Friday, June 29, 2007

Tips for buying Digital Camera.

Many of my friends have asked me about few things to look-out for while buying a digital camera. Here I try to capture some of these thoughts without going into too much technical details of each of them. I hope these will help in selecting a better digital camera while buying.

You are always welcome to add to these.

Basic Terminologies

- Resolution
Camera Resolution is usually expressed as its Megapixel Count; it is basically a measure of the camera’s sensor’s ability to capture image details. The more Mega-pixel count the more image details camera can capture. This measure also determines the maximum image print size you can get out of a picture without loosing the image quality. A 3.1 Megapixel is good enough to have an A4 size image print.
However doubling Megapixel count does not mean doubling of image print-size as well.

- Zoom (Optical, Digital, Combined)
When I was buying a camera I had visited many shops, seen many brands. The general trend I noticed was that each shop-keeper quoted a very high level of zoom capabilities; which is probably true but not.
The Camera should only be judged on the amount of optical zoom it can provide. Optical zoom figure is a measure of how close you can go to the object without physically moving from your place and most importantly without loosing the slightest details in the image. The more optical zoom, the better.
Once you have reached maximum optical zoom, you can enlarge portion of the image using Digital zoom. Good computer software will provide better and more zoom. No need to bother much about this figure.
The combined zoom is simply a multiplication of Optical zoom and Digital Zoom.

- Lens (Schneider, Carl-Zeiss, Kodak)
The Most important aspect of camera is its lens. Carl-Zeiss, Schneider, Canon are some of the best lens manufacturers. Some camera manufactures offers their camera’s with either these or in-house made lenses. The cameras with in-house lens are usually priced cheaper, but at the same time image quality is not as good. Check out lens manufacture before buying a camera.

- Camera Storage Medium (SD Card, XD Card, CF Card, Memory Stick etc.)
These are different types of memory card formats. These days they are not of much concern however SD card seems to be used by most of the manufacturers. If you are buying a camera with 5MP or above image resolution, then buy a memory card with at least 512MB capacity.
It is not necessary to buy a memory card from the camera seller itself. Usually you would find a cheaper card at a computer seller’s store. Look out for the supported storage card format before buying.

- Image Stabilization (Optical/Lens, Electronic etc)
Image Stabilization compensates for the shaky hands while shooting image. It is good to have a camera with image stabilization, as it will provide you sharper pictures. Optical Image Stabilization becomes an essential factor particularly when you select a camera with 10x or more optical zoom capability.

- ISO Rating (100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200)
- Focus (Auto/Manual)
- Macro Focus (length)
- Flash Guide No (Usually distance)
- Flash Operating Modes (Red-Eye, Fill, No Flash)
- Battery (AA Size etc.)
- Camera Weight/Size
- Camera Make (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Kodak, Olympus etc.)

What to look-out for while selecting a entry-level digital camera?
============================================
As far as the entry level camera segment goes more or less all major camera manufacturers provide similar type of features. The most basic features that you could look out for are Resolution, Optical Zoom, Camera Lens, and probably a camera manufacturer. Size may also become criteria while selecting the camera in this category.

Buying a semi-professional to professional camera.
===================================
The most important aspects in this segment be to look out for would be Higher MP count, Higher Optical Zoom, Ability to connect external lens, Optical Image Stabilization, Easy of use, and Manual Controls. Ability to connect external flash may also become a deciding factor. Buy a camera from a reputed brand.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Do not panic.

Today, we had session on General Safety and Security tips covering wide range of area's from household tips to road accidents. If you have common sense you would be aware of most of those. This one caught attention.

"Under any circumstances, Do not Panic!"

How True!!

Apart from personal safety and security this one is truly generic. I have seen so many incidences where simply keeping cool would have solved those issues. Instead of trying hard to find a bug, a break and calm reasoning of scenarios; Instead of trying hard to argue with someone, having patience and keeping cool and calm tone and never retaliating; Instead of rushing rashly somewhere when you are already late, just a calm phone call indicating you would be late have always helped me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Patience

Sir, there is lot of water on the road.

Yeah, I know, but what else I can do. In any condition I have to reach the railway station, besides you have already agreed to take me to railway station.

I am not blaming you sir, but really there is lot of water on the road.

.... hmm....

Did you see sir, those other auto-rickshaws.... on the road.... Those were driven by the new drivers or those who have just learned to drive an auto-rickshaw.

