Your Questions About Digital Cameras At Walmart

Ken asks…

Would a webcam or digital camera be better for videos on Youtube?

I would like some suggestions for digital cameras or webcams that produce excellent quality videos but are somewhat low in cost. I used to have a 5.0 MP Canon Powershot that took vids under 3 minutes but I’m looking for something else. So which would be better, a webcam or a digital camera? Then…are there any suggestions as to a certain camera (i.e Kodak (something) or Canon (something), or Minolta, etc)

Pip answers:

Digital camera.
I would recommened the exilim.


that camera has a youtube mode where you make videos and they are the size for youtube so they come out really good!
I have a different exilim thats awesome, but that one looks cool!

Paul asks…

What is the best digital camera out there that is inexpensive?

I had a Nikon Coolpix 2500 camera that I really liked. BUT, it stopped working properly. So, I now need to get a new one! What is the best digital camera out there that is inexpensive?

Pip answers:

The Nikon Coolpix 2500 is a 2mp point n shoot. The Fuji S1500 is a nice camera but I don’t think its what you have in mind as a replacement.


Vivitar Vivicam 8324 $69.88

Kodak EasyShare C182 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom $78.54

A little more expensive but very highly rated
Canon PowerShot A1100IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD $129

Thomas asks…

About how much does it cost to rent a digital camera from rentway or some other well known rent store?

I tried searching the websites but they only show the product. I wanted to see how low the starting price would be for a plain old digital camera with software, Nothing fancy. I didnt want to go in and have them say a price so high that I could wait to buy one. Ive even heard of digital cameras that cost 20 dollars but the only ones I can find that are that cheap are disposible digitals. How much would you say It costs to rent a simple digtal camera from a rentway? Is it worth it?

Pip answers:

No, don’t rent nothing like a camera from this guys, they charge you 10 times than what’s it worth, like the other user said, I also went in asking to rent/buy a camcorder hahhh they wanted to take my eyeballs out… Dont do it… Instead.. Go to Radioshack and buy a camera there they have a great Credit Card plan.. Awesome… They have 6 months no interest with monthly payments you can give 10 dollars a mothns until you pay it off with the 6 months no interest or
no payments for 6 months but with interest..
I just took out a new sony camera it was like 300.00 I got in in March with the no interest for 6 months well now I just owe them like 180.00 and I dont have a job… Ive been buying like that from them since i was 13 now im 18 so try it. They have great cameras at low prices i just sae the new casio for 199.00 or the samsung wich i got last year for 99.00 just go in and check them out and they also have the best customer service [ warranty service ] ever if you buy their warranty if it stops working just fo in and no questions asked they give you a new one… I already did it once with a fuji i bought 2 years ago..!!

Try them. But if you dont want to go to radioshack. Go to walmart they also have great new cameras at great prices.. !!!

Mary asks…

This probably sounds stupid, but how do you get pictures off your digital camera?

I’m good at technology when it comes to computers, phones, & iPods, but I’m totally braindead when it comes to cameras lol.

I have some pictures on my digital camera that I’d like to have as regular pictures, but I seriously have no idea how to do it. Can you do it at those little kiosks at Walmart or Kroger or wherever? How do you do it?

Thanks. :)

Pip answers:

Well its not stupid. Take the digital card out of your camera and take it to the kiosks or photo shop nearby or even download it from your camera to your computer using the cable that came with your camera to send to a online site that produces pics cheap.

Mark asks…

What is a good Digital Camera for a gift?

I need a good digital camera with great zoom and picture quality and focus and lens.
It is a gift for an amateur photographer. Im looking to spend no more then $500 but if I have too I will go a little higher. Any suggestions?

Pip answers:

It is nice of you to want to buy such a gift, but I do not recommend it. A camera (and most all photography gear) is personal preference to the individual photographer. What you like and think feels good in your hands may be the exact opposite of what your friend likes/wants.

I would suggest that you buy a gift card to a local camera shop (not bestbuy/walmart) instead. Then, take them out to lunch and afterwards say “I need to stop in here real quick” (at the camera shop). Once the both of you are in there say “By the way, this is for you…have fun” ) and hand them the gift card.

To quote my wife when it comes to buying me a gift…”I will buy you guns, but I will NOT buy you stuff for photography. It is too much of a personal preference”

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Your Questions About Backing Up Digital Photos

David asks…

Do digital photos degrade?

I tore some photos i needed to dispose and threw them off in an open land. I do not want anyone to stumble on these photos and identify anyone in it. I hope these photos will degrade with time. How long does it take when exposed to sunlight & rain?? These are photos printed digitally.

Pip answers:

I think you may want to go back and pick up the pieces. All paper manufacturers strive to have their products last longer and longer. From the first link below:

“In the paper industry, acid-free paper is often tied to longevity. For example, according to International Paper’s Pocket Pal, creating an acid-free paper is defined as a “process that gives paper over four times the life (200 years) of acid-sized paper (40-50 years).”

Now yours may not last that long in the sun and rain – maybe, say, just 10 years, right? Then there is this, which might help you feel a little better. From the second link below:

“…many digital-photo buffs have seen their homemade digital prints fade. Usually, that’s because the photos are made using standard papers and inks in general-purpose ink jet printers, products not designed for color permanence. Impermanence is fine if you’re printing flyers or brochures that will be outdated before long, but it becomes a serious problem when you are printing memories.”

So it really depends on the paper and inks you used to print the shots. I recommend that you go back and pick up whatever you can and dispose of it properly. This is good for you because you won’t have anyone see the pics and it’s good for the environment, too.

Hope this helps and I hope you have a better experience with your next shoot.

Robert asks…

recovering corrupted digital photos?

One batch of important digital photos got corrupted while transferring them from camera to computer through a card reader. I never had such problem before.
The ‘photos‘ have adequate bites, and show up as thumb nails. Is there a simple way to recover the ?
I have tried some options available on the net but in vain.

Pip answers:

I had some in exactly that same situation that were irreplaceable ones taken at a family party. I tried downloads from the chip and directly from the camera but neither way worked. I tried the free programs available on the Internet but they could not even find them on the memory card. I finally found one called DiskInternals Uneraser by using google. It offered a free trial in which it would try to recover the pictures just to prove that it could but then would not save them for free. It really did get them so I forked over the $30 for the program and got back several hundred images from the party (and even some from a Halloween party and a prom that had been erased long ago and never overwritten). I don’t usually buy those kinds of programs over web but was delighted with this one. It turns out that it also can do not just the little camera chips but also those thumb sized flash memories and regular disks (since they all have the same internal setup).
One crucial thing is as soon as you have the problem stop using the memory because new things could overwrite the files you want to recover and destroy them beyond any simple recovery.

George asks…

How are digital photos taken?

