Going Digital

What We'll Learn

  1. The advantages and challenges of digital photography
  2. Special properties of digital photos

Welcome to the Digital Age!

Digital photography is quite different from traditional photography. Here are some advantages that make it so popular:
  • See your pictures immediately
  • Take as many pictures as you wish for no cost
  • Easily edit and change the picture
However, there are also some challenges: 
  • Manage and organize a large collection of photographs
  • Preserve your pictures
  • Learn new "dark-room" skills

Using Your Digital Camera as a Traditional Film Camera

It is possible to simply treat your digital camera as a traditional film camera.  Here's how:
  1. Take pictures
  2. Take your memory card in to a photo printing store
  3. Print your photos
  4. Put them into a photo album
Additionally, most cameras connect directly to your television set, providing a convenient way to display your pictures on a large screen.

However, you will be missing out on much of the capabilities of digital photography, including:
  • Paying printing costs for all your photos, regardless of quality
  • No backup and difficult photo organization tracking what has been printed
  • Limited ability to find, edit or re-use your picture

Digital Pictures are Different

Unlike film, a digital picture is made up of many tiny coloured dots, called pixels.  Good quality pictures contain many millions of dots, or Megapixels.  Since the dots are so tiny, we don't see them. 

In fact the picture of the earth shown to the left is made up of:
  • 300 pixels wide
  • 303 pixels high
  • Total of 90,900 pixels or dots
That's not a lot, most digital photos contain 3,000,000 or more dots.

If you were able to zoom in with a magnifying glass, or increase the size of the picture, eventually you would see the dots appear. When you see the dots in a picture, we say that the picture is pixelated.  The quality of the picture is significantly compromised as shown in the example below.

How Many Pixels Do You Need?

Although there are a number of factors to consider, here are some rules of thumb:

High Quality
Acceptable Quality
5 MP = 2592 x 1944
10 x 13 inches
13 x 19 inches
4 MP = 2272 x 1704  
9 x 12 inches
12 x 16 inches
3 MP = 2048 x 1536
8 x 10 inches
10 x 13 inches
2 MP = 1600 x 1200
4 x 6 inches, 5 x 7 inches  
8 x 10 inches
Under 2 MP
Email or wallet-size prints

How many pixels do your really need?  Check out the video below on the MegaPixel Myth:


Digital cameras also add information to each digital photo. Included are things like:
  • Date and time the picture was taken.
  • Make and model of the camera.
  • Settings used when taking the picture.
Download and view the photo information on a digital picture using the following steps:
  1. Go to www.morguefile.com
  2. Click on Free Images
  3. Click on an image you wish to download
  4. Click Download
  5. Find the image
  6. You can view the camera data by <Right-Mouse-Clicking> a photograph and selecting Properties from the menu.  
  7. Then click on the Details tab to view the info.
  8. Note the information on Pixels, Date Taken, Camera Model, etc.