Photographs FAQ

How do I take care of my valuable photos and prints?
A few simple steps can vastly improve the longevity of your cherished images. Here are some of the problems and their solutions:

The Problems:
- Acid is every image's enemy. Ensure that the frames, tape, adhesive, mats and other materials used to display your pictures are 100% acid free. Basic sheet protectors and photo albums should advertise the acid free materials of which they are made. Do not assume, check all labels on all associated supplies.
- Open-air display subjects your images to "gas fading". Tobacco smoke, ozone, nitrogen, sulfur oxides, cooking fumes and plain old air pollution all contribute to discoloration of images, paintings, wall paper, etc. Protect your images by storing them in photo albums or by properly framing them.
- Avoid direct sunlight. Extremely bright lights and sunlight age images more rapidly than lower light levels.
- Humidity levels should be stabilized for images as much as possible.

The Solutions:
- Frame your images behind glass with acid free materials when displaying them. Avoid hanging pictures in direct sunlight.
- Store images that are not on display using acid free albums or sheet protectors.
- Avoid extremely high temperatures for your photographs.
- Extreme humidity levels (high or low) should be avoided as well.

What kind of digital camera should I buy?
Short answer: One that you like and can afford.
Longer answer: You need to enjoy the camera you choose and be able to enjoy its photographs. If you want a camera that can fit in your shirt pocket do not expect to get large zoom lenses for it. Digital cameras that are extremely easy to use may lack controls that a seasoned photographer would want. The price that your budget can allow needs to include the cost of enough memory card capacity to store the images until you can upload them into your computer.

What are some of the main features to watch for in a digital camera?
Among the many choices (compromises?) available compare at least these characteristics:
Pixel count / Resolution - Yes size matters. Too small a pixel count is bad and too many is bad. Match the pixel count that is right for you by looking at your budget, the size of printouts you would like to make and finally the space available on your hard drive.
Lens type - The lens quality is a major factor in photography, digital or otherwise. Digital cameras need smaller lenses than 35 mm cameras simply because the CCD (image recorder chip) is smaller than 35 mm film. This difference allows a 5x zoom lens to be much smaller for a digital camera than a 35 mm film camera. If both lenses are Nikor then you can be assured they are both high quality.
Controls and size - When you handle the camera at the store does it feel good? Is it too small for your hands or to big? Does it fit your needs for portability or is it too big?
When you turn it on can you guess what many of the controls do or does it make you scared to touch it?

What is digital film?
Digital cameras record images to a memory card, not film.
Thus the memory card is sometimes called "digital film". The camera's memory card can be any one of several types. No standard exist for all digital cameras and the different memory cards have different strengths and weaknesses.


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Copyright 2003 Dale A. Johnson. All rights reserved.