I need to know the step by step process a camera uses to take a photo on a normal digital camera…
for example:
The light comes in and reflects on the mirror
This then saves to a device
but in alot more detail

Pip answers:

I think you mean how does a digital camera work, not how to use one.
Only DSLR’s have mirrors for viewing the image before exposure, most digital cameras either have a digital viewfinder or a LCD type viewing screen on the back but they all work in basically the same way.
Light passes through a lens which focuses the image onto a sensor which captures that image then it is electronically processed and converted into a digital signal which can be saved to a memory card. For more detailed step by step information on the process –

John asks…

Options for storing about 40,000 digital photos now in my laptop?


I have an estimated 40,000 digital photos stored in my laptop computer and I’d like to find another place for them, or at least to copy them and store them elsewhere as a back-up in case something happens to my computer. While I don’t know the exact size of the file of each photo, I do know that if printed, each one would be about the size of a postcard. What options do I have for storing/backing up my photos and keeping them safely stored? What would you do? Thanks in advance.
I will, of course, be adding to the number of digital photos I have over time, so I’ll need large storage space. I assume a 1TB size external HDD would be sufficient? And how about one more place for photos, for redundancy. DVDs?

Pip answers:

Me? I would get an external HDD and move the photos to it, to free up space on your laptop. You can get a 1TB external HDD for around 100$ give or take. Would easily free up all the space your photos are taking up on your laptop and have plenty of space left over for more or anything else you might need to back up. Newegg has great offers and is quite cheap and I find quite reliable. Hope this helps

Chris asks…

Digital Camera Memory Question….?

PLEASE help me out…..Cause I know this has happened to others before……..

So, I go out with the boys and get drunk and realize that I have “Lost my camera” only to find out, I left in the front seat…..So after a very heated debated with my wife, I’m looking for a solution to not lose the “Precious Moments”………

I’m looking for real and honest suggestions, and not the typical one word response for points…..

From what I gather, I have 2 options:

1-Download my entire memory card to my computer and delete the physical memory card (rinse and repeat)…….BUT what happens if my computer crashes…..

2-Fill up my memory card and buy a new one, and catalog each one for whatever it contains…….

Just looking for the most effective way (In this digital era) to protect my images…….

Pip answers:

How to keep a back up of your precious moments stored on digital media depends on your personal preference. One of your options is to back up your memory card using online storage services. These services, many of them free, will offer you short time or long time backup for your photos in case you exercise another moment of a judgement lapse and lose another memory card. Uploading photos to an online service can allow you to share photos with family and friends quickly and easily, but it can also be a tedious process if you have a lot of photos to upload.

One of my favorite ways to back up photos is to take the memory card out of my camera, put it in the memory card reader in my computer, and then save the photos to either a CD (which can only be read by the computer) or better yet a DVD which can be read by computers and the DVD player. CD’s and DVD’s are an inexpensive way to backup photos, their wide availability, their easy use, and their wide use allows them to be “always on hand” when you need them, and they can be passed along to friends and family members, it’s also easy to make copies of them to store them places out of sight, or to keep a backup copy somewhere in case the original disc is lost.

You can also fill up memory cards, label them, and store them some place, but this can be an expensive alternative to spending a few minutes uploading photos for online storage, or saving them to CD’s and DVD’s. In the end, you have to figure out what solution is the best for you, in terms of affordability, long term storage, and your individual needs (if you need to access the photos frequently, then using CD’s or DVD’s or even memory cards is the way to go vs. Online storage), if you often give out copies of your photos, then go with a CD or DVD.

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Your Questions About Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk

Charles asks…

when i try to install ‘Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk v30.2′ It says ‘the screen resolution to execute…?

Digital Camera Solution Disk is not sufficient’ what should i do.

Pip answers:

A computer monitor is made up of tiny dots of colour (look closely, it’s true!).

The resolution of the screen is the number of dots the screen is showing per square inch. If you have a high resolution, things look smooth, clear and natural, but with a low resolution things look fuzzy and you may even be able to see these dots easily with the naked eye.

It’s extremely unlikely that your computer’s monitor is not capable of displaying a resolution high enough for the Canon software.

Try increasing your resolution.

To do this: right-click on an empty part of your desktop, and select Properties. Choose the Settings tab and move the resolution slider all the way to the right.

A reasonable resolution for your software to demand is 1024×768. If your monitor can’t display this resolution, consider getting a cheap second-hand one which will.

Mark asks…

Is this a good deal on a Canon XS camera?

I found a Canon XS camera on ebay for 483.00 It comes with a EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens, Battery Charger, Camera Bag, Extra Battery, Extra Memory, 8GB SD Memory Card, Lens, Lens Cleaning Kit, Memory Reader, Neck Strap, Tripod, cords, strap, Free shipping too!
Is this a good deal? The company selling it has had great reviews. What is the catch here?

Pip answers:

The catch is probably that they replaced the Canon parts with no name parts or it is grey market. Meaning that it is not intended for sale in the U.S. And therefore will not carry a U.S. Warranty. Any tripod they are giving you is worthless. It wont be able to hold up the camera. The bag and other stuff is certainly junk as well. Spend a few extra dollars and get it from a reputable dealer.

The camera should come from the factory with the following.

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Autofocus Lens for Select Digital SLR Cameras
Front & Rear Lens Caps
LP-E5 Battery Pack
LC-E5 Battery Charger
IFC-200U USB Interface Cable
VC-100 Video Cable
Ef Eyecup
EW-100DBIII Wide Neck Strap
EOS Digital Solution Disk and Instruction Manuals on CD-ROM
“Great Photography is Easy” Booklet and “Do More with Macro” Booklet
1-Year Manufacturers Limited Warranty (U.S.A. & Canada)

Cost at B&H Photo which is a very reputable site is $524 now.

Richard asks…

Is it necessary to install the disks?

Is it necessary to install the The Canon EOS digital software instruction manual or the EOS digital solutions disk for the T3i if I always use a card reader and use a different software to crop and do minor editing?

Pip answers:

No reason at all, unless you want to use DPP to tether your camera. Even then , that’s all you need, not the other useless junk on the disks.

EDIT: oops, my bad. EOS utility allows tethering, DPP is a basic RAW editor. I’ve been shooting Canon DSLR’s since about 2005, and have never bothered with any of it, so I forget sometimes… (G)

Lizzie asks…

How to film using a Canon 60D?

This is going to sound very newb-ish ANYWAYS- I just got a Canon 60D and I cannot figure out how to actually record something??? I press the red dot with the camera button on the main screen and it just turns it on and off… Help??

Pip answers:

Would you believe…ALL camera manufacturers supply a user manual with their cameras? So…have you even attempted to READ it?

The trouble is…Canon didn’t supply the Instruction Manual as a booklet (the cheapskates)…they only supplied it on the Software CD-Rom (Digital Solution Disk) so, you need to access it from there.

Better still, just download (and save) a copy from
Here it is…
Shooting Movies starts on page 171.

