In this “Compact Digital Camera Buying Guide” we’ll look discuss the key considerations you need to look into while making a selection? So, Let’s get started…
1. Digital Camera Lens Aperture & F Number.
One of the important considerations in camera selection is the F-Number range supported by the Lens. This number determines how well the camera is able to accumulate Light for a clear bright Picture and how close from the object the camera is able to resolve focus. The smaller the F-Number, the higher the aperture and higher the light entering into the camera for a brighter capture. A smaller F-Number would do really good for Portraits where the clear focus is on the subject. This would mean a good focus on the subject and a blurry background image. The reverse, that is a smaller aperture would leave less light in and would capture good background image like that needed for Landscapes. Smaller F-Number Lens would usually come with a higher price tag. However, the best choice is to select a wide range of F-Number supported Lens.
2. Digital Camera Shutter Speed.
This determines how well the Camera is able to resolve moving objects like a racing car. The higher the settable Shutter Speed, that is lower the shutter closing time, the faster the instant of a capture. This number need to be looked at depending on the actual application of the camera. This along with the Frames per second (FPS) would help in determining how well the camera is able to capture moving objects.
3. Digital Camera Lens ISO Number.
The basic functionality of the camera is to convert light from the image to electrical signals with a device like CCD (Charged Coupled Device) for example, convert these light photons into Electrical Signals and process the signals Digitally. ISO number is the ability of the camera to capture light, but making the picture brighter as required. Higher ISO numbers would be useful in darker conditions making it more sensitive to light. The range of ISO sensitivity numbers supported by the camera needs to be looked at for a wider picture portfolio.
4. Digital Camera Lens Pixel size.
The clarity of the image depends on how close the pixels are more each other that is the resolution and more pixels would certainly make the event clear and visible as it should be. The industry has swiftly transformed to FHD and 4K Resolution increasing the overall content of Image Capture redefining Color, Contrast and Clarity but also increasing the overall size of the picture itself demanding more memory for image and video recording, while also taking more time for transfers.
5. Digital Camera Communication.
Ports like Micro HDMI, USB2, USB3 , Wifi and NFC capability for direct transfers and GPS capability can be looked at for specific applications. In general, these ports would let you connect the camera to TV directly via HDMI or share pictures to the laptop via Wifi etc.
6. Digital Camera with Attachable Lens Option.
Mirror-less camera with attachable lenses with different Aperture and F-Number are available with additional cost. In short, this option provides flexibility for picturing in different scenarios with the same Camera body.
Maximum Optical zoom and Digital Zoom feature of the camera are other features that can be looked at. Digital zoom would just expand the picture after being taken compromising on the resolution of the overall pixels used for capture.
So lets briefly discuss Ports that matter in this Digital Camera Buying Guide.
USB – The common port in all Digital Camera Communication.
USB1 or Low Speed USB.
This is essentially a serial bus for connecting a mouse to the PC and runs at 1.5 Megabits per second that is about 1.5 Million bits/second.
USB1.1 or Full Speed USB.
This bus connects your keyboard to the PC and runs at 12Mbps.
Backward compatible with USB1 and USB1.1 runs at 480 Mbps and this bus is rightly termed as High Speed USB.
So what is backward compatibility? In simple terms the same USB2.0 port on your PC can connect to a pen drive running at 480Mbps, a keyboard at 12Mbps and a mouse at 1.5 Mbps.
Backward compatible with USB2.0, USB1.1 and USB1 and running at 5 Gigabits per second. That’s about 10 times faster than USB2.0. So a USB3.0 port on your PC also known as a host port can be connected to a USB3.0 pen drive, USB2.0 Pen drive, USB1.1 Keyboard and USB1 Mouse. This backward compatibility is only true for host ports like that on a PC. However, a USB3.0 pen drive would not connect with a USB2.0 Host port on the PC at 5Gbps.
Next comes USB3.1
Host Port is backward compatible and can be connected with USB3.0, USB2.0 and USB1.1 devices. This has a data rate of 10Gbps.
However a USB3.1 device might not connect with a USB3.0 port at 10Gbps.
And the ubiquitous USB C Port.
The beauty of USB C is the small sized connector yet with higher number of pins in the connector with multiple serial lanes, resulting in an overall increase in speeds up to 10Gbps while also catering to providing a higher wattage of power up to 100 Watts at 20 Volts to devices. The multiple serial lanes can also carry HDMI and Display Port Signals and USB C is backward compatible with all USB standards with additional adapters making it truly ubiquitous.
Carry all video and audio on serial copper lanes. HDMI does exactly that. But what’s evolving the standard? The need of picture clarity and color has increased the pixel quantity and resolution of the display. So, Higher the Display (usually termed as HDMI Sink) pixels and higher the resolution, higher is the amount of data that need to be transferred from any HDMI Source to that Display sink. And why not? In practical terms, you would clearly see the difference between VGA and HDMI. HDMI carries much more Mbps per second compared to VGA making the picture quality much clear and crisper. Therefore, given an option to connect VGA or HDMI, always choose HDMI for a better visual experience.
How does HDMI do it?
HDMI carries three pairs of data lanes each at a specific frequency. This adds up to a much higher rate and all synchronized to a single clock pair. So your HDMI connector has multiple serial data pairs and a clock pair. This, along with Power and Ground pins are connected to the Printed Circuit Board of the product in discussion.
So let’s look at different speeds, HDMI caters to and start with the minimum ones contained in any product now a days.
So the clock speed that we discussed above is now driven at 340 MHz and 10 bits of data per serial lane is transferred at 340 MHz making the overall speed per lane at 3400Mbps. This multiplied by three pairs make it a total of 10.2 Gbps of data transfer between Source and Sink and hence this enables to carry 3D data and much deeper color bit per pixel as required by the sink Display. To make it simple, we’ve left out the 8b/10b encoding overhead applied to 10.2 Gbps, making the overall data at about 8Gbps.
The clock speed now increases to 600 MHz and 10 bits of data per serial lane is transferred at 600 MHz. So this makes the overall speed per lane at 6000Mbps that is 6Gbps. This multiplied by three pairs make it a total of 18 Gbps of data transfer between Source and Sink. This enables to carry 3D data at 60Hz and much deeper color bit per pixel as required by the sink Display.
Display that is Sink device specs need to be looked into before arriving at any conclusion. 4K X 2K display resolution at 60 Hz usually goes well with HDMI 2.0. It’s good to have HDMI 2.0 on your Source Product. But, does the Display device support HDMI 2.0 is what is to be addressed before arriving at a decision. Another key thing is the interface connector itself. This can range from HDMI-A to HDMI-E and can be a Micro or a Mini HDMI form factor.
The new age Gamers should look at the coming up standard HDMI2.1, that would enable 4K X 2K, 8K and higher resolution with higher refresh rates up to 120 Hz.
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