Most digital cameras allow the individual to shoot in JPG, whereas the digital SLR will give you an option to shoot in RAW and JPG.

When an image is taken the camera is capturing the data from the sensor to produce the picture.

However when shooting in raw the data is saved before it is processed.The raw file allows you to have more editing control and flexibility over your image in post production. People who usually shoot in raw will be professional photographers, or the serious enthusiast who wishes to have more control over the image. These images will give you amazing quality photos.

When shooting raw files it is important to get the overall exposure correct.

The cameras analogue will turn light values into digital data, and so therefore getting the ISO correct when you shoot is also important. Since when shooting in higher ISO the camera amplifies the analogue signal first.

As the digital camera processes the image the white balance settings is also being applied and settings brightness, salutation, vibrancy , sharpness and colour contract can be modified on post production if you have shoot in Raw.

Raw files take up more space in your memory cards since they are larger files.

Raw files tend to hold more details and highlights detail, since these files give you best quality; however the downside is that you lose speed.

When shooting in raw this could sometimes present problems if you need to shoot a sequence of images continuously. This may be the case when shooting weddings or sports photography since speed is of the essence.

Raw shooting is also good for enlarged images or if you want to capture a single moment.

Raw images affect the number of images that can be taken in a continuous sequence. Here is an example of how many images a Nikon model produces:


Raw images 15

JPG Images 100

This will also greatly affect the number of images you can store on your card. Depending on the size of the memory card.

An example of a 4GB SDHC card for the same Model Nikon D7000 is Raw images of 109 and JPEG images of 408.

Colour, tones, white balance, and many other tonal ranges can be changed with raw shooting.

Raw shooting can make you lazy and it’s better to try and get the exposure correct first time round.

When shooting in JPEG the cameras white balance will get rid of any spare colour data while the image is is processed.  If you think that the setting was incorrect afterwards the only thing one can do is shift the remaining colour.

However if you have taken the image on Raw you will have full access to all the colour data captured by the sensor and the white balance can be changed on post production

Raw files can be very useful for high contrast subjects.

Distortion correction is vital and makes a difference when shooting artiecturial shoots which need to have straight lines.

JPEG files are compressed to keep file sizes smaller thus taking up less space which allows you to shoot more images.

JPEG images are now of a reasonable high quality and useful for sharing images via email and social media networks. 

These files are useful for standard everyday shooting and for those who shoot for fun.



A = Aperture

Aperture is just like the naked human eye (the pupil), the aperture is a small hole opening inside the lens to control the amount of available light.

B = Burst Mode 

A mode that can be used for shooting a series of images in rapid succession.

C = Contrast

The difference between the lightest and darkest areas in the image. The greater the difference the higher the contrast.

D = Depth of Field

The distance between what is in focus from the foreground and background that appears sharp to the naked eye.

E = Exposure

The amount of light that hits the sensor can be controlled by the aperture, shutter speed and ISO giving you the correct exposure.

F= Focal Length

The magnifying power of the lens. The longer the length the greater the magnification.

H = Histogram 

This is a chart showing how much of the image is midtones, shadows and highlights.


Many digital cameras have an ISO setting. This setting can be changed. Changing the settings alters the sensitivity of the cameras sensor to light.


Small manageable files which are produced from digital images.

L = Layers

A feature in Photoshop that can be created each time the original image is modified or enhanced without actually effecting or changing the original image.

M = Macro mode 

This is shown on the control dial with a flower icon. This mode allows one to shoot detailed close up images.

N = Noise 

Noise is the digital equivalent to grain and can be seen in the images as distortion or random speckles' of colour. This is more noticeable when the image is shot at a high ISO setting.

P = Pixel  

When an image is enlarged you will notice lots of tiny squares these are pixels that form the image. A mega pixel equals one million pixels.

R = Red Eye

Red eye occurs when the flash light reflects off the blood vessels in the retina. Many digital cameras have an option to remove the red eye through the menu system and most basic editing software will allow to get rid of it.

S = Shutter Speed 

The length of time the shutter stays open as the image is shot.

T = Tripod Mount  

Found underneath some cameras, a screw hole that allows you to attach your camera to a tripod. 

W = White Balance  

This function can be altered to change the colour balance to compensate for different colours emitted from different light sources.

