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You are hereHome > Editorial > December 2006

Editorial - December 2006

We Invite You To Peek Into Our Brains

Almost everyday, we receive an email asking for advice to choosing the best digital camera. We've published the Photoxels Digital Cameras Gift Guide 2006 and Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006 to give you a peek into our brains -- and the cameras we believe are the very best for you, depending on your needs.

Right on time for the Holidays Gift Giving Season, too!


Photoxels Digital Cameras Gift Guide 2006

If you are still looking for that elusive perfect digital camera, chances are very good that you have not found it yet.

Let's face it: if there were such a perfect digital camera, then all the digital camera web sites would have already named it -- and every single one of us would have rushed out to buy it -- and only it.

The fact that no one has stuck his neck out and claimed to have found the perfect digital camera should tell us something: that there is no such beast.

So, if you were searching high and low for the perfect digital camera, you were searching for a non-existent product -- and it's time to refocus your search.

Because there is a digital camera that is perfect for you.

The very fact that there are so many different digital camera models at different price points should also tell us that we do not all have the same set of needs, photographically speaking.

Even when two photographers agree on a particular need, there are variations in priority, quantity and quality. For example, we all want the best image quality. But if you only print 4x6 in. with the occasional 8x10 in., your "best image quality need" can be met by many more digital cameras than a professional's need to submit pictures for publication.

Likewise, an amateur photographer's need for sports photography may be easily satisfied with a continuous shooting speed of 3fps while a professional may require 5fps at a minimum, and preferably 8fps.

In other words, you must know your own specific needs. These are not as general as you would think. Once you are pretty certain what you really need and what you are willing to settle for, and a budget, and whether you want a compact, ultra compact or something big enough for your hands to comfortably hold and operate, etc. etc., you are then ready to crack open our Gift Guide 2006.

We've simplified things considerably this year, partly because digital cameras have gotten so much better with many more features. Our Point-and-Shoot section lists those digital cameras we have really enjoyed using and have had good success with just pointing and clicking away.

Our previous Beginner, Serious and Advanced sections have been collapsed into just a Serious section because anyone who starts asking questions about exposure and how to go beyond P&S is serious about learning and growing in photography. So we list those digital cameras that will allow them to do just that.

Finally, the DSLR section presents the many digital SLRs that are fast becoming very affordable as well as easy-to-use even for snapshooters.

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006

This award is given out to the digital cameras that we have reviewed during 2006 (and which were introduced for 2006) and which meet the following 3 criteria:

- very good to excellent image quality;

- low noise at the lowest available ISO; and,

- fast performance: fast AF and no practical shutter lag.

Note that it does not mean that digital cameras that do not earn this award are not worthy of your consideration. On the contrary, let your personal photographic needs dictate your choice.

The Photoxels Editor's Choice rewards those digital cameras that reach for the best. They are not perfect, but there are many good things in them that bring us a step closer to that perfect digital camera and so are worthy of praise.

Which Digital Camera?

"Help," the customer pleads to the salesperson at my neighbourhood camera retail store, "I need a compact digital camera that shoots sharp pictures. I bought an OOOOOOO and am very, very [and here, he actually shakes his head back and forth] disappointed with it. Do you recommend this model NNNNN?"

The salesperson does her spiel, bla, bla, how NNNNN makes its own lens and therefore the image quality should be much better.

She conveniently forgets to mention that OOOOOOO also makes its own superb, award-winning lenses.

She hands him 2 models to try out. He does, takes a few pictures, then plays them back and ZOOOOOOOOOMS in on the LCD screen.

"See, it's not sharp," he intones sadly.

This is the defining moment and the salesperson stumbles and therefore loses the sale.

"Uh, when you enlarge it, it will look like that."

It's the truth, but he does not buy it in every sense of the word.

He thanks her and walks out the store.

I'm not sure where he is headed next. Does he go to another store and repeats the process? They are the same cameras, ain't gonna look any sharper in another store.

What could the salesperson have done differently? Simple: crank up the sharpening one notch and have him try again. Voilà, his problem solved. In fact, she could have then suggested he does the same with his OOOOOOO digital camera -- or bring it to the store and she'll help him do it -- and win an eternally grateful customer for life.

Manufacturers, take note. Consumers do not want to post-process. My friends keep asking me why with film, their pictures always came out sharp with nice colours and bright. When I tell them it's because the lab did all that post-processing for them and it's better this way because you have more control on the final output, they look at me dubiously with squinted eyes, a 7 registering on the BS scale on their faces. They want cameras that will automatically sharpen and brighten their images. Oh, and with vivid colours also please.

Last Editorial

When we started to write this editorial section, it was to have a platform -- a "soapbox," if you please -- to air our personal opinions and grievances vis-à-vis the digital imaging industry.

With only so many hours in a day -- and the need to stop the crazy 4-6 hour sleep nights -- we have decided to refocus our energies to where it counts the most: useful and practical tutorials.

This will, therefore, be our last editorial -- though in the age of the blog, every post is a mini-editorial anyway, so you will still hear from us when the need is there to speak up.

Happy Holidays

Here's wishing all of you and yours all the best for the Holidays and the new year!

Peace in the World is just one person away: you. Peace, live long, and prosper!

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The Editors







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