Introduction

A few 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 way more than 6 megapixels.
  • “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 did a good job of resolving. Most modern cameras can survive 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. And touchscreens weren’t even in the picture, pardon the pun.

I could go on, but ...

Get Digital Photography For Dummies, 9th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.