Introduction

Afew months ago, while cleaning my office in an attempt to put off sitting down to write, I came across the first edition of Digital Photography For Dummies, published in 1997. Flipping through the pages, I was struck by how much digital photography has changed in the intervening years. Consider these snippets from that first edition:

  • “For $800 to $1,000, you get a pixel count in the 1280 x 960 range.” Pixel count refers to resolution, which determines how large you can print a digital image. With a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels — about 1 million pixels altogether, or 1 megapixel in today's terminology — the maximum print size is 4 x 6 inches. If you needed more resolution back then, a Kodak/Canon hybrid model offered a 6-megapixel resolution for $29,000. (No, that figure is not a typo.) Today, even sub-$100 cameras offer resolutions of 6 megapixels or more.
  • “Some cameras suck the life out of a set of batteries in just a few hours.” This issue was a huge problem, and one that manufacturers have done a good job of resolving. Today, you can shoot for an entire day, or even days, without needing a recharge.
  • “On cameras that have LCD screens, battery consumption is even higher.” Wait — what? Digital cameras didn't have monitors back then? Well, some higher-priced cameras did, but the monitors then were nowhere near as large or as crisp as the stunning displays we now enjoy.

I could go on, but I think you get the point: Digital photography has come a long way since ...

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