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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Digital Cameras

How to use a Digital Camera  

1.   Why go digital? 
2.   What are some of the reasons to use digital photographs?
·       Going digital saves you money in the long run since you don't have to buy rolls of film and pay for their development and printing.
·       It saves you time because you don't have to make two trips to the store to drop off and then pick up your pictures (although you can do this with the memory card).
·       Digital cameras instantly show you how your pictures look so you'll no longer have those disappointments a day or two later when your film is developed.
·       You can view images before they are printed and if you don't like what you see, edit them to perfection or save money by deleting or not printing them.
·       Digital photography doesn't use the toxic chemicals that often end up flowing down the drain and into our streams, rivers, and lakes.
·       No more waiting to finish a roll before having it processed. (Or wasting unexposed film when you can't wait.)
·       Many digital cameras are able to capture not only still photographs, but also sound and even video—they are as much multimedia recorders as they are cameras.
·       You can use a photo-editing program to improve or alter digital images. For example, you can crop them, remove red-eye, change colours or contrast, and even add and delete elements. It's like having a darkroom with the lights on and without the chemicals.

3.   What is a digital photograph? 
4.   What are Pixels?
A digital photo is made up of a series of pixels (picture elements). Most of today’s digital photos use a “24 bit RGB” system to colour each pixel. This means that each pixel has a 256 colour gradation of red, green and blue. For instance the colour orange is 255 Red, 102 Green and 0 Blue and light pink is 255 Red, 153 Green and 204 Blue. This system can produce 16 million colours which approximates what the human eye can perceive. To confuse things, many modern computers will show a screen colour of “32 bit” – this is just 24 bit RGB plus an alpha (transparency) channel. Older computers will generally show their highest setting as 24 bit (Truecolor). Either way, to properly view your 24 bit RGB digital images, you should have your computer set to either 24 or 32 bit (whatever highest display setting is offered). For more information about different modes of colour see the page about Digital Colour Models.
The dimensions of a digital photo are expressed in terms of its pixels, for instance “800 x 600” or “1520 x 1280” where the first number is the width of the photo and the second number the height of the photo. The term pixel is also used for the image sensor elements on a digital camera. 

5.   What is the relationship between the number of pixels and quality of the image?

Resolution of a Digital Image
As noted above, the "size" of a digital image is its total number of pixels, expressed as megapixels and this size is the resolution of the image. But why is the total number of pixels a measure of "resolution"? The reason is that more pixels over a fixed field of view equal higher resolution. For instance, if the field of view is 20 feet across, a 3 megapixel camera will be resolving that view at 102 pixels per foot. If that same shot was taken with an 18 MP camera it would be resolving that view at 259 pixels per foot, 2.5 times more resolution than a 3 MP camera.

Quality of a Digital Image
The resolution of a digital image is one of several factors that determine the quality of a digital photo. There are four main factors that work together to create digital photo quality:

The quality of the recording device (camera's optics & sensor, scanner's sensor).

The size (in pixels) of the digital image.

The digital format it is stored in (lossless vs. lossy compression).

The technical proficiency and the "eye" of the photographer.

These factors all work together and it's why we can't overly generalize. This is especially true when it comes to printing digital photos and why there is so much discussion about how many pixels per inch are required to achieve "photographic quality." An 8 MP photo taken with an inexpensive compact camera at high ISO and stored as a moderately compressed JPEG and then printed at 300 pixels per inch is going to look a lot worse than an 8 MP photo taken with a high quality digital SLR, stored as a TIF or low compressed JPEG and printed at 200 pixels per inch.

The three steps of digital photography

Explain the three basic steps involved in creating and using digital photographs and briefly give examples.

Digital cameras are just one link in a long chain leading from the original scene through to the final image that you display or distribute. In fact, a digital camera isn't even an absolutely necessary link in the chain. The key element in digital photography is an image in a digital format made up pixels. Although a digital camera captures photos in this digital format, you can also scan slides, negatives, or prints to convert these traditional images into the same digital format.

To understand how the camera fits in with other parts of the digital photography system, it helps to understand the three basic steps involved in creating and using digital photographs-input, processing, and output.

6.   Step 1. Inputting photographs

Input devices get photographs or other data into a computer system. The input device you're probably most familiar with is the keyboard. However, there are hundreds of other input devices including mice, touch pads, voice recognition systems, scanners, and so on. Here are some of the input devices you can use to create digital photographs:

Digital still cameras capture photographs in a digital format.

Film cameras capture photographs on slides, negatives, or prints which you can then scan to convert them to digital photographs.

Video cameras capture images in a video format. You can then use a frame grabber to isolate out individual frames and save them as still images.

Digital video cameras sometimes are able to capture still images just like a digital still. You can also use a video-editing card to extract still images from the digital video.

7.   Step 2. Processing photographs

Once a photograph is in digital form, you can store it on your system and then edit or manipulate it with a photo-editing program such as Photoshop. The things you can do to a digital image are almost endless. In some cases you improve an image by eliminating or reducing its flaws. In other cases, you adjust an image for other purposes, perhaps to make it smaller for e-mailing or posting on a Web site. Finally, you might take an image to a new place, making it something it never was. Here are just a few of the ways you can process images:
  • Crop the photograph to emphasize the key part.
  • Reduce the number of pixels in an image to make it smaller for posting on the Web or e-mailing.
  • Use filters to sharpen it or even make it look like a watercolour or oil painting.
  • Stitch together multiple frames to create panoramas.
  • Merge two images to create a 3D stereo effect, or an animated image for display on the Web.
  • Change brightness and contrast to improve the image.
  • Cut and paste parts of one image into another to create a photo montage.
  • Convert the photograph to another format.

8.   Step 3.  Outputting photographs

Once an image is the way you want it, you can output it to share with others. There are lots of ways to display and distribute digital photographs. Here are some of the most popular ways:
1. Print the image on a colour printer or send it to an on-line service to print it on silver-based paper just like that used with film cameras.
2. Insert the photograph into a word processing or desktop publishing document.
3. Post the photograph on a Web site or a photo network.
4. E-mail the photograph to friends or family members.
5. Send the photo to a service on the Web for specialty printing onto T-shirts, posters, key rings, mouse pads, even cakes and cookies.
6. Store the photograph on your system for later use.
7. Use a film recorder to convert the photograph into a slide that you can project with a slide projector.

9.   How a digital camera works?  How similar is a digital camera to a traditional camera?
Digital cameras are very much like all earlier cameras. Beginning with the very first camera all have been basically black boxes with a lens to gather the light, a wheel you turned to focus the image, an aperture that determines how bright the light is, and a shutter that determines how long the light enters.

The big difference between traditional film cameras and digital cameras is how they capture the image. Instead of film, digital cameras use a solid-state device called an image sensor. In some digital cameras the image sensor is a charge-coupled device (CCD), while in others it's a CMOS sensor. Both types can give very good results. On the surface of these fingernail-sized silicon chips are millions of photosensitive diodes, each of which captures a single pixel in the photograph to be.

