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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Digital Camera Tricks and Tips

Digital Camera Tips and Tricks #1: Bring a camera that matches the activity

I was at Lynette's 7-year-old daughter's birthday party this afternoon at Pastime Lanes in Mendham, NJ and realized too late that I had the wrong camera with me for a kid's bowling party. Kids are hard to keep up with, especially when they're engaged in sports, unless you have a single lens reflex (SLR) camera.

I first started using a digital camera (an Olympus CAMEDIA C-2000 ZOOM) back in 1999 to take pictures at Rex's sons' high school basketball games, and continued to use it until digital SLRs were introduced and I bought a Canon Digital Rebel in 2004. With the Olympus and all subsequent non-SLR digital cameras, I have found that the camera can't keep up with the action and I end up with a lot of pictures where the subject had run out of the frame. All I have left is a glimpse of hair, a tennis racket, a bowling shoe.

While you might assume that the answer is that the digital SLR is the answer for all occasions, I've discovered that I really need different cameras for different activities.

I have three digital cameras:

  • Canon Digital Rebel XT: Fast enough to keep up with my kids on the tennis court, or the Duke Blue Devils on the basketball court.
  • Pentax WPi Optio: The WP stands for waterproof, but it is also somewhat sand-proof. While I rarely take the bulky digital SLR to the beach, and therefore miss some shots of the kids riding a wave in to shore, a small waterproof digital camera fits in your beach bag and still works if it gets wet.
  • Apple iPhone: I use an iPhone, but most cell phones seem to come with a camera option these days. Because it's your phone, it fits in your purse, pocket, or briefcase and is almost always with you.


Digital Camera Trick #2: Each time you start a new "roll" of digital pictures on your camera, take a picture of your business card or other form of identification.

While I'm not here to give you advice on how to prevent the theft of your expensive digital SLR camera, let's assume for a moment that there are good people in the world who would like to get your camera back to you when they find it left behind in airport security or on an It's A Small World boat at Disneyland. If 200 pictures of your adorable children are the only identification you have in your camera, chances are you're never going to see it again. However, if you take a moment to snap a photo of your business card or other form of identification, the person who finds it and wants to return it to you has your name and phone number (if you're traveling far from home and office, be sure to include your cell phone number), and can easily reach you. This organization tip also works for your iPhone.


Digital (Video) Camera Trick #3: No matter how tempted you are, don't turn a camera on its side ("portrait") to record a video. You'll plug the camera into your big screen TV to show Grandmom, and the kids will be on their sides and Grandmom will have to lie on her side on the couch to watch them run or swing or dance. If you made this mistake for the entirety of the school play, Grandmom is going to give up before Troy and Gabriella make it through the opening karaoke scene.


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