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Digital Cameras

It won't be too long before you will be able to have a SIX meg digital camera in your cell phone. Digital camera sales are up 40 percent this year and nearly 100 million will be sold be 2008. Many of you know that I love gadgets. I have carefully looked at digital cameras and reached some conclusions. It is important to realize that the quality of digital cameras is related to other factors than the size of the megapixels. The two primary factors are the size of the computer chip and the quality of the optics.

There is a major difference between a typical point-and-shoot digital camera and a Digital Single-Lens-Reflex (DSLR, with interchangeable lenses). I recently purchased the new 8 mg point and shoot Canon Pro-1 but quickly returned it once I understood that the sensors are tiny compared to the real DSLRs. All point-and-shoot digital cameras have sensors typically only one-fifth as big along each side, or only one 25th of the surface area for the sensor as well as for each pixel at the same resolution. Because these cameras use such tiny pixels they are subject to two serious flaws--this translates to much more noise and a distorted picture.

After understanding this I purchased what is likely the best digital camera under $3,000, the Nikon D70 and I am very pleased with it. CNet recently rated this one of the best cameras on the market. The only higher rated camera costs $5,000 more, which is clearly not cost-effective. The images and the ease of use on this camera are truly astounding. It is possible to enlarge the images to 20 by 30 inches with virtually no distortion.

Reuters May 13, 2004

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