When you take a picture the shutter opens briefly and each pixel on the image sensor records the brightness of the light that falls on it by accumulating an electrical charge. The more light that hits a pixel, the higher the charge it records. Pixels capturing light from highlights in the scene will have high charges. Those capturing light from shadows will have low charges.

After the shutter closes to end the exposure, the charge from each pixel is measured and converted into a digital number. This series of numbers is then used to reconstruct the image by setting the colour and brightness of matching pixels on the screen or printed page.

10.What is hand-colouring? 
What is the history behind hand colouring?  Why was it used?

Hand-colouring has been used to add colour since the invention of photography. Used primarily to add colour to black and white formal portraits, hand-colouring for this purpose went into a serious decline in the 1950's. This co-incited, not surprisingly, with the emergence of colour photography in the 1950's.

Still, the art form survived to re-emerge in the 1960's. It soon became part of the mainstream advertising and fashion photography of the time when it was rediscovered by a new generation of photographers, primarily in the United States.

The medium makes a serious statement against the use of "cold" computer manipulation. Those in the computer industry who makes a living doing this will probably differ from this standpoint, and I respect that. There's a market out there for computer manipulated stuff. Hell, I even manipulate the pics on these web pages so that they look the same on screen as in real life!

What hand-colouring offers is not so much the versatility of Photoshop of Paint Shop Pro in terms of the possible effects these programs can produce, but rather the ability to fine-tune colour and effects to a degree that I'm not sure is possible in the digital media.

As such, it is infinitely more satisfying to me to see a picture shape before my eyes. It is probably far more relaxing and less frustrating than working on screen, having to print an image later and only then being able to see whether your work of art is the same that on the screen.

The Technique

There are very few art forms that include so many disciplines as hand-tinting. Problem is, you unfortunately have to be pretty damn good at all of them to have satisfactory results. They are:

  • Creating an arresting photographic image
  • Stunning printing
  • Subtle toning
  • Selective oil application
Creating an arresting image Think through your lens. When you take a picture, think about the fact that you will add colour to it later. Decide whether there's anything in there worth colouring later before you take the shot. Hand-colouring doesn't fit any picture - you have to have the right surfaces in the shot to take colour. For instance, if the shot is dark, in other words having very few light sections, your colour simply won't show.

Stunning printing some books advocate dark, dramatic prints. I don't like them for the very reason described above. Lighter areas colour better, so don't overdo it on the contrast bit. I tend to go for a grade 2 filter as a standard for my shots. Make sure your hands are perfectly dry when handling unexposed paper, as the toning process later enhances any chemical smudges on the white edges.

Subtle toning Toning with an off-the-shelf toning kit works perfectly fine provided you use the right paper. RC (resin-coated) papers doesn't colour very easily. Use fibre-based (FB) paper as they tone better and offer more grip for your oils. Also don't overdo the toning, as the brown hue can be overpowering. Be prepared to experiment. Do more than one print of one frame, using one as a back-up, toning it less and also colouring it differently as a comparison.

Selective oil application this section is entirely up to you and your taste. The beauty of using colouring oils is that you can wipe the whole lot off and start again if you're not happy. But always "under-colour" - that is stop before you spoil the print with too much colour. But that's my preference. Play around. It's safe. But only as long as you restrict you’re playing to painting!

Types of digital cameras 

     9.   Point and shoot cameras
point-and-shoot camera, also called a compact camera, is a still camera designed primarily for simple operation. Most use focus free lenses or autofocus for focusing, automatic systems for setting the exposure options, and have flash units built in.

    10.   Prosumer cameras
The term "prosumer" is a cross between professional and consumer. When a camera is dubbed a prosumer model, it usually refers to a point-and-shoot that has advanced features such as manual exposure control and RAW format image capture. Such cameras are usually targeted at enthusiasts.

    11.   Professional Cameras
Professional DSLR cameras are not for the casual photographer; they are designed for those who shoot photos for news stories, or of sports or wildlife for a living. They're not just for professionals, but also the hard rain-or-shine shutterbugs that refuse to leave the house without a camera. Although these advanced cameras are more expensive than most digital cameras, they are a great investment in the long run.
Here are some benefits to owning a professional DSLR camera:
  • More creative control: These cameras include a broad array of manual settings, allowing photographers to frame pictures exactly as they want to. Professional DSLR users love to have the option for full manual or auto focus and automated exposure settings. Although many point-and-shoot cameras have similar manual settings, these features are limited compared to those on a professional DSLR.
  • Faster shutter speed: All digital cameras have shutter lag, which is the time between pressing the button and the camera capturing the photograph. These image-capturing devices have a significantly shorter shutter lag than point-and-shoot cameras do.
  • Interchangeable lenses: Interchangeable lenses provide photographers with more versatility, and most professional DSLR manufacturers have a wide range of lens options available for their cameras.
  • Viewfinder for better framing: Looking through a viewfinder rather than an LCD screen provides better framing.

Speciality Cameras 

    12.   These sorts of specialty cameras have recently come on the market.  Describe some of their advantages and special features.

The 3D-Cam FPV uses two cameras to generate field-sequential 3D video which is compatible with most commercial 3D equipment.  This video signal can be transmitted using standard NTSC video transmitters and can be recorded using a standard VCR or DVD recorder.  Using 3D capable video glasses (like the EVG920 we are offering to our customers) or LCD shutter glasses and a CRT (or 120Hz LCD) allows viewers to experience the scene in life-like 3D.  The depth perception provided by this 3D technology is a real asset when piloting aircraft remotely.

The 3D-Cam FPV comes with sophisticated software which allows the FPV flier to set certain parameters like Exposure and 3D convergence even in flight. Imagine that you are flying late in the evening when the sun is really low on orbit. Flying toward the sun is a real challenge because with most of the cameras the ground becomes very dark. With the 3D-Cam FPV you just turn toward the ground, the AGC will react and lit the ground up; you flip a switch to lock in the Exposure and from there on your ground are clearly lit.

3D viewing is not much help when you are very high above the ground, but when you are coming in for landing - or you are flying close to trees, bushes, objects - it can be a real bonus. The depth of the 3D viewing (convergence) can also be adjusted in flight - as well as you can switch between 2D and 3D modes in flight. All is required an empty channel on your receiver.
The 2 cameras are at a 65mm distance which corresponds to the standard distance of the human eye.

