Your Camera Choice Does Make A Difference by Stanley Leary

 

by Stanley Leary

 

 
Figure 1
 
While on our cruise through the Caribbean we did some ice skating on the cruise ship. The first time we went I took my point and shoot and got some photos.
 
As you can see in the photo above I got a decent photo of my lovely wife Dorie.  I didn't want to use flash so you could see the ice rink.
 
I had a lot of blurry photos due to I could not get above 3200 without changing the resolution on the camera.
 
 
 
Figure 2
 
The next time some of the family went ice skating again I took my Nikon D4 and shot some photos as well.
 
There are a couple of things I think worth comparing. First of all the Nikon D4 @ ISO 12,800 looks better than the Nikon P7000 @ ISO 3200.
 
This is the reason I own a Nikon D4.  The sensor on the Nikon P7000 is CCD and the Nikon D4 is CMOS. The CCD has more of an electrical charge going that actually creates a noise as compared to the CMOS.
 
 
Figure 3
 
The size of the actual sensor also impacts the quality of the image. I am talking about the physical size and not the megapixels. The Nikon P7000 has a 14.9mm width CCD sensor size. The Nikon D4 has a 36mm width CMOS sensor.
 
If the megapixels were equal just having more space on a sensor helps spread out the sensors and cuts down on the noise created.  Just think of how your AM radio is impacted when you drive near power lines and you hear a buzz.  This is the major advantage for right now between the larger sensor and the smaller.  The larger the sensor the less noise.
 
CCD stands for Charged Coupling Devices.  They have been around a long time. CMOS stands for Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor.  They are a newer technology.
 
The biggest difference is CMOS sensors are already superior to CCD sensors in terms of power consumption. You get a much longer battery life out of a CMOS camera, which means you can take more pictures.
 
 
How many megapixels do you need?
 
Now let me try and clear up this megapixel dilemma.
 
My first digital camera was a 6 megapixel CCD sensor camera. I made 16 x 20 prints that are still hanging in my home. These were shot with studio lights giving me the best quality and I like the quality of the prints.
 
The general rule of thumb is this, if you are not making prints bigger than 16 x 20 then any 8 megapixel camera or more will work just fine.
 
If you like to make bigger prints or you tend to need to crop your photos then getting more megapixels will benefit you.  However, for most people who are posting their photos primarily on social media websites, most any camera will do. This is why so many people are using their camera phones today instead of carrying another camera. Most of the latest phones have 8 megapixel cameras and that will work well for most of them.
 
For the Geek
 
Now for those of you who like to talk about how many millimeters your lens will resolve then you can go and get those specs on any camera you might want to buy here at http://www.dxomark.com/.
 
Figure 4
 
As you can see there is a big difference in the specs on these two cameras. I hope so, because the Nikon D4 sells for $6,000 and the Nikon P7000 sold for $500.
 
Figure 5
 
Nikon paid attention to these scores and improved them and the most recent version of the Nikon P7000 is the P7700.
 
Figure 6
 
 
Summary
 
If you just do general shooting then buying the high end camera is just overkill.  However, if you like shooting in low light inside then you just might need to consider something like the Nikon D4 to capture those images.
 
Your camera choice does make a difference in the quality of the image, but it is the photographer who makes a difference as to if the images are truly captivating to the audience.