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I am often asked to recommend a good camera.  Everyone's needs and experience levels are different, therefore each camera will be different.

However if you are thinking of buying a digital SLR here are some tips you should consider before buying one.

There is a major difference between a compact digital and the digital SLR and that is the later allows to change lens' so you can get a better results with a specialised lens then a standard lens.

1 The most important factor for people is the cost, so you need to set your budget and stick to it.  (Note the most expensive cameras do not take the best photos it's the person behind the camera and knowing what to do with your settings.)

Other costs to take into consideration:  are that some models will come with a standard lens and batteries the others may have to be bought separately. (Check with each retailer)

Additional costs to bear in mind:



Memory Cards

Camera Case 


Tripod (this is not essential)

2 You need to ask yourself what you will be using the camera for.?

Are you just looking to take holiday snaps and photos of family and friends?

Are you using it underwater?

Are you looking to learn more about photography and want to move away from shooting in automatic mode?

Will you being using it for sports or shooting in low light?

3 Think about the size there are four types of cameras: these are compact, super zoom bridge, compact system and digital SLR.

Compact cameras are the slimmest and smallest and will fit into your pocket or handbag and have many features. They are great for simple point and shoot.

Super Zoom Bridge: these cameras have bigger lenses and they can handle images from landscape to close up and also have manual controls, which lack in the compact. Lens' can't be changed on this super zoom bridge. They are ideal for travelling and not very bulky, a good option if you are want to upgrade from a compact.

Compact System Cameras: These cameras will give an outstanding image quality and give the versatility of a digital SLR and without the bulk. The larger sensor in these cameras means they will capture amazing detail images compared to the two above.

Digital SLR: These cameras will give you by far best image quality then all of the above three. They are heavier; you will be able to change the lens, add external flash guns to them and are very fast in shooting terms. HD video is increasingly more popular in these camera's and if you are a beginner or looking to improve your photography skills there are many on the market, which won't break your bank balance.

4 Think about the features of the camera. Many DSLR cameras have many features and manual control, which allow you to shoot out of automatic mode and take more control of your images.  Other features to consider are White Balance and ISO settings, as well as megapixels.

5 Many people think the more megapixels the better, however this also comes down to how you wish to use your images. If you are looking to print enlargements then a higher resolution would be more effective. If you are only looking for standard size images to be emailed or shared on line with family and friends then this is not one of the main deciding factors. Do not spend over your budget if you have no intention to have your images enlarged
Resolution needed for various print sizes see the link


6 Check your PC or Laptop: the newer models of your computer should not give you any problems connecting and downloading your images to your PC. If you have a Macintosh or an older windows computer you will want to make sure that you are able to connect your camera to it and download your photos. 

7 If price is not a consideration and you intend to shoot a lot at night and in low light conditions then opting for a camera with a high ISO is a good option. If you are shooting without a tripod, increasing the ISO and having a faster film speed should allow you to get very good results.  

My camera is a Nikon D7000 and I mainly shoot at events and in cases like this I never know what sort of lighting I am going to be faced with at the event venue. The Nikon gives some very good results in low light conditions where I have taken hand held images without the use of a flash.

8 In order to get crisp clear images at lower speed levels you need to have a very steady hand or use a tripod. However a lot of the SLR now come with what is known as a VR lens. VR means Vibration Reduction which allows you to shoot hand held images at lower shutter speeds without getting a blur due to camera shake.

9 Before the invention of digital photography there was film. When these films were exposed to light the image was formed. So now today all cameras have sensors and if you take out the sensor then you can no longer call it a camera, since without the sensor the image cannot be produced.  

As you can now see this is the most important part of the camera body. And the larger the sensor the more light can pass through. This is an important factor for determining image quality. So the larger sensor is good for taking photos in low light conditions.  

The smaller digital compacts will make a big hype about the number of megapixels, however you will find that these smaller cameras have smaller sensors.  Therefore it all depends on your budget.

So the higher the ISO in the camera the larger the sensor.

10 Check what your refund policies, warranty cover, and after care service with your retailer are, these all add to the cost. Some come with free policies and cover.

11 Last of all you can rent cameras today and try them out before you decide to buy if you are still unsure.

Here are a few good rental websites:



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