PENTAX OPTIO WG-1 BLACK 14MPH2O/COLD/SHOCK/CRUSH P Waterproof (33), Shockproof (5), Coldproof (-10 degrees C), Crushproof (100 KGF) 5x zoom and 2.7 LCD display 720p HD video and HDMI connection 1/2.3 CCD Image Sensor Digital shake reduction Digital Microscope mode SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot Includes USB cable I-USB7, AV cable I-AVC7, rechargeable Li-Ion battery D-LI92, battery charger kit K-BC92U, strap O-ST118, macro stand O-MS1 and Software CD-ROM Includes USB and AV cables, Li-Ion battery D-LI92, battery charger kit, strap and macro stand.

Oceanic Study Set Comes with Divers Camera and LCD Screen Monitor

Specifications: Image Device: 1/4 Inch CCD Horizontal Definition: 320 TV Lines Angular Field of View: 60 deg f=6mm Minimum Illumination: 0 Lux F/2.0 Synchronization System: Internal Backlight Compensation: Auto White Balance: Auto S/N Ratio: >48dB Max Depth: Approx. 20 meters Camera light source: Built in white LED light Bulbs camera viewing angle:83 degree(horizontal) / 60 degree (vertical) Waterproof Cable Length: 20 Meters Operation Temperature: -30~+50 deg C Power Source: DC 12V Connection: RCA Dimension: 95x150x40mm (LxWxD) Camera viewing depth: 400cm(approximate; in clear water) LCD Monitor Specifications: Screen: 7 Inch TFT LCD (16:9) LCD Screen Built into Aluminium Case Plastic Flip Guard over LCD Screen Included 20 Meter Wire Connected to Camera DC IN for Connecting to Outlet Mains for Direct Power DC OUT for Powering Camera LCD Video IN LCD Video OUT Remote Control of LCD Screen Resolution: 480(W)xRGBx234(H) Colour System: PAL/ NTSC Power Supply: DV 12V Monitor Dimension: 176x126x25.5mm (LxWxD) Approved: CE / FCC Accessories: Manual Camera Weight Power Adapter 20 Meter Wire Spool Heavy Duty Aluminium Carry Case Remote.

Image Storage

    13.   Describe how digital cameras store their images.
How does my digital camera store the pictures I take?
Your digital camera stores the pictures you take on the memory card. So remember, the light comes through the lens, through the computer in the camera, and off to the memory card. The camera creates a folder in the memory card. So, when you take the memory card out of the camera, put it into your computer into the card reader, the first thing you'll see is the DCIM folder, and you'll click on that. Then, you'll click on the next folder which will be where the actual pictures are. You click on that, and then all the pictures will open up for you and you'll get to see them.
How does my digital camera compress my photos?
In your digital camera, when you take a picture, the file can be quite large and cumbersome. So, the digital cameras compress the file. What that means is that mathematically they eliminate some data, which it rebuilds again in the computer. That's image compression. The most popular way to do compression is with a JPEG file. It's a mathematical algorithm that preserves a great deal of the quality of your picture and makes a very popular file format for normal photographers to use.
What are the differences between photo formats?
In your digital camera you have the choice of three file formats that you're going to use. JPEG which is what I recommend for most people for most photographers. RAR which is what serious photographer and the computer friendly people. And finally TIF which use to be a big popular format but kind of fallen by the wayside today. Let's talk about why you would use one or the other. The advantage of a JPEG file is the image comes right out of the camera onto the memory card. You can put it in any computer anywhere and look at it. It's really cool, because JPEG's are universal between MAC and Windows. I can send a JPEG to China, Japan I don't care and everybody can look at it as a picture. If I shot a RAR picture, the RAR picture is specific to my camera. So if I have a Nikon D2, or a Canon 3D or whatever camera the RAR pictures I make are specific to that camera and I must use a piece of to convert that RAR data into a picture. So if I shoot with RAR, I can't send you my file unless I work at it in the computer first. That's the definition of RAR. Why is RAR better? Because in the computer I have the opportunity to correct the image, to make some changes to the image without any lose in picture quality. One of the difficult things today is to make the picture look on my screen like it does on your screen, when I send it to you, and I know for a fact that TIF is very difficult that way so that's why TIF is kind of going by the wayside. RAR and JPEG are the top file formats today.
How many pictures can a digital camera's memory card hold?
It depends on a couple of things. Number one; how many mega pixels are the camera? Number two; how big is the memory card? And number three; what file format do you use? And if you use the best jpeg, which I'll call JPEG Fine, the image size on the memory card is roughly half the mega pixels of your camera. So if I'm in JPEG Fine, which is always where I recommend that you shoot, with an 8 mega pixel camera, that means the pictures are going to be approximately 4 megabytes on the card. If I shoot with a raw file format, the pictures are roughly two times the mega pixels of the camera. So if I have an 8 mega pixel camera, raw files are sixteen megabytes. If I shoot with a TIFF, the files are roughly three times the mega pixels, so a TIFF file would be 24 megabytes on the card. So let's say we have a 1 giga byte card, with our 8 mega pixel camera, so 1 giga byte means 1,000 megabytes, so with a Fine JPEG, those pictures are 4 megabytes a piece. On our 1 giga byte card we stored 25. If we use a raw file those pictures are 16 megabytes a piece. We're going to get about 125 pictures on a 1 giga byte card. If we're shooting TIFFs, they're 24 megabytes a piece; we're going to get roughly 400 pictures on a 1 giga byte card. That's how you figure out how many pictures you get on your memory card.
    14.   Name some of the popular makes of Flash cards on the market.  What are their features?

Memory cards are a popular storage medium for many of today's consumer electronics devices, including digital cameras, cell phones, handheld devices and other small electronic devices. Flash memory is non-volatile, which is the memory card will not lose its data when removed from the device, and the cards can also be erased or reformatted and reused.
For most consumers, when buying a memory card you have to consider price, capacity and compatibility. Some devices will support up to a specific size of memory card, and a specific type of memory card as well. It’s important to read the information that came with your device to ensure you purchase a memory card that will work in your device.


There are a few major types of memory cards that can be used in common electronics, such as a digital camera. Each of these types of memory cards are different sizes and, as the technology progresses further, we see that over time the cards have become smaller in physical size but grow larger in logical size.

Common Types of Memory Cards

PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association)
The PCMCIA standard has been expanded several times and are suitable for many types of devices. There are three types of PCMCIA cards. All three have the same rectangular size (85.6 by 54 millimetres), but different widths:
·       Type I cards can be up to 3.3 mm thick, and are used primarily for adding additional ROM or RAM to a computer.

·       Type II cards can be up to 5.5 mm thick. These cards are often used for modem and fax modem cards.
·       Type III cards can be up to 10.5 mm thick, which is sufficiently large for portable disk drives.

CompactFlash (CF)

Invented by SanDisk Corporation in 1994, CompactFlash cards can support 3.3V and 5V operation and can switch between the two, in contrast to other small-form factor flash memory cards that can operate only at one voltage. The card was designed based on the PCMCIA PC Card standard and can fit into a PCMCIA slot with an adapter. There are two types of CompactFlash cards to accommodate different capacities:
·       Type I cards are 42.8mm x 36.4mm x 3.3 mm thick
·       Type II cards are 42.8mm x 36.4mm x 5.5 mm thick.

