November 12, 2008

The Megapixel Myth

It’s not the number of megapixels that matter, but it's the size of your camera’s sensor that counts. Believe it or not, but megapixels don't really matter anymore. That might sound strange at first since most people regard the megapixel count as the main indicator of their camera’s picture taking quality. In reality, megapixels are a measure of how many pixels you can "stuff" into a camera’s sensor: the digital equivalent of film. One megapixel means one million pixels. You need just three megapixels to print a standard 4R picture and eight megapixels are more than enough for an 8R (8X10) inch print.

If you don't have enough megapixels and you're trying to print a large picture, the print won't turn out very sharp. All diagonals will become jagged instead of being smooth. However, as all new compact cameras now have at least eight megapixels and some have hit 14, you don't have to worry about having insufficient megapixels anymore. So, when you're deciding which compact to buy, the number of megapixels doesn't really matter.

What's more important for good picture quality in a compact camera is the size of the sensor. The bigger the sensor, the better the photo will be. Bigger sensors capture more light and more light captured means better colors and contrast. With bigger sensors, photos taken indoors without flash or when the light is failing, have less picture noise. Sadly, compact cameras cannot have huge sensors, because they need to stay, well, compact. The sensor in a compact camera can be as small as the nail on your pinky finger. That's why compacts are poor in shooting in low light conditions without a flash.

Here's an extra tip: check the sensor size! It could be listed under CCD, CMOS, imagine element or image sensor, but the dimensions will always read something like "1/2.3 inch," which is the size of the sensor. The smaller the denominator, the bigger the sensor. In comparison, the sensor of cialis for sale online a professional DSLR is 30 times that of a compact, which explains why DSLRs are so much bigger.

Ironically, the solution to improving photo quality in a compact camera is to reduce the megapixel count. All things being equal, having less megapixels means that each pixel in the sensor can now have more light, which in turn, improves picture quality. And now you know what lies behind the megapixel myth!

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Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer

I have one more Q&A for you today. I hope you don't mind too much!

What exactly is Windows Explorer? I've heard the term mentioned several times in your tips, but I've never gotten a good grasp as to what it is. Please explain!

You know what? This question came at the most perfect possible time. It was brought to my attention yesterday by our tech support guy, Gary, that we don't really have any good tips in our archives for the Windows Explorer application. After he told me that, I went and checked them out and he was absolutely right. It seems like all the tips we have already written just sort of skate around the actual concept of what Windows Explorer is. What a shame!

So, I thought it would be in everyone's best interest to clear up all the details. If you've been wondering for awhile (like the person who asked this question) what Windows Explorer really is and why it's on your computer, you better listen up, because I'm going to fill you in today. Let's get started, shall we?!

To begin with a basic definition, Windows Explorer is a type of file manager. It's an application that comes with every Windows operating system that provides you with detailed information about your computer's files, folders and drives. It covers everything from your Documents and Settings to your My Documents files to your C: drive and so on and so forth. No matter what type of files you have on your computer or where you keep them, Windows Explorer can manage them.

There are several things you can do with Windows Explorer. For example, you're able to see how your files, etc. are organized in your computer system. It even helps you to do those little tasks of finding, saving, cialis for daily use copying, moving, deleting and even renaming your data. You know, all of those processes you go through probably every day with your files. Windows Explorer is known for being one of the best tools available for file managing and it's all free. Wow, who knew?!

Now, there are actually several different ways that will get you to the Windows Explorer application. The easiest way is to right click either the Start button or the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Explore. On the other hand, if you like to use keyboard shortcuts, you can get there by hitting the Windows key and the letter E (Win + E) at the same time. Those two are probably the quickest access points, but other ways include going through your programs. In Windows XP, just go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer. Either way you go, the Windows Explorer window will open right up for you on your computer screen.

Okay, there's one more thing I want to tell you and then I'll be able to rest easy knowing you all now have a full knowledge of Windows Explorer. When you go to open Windows Explorer, it will bring up a file directory for you. But what if that's not the one you want to work in? For example, Windows Explorer may bring up your Documents and Settings when you want to start out in your C: drive. Well, when that happens, you can easily change where Windows Explorer opens. Here's an example of how you can do that.

Right click on your desktop and go to New, Shortcut. In the command box, you'll have to type in a new directory. So, if you want Windows Explorer to open to your C: drive, enter this command line in: explorer /n,/e,/root,,/select,C:\. Make sure you keep all the spaces in as well. Click Next and then Finish. A new icon will come up on your desktop and when you double click that, Windows Explorer will open to your C: drive. If you want to open Windows Explorer from any of the ways we talked about above, you can do that as well, but either way, your C: drive will be the one that pops up.

For more examples on changing your directory routes, you can read here. Once you have everything set the way you want it, you'll be able to use Windows Explorer for all your file managing needs. It's so easy to use and it doesn't get any more convenient than being right there on your computer every time you boot it up. I hope you now have a better understanding as to what Windows Explorer really is and now, you can finally get some good use out of it!

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