Sandra asks…

Canon digital camera solution disc ver.31.1 will not install on my Windows Xp Home based pc.?

I recently got a Canon PowerShot sx100 is, and it came with the canon digital camera solution disc. I insert the disc in my drive and nothing happens. The manual instructs me to go to my computer right click the cdrom icon and select open, then select the setup.exe file…but its not there all their is are 3 folders.. master installer app……install files……trashes…..but none of these folders contain the setup.exe. Any suggestions?

Pip answers:

First look at the requirements on the software instructions … It will list the the minimum requirements including CPU, Operation System, RAM and hard drive space. If you computer meets those requirements, then there may be something wrong with the disc .. Look for scratches on the program side of the disc

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Your Questions About Nikon Digital Cameras Wiki

Ruth asks…

which digital camera brand has the best OIS or image stabilization.?

wondering which digital camera brand (canon, casio, ect…) has the best OIS in the price range of 100-200$ i bought a samsung L210 which has OIS but i found their OIS technology is horrible.

Pip answers:

Http:// …
With still cameras, camera shake is particularly problematic at slow shutter speeds or with long focal length (telephoto) lenses.

Http:// …
Canon’s Optical Image Stabilization helps a photographer capture sharp images by reducing camera shake/vibration (common shooting problems associated with handheld photography). Optical Image Stabilization is especially useful when using a telephoto lens, but it also allows much longer normal shutter speeds in low-light situations while using wide-angle and normal focal length lenses.

The information above should help you know more about Optical Image Stabilization, but have not been able to find a rating of cameras. The Canon A590 IS seems to be very good for the price and OIS.

Just saw this camera at Best Buy and Radio Shack. Think it is a great camera and a best buy. It has an optical viewfinder, image stabilizer, auto focus, and uses NiMH rechargeable batteries. Read as much of the following as you can for other information and help with choosing a camera.
Canon A590IS $129.99 at Staples yesterday.
Http:// …

There is no one particular place to get great buys, but you may see something above that really helps you find the best buy. Click on the link in the information above for an example then search for your camera of choice at the upper left. Camera prices at this link change often.

In new cameras, look for a viewfinder (LCD invisible in bright sun), image stabilizer, and check battery prices. High mega pixel settings take longer to process and may not be needed unless required for very large pictures. Maximum print size for a 3 mega pixel setting is 8 x 10 inches. Click links below for more details.
Http:// …
Http:// …

While most of the cameras out there are really good, I would choose Canon over Nikon because it seems like more camera for the money. Some would say Canon withholds their best technology for high end cameras and Nikon implements their best at all levels. Before you decide, read all the text and links in the information below because it will help you know what to look for in a camera.

CAUTION Do not overcharge! Batteries can be damaged. Use an automatic two or more hour Energizer Compact smart charger with temperature monitor, trickle charge technology, and safety timer ($9.76) at Walmart. Use pre-charged 2000mAh Duracell ($12.97) or RayOVac ($5.97) batteries (hold charge one year) and a full cycle charge. To preserve battery charge, use the viewfinder.

There are so many cameras out there it is difficult to say which is best, but digital is definitely the way to go. The second source link will be very helpful as it list most of the cameras out there with prices. The following information should help you know what to look for in a camera.

What gives a camera its picture quality?
The short answer is that it is mostly the skill of the photographer that produces high quality pictures. The lens and camera are very important, but the ability to set the scene, adjust the cameras settings, and hold the camera very still or use a tripod with auto or remote shutter actuation when required is what gets the great pictures.

Lots of great camera tips in these two links. Http:// …
Http:// …

The information about my camera is just to show that you don’t need the biggest and best. Just know how to use the one you have.

My camera has 5.2 mega pixel, but I use 3 most of the time because it gives great results, is faster, and takes less memory. Also, it only has a 3 x optical zoom and 7 x digital zoom. I never use the digital zoom because making pictures larger works better on the computer. This is an old camera, but everyone is impressed with the quality pictures it takes … Like magic.

Check with the Geeks in several stores and compare prices. Ask what cameras they own, but don’t believe everything you hear. Once you select a camera, read all about it in the owner’s manual. Just learned that my camera has red-eye prevention and correction. It also has adaptive lighting. You may be able to view owners manuals at this link, but will need to Login. Http:// …

The source links will show most of the cameras out there with prices and help make digital cameras work better with complete instructions on cleaning camera and battery electrical contacts.

Source: …
Http:// …

George asks…

What digital camera should I purchase if I am interested in taking youth sports photos(~500-$600)? and Why?

Pip answers:

If this is your first dslr, (Digital SLR,, I would definitely recommend going with the Nikon D40. If you get the D40 from Amazon, it is only $450, with a 18-55mm lens (an excellent lens), and because it is so cheap, it would give you some extra cash to buy lenses, flashes, etc. You can also get it with the

I would also recommend getting the Nikon 18-200mm lens. It is pretty expensive though so maybe not.


The D40 is exactly like the D60, except less pixels, which wouldnt matter unless you are a professional and are making HUGE prints.

The D40 is a great camera to start with. Go for it!

One thing about the D40 to keep in mind, is that if you are used to the second lcd screen on top, (for aperture, shutter speed settings, etc.) than not having it on the D40 could be quite annoying, if you are not used to using that screen, than I do not believe it would be a big problem not to have it.

Secondly, Some cameras (such as the Nikon D80) have a motor built in the camera, so it can auto-focus with any lens, where as the D40 does not have a motor inside it, so it is limited to Nikon AF-S and AF-I lenses. This should not be a big problem unless you already have some lenses (that are not AF-S or AF-I) that you want to auto-focus with the D40. If you do not, than stick to buying from Nikon’s large collection of AF-S and AF-I lenses. Note that the Nikon D40 can still operate other lenses, just you will have to manual focus.

Lastly, go to a camera store, such as Best Buy or Henerys. Both of those stores will let you handle the cameras, and test them out. Note: Henery’s is much more knowledgeable about cameras, go there if you have lots of questions.

Another important thing is the Nikon D40 has a 0.18-second power-up time, and continuous shooting at 2.5 frames per second allows capturing action of up to 100 JPEG images.

Any other questions, feel free to send me a message.


Joseph asks…

Cheapest non-digital camera out there for a beginner?

Like the nikon cameras!

Like those!
I want to do some beginner photography, so I was wondering of the best-quality, cheapest camera out there.
I’m not looking for something great, and I don’t expect a cheap camera to be, so don’t lecture me on that please.

Pip answers:

The first example is a Nikon D80. This is a digital SLR.

The second example looks like some sort of land camera:

For serious photography, you can find used manual SLRs with a lens on eBay for under $50. Some key brands to look for: Zenit, Praktica, Pentax. Old Nikon and Canon cameras have developed a cult-like following so they’ve become pretty expensive.

If you’re looking for something like “pop” photography (lomo, Polaroid, etc.), you can find these cameras on eBay and at specialty sites. Just be wary of what film it takes and what the working condition is.