Secure Digital Card (SD card)

SD cards are used in many small portable devices such as digital video camcorders, digital cameras, handheld computers, audio players and mobile phones. In use since 1999, SD Memory Cards are now available in capacities between 16 Megabytes and 1 Gigabyte, and still growing. An SD card typically measures 32 mm x 24 mm x 2.1 mm and weighs approximately 2grams.

MiniSD Card

After the success of the SD Card (Secure Digital Card), the miniSD Memory Card was developed to meet the demands of the mobile phone market. The MiniSD Card provides the same benefits as the SD Card, but is smaller than the original SD Card. MiniSD Cards are typically found in many newer mobile phones with features such as built-in digital cameras, downloading and games, basically the mobile phones where the miniSD can meet the requirements for increased data storage. MiniSD cards are 21.5 mm x 20 mm x 1.4 mm and generally provide 16MB to 256MB of storage.

Micro SD

Mainly used in mobile phones and other small handheld devices the Micro SD format is currently available in capacities up to 4GB, and it roughly 1/4th the size of the SD card at 15mm W 11mm W 0.7mm. The Micro SD card is also the smallest memory card available.

Card adapters can be purchased that enable backwards compatibility — this would allow Micro SD cards to work in SD and MiniSD slots, and also for Micro SD cards to work in SD card slots.

Multimedia Card (MMC)

The Multimedia Card (MMC) standard was introduced by SanDisk and Siemens in 1997. The card itself is 32 mm x 24 mm x 1.4mm and is often used in place of the SD card. Transfer speeds of a MMC are around 2.5MB/s and they can often be used in SD Card readers.

Sony Memory Sticks

Sony Memory Sticks are light, compact and designed for a wide variety of devices including digital cameras, recorders, and more. With the use of an adapter most Sony Memory Sticks can be used with almost all Memory Stick PRO compatible products.
·       Memory Stick Micro (M2): 15 mm x 12.5 mm x 1.2 mm
·       Memory Stick PRO: 50 mm x 21.5 mm x 2.8 mm. The Memory Stick PRO format has an 8-bit parallel interface with theoretical transfer rates up to 480Mb/s. It is commonly used in high megapixel digital cameras and digital camcorders.

·       Memory Stick PRO DUO: 

31 mm x 20 mm x 1.6 mm. The Memory Stick PRO Duo media is about one-third the volume and half the weight of standard-size media, but offers all the advanced functions of Memory Stick PRO media.

Smart Media

Introduced by Toshiba in 1995 the Smart Media cards are now considered obsolete despite its popular usage for five years. Smart Media cards are 45 mm x 37 mm x 0.76 mm and could be found in their peak times in 16MB, 32MB, and 128MB versions. Even as an obsolete card, it is still sought after by users of older devices which cannot use memory cards larger than 128MB.

XD-Picture Card

Abbreviated as XD (Extreme Digital), the xD-Picture Card is a type of removable flash memory designed for use in digital cameras. The XD is ultra-compact with its size of 20mm x 25mm x 1.7mm. The xD-Picture Card was developed by Fuji film and Olympus and is used in many models of digital cameras made by Olympus and Fujifilm.

Lifespan and Care Tips

Memory cards are quite sturdy and you can expect cards to be capable of working through more than one million data write/read/erase cycles. The card itself has its weakest point at its socket connectors, which are used when you remove and reinsert the memory card into a device. You can expect a memory card to be capable of withstanding around 10,000 insertions. These numbers, of course, will differ slightly between manufacturers.

Like with any consumer electronic or device, proper care is required by the users to meet the lifespan of the device. You should avoid applying too much pressure on your memory cards, and never drop or bend the card either. When the correct memory card is being used in a device, it will fit into the slot only in one direction and it will easily slide and click into place. You should never have to apply any amount of pressure to make the card fit. Memory cards should also be kept away from electrostatic sources and should never be introduced to direct sunlight or extreme ranges of temperatures.
Lastly, damaging the card or the data contained on it can happen if you try to eject the card from the device or card reader, or if you try and turn the device off while you are transferring the data to or from the memory card. So definitely avoid doing that to protect your data and card it.

Memory Cards - Info about Different Types

The different types of flash memory cards for use in digital cameras are: Secure Digital (SD), CompactFlash (CF), Memory Stick (MS), Multimedia Card (MMC) xD-Picture Card (XD) and Smart Media (SM).The type of memory card you use is dictated by which digital camera you buy. These cards are physically different and are -not- interchangeable. NOTE --- NOTE --- NOTE --- NOTE --- NOTE --- NOTE --- NOTE --- NOTE eBay has become notorious for "fake memory card" sales, thousands of people have been scammed by sellers who are selling inferior or lower capacity cards that have been relabelled and repackaged to look like the real thing. Buyers beware - I recommend that you purchase your cards only from reputable online vendors or brick and mortar stores. If you must buy on eBay then check out this page at Overclockers.com.au for ways to visually identify some (not all) of the most popular fake cards.

High-Capacity CF & SD Cards

Today's choices in flash memory storage devices for digital cameras and other devices are mind-boggling.   It's no wonder the consumer is totally confused.   Just figuring out which options your camera should have is tough enough. Then you discover that there are all kinds of memory storage options -- Smart Media (SM), CompactFlash (CF), Memory Stick (MS), Multimedia Card (MMC), Secure Digital (SD), eXtreme Digital (XD), Microdrive ... and none of them are compatible with the others. Only recently have Secure Digital, Memory Stick and XD cards gotten above the 1GB capacity mark --CompactFlash (CF) devices offer capacities of up to 12 Gigabytes, they're the main focus of this report. We are also expanding our SD card coverage - SD cards are now the most popular flash media type and getting bigger (up to 32GB) and faster (up to 150x speed and beyond) all the time!

Downloading images, what to plug in
    15.   Explain the process of downloading?  What are some of ways of transferring images to the computer?

Copying Pictures from your digital camera to your computer

STOP: Before you go any further, you need to know the basics of how your computer stores and organizes files.  This topic is not a “camera” topic; it’s a really important part of understanding your computer. There are several excellent explanations in your computer’s Windows HELP files, and the Windows for Dummies book series explains files very well. 

To your computer, that beautiful picture you took is a file made up of 0s and 1s. Before you can do anything with that picture, you want to get that file onto the hard drive.  
The process can be called “uploading” or “downloading” but it’s really just a process of copying the computer file(s) from your camera to your computer.