What?

You know driving an auto-rickshaw is an art in itself. You need to know when to accelerate, when to take a turn, when to change gears, when to brake.

What an art in itself? Are you drunk?

Sir, have you learned driving a car?

Off course, yes!! In fact I own three of them. (How the hell he knows whether I actually own or not, why should I loose my status)

Remember the first time you drove? Most probably while de-clutching, the engine would have stopped.

Yes, that’s right.

Do you consider driving a car as an art?

I don't have enough time to think of all these. I just used to drive; now I have kept a driver.

Then you haven't driven at all....

Nope that’s not true. I have been to many places..... Not very far but yes I have taken the car out. (Actually I dreaded taking car out on highways and busy streets of this big city. I used to blast everybody for reckless driving. And after two-dents and equally alarming costs to get them removed, I had kept a driver. What a relief it had been, just sitting behind and forgetting about all these tensions of driving.)

Have you never thought of going on long drive in a pleasant weather? Leisurely as if you don't have any work, you are a billionaire; like a free bird just go on driving; eat when you want to; sleep when you want to; drink when you want to......

No point about thinking all these fallacies... (But I must admit this guy has something. I work so hard to earn that damn money so that I have a social status and can enjoy all these luxuries, yet I lead a miserable life. Why did I choose this rickshaw? Damn-it!!!)

Sir, I sure you haven't traveled in a long long time.

What? Right now I am traveling... Don't you see I have a bag right here in your rickshaw which is getting wet at this very moment, I am drenched and I have to catch train within half hour.

Sir, you are traveling only because you are forced to… probably a so-called visit. But yes, the rain, you reminded me from where this conversation started. There is lot of water on the road.....

Yes I know, it’s been raining like hell since last 4 hours. So what should one expect?

Sir...

A dry road as in summer?

Sir, did you see that the way I drove rickshaw through that road, with knee high water level.

Yes, that dirty water was coming inside the rickshaw... you were fool not to change gear and zoom past instead you chose to drive in that pathetic first gear. The engine and rickshaw was screaming.

Sir, Don’t get wrong but I see you do not have much patience…

What? (Talking about patience that reminds me of my earlier four start-ups that have gone into smoke with equally speed with which they had come up. I am certain nobody knows who I am after all who writes about a loser, but how the hell he knows…..)

Nope, that was the only way to drive through. Did you not see so many rickshaws stranded on the same road? Those poor people tried to change gears and there engine switched off.

What? How can an engine switch off just by changing gears?

The engine switched off because the water level on the road was very high. Changing gear in such condition means allowing water to enter into engine. The engine is the strongest component of the rickshaw; it powers your vehicle and without it your vehicle is nothing but a piece of junk; but it is the weakest link when it rains.

What are you trying to say?

Let me take an example sir, during any crisis do we not say that “paani naak tak pahuch gaya hai”, it is similar here. Take simple example, our nose is the most critical component of our body. Isn’t it? Without breathing you can not survive. Maybe you can hold your breath for sometime, but not for long time. When are learning swimming, during your first class you can not float your body, and water enters into your nose. You immediately come out of the water, otherwise you will die. Isn’t it? Similarly when water enters the engine, it damages it. In the flooded streets, you can not take the engine out of your vehicle, but if it is on, make sure that you keep it at full throttle so that the exhaust does not allow water to enter inside. Changing gears meant you allowed water to enter inside; though that will not damage engine, but it will definitely switch off. And with this rain pouring continuously it will not start immediately.

Hmmm… But why are you telling me all this?

Sir, I sensed your restlessness when I was driving in the same gear through that RV road. Anyway here we reach railway station...

....

Sir, Aren't you getting late?

I got up, paid the amount, smiled at him and walked off.

(Later when I was recalling it and from my past experiences it all follows the similar pattern. Just try to hold on for some more time when you are in crisis. Had I tried to hold on my startups maybe I would have succeeded; actually they were not making any profit but they were not making any loss either. Maybe instead of jumping to conclusions early, some of them too early, I should have handled with little more patience and things could have sorted well. Maybe this realization now that my business partner was not cheating me by diverting funds but was simply planning for the future of the company would not have hit me hard. I should have had little patience, and tried to figure out things rather than having had that dreaded fight... I would still have been in the company… He still would have been my closest/best friend as he has been for the past 25 years. It takes long time to build a reputation and trust, but just a moment to destroy. )

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