Saturday, November 1, 2003

Introducing the Your First Digital Camera audio workshop


By David Gewirtz

Wow, it's been a busy few weeks. As I mentioned earlier, the response to my series of articles on "Your First Digital Camera" were astounding. The number of letters we got with questions about cameras and the number of encouraging notes strongly supporting our idea of starting a camera magazine numbered well into the hundreds.

In fact, I got so many questions from so many readers that I dispaired of ever being able to answer them all before Christmas. I would have had to have written a book to get them all answered. Questions like:

  • What camera should I buy?
  • What's a megapixel?
  • Should I print my pictures at home or use a service bureau?
  • Which memory card format is the best?
  • How does a digital camera differ from film?
  • Are those under-$100 cameras any good?
  • What will it really cost me to get a digital camera?
  • My spouse/child/friend wants a digital camera; what should I get?
  • What do all these terms mean?
  • Can I buy a camera from a mail order house or on the Internet?

And the questions often involved complex answers, because simple ones weren't going to be helpful. I thought, if I could get everyone in a room and go back to being a teacher, I could get through everything everyone needs to know in three or four hours.

Hmm... Why don't I? Of course, we couldn't get all of you to fly here to ever-colder Central New Jersey, but I could do a class. What if we created an audio workshop? And so, we did.

The more articles we ran, the more it became clear that there was a need for a comprehensive course in what, exactly, a digital camera is, what it can and can't do, and guidance in how to purchase the right one. Rather than providing a set of reviews for cameras that change each week, we decided to create a program to help you truly understand digital cameras, how they work, the tradeoffs involved in any purchase, and how to get the most productivity and enjoyment out of them.

In this program, I take you on a tour of the camera, first exploring the individual components that make up a digital camera, then helping you understand how your camera choice will determine the sorts of pictures you can produce, walking you gently through component after component, camera subsystem after camera subsystem, stopping to explain the tougher concepts using my always-unique mix of humor and, uh, battle-tested (or at least, college-kid tested) teaching skills.