Copying pictures from camera to computer using Windows XP
  2. The easiest program to copy picture files from one place to another came with your computer. It’s called “My Computer”
  3. Turn off your camera and remove the memory card.
  4. Insert the memory card in a card reader, either one that’s built into the computer or a separate one.
  5. To open My Computer, click Start, and then click My Computer
  6. The memory card shows up as a removable disk in “My Computer”
  7. Left click on that removable disk to find a folder called DCIM (Digital Camera Images)
  8. The files in that folder are your pictures, and their names end in “jpg”
  9. Copy those files by selecting them and copying them. The keyboard shortcut (control-A) marks all the photos in a folder and the keyboard shortcut (control-C) copies them to the computer’s clipboard.
  10. Navigate to the folder within “My Documents” named “My Pictures” and paste (control-V) your photos into place.
  11. Learn how to make new subfolders within the master folder “My Pictures” so that it’s easier to find a photo you want. I make up folders with names like “2007March” and divide my photos by the month taken.
  12. After you copy files or folders to the hard drive, it is useful to view the hard drive to confirm that the files are copied.
  13. Do not erase photos from your memory card until you are positive you’ve saved them on the hard drive!

Using the camera as a source, instead of a card reader (but we really, really suggest using a card reader)
  • You can copy photo files directly from your camera to the computer. Use the USB cable that came with the camera.
  • Very important: make sure that your batteries have a full charge before you start this procedure.
  • If the power fails during the transfer, data will be corrupted.
  • Be very careful when inserting the USB cable connector into the socket of the camera. This is one of the most fragile components of the camera and we have seen cameras damaged by carelessness.
  • After you copy files or folders to the hard drive, it is useful to view the hard drive to confirm that the files are copied.
  • For the greatest safety of your irreplaceable images, make a second copy on CD, DVD or detachable hard drive.

Image Sensors


16.   In your own words, what is resolution? Describe the importance of image quality.

Resolution is the number of pixels used to display an image. The higher the resolution is the more pixels it will have making it a clearer and better picture.

    17.   What is a megapixel?  How does it relate to the quality of the photo?

A megapixel is equal to one million pixels. The higher the megapixel would result in a better image resolution.

Digital camera file formats

    18.   Summarise in your own words some of the basic formats your digital camera offers and why would you choose them.

Some of the basic formats that my digital camera offers include:

·       Setting the still image size
·       Image size and quality
·       Deleting images
·       Viewing images on the screen of the camera
·       Viewing images on a TV screen
·       Exposure, Focus, Flash, Color, Burst, Zoom, Shutter speed and aperture
·       Video recording
·       Date, Time, Self-Timer
·       Twilight, Portrait and Landscape modes
·       Connecting the camera to a printer

I would choose all different formats for different photo shots and once I work out my camera I will be able to elaborate more.

Preview screens & viewfinders

    19.   What is the difference between a preview screen and a viewfinder?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Traditional cameras use viewfinders which allow you to set up your shot and, in the case of Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras, focus your subject.

Viewfinders can also be found on digital cameras, but in addition, almost every digital camera is equipped with a LCD preview screen.

The preview screen can also be used to set up shots, so you may be wondering why both are needed. The simple reason is that the preview screen consumes battery power, so if you want to extend your battery life use the viewfinder instead of the preview screen for composing shots.

Another reason for using the viewfinder is that LCD screens can be difficult to see in bright sunlight. There are many other uses for preview screens, however, and they are essential for most digital photographers.

Preview Screens

If you are running out of space on your memory card and wish to take a few shots more, previewing saved images allows you to pick out pictures which can be deleted. Some cameras have a thumbnail function which allows you to view many shots at once. This makes it easy to zero in on one particular photograph.

For those who print pictures directly from the camera, the preview screen allows you to select which picture should be printed. Some cameras even have basic editing functions which allow you to crop images and adjust colour and brightness before printing them. These functions can be accessed with the LCD preview screen.


If your digital camera has a traditional style viewfinder, it should be used for most of your picture taking. As we mentioned above, using the viewfinder instead of the LCD preview screen will save on battery power. It will also allow you to hold the camera steadier and move the camera smoothly for action shots. Photographers who wear glasses can get a camera with a dioptre adjustment -- this adjusts the lens of the viewfinder so that you don't have to wear glasses when shooting pictures.

There are some situations, however, when using the preview screen instead of the viewfinder is recommended.

The viewfinder is slightly offset from the lens. In most situations this is not a problem, but for close-up shots there can be a noticeable difference between what the lens sees and what the viewfinder sees. The preview screen allows you to precisely compose close-up shots because it shows exactly what the lens sees.

Another time it is better to use the preview screen is when shooting objects close to the ground. This saves you from having to get into an awkward position in order to set up the shot.

Through the Lens Viewfinder

Some of the more expensive digital cameras have a viewfinder which is connected to the lens with a prism. This allows you to see exactly what the lens sees. A variation on this type of viewfinder is the electronic viewfinder (EVF). This is a miniature LCD display which collects light from the lens area. As you are setting up a shot you can also see all of the camera's menus. This lets you change camera settings as you are viewing a scene for immediate feedback. Used in conjunction with a dioptre adjustment, this saves the photographer using reading glasses in order to adjust the camera.

"LIVE VIEW" means you can see the scene as it happens through the liquid crystal screen of the digital camera.

In some point and shoot cameras there is no optical viewfinder to see through, so your only view is the LCD screen. In this case live view is necessary.

In cameras with an optical viewfinder, such as a DSLR - digital single lens reflex camera, live view is not absolutely necessary.

As for the Advantages:

~ For macro shots - close up actual or larger size photos- live view shows exactly what will be in the photo.

~ When the camera is mounted on a tripod, you can watch the led screen without putting an eye up to the camera and more easily use a remote shutter release.

~ By watching the led screen, it is not necessary to put the camera up to your eye, and children usually do not know you are taking their picture. This can give more spontaneous results.

~ When focusing without actually shooting, you can be sure of the focus by watching live view. If there is a failure to focus, it will show up.

~ With live view you can see the scene the way the camera sensor sees it.

As for the Disadvantages;

If live view shows on the led screen, battery life will be shorter as the led screen will draw more power when lit.

If you are presbyopia or have a full correction for myopia with glasses or contact lenses, you may not be able to see the led screen close up.

The led screen may not be visible in full sunlight.

Some but not all cameras have problems with the picture sensor overheating while using live view.

Finally, many aspiring photographers consider using live view less skilful or "less professional" than using the optical viewfinder. This could be considered a matter of preference.

Automatic Flash

    20.   Explain the different flash modes on the digital camera.

Automatic Mode

I suspect no one will need any introduction to this mode (as it seems most digital camera owners use it). Auto mode tells your camera to use its best judgement to select shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus and flash to take the best shot that it can. With some cameras auto mode lets you override flash or change it to red eye reduction. This mode will give you nice results in many shooting conditions, however you need to keep in mind that you’re not telling your camera any extra information about the type of shot you’re taking so it will be ‘guessing’ as to what you want. As a result some of the following modes might be more appropriate to select as they give your camera a few more hints (without you needing to do anything more).

