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Even the simplest, most compact digital camera is capable of taking magazine-quality shots, once the user has a working knowledge of its features. In Digital Photography Principles: The Camera, Derrick Story shows how to master and take advantage of everything from basic resolution settings to the latest imaging technologies. He teaches even beginning digital photographers how to apply techniques that will have friends asking, "How was that shot taken?"
I want to talk about Image Sensors just for a minute because a lot of talk around what type of digital camera to buy, gets caught up around megapixels. And really sensors are more important. We have three sensors here, the first one is the Full Frame Sensor and this is a kind of sensor that you would find on a high-end Digital SLR such as a NikonD3 or a Canon5D. The reason why they call it Full Frame is it's the same size as a 35 mm piece of film, so all of your lenses behave as they would on a 35 mm camera.
What's so good about this sensor is that it has a lot of room. So if you put 12 megapixels on here, which is really 12 million pixels, then you have lots of space for them to operate. Lots of light gathering power. By the same token, if you go over here to a Compact Camera Sensor and you put 12 megapixels on here, this is much more crowded. And the photo size themselves are going to be a lot smaller. There is going to be a more heat and heat equals image noise in the world of digital photography. So although each of these are 12 megapixels there is a big difference in image quality between the Full Frame Sensor and the Compact Camera Sensor.
Now the APS is right in the middle, you will find this on mid-level Digital SLRs and entry level Digital SLRs. It's an excellent size for a sensor. It's much bigger than a Compact Camera Sensor. And it's not that much smaller than a Full Frame and 12 megapixels on here is going to give you beautiful pictures also. So don't get hung up on megapixels. Really what you want to think about is sensor size. And if image noise is important to you, in terms of if you are a low light shooter and you don't want a lot of image noise in the shadows and so forth.
Think in terms of Digital SLR, but don't shy away from compact cameras either. It's really a matter of expectation, not megapixels. It's sensor size and knowing what you are going to get from those sensors.
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