John asks…

what is a good sensor size for a compact digital camera ?

i dont know where to look , does it say in the aperture – like f/3.3 – 8.0 (W) / f/6.4 – 8.0 (T)

Pip answers:

The aperture and sensor size are completely independent. I assume you’re talking about fixed pens point & shoot cameras. The vast majority of these have the same sensor size. There’s a good explanation of sensors with a illustration of the various sensor sizes here:

Most point & shoot would be the smallest shown, 1/2.3″. A few of the higher end models have the slightly larger 1/1.7″ size, such as the Panasonic Lumix LX5/LX7, Canon G15 and Olympus XZ-1/XZ-2. Fuji’s X-line of cameras uses a 2/3″ sensor, and the Canon GX1 and Sony RSX100 use a 1″ sensor, the same size as “CX (Nikon)” in the illustration on the page above. The new Sony RX1 has a 35mm full frame size sensor.

If you want to know about a specific camera, look at the published camera specs. You can find a lot of these, both current and historic, by looking the camera up at DPReview:

Generally, the larger the sensor the better, and the more expensive. Almost anything with a sensor larger than the 1/2.3″ will be considered a premium compact.

Richard asks…

Which digital camera do you prefer? & why?

I have chosen out two cameras, but i don’t know which one to get.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W570
Nikon coolpix s5100

The first one costes more. When I checked out the Nikon camera in the store, whenever i took pictures it would be kindof blurry & you can’t zoom in while filming, however it was alright and the price is decent. The Sony one i didn’t get to try out but you can zoom in while filming, however i don’t know if the picture quality and video is good. If you have any other cameras to suggest 160 or under that has good quality filming and pictures. The price is alright, not the best but it looks nice. could you please list it (: thanks you

Pip answers:

I guess the poor Nikon image you complained about was because of the noise in the photo causing blurred and not sharp images. The reviewer agreed with you.


Then the photo will less likely be blurred.


I like my camera fast and good with low light conditions. The review for the Sony’s by cnet didn’t look that good and he didn’t like the Nikon, either.

Maybe you can find some user’s reviews on-line.

Found this camera with good reviews but would cost you about $100 more (by the time taxes, etc. Included).

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Your Questions About Sony Digital Camera

Donald asks…

Which Sony Cybershot digital camera should i buy?

I recently started looking for a new Sony Cybershot digital camera. My very old DSC W100 (8.1 MP)is outdated, but i like its features (such as vivid, black and white, sepia, increase sharpness, increase contrast. Do you know of any new versions of Sony cameras with these features that isn’t as outdated?

Pip answers:

I would suggestion these good and new Sony digital cameras :

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 : 14.1MP, 10x optical zoom Sony G-Lens, 3.0-inch LCD screen, HD Movie mode (720p), Capture breathtaking images in Sweep Panorama Mode

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W330 : 14.1MP, 4x optical zoom, 3.0-inch LCD screen, SteadyShot Image Stabilization reduces blur, iAuto mode automatically optimizes camera settings

Laura asks…

Why is the screen on my digital camera black when i turn it on?

I got my sony digital camera aorund christmas time and its broken once before but that was a while ago. Now when i try to turn it on the screen just stays black. I can still take a picture but i cant see the picture or anything. Does anyone know how i can fix it by tomorrow?

Pip answers:

If your LCD isn’t cracked, it could just be that you have it turned off. If that is the case there should be a button on your camera that says something like “display” or “LCD”. If you can’t locate a button like this then look in your owners manual. Look in the index for something like “LCD” or “Display” or “Turning off the LCD”. If you can’t find anything like this just call customer service and ask how you turn on the LCD for your camera model. If they tell you where to locate a button to turn on the LCD and it works then fine. If not tell them what’s wrong and they’ll try to diagnose it for you. Sony is very good about customer service, so there shouldn’t be a problem.

Michael asks…

How do I copy my video cd to my computer that I recorded with my digital camera?

I have a sony digital camera that takes those little mini dvd’s. I recorded what I needed to record, then I took the dvd out and put it in my cd drive. It has a special spot for those dvd’s so its definatley reading it. But how do I save it so I can import it into windows movie maker and post it on youtube?

Pip answers:

Presuming you finalized the miniDVD (if needed, check the camcorder manual) and the optical drive in your computer can read DVDs, a DVD ripper can get the video off the disc. I like Handbrake… There are lots of them out there.

Rip the video from the disc to a format MovieMaker like (.wmv, .avi, .dv, among others), drag to the MovieMaker clips pane (in the middle) or the timeling (at the bottom). Edit. Save. Then “Save as” a format YouTube likes. has good FAQs and instructions for the various file formats that work best (yes, even for YouTube files).

Lizzie asks…

Sony Alpha NEX-5 Digital Camera?

Sony Alpha NEX-5 Digital Camera Is it worth buying

Pip answers:

Sony Alpha NEX-5 Digital Camera was introduced on May 10, 2010, which is an Alpha Compact interchangeable lens digital cameral that provides full HD video, digital SLR in a compact boby that is easy to slip into a jacket pocket or a small purse for ultimate portability. With breakthrough video performance, Sony Alpha NEX-5 camera was the world s first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording video. The Sony NEX-5 camera offers Full HD movie capture (1080i AVCHD and 720p MP4) with Full HD 60i recording. So we can just conclude: The Sony NEX-5 is the world’s first and smallest interchangeable-lens digital camera for professional HD quality in your pocket.

Sony Alpha NEX-5 Digital Camera Features:
- Slim, light, compact design, intuitive user interface
- 14.2 megapixels Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor
- E-mount interchangeable lens system
- 1080i AVCHD and 720p movie
- Sweep Panorama with 3D
- High speed burst shooting
- 7.5cm/3″ tilt-angle TruBlack LCD
- Intelligent AUTO (Automatically recognizes common shooting situations, and adjusts camera settings for beautiful results)
- Background Defocus Control
- Face Detection and Smile Shutter

A Very good product .Be worth buying.

Paul asks…

Which company has the best digital cameras?

Im looking for a top notch digital camera

Pip answers:

Sony definetly has the best digital cameras and other fantastic technological devices. Also Kodak digital cameras as well.

You have make an informed choice though and really think about which camera to buy in terms of durability, ease of use, and megapixels(the higher the megapixel the better the photo will turn out).

I have an old digital camera from Panasonic that has a durable case and has never broken down. My friend around the end of last year bought a Kodak digital camera, after around an hour of using the camera the screen had a black smudge on it and u could not see the picture on the lcd screen. She took it back and had another one given to her. The camera she has is working fine so far. My dad (who is an electronics technician) said that the newer models of digital cameras are not as durable as alot of the older models of digital cameras because the lcd displays break easily.

I hope that my answer helps you decide on which camera that you looking to purchase.