Read more:

Portrait Mode

When you switch to portrait mode your camera will automatically select a large aperture (small number) which helps to keep your background out of focus (i.e. it sets a narrow depth of field – ensuring your subject is the only thing in focus and is therefore the centre of attention in the shot). Portrait mode works best when you’re photographing a single subject so get in close enough to your subject (either by zooming in or walking closer) so that your photographing the head and shoulders of them). Also if you’re shooting into the sun you might want to trigger your flash to add a little light onto their face

Read more: 

Macro Mode

Macro mode lets you move you’re closer into your subject to take a close up picture. It’s great for shooting flowers, insects or other small objects. Different digital cameras will have macro modes with different capabilities including different focussing distances (usually between 2-10cm for point and shoot cameras). When you use macro mode you’ll notice that focussing is more difficult as at short distances the depth of field is very narrow (just millimetres at times). Keep your camera and the object you’re photographing parallel if possible or you’ll find a lot of it will be out of focus. You’ll probably also find that you won’t want to use your camera’s built in flash when photographing close up objects or they’ll be burnt out. Lastly – a tripod is invaluable in macro shots as the depth of field is so small that even moving towards or away from your subject slightly can make your subject out of focus.

Read more:

Landscape Mode

This mode is almost the exact opposite of portrait mode in that it sets the camera up with a small aperture (large number) to make sure as much of the scene you’re photographing will be in focus as possible (i.e. it give you a large depth of field). It’s therefore ideal for capturing shots of wide scenes, particularly those with points of interest at different distances from the camera. At times your camera might also select a slower shutter speed in this mode (to compensate for the small aperture) so you might want to consider a tripod or other method of ensuring your camera is still.

Read more: 

Sports Mode

Photographing moving objects is what sports mode (also called ‘action mode’ in some cameras) is designed for. It is ideal for photographing any moving objects including people playing sports, pets, cars, wildlife etc. Sports mode attempts to freeze the action by increasing the shutter speed. When photographing fast moving subjects you can also increase your chances of capturing them with panning of your camera along with the subject and/or by attempting to pre focus your camera on a spot where the subject will be when you want to photograph it (this takes practice).

Read more: 

Night Mode

This is a really fun mode to play around with and can create some wonderfully colourful and interesting shots. Night mode (a technique also called ‘slow shutter sync’) is for shooting in low light situations and sets your camera to use a longer shutter speed to help capture details of the background but it also fires off a flash to illuminate the foreground (and subject). If you use this mode for a ‘serious’ or well-balanced shot you should use a tripod or your background will be blurred – however it’s also fun to take shots with this handheld to purposely blur your backgrounds – especially when there is a situation with lights behind your subject as it can give a fun and experimental look (great for parties and dance floors with coloured lights).

Read more: 

Movie Mode

This mode extends your digital camera from just capturing still images to capturing moving ones. Most new digital cameras these days come with a movie mode that records both video but also sound. The quality is generally not up to video camera standards but it’s a handy mode to have when you come across that perfect subject that just can’t be captured with a still image. Keep in mind that moving images take up significantly more space on your memory storage than still images.

Other less common modes that I’ve seen on digital cameras over the past year include:
·       Panoramic/Stitch Mode – for taking shots of a panoramic scene to be joined together later as one image.
·       Snow Mode – to help with tricky bright lighting at the snow
·       Fireworks Mode - for shooting firework displays
·       Kids and Pets Mode – fast moving objects can be tricky – this mode seems to speed up shutter speed and help reduce shutter lag with some pre focussing
·       Underwater Mode – underwater photography has its own unique set of exposure requirements
·       Beach Mode – another bright scene mode
·       Indoor Mode – helps with setting shutter speed and white balance
·       Foliage Mode - boosts saturation to give nice bold colours

Semi-Automatic Modes

Aperture Priority Mode (A or AV)

This mode is really a semi-automatic (or semi-manual) mode where you choose the aperture and where your camera chooses the other settings (shutter speed, white balance, ISO etc.) so as to ensure you have a well-balanced exposure. Aperture priority mode is useful when you’re looking to control the depth of field in a shot (usually a stationary object where you don’t need to control shutter speed). Choosing a larger number aperture means the aperture (or the opening in your camera when shooting) is smaller and lets less light in. This means you’ll have a larger depth of field (more of the scene will be in focus) but that your camera will choose a slower shutter speed. Small numbers means the opposite (i.e. your aperture is large, depth of field will be small and your camera will probably choose a faster shutter speed).

Shutter Priority Mode (S or TV)

Shutter priority is very similar to aperture priority mode but is the mode where you select a shutter speed and the camera then chooses all of the other settings. You would use this mode where you want to control over shutter speed (obviously). For example when photographing moving subjects (like sports) you might want to choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. On the flip-side of this you might want to capture the movement as a blur of a subject like a waterfall and choose a slow shutter speed. You might also choose a slow shutter speed in lower light situations.

Program Mode (P)

Some digital cameras have this priority mode in addition to auto mode (in a few cameras Program mode IS full Auto mode… confusing isn’t it!). In those cameras that have both, Program mode is similar to Auto but gives you a little more control over some other features including flash, white balance, ISO etc. Check your digital camera’s manual for how the Program mode differs from Automatic in your particular model.

Fully Manual Mode

Manual Mode

In this mode you have full control over your camera and need to think about all settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. It gives you the flexibility to set your shots up as you wish. Of course you also need to have some idea of what you’re doing in manual mode so most digital camera owners that I have anything to do with tend to stick to one of the priority modes.

Read more: 


     21.   Explain the different types of batteries available for digital cameras.

The Different Types of Batteries for Your Digital Camera

Most digital cameras accept standard AA batteries, but you have options in what kind of AA batteries you use. Disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries, and even battery packs can get your camera snapping photos. You just need to decide what kind of battery would work best for you:
  • Alkaline batteries: These traditional batteries usually have a pretty short life in a digital camera.
  • Lithium batteries: Tend to last longer than other battery types. They also handle cold weather better.
  • Rechargeable batteries: Choose nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries if you can because they have more power, are safer for the environment, and have several technical advantages over other types. You can also use lithium-ion (Li-Ion) rechargeable batteries, which usually last for a couple hundred shots. This figure shows both types of rechargeable batteries.
Of course, rechargeable batteries need a battery charger. You can use a battery charger that plugs into a standard wall socket or one that’s solar-powered.
·       Battery pack: Some cameras can be fitted with an add-on battery pack (as shown in this figure) that fits under the camera body and holds two more batteries (increasing the length of your batteries’ life).

    22.   What do these icons mean?
Battery is full.
Battery is low and needs to be charged soon.


    23.   Describe some of the software that comes with the digital camera.

Many digital cameras come with digital photography software that allows for photo manipulation, slide show creation, and e-mail capability.

