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The digital camera

Abstract

Being so remarkably different from its predecessors, the digital camera is certainly one of the major breakthroughs in its line of inventions.Adigital camera(alsodigicamorcamerafor short) is one that takesvideoor stillphotographs, or both,digitallyby recordingimagesvia anelectronicimage sensor. This report aims to explore the various aspects of a digital camera, acting as a guide for the consumers so they can act more wisely while purchasing a digital camera. The report further elaborates upon what the most enterprising companies in this field have to offer.The framework of our model is based on a 3 step guide that focuses on the consumer's needs, the features in digital cameras that meet those needs and finally, short listing of brands and models to fulfil all these specifications. The report further analysed the various features of digital cameras that are crucial to such decision making from the point of view of an informed consumer.The final results of this report provided consumers with a comprehensive and informative guide on what features to look out for with respect to their requirements and interests. Furthermore, comparison of three popular digital camera brands has been made. based on Singapore customer opinion surveys (from our research). The report can contribute to making the decision making process for consumers buying digital cameras, a lot easier and systematic. It is recommended that consumers keep abreast with changes in the market and technology before relying on the results and methodology prescribed by this report. The dynamic digital camera market will continue to change with new and improved cameras and models entering the field, with advancement in technology.

Introduction

Background

Digital cameras have become an integral part of our lives - a trusty companion on a holiday with family and friends, on an outing to the local restaurant or just on a random day at university with friends - all to capture those memories and perfect moments. In fact, digital cameras have become so much a part of our lives that few of us remember a time when we used film and developed photos, while terms like 'cam-whoring' and posting photo albums on networking sites like Facebook have become a daily activity to some of us.

Consumer Electronics Association(CEA) did a recent study and found that 77% of American households now own at least one digital camera. Consumers were found to have snapped an average of 72 digital photos at the most recent event they attended and shared about 51% of these pictures. These statistics can easily be applied across the globe and are probably comparable to statistics specific to each region.

Digital cameras come in many types. Choosing a digital camera involves dozens of factor considerations and depends on the user's preferences. From cost to megapixel, zoom capability and lens quality to more technical terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO - the experience of the user and his requirements will stipulate what kind of camera he buys.

The compact digital camera is what we tend to see most commonly around us. Those of us with a greater inclination in this field go for the Digital SLR cameras - which themselves range from amateur models to professional ones. Costs vary with specifications and brand names and it is hard to figure out which camera brand and what specifications make an ideal combination that is worth its price and gives quality performance.

While most photography enthusiasts would argue that each camera and its specifications will suit a photographers' style and preferences depending on what he wants to shoot and so on, it is important to be more aware and be able to compare the technicalities in the field of digital camera to be able to make an informed and wise choice.

Objectives

In this era of cut throat competition among companies and high rise deception, it becomes necessary for a consumer to know how and what to look for when buying a commodity, especially something as high tech and complicated as a digital camera. A common mistake that the people make is being sucked into buying cameras beyond what they really need. This report has potentially the following objectives:

Scope

In our report we compare different features of the camera and investigate the contribution of each feature to the image quality of the camera. However, we would like to point out that our scope is limited to a few basic features. We have not covered all the features of the digital camera due to space and time constraint. We have explored the contribution of these attributes to the actual cost of the instrument. Digital cameras with similar features are offered by different companies, but there lies a great cost difference between them. We have analysed this imbalance in pricing, limiting it to three companies namely, Nikon, Cannon and Sony.

Literature Review

This sections aims to explore current and relevant knowledge about digital cameras - the brands available, the various specifications and features, preceded by the general considerations made by people while buying one. The present trend in the market regarding popular brands is also discussed.

Digital Cameras in our Lives Today

From a time where we knew the concept of 'developing films', technology has come a long way and has enabled mankind with digital photography. Fuji DS-1P was the first true digital camera developed in 1988. (Wikipedia History article) Today consumers looking for cameras are spoilt for choice as the market bombards them with countless brands, types of digital cameras as well as ever-changing new and improved features.

Digital cameras have undoubtedly taken an integral place in our daily lives today and sales and market trends make it evident that they are here to stay. While compact point-shooting cameras are seen more often as they areareeasier to use, those who take an interest in amateur and professional photography use D-SLR cameras with additional equipment like lenses. Compact cameras have the advantage of being portable, affordable and easy to use without knowledge of the art of photography. D-SLRs enable the photographer to shoot better quality photos based on the specifications he requires - for example: lighting, shooting speed and movement of the subject.

General Considerations

While buying digital cameras, people generally tend to look at features like better megapixel, zoom and weight and portability. However, due to lack of proper understanding or ignorance with respect to the technicalities, people tend to overlook crucial features such as focal length, which is in fact the main difference between a 35mm camera and a digital camera. (http://news.softpedia.com/news/Digital-Lens-Flares-43923.shtml)

Research online

Types of Digital Cameras

In this report we discuss two major types of digital cameras, the ones most used and considered by the common consumer while buying himself a digital camera -

  1. The Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera
  2. The Digital SLR Cameras - Amateur and Professional

The Compact Point and Shoot type of digital cameras are more commonly owned by consumers. This can be attributed to their compact size, ease with which one can learn to use them, portability and how this type of digital camera serves the main purpose of clicking reasonably good quality photos with ease and efficiency.

