic mop
A 5.1 surround sound speaker system
A Storm Launcher remote control car boat plane thing
And a Mini Cooper Monte Carlo XB Pro radio control car
A B&W Zeppelin iPod dock
A swan toaster
A year’s free subscription to Sky’s full HD service, plus dish and decoder
And a year’s free broadband at the best speed we can reasonably get where you live
And 50 pounds worth of calls a month free for a whole year on the 3 network and Sony Ericsson K660i mobile phone.
And a cuddly toy with a hidden security camera in it
you can enter for 50p and as many times as yyou like and trust me it isnt a scam

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