Workflow and Photo Editing Special Purpose Software: Best Tools

Image editors and workflow suites will do some of the functions of the software listed below, but if you want to take those – whether it’s an effects filter or a better way to get rid of digital noise – to new heights, that’s the time you need to call in the specialists. Most of the developers listed below make more than one title. I’ve listed the latest or most interesting developments for each.

Color Efex Pro is a powerful visual effects generator and Version 4 has a number of enhancements to boost its functionality even more. A new stackable feature lets you combine filter effects and then adjust opacity to control their strength. There are a number of new filter effects, and the effects now have pre-sets to give you a starting point.

Underneath the software is optimized for multi-core processors and high performance graphics chips. Nik‘s signature feature, U-Point technology is of course part of the package. This is like a heads-up display that overlays the effects controls onscreen directly over the areas you want to modify. The Complete Edition ($199.95) contains 55 filters and the Select Edition ($99.95) contains 26 filters.

Corel Painter 12 is the natural media specialist. It is designed to reproduce in the digital realm the methodology of traditional visual arts – painting, drawing, etc. Its Real Bristle brushes come very close to producing the stroke appearance of… well, real bristle brushes. New to version 12 are Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oil brushes.

Some other software to choose from would be Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Paint shop Pro.

Meta Data

    24.   Information is recorded in a photo.  Explain advantages of this and describe how you would insert this into a Photoshop file.  What are tags?  How can tags help the user?

Photo metadata, simply put, is a set of data that describes various aspects of your photo (i.e. where it was taken, settings used, etc.).

Photos without metadata are like the thousands of items at an antique market, whose origin and history you can only guess at. Using metadata is like adding a card next to each item in the antique market with details such as its origin, maker, purpose, how it was made, etc.

There are two types of metadata: technical and informational.
Technical metadata
The technical data (EXIF) tells you all about the settings used when you took the shot. This includes things like:
§  date and time
§  shutter speed
§  aperture
§  ISO speed
§  focal length
On most cameras, this information will automatically be added to each photo when you take them, so you generally don’t need to do anything to include this.
Informational metadata
The informational data (IPTC, XMP and Keywords) includes things like:
§  name and type of subject
§  name of the photographer
§  where the photo was taken
§  copyright info
§  keywords to describe the photo
§  Just about anything else you can think of!
This type of information isn’t automatically generated by the camera (sorry!), so you’ll have to manually enter it yourself, but making use of this information will make your photographic life much easier!
Advantages of using metadata
Metadata is written to the image file, so it stays with the image wherever it goes. This means whether your email it or post it on the web, the metadata you include will be available for all to read (only you can decide whether that is a good thing!).
There are two main advantages of using metadata:
1.   It helps identify you as the photographer and owner of the photo
2.   It helps you find the photo again later (through keywords, and any other info you attach to the photo)
An example of metadata in action
Description: Photo by Matthew Fletcher
Photo by Matthew Fletcher

As an example, let’s take a look at the metadata embedded in the photo above of a white-faced heron:

Technical data (EXIF):

§  ISO Speed: 400
§  Focal Length: 400mm
§  Exposure: 1/500
§  F-Number: f/8

Informational data:

§  Copyright notice (“Copyright (c) 2008 Matthew Fletcher”)
§  Rights usage notice (“For consideration only. No reproduction without prior permission”)
§  City/State (Lauderdale, Tasmania)
§  Country (Australia)
§  Keywords (white faced heron, Egretta novaehollandiae, Lauderdale Canal)

By including all this metadata, I can safely post this image online or send it to a friend, bureau or magazine (because the copyright notice is included). I can also search my computer for this image by using keywords I attached to the photo (i.e. “White-faced Heron” or “Australia” or “Tasmania” or “Lauderdale” or “Lauderdale Canal” or any combination of these).

With so many ways to find this image, I’ll surely find it quickly and easily whenever I need it in the future.

As an alternative to metadata, I could have simply renamed the file to “White-faced Heron” but then you wouldn’t be able to determine where the picture was taken, nor the other features. And if this picture had multiple subjects, what would you call it without having a terribly long file name?

Using metadata is the only way to attach all information about the photo.

How to add metadata to your photos

Depending on which program you use, there will be different ways of adding keywords to your image. It may be called keywords, or tags, or simply “metadata.” Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Light room have advanced key wording and metadata options. But you can also add keywords in programs like Apple’s iPhoto and many others.
It’s worth the extra time investment…
It does take extra time to add keywords, but the small investment of time up-front is well worth it in the future. Try it next time you import your photos or look at existing photos, and see how metadata can work for you. Oh, and if you do go antiquing, think how much easier life would be if each item included metadata!

In Photoshop, Click File then scroll down to ‘File info’
It brings up a box to add metadata. Here you can add information like:
·       Document title
·       Author
·       Author title
·       Description
·       Give it a rating
·       Description Writer
·       Keywords
·       Copyright status and so on.

I lot more information can be added just click on the top tabs then the right ones.
In information systems, a tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an Internet bookmark, digital image, or computer file). This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are generally chosen informally and personally by the item's creator or by its viewer, depending on the system.

News Flash – Kodak has now folded and no longer exists. 

     25.   How does this impact the digital camera market?

The demise of Kodak

Eastman Kodak, a company so synonymous with the art and history of photography that it once held a 90% share of the US film market, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 19, 2012 after 123 years of trading. Despite more than 100,000 creditors and debts in excess of $6.75 billion, Kodak remains in operation thanks to a $950 million, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup. However without a radical strategic and operational overhaul most industry analysts can’t see it surviving for much longer. 

So how did such a historical company and a brand so legendary that one of its slogans “a Kodak moment” has entered the English language decline so badly? The answer is rather simple: it failed to evolve with the times. Despite being an early pioneer of digital photography, where as recently as 2005 it was the biggest seller in the US of digital cameras, Kodak failed to adjust properly to the change in the market away from film to digital and as a result its sales shrunk almost in half from 2005 to 2010 and hasn’t posted a profit since 2004. 

Kodak invested heavily in digital photography but failed to benefit from its investment as both the size of the market shrunk in the wake of launch of cell phones with the capability to take digital photographs, and it was superseded by a large influx of competitors from Asia, whom could dramatically undercut its prices. Kodak responded by reducing the quality of its cameras and selling them at a very low profit margin, but this only made matters worse and it became so heavily inundated with complaints that by 2006 it withdrew from the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) and announced that it would no longer accept or respond to consumer complaints submitted by them. The net effect of all this saw Kodak’s sales fall dramatically from being no 4 in the US digital camera market in 2007 to being to no 7 in 2010 with just 7% of overall sales. 