The Digital SLR type of cameras are considered by consumers who have a keen interest in the field of photography and are interested in amateur or even professional photography. These cameras enable them to customize each shoo the way they want, based on the current conditions of the set. Photos can be taken without a time lag, as shutter speed is no longer a concern. Lighting, Shadows, Subject's movements and everything in the set can be customized and taken into consideration. These cameras generally give better quality photos and usually come with a lot more features packed into the comparatively larger and heavier camera body. Various types of camera equipment like lenses can be bought to enhance the already existing features in the camera.

Common features and Overlooked features.

Higher resolution, sophisticated but user-friendly controls and better technology has made it ten folds easier to click and shoot with the same camera. Some of the features adorning this new-age device are discussed below. Starting with the ones mostly looked for by people we move on to the ones that are often over-looked but make a lot of difference otherwise.

The common ones :

Megapixels

Most of the digital cameras available in the market offer a resolution of at least 5 megapixels these days. The more the pixels, more is the picture clarity and the convenience of enlarging a picture to a blow-up. However if the sole purpose of clicking the pictures is to share them with friends or print them at snap-shot sizes, then this aspect shouldn't really be given much preference.

Size and weight

This is one feature that offers the widest range of products. What we, however look for is something that is portable, less destructible and convenient in terms of carrying. This in no way undermines the fact that the smaller the camera, the more delicate it is. Besides, smaller cameras have smaller dials and controls that make them more inconvenient instead. Hence it's what best suits the situation that should be selected.

Zoom lens

Having a powerful zoom lens means not having to magnify the subject and then using separate software for cropping. One should make sure that there is no confusion between optical and digital zoom, since the former means that the camera has a motorized lens that moves in and out to make the lens zoom in the scene you want to take without losing crispness or detail, while the later, is not a really zoom at all. It works on the assumption that a digital image is going to have far more pixels in it than you really need, hence resulting in a loss of quality. (http://www.explainthatstuff.com/buyingadigitalcamera.html)

Miscellaneous

These include quite a many extra features like the "red eye removal", "automatic face detection", and so on. They may sound fascinating and reason enough to choose a camera, but mostly they're nothing but gimmicks on the part of the manufacturers. They add very little if anything, to the real value of a camera.

The ones that matter :

Battery Life

This being the most important and usually the one feature that's usually overlooked. Digital cameras are often known to quickly drain batteries--especially alkaline batteries—which, as everyone knows are quite expensive and so this can be pretty annoying. Battery life is not entirely related to the cost. There are some quite cheap cameras having a great battery life, and some expensive ones that need to be charged up more frequently. Either way, it's a good idea not to ignore this aspect of a camera.

Exposure Controls

This one feature is what most of the professional photographers would give worth to. It basically refers to the aperture and shutter priority modes that are offered by a camera. These allow us to customize the lens opening and shutter speed that eventually makes a great deal of difference to the picture.

Focal Range

This is another very important but sadly ignored feature of a digital camera. The cameras with larger focal range can zoom out to fit more into a shot or zoom in to fill the frame with the subject. This feature is closely linked to the camera's resolution which has already been discussed above.

Top Brands Available Today

Among the dozens of options that consumers are presented with when looking for the ideal camera are Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Samsung and Panasonic. Each brand has its own merits and demerits among its countless characteristics and specifications.

Canon and Nikon were the first companies that made the transition from film to digital cameras and therefore, undoubtedly are the dominant players in the digital camera market - more specifically in the Digital SLR camera market. (cite)While some people prefer Canon DSLR cameras and Nikon point-shooting cameras, the vice versa applies to others.

Sony is also a relatively old player in the digital camera market and has a good reputation for its quality. However, as compared to Nikon and Canon, Sony is a relatively new player. After Nikon and Canon, all other brands seem to be competing for the third position in the digital camera market.

With regards to point - shooter cameras, Canon and Nikon again make quite an impression, based on market trends, but companies like Fujifilm and Panasonic also seem to make the list of top point-shooter cameras. In the case of Amateur Digital SLR cameras, research claims that Canon beginner DSLRs are equipped with more features than Nikon. In the Professional DSLR category however, Canon seems to have an edge over Nikon cameras for studio-work related photography, while Nikon cameras are preferred for journalism.

(Insert table about brands and their market share and explain/elaborate pie chart)

Methods and Materials

Results and Discussion

After the detailed research about the features of a camera and a market survey in Singapore, we have been able to find that every feature of a camera is required for different purposes and if it is used accordingly, it will bring out the perfect picture for the customer.

In the table ( ) , it is reflected that how each feature is required for different kind of picture taking process. In the table it is explained how the need of a user is fulfilled by the camera features.

In our research ,we had a drawback that there are various camera companies in the market and their models keep on changing everyday. Therefore the feature of cameras can change. With the technology improving, there are also some additional features added which we cannot include in our research.