Short Guide on Buying Digital Camera and Photography FAQ

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Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
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A Photography FAQ

1 What makes a good photograph?
A photograph that is well composed and has interesting subject matter. There is no need to mention that the photograph should be correctly exposed and focussed because any camera does that 90% of the time without user intervention.

2 What makes a very good photograph?
Magical light, rarity. Uniqueness of the subject. Difficulty in another duplicating the shot.

3 Do I need expensive cameras and lenses?
This question should never have to be asked. A suggestion is to buy the best equipment you can afford, forget about upgrading and go and take photographs and improve your skill level.

4 How do I improve?
By thinking about the shot before taking it. I usually take some immediate ‘insurance shots’ first (in case weather turns against me) and then start looking around and thinking more about the shot. You really do not improve much by the trial and error method of taking 100 photographs at every possible angle because you will never remember the particular thinking that went into capturing that particular frame. See Jim Brandenburg’s Chased by the Light, where he took 1 photograph a day over 90 days.

By carefully studying your photographs afterwards, whether in digital or print/slide form. This cannot be underestimated. I prefer studying photographs in print form or in slide form vs on a computer screen. I don’t think they’ve invented a monitor that captures the dynamic range of a slide and most ordinary monitors don’t have much dynamic range. Also, its easier to lay your slides/prints side by side for comparison vs on a computer screen.

By comparing with the work of others
At beginner and intermediate stages, there is no harm in looking at how others have treated the same subject matter. In what ways are your own photographs deficient or superior? At this stage, those that say that their photographs are deficient because of inferior equipment should reassess their understanding of what a ‘good’ photograph is and perhaps work on their sense of aesthetics. Visiting art galleries is highly recommended. Great artists capture the essence of a scene, unencumbered by the physical reality before them.

5 Any recommended reading material?
Anything that inspires you to take photographs. Myself, I have books on a subject matter that interests me – mainly landscapes. I do not own technical ‘how-to’ books because that’s something you pick up by applying (4). Anything that encourages you to buy more expensive equipment should be avoided.

6 Why do some people obsess over equipment?
A person obsesses over equipment when he thinks about buying more and better camera equipment without any idea or reference to what he wants to achieve with the better equipment. Oftentimes, his existing camera equipment may be perfectly adequate to the task though his skill level might not be. As to the question ‘Why?’ I have no answer yet.


Senior Member
Apr 29, 2002
Riddle Realms
Digital Camera Buying Guide

Since there has been a great increase of Clubsnap members asking for assistance on choosing a Digital Camera, i've decided to come out with a short write up that will help the person him/herself determind which is the most suitable camera for them.

First of, before you post, asking for recommandation, it would help if you knew these details so that those who wish to come forward with their recommandation can do so with your requirements in mind.

In no order of particular importance;

01. Budget?
02. Megapixel count?
03. Optical zoom factor?
04. Size?
05. Type of batteries used?
06. Weight?
07. Able to mount lenses/filters?
08. Manual controls required?
09. Auto-Focus Speed?
10. What kind of pictures are you hoping to take?

These are just a few basic factors that usually governs the choices of new DC buyer but it's by no means complete. If you have a requirement that isn't stated above, feel free to include it in your own posting.

After deciding which are the more crucial factors, the next time is to narow down you field of choice. This where you post to ask for recommandations as well, opinion of various makes and models if you already have some in mind.

Do realise that here is no such thing as a perfect camera because each will have it's pros and cons and it's up to you, as the buyer to see what you can or canot live with. After reading the recommandations and narrowing down your choices, it will be helpful if you were to go down to a camera shop of your own preference or choice to try out these cameras and see if it's abilities lives up to your expectations.

Note: This is not a definitive guide, but at least, it will help you narrow down your options.


Oct 13, 2002
Kitten's Den
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Flash Memory Guide

This guide tries to give an introduction to the confusing array of flash memory cards commonly in used for Digital Cameras.
While there are other flash memory types available, there will be no attempt to cover them so as to keep things as simple as possible.
The following is the list of flash memory cards commonly in use by Digicams.
If you are using a digicam, or looking for one, chances that it will be one of these :

Compact Flash Type I & II (CF)
MultiMedia Card (MMC)
Secure Digital (SD / XD(newer))
Smart Media (SM)
Memory stick
Memory stick Pro

By far the most established flash cards are the Compact Flash cards. They are the cards with the biggest capacity by a big margin.

There are actually 2 types of CF cards, type I & II. Basically the difference is that type II is slightly bigger than type I, and hence can be build for bigger capacity. Note that any camera that can take CF II can take CF I as well. Current max capacity for CF I is 2GB (4GB versions had been announced but not yet shipping), for CF II is 4GB. (vs 512MB of competitors) FWIW, most CF cards are actually CF I. CF II cards are only found on the biggest capacity cards.

Just about all DSLR and prosumer digital cam uses CF II, while most mid/lower digicams that uses CF cards probably takes only CF type I. So if you have a few different cameras that uses CF card (or you want to share with your friends), you might want to consider sticking to CF I flash cards.

Most DSLR & Prosumer models also uses CF cards, with the notable exceptions of Sony and certain Fuji/Olympus models.

Since CF card type I is so good, why isn't it the universal standard?

There are a few reasons :

1) Size : CF cards are quite a bit bigger than other cards, which is probably one of the main reason why it can be so cheap. While you can build a good compact camera with CF I (eg IXUS 400/V3), it is much more of a challenge to do so for something like the Minolta Xi or those tiny casio cameras.

2) Vendor Support : Some vendor simply want to keep to their own standard (sony)

SD card is the next most commonly used card, and also enjoy a wide range of support, and is like CF, not tied to any particular vendor.

Memory stick is Sony's proprietary flash format.
Two newer versions were released in Jan 2003, the Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick Select.

Memory Stick Select is simply a double sided Memory Stick, and can be used on any device that uses Memory stick.
Concepturally similar to the older days double sided floppy disk, it requires you to open the card enclosure and push a physical switch on the stick to use the other half of its storage space. As Memory sticks' max capacity is 128MB, the 'Select' model will allow up to a max of 256MB. Of course, in applications that limits your ability to flip the switch, ie. diving, you are still limited to 128MB of storage.

The PRO version, OTOH, has double the contacts, high capacity and faster speed. The max capacity is 1GB, but I haven't seen one in Singapore so far, not to mentioned that it will cost you an arm and a leg. Only the newer camera models (those release this year, plus the DSC-F717) will be able to use the Pro version. In fact, most of the older models have been discontinued.

Sony is the only major digicam manufacturer that use this format, and exclusively for that matter. The weird long stick is a significant reason why some people don't want to use Sony, for otherwise nice cameras.

As a result, should you want to change to a different brand, you won't be able to use your flash card on those cameras.

XD is the newest flash memory in the market. It is indeed the smallest card, but to create a new format for the reason of size, when there is already a SD card that is quite small don't hold too much water.

Note that camera manufacturer for one reason or another might not follow their own general trend for certain digicam models.

Disclaimer : The above are to the best of my knowledge, if there mistakes feel free to point it out, but don't hold me responsible any information proved to be incorrect and cause inconvinience or loss to you. Verify before you commit.


Staff member
Jan 17, 2002
Photo print sizes for 35mm format

3R (3" x 5")
4R (4" x 6")
5R (5" x 7")
6R (6" x 8")
8R (8" x 10")
S8R (8" x 12")
10R (10" x 12")
S10R (10" x 15")

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