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Your Questions About Digital Photography School

William asks…

Would this be a weird color camera for a guy to have?

I won this at raffle for my senior class trip, I need a new camera but I think this a rather feminine color… is it ok for a guy to use or should I just sell it and get a new one?

Pip answers:

Pink is feminine, I would think that burgundy would be just fine. Guys tend to like dark colours (stealth and all) and wimmins like flashy coloured devices ….

Joseph asks…

can someone who is skilled in digital photography please answer these interview questions?

1) How do you prepare for your work?
2) How did you become a professional in this field?
3) What are the easiest things about your job?
4) What’s the hardest thing about your job?
5) How can I become a professional in this career?
6) How has digital photography changed this field?
7) What are colleges that I can attend if I am interested in studied your field?

Pip answers:

1) How do you prepare for your work? I meditate prior to any photo shoot. Then I scoop out the area. I go look a day prior or weeks prior and try to get a feel for the one day without the camera one day with so I can be intune with nature.

2) How did you become a professional in this field? Buy charging money for what i love to do. I feel bad sometimes but as a landscape artist/photographer/painter I feel more connected to my work than just someone viewing my work. So my prices are more on the high end.

3) What are the easiest things about your job? Doing what I love being myself.

4) What’s the hardest thing about your job? – Dealing with people asking questions “What are you doing” are you photographing me. And trying to be nice to them. A reason I do landscape nature photography is to not deal with people as most annoy me!

5) How can I become a professional in this career? – pick up a camera start shooting and show off your work be willing to sell at flea markets yardsales and be willing to spend the money and time to learn what you need to learn to go further. Don’t plan on making a crap load of money. Unless you want to do events like weddings

6) How has digital photography changed this field? It made it easier for someone who always wanted to take a lot of photo’s take a lot of photo’s some people are really good so it increases competition.

7) What are colleges that I can attend if I am interested in studied your field? – I went to school for broadcasting. If you want to work in this field chances are you don’t need an education however I will always suggest business classes most photographers end up owning their own business most fail because they know everything about a camera but nothing about how to run a business.

Mandy asks…

What do I have to do to start in a Professional photography field?

I’m 17, and I really would like to be a professional photographer once I get out of high school. What do I need to do to start out in this field? I’ve taken a year of digital photography, and that is what sparked my love for it, but I have no idea what to do next. Any suggestions?

Pip answers:

Do you want to be a photojournalist? A fashion photographer? A portrait photographer? A nature photographer?

The best thing you can do is to master your craft. See if a local studio is looking for any photographic assistants. See if any of your local papers are looking for either staff photographers or are accepting work from free lancers.

You can also join a local camera club. You will also probably want to take some time to study film photography. The broader your experience, the greater your chances at success.

You might also want to look at either college or film school. You can make contacts there that will be very helpful as you establish yourself as a photographer.

Good luck.

Steven asks…

What are the best photography schools in Paris?

I already have a Bachelors in Fine Arts so am looking for something more short term – e.g. a Masters or six month course etc. I particularly wish to learn digital photography skills. Any answers very much appreciated!

Pip answers:

Try to watch here for know about some schools:

Try to watch this forum:

John asks…

Art school in Europe where you can learn about darkrooms, analogue cameras etc?

I’m NOT interested in digital photography and I want to learn everything about using the tools and techniques that photographers used before the digital era – darkroom technique and all kinds of analogue cameras. Both shorter courses and educations that leads to a degree is okay. I’d prefer to study in an art school in the EU, but all suggestions are welcome.

Pip answers:

Well, I think Paris is a good place to study this.


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Your Questions About Nikon Digital Cameras Amazon

Richard asks…

What is a cheap but good quality digital camera?

I need a good quality digital camera. Maybe 10mp? I dont have that much money to spend on a camera so it needs to be a cheap one. thanks for any answers!!!!! :)

Pip answers:

The Nikon Coolpix series are the best in my opinion. I have had a few different cameras in my life but i have tried many different ones and this is the best

Donald asks…

What kind of digital camera should i get?

I want to get a digital camera (prolly has to be a dslr) that takes photos without that FUZZZY digital camera quality when you put pics on the computer to view them. Just regular camera nothing special, no big bucks less than a grand .What kind of camera should I get/what information should i look for so i can avoid that “fuzzy pixely look” (aka megapixels, etc.)? Thank you so much

Pip answers:

As far as brands I would recommend Nikon or Cannon. I just moved from 35mm SLR to DIGITAL SLR. I bought a Nikon D60. I got it on I believe it runs $400-500. I bought mine as refurbished (body only) so it cost me quite a bit less.

The D60 is designed for the intermediate/advanced amateur who is on a limited budget. While I already had non digital lenses from my 35mm, I would definitely recommend getting a digital auto focus lens. The standard lens that comes with the D60 is ok and will work for average amateur needs. However if you want a bit of an upgrade while still remaining under a grand, go for Nikon’s Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens. Retail is $350-400 for a new one. But again, don’t be afraid of factory reconditioned. I am very pleased with my D60 reconditioned. It comes boxed and packaged as new. Nikon factory reconditioned products are often demo models that have been re-inspected to make sure they meet standards.

Again, you can decide what level of camera you want. I am a fan of for good deals, otherwise try the Nikon or cannon websites if you are willing to try the reconditioned route.

I am very pleased with the quality of mine. The D60 produces 10.2 megapixles. This quality will be more than enough unless you are producing a billboard sized print.

Linda asks…

Looking for a good brand for a digital camera?

I don’t plan to spend over 100$ for this camera.
I had Kodak digital cameras before but I heard their new cameras are not that great.
What brand do you recommend? I’ve heard of Nikon, Canon and Olympus are good.
How high should I go for megapixels? Should I stay between 12-14?
Looking for a camera that can take great pictures in any type of lighting and also that can take videos.
I’ve heard of ISO performance? What is it? I heard it ranges from 100 to 3200. What number should my camera have to make sure it provides good quality pictures?

Thank you :)
100 to 150 $

Pip answers:

I think you should consider Canon PowerShot A3300 IS 16.0 MP Digital Still Camera with 5x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom, Record movies with 720p HD video. Http://

Michael asks…

is there such a thing as a digital camera that takes photo at the time you press the button?

Im looking for a digital camera. All the ones Ive owned/used have an annoying delay between pressing the button and the actual photo being taken. Are there any available that shoot like a film camera? What is this feature called?

Pip answers:

This feature is called, “Not being slow as molassis.” And it’s more common than you think.

The cameras you’re complaining about are either a few years old or cheaply made. But digital camera speed has vastly improved in the last two or three years.

Even among inexpensive point-and-shoot’s, there are cameras without shutter lag.

Fujifilm is probably the best value, speed for money. The Fujifilm Finepix F20 can go up to ISO 2000, which means it’s very fast! I use it and have yet to experience shutter lag in good lighting. And if I can often get sharp (not blurry) pictures at night too. You can find it for $120 on ebay. Newer versions — like the F50 — sell for more in brick-and-morter shops.

