I’ve been a photo buff since I was a kid. I used my first 35mm camera on a trip to Alaska when I was 15. Since then I’ve owned a half-dozen or so good cameras and have always been the family’s designated photographer.
When digitals hit the scene, I first bought a little Kodak, then upgraded to a Nikon designed for use with laptops. Finally I settled on a Nikon Coolpix 950. I opted for a higher-end camera because I knew it would eventually replace all my 35mm gear.
Digital photography is great for genealogists. There’s something magical about snapping a photo (although a digital camera doesn’t really “snap”) and instantly downloading it to the computer where I can manipulate the image, print it or send it up to my Web site. In addition, digitals make it easy to shoot old family photos; my trips to the photo lab to get duplicates of treasured photos are a thing of the past. I even bought an adapter, which allows me to digitally re-shoot my thousands of 35mm slides.
The toughest decision in going digital is choosing a camera. For me, the two must-have features are an optical zoom (higher quality than a digital zoom), and the ability to have as much control over the picture as I do with my professional equipment. For others, a point-and-shoot digital may be a better bet.
If you’re interested in going digital, I found an excellent resource for camera suggestions based on your budget.
Other digital photography sites:
• How to Get Started in Digital Photography
• Tips for Photographing Gravestones
• Surfing the Net With Kids: Digital Photography
• Digital Photography Basics
P.S. If you were interested in the column on Republic of Texas Claims that appeared a couple weeks ago, you might like to know the Clayton Library in Houston has the collection on microfilm. Learn more at www.hpl.lib.tx.us/clayton.