The effects of such a decline were severe to the business and ranged from being delisted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average index in 2004 after 74 consecutive years to having to downsize over 50,000 of its workforce. In 2010 its shares tumbled almost 90% to penny stock status which saw it delisted from the S&P 500 in December 2010. During 2011, Kodak was forced to utilise $160 million from a pre-existing $400 million credit line in order to continue trading and looked to raise cash by exploring the sale of more than 1,100 patents, or 10% of the company's patent portfolio, which could have the potential of generating $3 billion. Despite these measures shares fell more than 80 precent and Thomson Reuters project they end both 2011 and 2012 in the red.

Lessons Learned

Companies, especially those in tech-related industries, can certainly walk away with how not to become obsolete, as Kodak has done.

The biggest lesson to be learned from Kodak’s demise is no matter how big of a company you are, you can never be comfortable in your niche. Companies need to be and stay innovative to stay relevant an in business. Just take a look at Apple who keeps innovating its most popular products into better iterations of themselves. Apple is always working on new projects and looking to release game-changing devise…that it will then perfect with various editions.

In essence, even though Kodak was first at releasing the digital camera, they didn’t follow through with their technology and was left behind. When they didn’t take advantage of what they had, they stopped trying. Unlike them, Apple continues to lead the market because they’re not resting on their laurels and are continuing to think as innovators and leaders.

I would imagine companies such as Apple, Google, Fujifilm, Sony, Nikon and Cannon will dominate the market as well as camera phones playing a big part as these days you can instantly upload your videos and photos to the World Wide Web.


    26.   What is HDR and how can you use it in your photography or your images?

You might have heard the enigmatic acronym “HDR” in reference to photography. It stands for “High Dynamic Range” and it creates photos with gorgeous, impossible detail and clarity. Keep reading to learn more, and see how you can use it.

Why Would I Even Need HDR?

Cameras are limited to the amount of image detail they can record when the sensor is exposed to light. Whether you’re using the auto settings or are taking pics using skilfully tuned manual settings, your goal is trying to take advantage of the available light to maximize the detail in the result image. The problem is, when you’re shooting heavy shadows and bright lights, you are forced into losing detail in one range or the other.
A skilled photographer can tune her elements of exposure to achieve great detail in shadows or highlights, or choose the middle of the road, “proper” exposure solution, and lose some detail in both. Lots of detail in the shadows can give you thin, washed out highlights, while good detail in those same highlight areas will result in all shadows immediately jumping to a solid, dark black. Ordinarily, you’d want the “goldilocks” exposure that is somewhere in the middle.

Using this sort of “normal” exposure, where a photographer has to make these sorts of tough decisions, is sometimes called “Standard” or “Low” Dynamic Range imaging. This is what ordinary cameras shoot, including what nearly 100% of How-To Geek readers are likely to be using.

What is High Dynamic Range Imaging?

In order to avoid any confusion, it’s worth noting that there are many different methods of creating images that are all referred to as HDR, or High Dynamic Range Imaging. Many of these methods are very different, so it can be helpful to briefly look at our terminology, and explain away these confusing terms that all seem to overlap each other. Keep the following in mind when thinking of HDR:
  • Ordinary methods of creating images have less range than the human eye can see. These are called “Standard” or “Low Dynamic Range.”
  • There are methods and hacks to work around these image limits, and these methods are sometimes called HDR imaging methods. These specific methods are usually older and predate digital combination of images.
  • There is also High Dynamic Range image formats and colour spaces that have greater ranges of values than standard range formats, capable of capturing rich detail in shadows and highlights at once. These are also correctly called HDR, and are not the same thing as the previously mentioned methods. Normally these are captured natively, with HDR equipment.
  • What most modern digital photographers refer to as HDR Imaging is what we shall be focusing on today—a method of combining image data from multiple digital exposures to create one photograph with detail normally not possible.

What Goes Into an HDR Image?

Stepping around the problems of typical standard range photography, we can think of HDR Imaging as techniques that combine the image information from multiple exposures into one image with detail beyond the limitations of single exposures. Resourceful photographers know to use image bracketing when photographing a scene, or stopping up or stopping down the exposure in order to increase the chances of finding that proper “goldilocks” exposure. Even though your light meter or auto setting might say that the proper exposure has been selected, taking the same composition multiple times with multiple aperture or shutter speed settings will greatly boost your chances of getting that “best” image out of your shot.

HDR Imaging also uses bracketing, but in a different way. Instead of shooting multiple exposures to create the best image, HDR wants to capture the maximum possible detail throughout the whole range of light. Photographers normally faced with the choice of losing detail in highlights and shadows can choose to bracket multiple exposures, shooting first for detail in the shadows, then for detail in the highlights, and a “goldilocks” exposure somewhere in the middle. By bracketing this way, professionals create the building blocks for their perfect image.

Tonal Mapping, and Creating Rich Detail in Images

The basic idea of creating a combination image with multiple exposures is not new to photography. As long as cameras have had the limitation of standard ranges, clever photographers have been hacking ways to create the best possible image. Brilliant photographer Ansel Adams used dodging and burning techniques to selectively expose his prints and create amazing rich detail in images, like the one illustrated above. When digital photography was finally viable enough to address this problem, the first HDR file types were created. However, the HDR file types used by most photographers today do not use this method (i.e. capturing multiple exposures into single file, beyond the range of ordinary imaging). Most so-called “HDR” images are actually multiple exposures combined into an HDR image, and then Tone mapped into a single standard range image.

Much of the true High Dynamic Range levels of detail are out of range of monitors, CMYK printers, and cameras—these ordinary mediums simply can’t create images that can compare to the amount of image data the human eye can capture. Tone mapping is a technique to translate colour and values from a HDR medium (for instance, a Photoshop creation of multiple SDR exposures) and map them back into a standard medium (like an ordinary image file). Because it is a translation, tone mapped images are a sort of simulation of the rich range of values in HDR file formats, despite the fact that they can create amazing detail in lights and darks simultaneously. Despite this, tone mapped images fall under the blanket of HDR techniques, and get the confusing blanket label of HDR.

It is this technique that most photographers call HDR Imaging, or even HDR photography. The reason it is more significant is because modern photo editing tools and digital cameras make it easier than ever for home and hobby photographers to create these images.

Creating Images with HDR Levels of Detail

Many modern image editing apps have tone mapping routines for combining multiple images and creating the best possible image out of their combination, in addition to hacks and clever ways to combine images to create rich photographs with excellent detail. These methods, some of which HTG will cover in future photography articles, are possible with Photoshop, and even with free software like GIMP or Paint.NET. You can create multiple exposures, high-detail photography by:
  • Combining multiple exposures with software like Photo matrix or Photoshop’s HDR Pro, and tone mapping the image.
  • Combining multiple exposures using combinations of blending methods in multiple layers in powerful image editors like GIMP.
  • Manually merging high detail areas of images with layer masks, erasers, and dodging and burning in programs like Photoshop or Paint.NET.


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