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So You Wanna Take Better Pictures!


Dear reader, if you have been using a compact point and shoot digital camera, and wondering how the pros can take great and beautiful photos, then you have come to the right place!

As a noob, which means a beginner, I only started picking up photography as a hobby almost a year ago. The turning point for me was when my son was born and I thought to myself, "Me wants to take better pictures.". Being a self-taught amateur photographer, I learn a lot by reading and experimenting. In here, I will share with you what I learn, how I learn them, as I learn them.

If terms such as DSLR, compact cameras. point and shoot, etc sounds alien to you, fear not, I will explain more in an upcoming posts about cameras in general. Until then, why don't you check out this free 28-page report that is full of advice and tips, especially for beginners who wants to take better pictures?

Have fun!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Your DSLR Lifespan!

Digital cameras revolutionises photography by taking away the need of buying expensive films. We no longer need to be worried about getting it wrong, if you don't like what you see, just delete it. This technology also makes it a lot easier for us to edit and post process our pictures without going through all the hassle (and fun) of a darkroom. The upside to this is people can worry less about the cost of films and focus on taking great pictures. However, the downside is that most people take this forgranted and actually put LESS focus on composition and exposure and just mindlessly clicking the shutter release, and picking a good picture later.

While I'm not sure if this applies to compact cameras, since they don't really have a shutter, but for those DSLR users who are very happy clicking their shutters away without any worry or concern, you might want to know your camera actually has a lifespan. Well, more accurately, your shutter has a lifespan.

Every DSLR has a shutter lifespan which is quantified by shutter count or shutter actuation. My Nikon D90 has a shutter lifespan of 100,000 and some other cameras have 50,000 to 70,000 shutter lifespan. Some more expansive cameras have lifespan up to 250,000 actuations. Bear in mind that these numbers are just an estimation and not precise. Some instances, the shutter will fail before it reaches the said limit, and sometimes it will last longer. Go here to look at some of the cameras' shutter lifespan. Note that for newer cameras, they won't really have the actual number since people has not been using long enough for the shutter to "die". To check your shutter count, you need to look at the Exif data of the last picture taken with your camera. If you are using Mac, you can command-i when you open the picture in Preview and you can view the Exif data. Alternatively, you can download a good image viewer Xee which can open RAW files and look at the Exif data. You can download Xee here. For windows user, you can use a program call Opanda Exif Viewer.

Is this even important? Well not really. I will say don't worry about the shutter lifespan and just keep shooting. Do not let something like this hampers your passion for photography. Some photography, such as sports, can't help but have very high shutter counts. Each session, such as shooting motorsports, can have up to 7000 shots taken. Also by the time your shutter lifespan is up, you are probably already using a new body. If not, just bring it back to the service centre and ask them to change the shutter for a few hundred bucks.

However, it's always a good practice to learn to not take pictures mindlessly. Always think and compose your pictures before you press the shutter release, this way, not only will you be able to delay reaching the shutter limit, you can also learn to take better pictures!

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