The least expensive camera I know of that doesn’t have noticeable shutter lag is the Nikon Coolpix L10. Its ISO up to 800 is good for daylight and indoor situations. Wal-Mart has it for $90. The newest version, the L18, is better at night and sells for $140 on Amazon.

Of course, any D-SLR on the market today will also give you the speed you’re used to with a film camera. Still, if you’re only buying a camera for the extra speed, it might make more financial sense to go with a fast point-and-shoot or ZLR (hybrid).

By the way, megapixels (resolution) have nothing to do with speed. In fact, excessive megapixels can slow down a camera’s processor. And since you only need 5 or 6 MP to decently print a poster, buying a camera just because it’s 8 MP isn’t really worth it.

If you are concerned with speed, check the camera’s maxiumum ISO (shutter speed) instead. Anything above 800 is decent; anything above 1600 is great.

Sharon asks…

How to set up and use a Canon 650D digital camera?

How can I set up a new Canon 650D digital camera and what are suitable hardware and software that I could buy to use with the camera to view, edit and print my photographs.
Also explain how to set it up and maintain it.

Pip answers:

Explain how to set up and maintain the Canon DSLR. Tells me that you bought a DSLR because everybody on this site told you too. Now you are faced with how to operate the darn thing. Simply put you bought more camera than you should have. Well the only thing is to make the best of it.

1.You should not get into editing beyond the simple cropping that processors offer for now, you have enough on your plate. I always use a store in my community for most of my pictures.. I do not go into their store except to “pick-up” my order. I use their web site to crop, & order my prints. I don’t like putting my memory card into machines that have been abused by every “Tom, Dick & Harry!”
COMPUTER UPLOADING: buy & use a memory card reader ($6.00) instead of the camera to computer cord that drives people nuts.
2. Hardware; there is no hardware to buy now or ever. If you are referring to lenses, you do not have the experience now to go out and spend money on lenses that YOU really don’t have a need for yet.
SOFTWARE: you should have connected your camera to your computer for any up dates to your camera, when you first got your camera. Make this a once a year project. When I connected my camera, the web site updated the cameras software so I could use the (then) new SDHC memory cards.
3. Set the camera up and maintain it. Starting backwards unless you use some other size battery you should get yourself about 3 sets of double “A” rechargeable batteries. The best brand are Eneloop. Buy together with a battery charger is the most economical way. If you have a different size battery buy two extras batteries, or at least one. Keep batteries charged , what ever size you use.
4. NECK STRAP- Yahoo does not like it when I use capitals all the time BUT this is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Always wear the neck strap. You drop this camera, be warned-dropping is NOT covered under warranty! The camera belongs in two places only, around your neck or in the gadget bag! Not carry by it’s strap in your hands (like that blasted Nikon commercial implies!)
5.Auto setting, most people who own DLSR’s recommend against using the “Auto” setting. But I recommend YOU use it until you become familiar with your camera.

I also recommend you invest in some easy to read books by Scot Kelby. He writes in a very easy to read style. I have a few because at first digital was foreign to me coming from a film environment.
The really nice thing about his books beyond the understanding factor is his web site. He often refers you to his web site to make visual presentations easier to understand! This is a real plus for me.
And while we are on the subject of reading you should check amazon for a good book on your model camera. Instruction books are often hard to read because it seems they do not employ “tech” writers anymore and you are left with what is left.

That is enough on your plate!

Good Luck

P.S. I just read “Jim A’s” advise on the manual. He is correct but I take it one step further. I download and PRINT the manual, leaving out simple things I already know like putting batteries in the camera etc. I take the remaining pages to a large place like Staples and have them cut and spiral bind the rest. I carry this home made manual with me should I encounter a situation I am not familiar with.
All this editing and preparing also enhances my knowledge of the camera and I find I have less & less to refer to. And while I am on my soapbox, get your backside out there and shoot and shoot. Experience is the best teacher!

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Your Questions About Digital Cameras Reviews

Steven asks…

What digital camera has the highest quality HD video?

I need both a new digital camera and a new camcorder, I use both frequently and I think that I might save some money if I get a two in one sort of thing. I am will to spend up to but not exceeding $400…
I want a both to be pretty nice quality. I’m just not sure where to begin looking. Any suggestions/recommendations?

Pip answers:

You should consider a digital camcorder that also offers the function of taking still shots. That way you get the best of both worlds. I have this current digital camcorder w/ built in digital camera, and I love it! It’s well below your budget so I would definitely put this one in the running. I do suggest you take your time while shopping around, read reviews and gather all the suggestions and recommendations that come through here and compare one another. That will allow you to easily eliminate those aren’t aren’t true contenders. Hope this helps and good luck with your search!

Ruth asks…

What is the best pocket-size digital camera that is inexpensive?

I have a digital camera from 3 years ago and the quality was never good, the zoom was bad, and the batteries ran out fast. I’m considering the Nikon Coolpix s220, but after reading some reviews, I’m not sure if it’s the right choice for me.

Pip answers:

Go to and read the reviews. Start with the Sony cameras, they make some pretty good pocket cameras.

George asks…

What kind of digital camera for horse photos?

I’d like to get some better photos of my horses, who seem to be constantly in motion. The 2 digital cameras I have seem to have quite a delay on them and by the time the picture is taken they have moved again. Also, the movement photos are often blury, even when set on the action setting. I don’t want to spend a fortune. I’m not a professional and my extra funds go to the horses.

ALSO, why the heck do the suckers eat through batteries so fast? Honestly, if I want to use the camera for 20 minutes I need to replace the batteries in the begining and the end. Why? And the alkalai batteries last NO longer than the regular ones.

Thanks much in advance!
I’m sorry, I must not have made it clear. I would like a new camera. I’m just wondering what type to get and I don’t want to spend $500 on one.

Pip answers:

If you want to fix the one you have, you can probably adjust the flash. If the flash is off, it stays open longer to capture the image resulting in a blur. Which i do on purpose for some of my pictures. =)

to buy one, i found a camera with good reviews and a low price. $199 at 7.1 megapixels

oh, and i recommend rechargeable batteries and charger! It only costs once. And just for comparison, a few years ago i paid 200 for my camera and it is only 4 megapixels so that one looks like a good deal, thought i would show you. =)

happy shoppin! Cameras are fun

Donna asks…

How do you delete pictures on a scan disk used in a digital camera?

I have a Kodak C533 digital camera. I bought a sacn disk to store photos and then I transfer over to the PC. That worked well. Now how do I get the pictures off of the disk?
I pushed review on the camera and pulled up the photos and then hit delete. No luck. The instruction manual says to do follow the prompts but there are none.

Pip answers:

You need to format the card

John asks…

Whats the best digital camera for uploading videos to youtube?

