One of the greatest things about mountain biking is
where the sport takes place. From the coast, to the mountains and
and everything in between, if you are interested in photography then now is
the time to get started. Today's digital cameras with their small size and excellent
picture quality, make a great addition to the biking gear. Being able to
go home after a bike trip and instantly view the pictures on your
computer is simply amazing.
Below is a listing of some of the most important features to
look for in a camera.
Mega pixels- When it
comes to mega pixels, bigger is better. Don't settle for a camera that
is less than 4 MP no matter how low the price. The number of
pixels is going to determine the image size of your digital files and your
ability to make large prints. A general rule of thumb is a 3 MP camera
will produce near photo quality pints up to 5x7, a 4 MP camera
up to 8x10 and a 5 MP to 11x14. Bottom line is if cost is an
issue go with a 3 MP, but for best results go with a 4MP or larger.
Optical Zoom- No need to
explain what zooming is, the more the better. Most cameras today come
with a 3X optical zoom and that should be the minimum when choosing a camera.
If your budget is flexible, go for a 4X or better but realize with a
larger zoom the camera will be wider to accommodate the lens so perhaps a
Don't pay too much attn to the digital zoom feature. Rarely will you
use it and if you do, the picture quality may suffer.
Batteries- Need to make sure
the camera comes with rechargeable batteries. Today's rechargeable
primarily in two flavors, they are either called NIMH batteries
(AA size) or
are the lithium type. The trade off is the lithium holds a charge longer but are
more expensive because each manufacture uses a different type. The important thing is whatever battery
your camera comes with, make sure you carry a spare and keep it charged up.
Memory Cards- Unfortunately
memory cards come in a variety of flavors so no one size fits all.
The most common and least expensive card is the Compact Flash card used by Canon and
Nikon, the XD card ( which replaced Smartmedia) is used by Fuji and Olympus, the
Memory Stick by Sony and Secure Digital/Multi Media cards by Pentax and a few others. Memory is cheap so don't
skimp. Get either a 128 MB (megabyte) or a 256
MB card to store your photos on. Each camera is different but the most
typical image sizes will run from 600K for the 3MP cameras up to 1.5 MB for
the 5MP models.
Camera size is another
important factor to consider. Ideally, if you plan to use the camera
when biking, it helps if it's small enough to fit in your bike shorts pocket
otherwise it's a pain to take the pack off each time to shoot a picture.
But be careful, smaller cameras
can be difficult to handle for bigger
hands and the zoom range and other advanced features may be limited.
Another important feature to look for in a camera is a
manual mode. Most
cameras perform fine in
Auto mode, but as you learn how to adjust things like white balance,
aperture and shutter speed, then your results will be more
consistent and you will be able to take your photography to the next level.
Other items to consider would include a
camera case (no they don't come with the camera), a
flash card reader and a
lens cleaning kit.
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