Okay, so im trying to upload a video to youtube and my digital camera stinks, its a cheap version that hasn’t gotten good reviews but it was free. So in your opinions, what is the best digital camera that has both quality and ease of upload, the ease of upload being chief in point.

Pip answers:

Are you asking about camcorders or cameras?

I use a Canon Elura 100 camcorder and a Canon SD750 still camera. Both have excellent video, but the camcorder has better sound and video features.

In either case, I process all my videos using Pinnacle Studio Plus or Windows Movie Maker before uploading. That way I can tweak it any way I want.

Don’t buy a camera based on a ‘Direct Upload to YouTube’ capability… That’s just a come-on from the maker to hide the fact that the camera doesn’t have any useful features. Uploading to YouTube is easy!

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Your Questions About Canon Digital Camera Repair

Chris asks…

Canon Digital Camera Question?

I have a canon powershot. Well, so this is totally wierd. All of a sudden, the screen blacked out, and got all fuzzy. Almost like when the cable goes out on your tv. I didn’t do anything to it. Any idea’s what’s up? It appears that everything else works just fine. I can turn it on, take a pic, etc. It just takes’ black/fuzzy pics. Any idea where to take it? Also, I wonder if it would be cheaper to just get a new camera?

Pip answers:

Canon offers support through their website:
It sounds like the LCD display has stopped functioning, which could be costly to repair outside of a warranty. Good luck!

David asks…

I sent my digital camera to Canon for repair….?

I bought the warranty of course, but the lens just stopped opening and they will probably not say that’s a defect but my fault. Either way, I just got an e-mail that they have received my camera but that the repair costs will be 157.00 including parts, labour, tax and shipping it back to me…however, I only paid 129 for the camera? does this seem right? why would they charge me more when I could just go get a new camera for less than the repair price?….can someone tell me if this is fair/makes sense…?
Okay so if I were to could I go about writing a legitimate complaint where they would take me seriously as I’m sure they get complaints all the time?

Pip answers:

Hi Thrills,

First of all You need to establish what warranty rights you have with the manufacturer AND/OR seller. In general, camera MANUFACTURERS provide specific warranties on Parts and Labor that are included in the price of the camera, these vary in length based on the models and types of equipment but most decent camera companies will be at least 6 months to 1 year. In addition many DEALERS (the stores that sell cameras to consumers) sell additional or extended warranties. If you bought the camera in the past year or less it is probably under the manufacturers warranty, if it is older than that it may be covered by an extended warranty.

As the consumer it is generally up to YOU to provide the warranty information and make sure you are seeking the repairs from the appropriate provider. Most stores that sell extended warranties have an agreement with manufacturers or contracted service facilities to handle their warranty claims.

If you didn’t provide purchase information to Canon and/or didn’t register your warranty card you should contact them and find out how to provide the appropriate information. Be sure to keep records of when they acknowledged receiving the camera because that will help to establish the “occurrence date” of the malfunction. This is important in case the claim is not resolved before the warranty period expires because it establishes the approximate date of the failure. So long as you have made your claim before the expiration date the company is generally required to honor the warranty and they are usually inclined to honor the claims to maintain “goodwill” with the customer and to avoid unfavorable publicity.

If you purchased an additional warranty from the store that you bought it from there may be any number of choices depending on what the sellers warranty covers.

1] If they have a private agreement with Canon they may have contracted with Canon to provide either replacement or repair services. This usually requires the store to handle the repair transaction.

2] Many stores adopt a “No questions asked” exchange policy for “In store warranty” products, especially if they are under a certain $$$ value. That is because they often prefer to resolve a problem quickly with a customer and deal with repairing or returning defective products in groups with their customer service specialists. This helps a seller to identify products that are of higher or inferior quality and adjust their product offerings. It has the advantage of encouraging customers to keep coming back especially on items that they do not stock for more than a few months (because they will try to have a newer more desirable model to replace discontinued merchandise).

3] The store could also have an agreement with a local repair specialist that covers certain types of warranties. In this case the store will usually select someone with a good “turn around time” for repairs and will use the leverage of being a larger customer for the repair business.

In any case, you will need to show your original sales receipt or warranty forms that were included when you purchased the camera.

EDIT re: complaint letter.

This could be a whole separate question, but my advice is to treat it like an inquiry. Once you have determined who to contact with the warranty request you should write a letter that is very polite and asks what the procedure is to make your claim. Most people react best to polite requests for assistance and will usually HELP you get a warranty claim approved if you treat them as someone who is important and knowledgeable. I find that if I start out with a statement like “I would really appreciate your help to file this claim properly….” I get a much more positive and friendly response.

Hope that helps. Good luck. Email me if you need more details.

Mandy asks…

digital camera?

Does anyone know where to send a Polaroid digital camera (izone 550) to get repaired, or what website can help me.

Pip answers:

Repairs on a digital camera are very expensive, especially considering the prices of digitals have come down drastically. When I worked in a camera store, the average repair for a digital was $200-$300 on a camera of about the same price. Seems ridiculous. Seriously, get a new one, and never ever buy a polaroid digital camera. The camera’s with the least amount of repair problems would definitely be Canon, followed secondly by Nikon. I would not recommend any others.

John asks…

canon digital camera warranty?

how does the warranty work?…….some people say u hav to mail it to canon to repair ur camera….my mom says u hav to take it to some place for it to be repaired…how does it work….(btw-i live in reno, nevada)….there’s some dust under the screen, it’s not that big of a deal but i hate it lol

Pip answers:


If it is a Canon Warranty, it has to be sent back to Canon. You’re mom is mistaken.

Dust under the screen is probably not covered. The manufacturer warranties usually only cover manufacturing defects. You are probably better off taking it to a camera store to get cleaned.

Helen asks…

broken canon powershot digital camera?

Just a little over a month ago I bought a canon powershot.
This past week I accidentally dropped it. I think it would’ve been okay except for the fact that it landed on the lens and part of the lens looks like it’s shoved into the other part. It doesn’t seem like something that can’t be repaired so I was wondering if there is any service that can fix digital cameras? I was reading the instructions that came with the camera and it says that they will not repair anything that isn’t a malfunction of the camera. It’s a brand new camera and I’ve only used it a couple times so I don’t want to go out and buy a new one.

Pip answers:

It needs repaired by canon
over $100 to fix
costly accident

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Your Questions About Backing Up Digital Images

Mary asks…

advise on digital camera?

If I want to keep taking pictures and getting them developed at the photo shop is it worth getting a digital camera/ I like that you can see the picture on the camera after you take them but how do you get them developed if you do not have a printer to do so . And would prefer to just get the ones you like developed? Or can you, thanks for any help.

Pip answers:

Digital pictures don’t get developed in the same sequence as in a film camera. I don’t know of any film cameras which will allow you to see a digital image before taking the picture, but many single Lens reflex film cameras ( and all double lens reflex, like Rolleiflex) display the image on a screen on back of the camera. It is not digital, and can’t be “stopped” like a digital, but you can use it for composing.

Digital pictures are stored on a media called a memory stick, or card. The cards can be removed and used at the photo shop to print only the photos that you select. Or, you can load the pictures directly into your PC, and then upload them to a photo processor ( such as Walgreens, or Walmart) for developing. This is so fast that you can upload the ones you choose, at home, get in your car, run down to your friendly drug store, and pick up your pictures for less than you’d pay for having the film processed!

For permanence, your digital images need to be saved on some media other than the card in the camera. This can be your hard disc drive, a thumb drive, or CD-R. Once removed from the camera’s memory, the images are “gone”

Michael asks…

How to transfer images from your computer on to your camera?

I have a Canon digital IXUS 60, and i use zoombrowser Ex…would like to know if it is possible to transfer images to the camera……I can load them onto canon image gateway-whats this?

Pip answers:

On the computer, copy the images to the memory card of your camera. Then put the memory card back to your camera and view the images that you copied. ;)

William asks…

Digital Image Editing Q?,?

Hi, I’m a Wedding Photographer. I wanna some cool suitable Back ground images for Photo mixing.
could u give me the link where kud i avail diz type of Back ground images.

Pip answers:

You should find these helpful:

Richard asks…

Contax 645 Digital Vs. Nikon or Canon DSLR?

Hi folks,

I’ve asked a couple of camera-related questions on here before and gotten some excellent advice for which I am most grateful. (I’ve felt funny about having to choose a “best answer” when all of the answers I’ve received have been so helpful.)

Anyway, my latest dilemma is this: I have a Contax 645 film outfit which I’m VERY happy with, but I want to go digital. I am thinking about adding a PhaseOne digital back, which would give me 16 megapixels and Zeiss-quality images (my three Zeiss lenses are absolutely ridiculous in terms of sharpness and tonal range).

On the other hand, I’m also considering either a Nikon D2Xs or a Canon 5D, both of which would give me 12+ megapixels and more lens options (not exactly Zeiss quality, however). Other advantages would be faster autofocus, better portability, etc.

My question is: if money were no object, would you go for the PhaseOne/Contax setup or the Nikon or Canon? Which option would give me the best image?

Thanks very much!
Btw: The DB I’d be looking at is a PhaseOne H20 and the capture software is Capture One 3.7.5. A friend of mine is willing to unload it on me for $2000…

Thanks again!

Pip answers:

I admit that this is speculation on my part, as I do not have personal experience with medium format digital backs. Perhaps some film experience will translate and perhaps comparing smaller sensors to larger sensors will also translate.

If image quality is your ultimate goal, I think the Contax digital back is the better way to go. As we see in smaller cameras, if you were to compare a 10 MP sensor in various sizes, we find 1/2.5″ (5×4 mm), 1/1.8″ (7×5 mm), 23 x 15 mm, and 29 x 19. (Approximate sizes; examples that I can actually find and verify) In general, the larger the sensor, the better the image quality. The more square millimeters you have to accomodate the sensor elements, the less digital artifact and noise you will get. I went to the Capture Integration site and looked around a bit. The 16 MP sensor is not a full 60×45 mm format, but “only” 36.9×36.9 mm. This makes sense, since the film take up nearly the full dimension of the film back and there is a lot of hardware involved in packaging the sensor. If money is no object, why not get the P45 back? It has 39 MP and it is 49.1×36.8 mm.

Let’s look at pixel density for the various sensors:
1/2.5″ (10 MP) = 500,000 per mm^2
1/1.8″ (10 MP) = 262,000 per mm^2
D2Xs (12.2 MP) = 32,788 per mm^2
Phase One P45 (39 MP) = 21,585 per mm^2
5D (12.7 MP) = 14,699 per mm^2
Phase One P20 (16 MP) = 11,750 per mm^2

Of course, image processing software will account for some differences in the final image quality, but you can see quantum leaps of difference in pixel density as you go from the P&S sensors to the SLR sensors and then to the Phase One sensors. The 5D is right up there with the large format backs. I’m not an engineer and I only have a rudimentary understanding of these things, but it seem obvious that the P20 would have better image quality than the D2Xs or 5D. And, the raw dimensions would be larger than either camera, so you would not have that apples to oranges problem. (I don’t know. It’s 2 AM and I may not be thinking straight. AND I’m rambling.)

I checked out the sample images for 4×5 film (which is not identified and is obviously scanned and might be “less than optimal”) and the P20 back. Personally, I’d choose the P20 images 7 days a week over the 4×5 images. I hope that they did not intentionally bias this test, but I like the definition and true colors of the P20 much better than the film. The image is a little smaller, which I assume is due to the smaller size of the sensor (compared to film) and not due to changing lenses, which was not disclosed in the test.

Anyhow, if image quality is your holy grail, I’d stick with the 645 camera with a digital back.

If real world considerations enter into the picture, of course, as we always say, it depends on what you are going to do with your camera and how it feels in your hands. If you are comfortable doing your job (whatever it is) with your Contax, surely you have no thirst for speed. If you need more than three lenses, buy more. Yeah, I know the back is $10,000 (+/-) and you could buy the Nikon or Canon plus 2-3 top quality lenses for that money, but you’ve already got 3 lenses that you love.

I see Capture Imagination has a rental program. Why not rent a back for a month and see how it feels?


As much as I love my D200, I think the Canon 5D is a very desirable camera for the money; even NOT for the money. It’s a great camera. It’s relatively easy to handle, compared to the larger dSLR’s. The full format sensor is awesome, too. If I had $10,000 to spend and was not concerned with abandoning a nice Contax 645 setup, I’d buy the 5D and 3 or 4 L-series lenses in a heartbeat.

Laura asks…

Converting photo negatives into digital image files?

Has anyone ever heard of this before? Is it possible?

Pip answers:

Yes, it’s very possible. Here’s how:
1) at time of development, you can simply check a box to have the negatives scanned and get a CD of images back, for a small fee.

2) after development, you can have slides or negatives turned into digital files by:
a) using a dedicated slide/negative scanner like a Nikon Coolscan.
B) Use a flatbed scanner like an Epson 4490 to scan the slides or negatives
c) using a slide adapter on a digital SLR to photograph the slide, turning it into a digital file
d) finding a “service bureau” that will scan your slides/negatives and create digital files for you on recordable CD. This is getting harder to find.

The least expensive route for a “do it yourself” job is to use a flatbed scanner that has a top which accepts negatives (there’s a light in the lid that shines through the negative to the sensor below the glass–giving better results). You can find such scanners at, where flatbed scanners that can scan negatives sell for as low as $80.

Next up would be the dedicated film scanner. If you go this route, get one that has a USB connection. Used scanners are all over eBay so you should be able to find a bargain. Try a Nikon Coolscan. A coolscan III or better with USB should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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