Digital Photography and free photos of France, Italy and other countries in Western Europe

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Digital cameras and digital photography using cameras in mobile phones are so universal now that it is difficult to remember that the first camera that could be called digital was only developed by Eastman Kodak as recently as 1975. This was the first self-contained electronic camera – before 1975 image scanners would have had to be connected to a computer – and the early applications, as with so many technological developments, were mainly military. It was not until 1986 that Nikon were the first company to introduce the Digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) onto the camera market. The first digital camera phone went on sale in 2000, and by the end of that decade the film camera was more or less extinct, apart from a few professional photographers who still maintained they got better results with the (now vintage) film cameras. Photographer David Bailey, for example, recently (2018) wrote, “When you use digital, that’s not really photography – it’s a computer taking the picture”. However, these days this is a minority view, and most photographers are embracing the opportunities for creative pictures that go with the medium.

There are several kinds of digital camera on the market, and the following guide is intended to help you decide which is right for you.

DSLR: the professionals’ choice, this is a relatively large and heavy camera, with a lot of features and a wide range of changeable lenses. It is also the most expensive in the digital range, with some models well over $1,000 US. Pictures are excellent quality, and a sophisticated computer allows you to use it on Automatic if settings aren’t your thing. A great choice if you can afford it and if size and weight don’t matter, but not if you want a small discreet camera that won’t attract thieves. (Note: if the description says “full frame sensor”, it means it is equivalent to 35mm film. Otherwise the sensor is smaller than that.)

Compact digital cameras are relatively smaller and easier to use, but they don’t have interchangeable lenses, so are less flexible; though with up to 40x optical zoom and 4k movie resolution, they could be good enough for most purposes. They are good enough for expert photographers, but also simple enough to be used by those wanting ‘point-and-shoot’ technology. Some compacts are described as “mirrorless”, and the absence of a mirror and the fixed lens allows them to be smaller. Compacts are reasonably cheap (around half the price of a good DSLR) and have a built-in flash and screen, but no viewfinder.

So called Bridge cameras (or “super zoom cameras”) are, as the name implies, a cross between a DSLR and a Compact. They typically have a powerful zoom, though the lens is fixed, and can shoot High Definition video. However some people would argue that they fall between two stools, being not as versatile, nor producing as high quality images as the DSLR, and not as small nor as convenient to use as a compact.

Those are the three main types of digital camera, but there are slightly different variations on them as well: the Zoom Compact, for example, has a more powerful lens but is therefore bigger to carry around and is not as good quality as good DSLRs; so called “adventure compacts” are more strongly built and may be water- and shock-proof; while advanced compacts suit expert photographers as they allow you to set exposures and use external flash.
You will probably realise by now that there is a trade-off between plenty of features and quality on one side, and size and convenience on the other. Whichever you choose you will need an appropriate SD memory card with plenty of space, unless you want to be forever uploading your pictures onto a computer to make room for new images. Even a 4gb SD card will store 1,000 photos at five megapixel resolution, which is typical of the resolution of mobile phone and mid-range cameras. But if you camera also shoots video it will eat up memory and so it is advisable to have a larger memory card, say 16gb, on which you could save over 10,000 pictures.

Free pictures on this page include popular tourist destinations in Western Europe, like the fantastic Roman amphitheatre at Nîmes, the London Eye and the fascinating Atomium in Brussels. Then there are themed images such as sculpture, clouds and patterned pictures like mosaics, coral reefs and tools in a workshop. Photographic topics such as the use of fish-eye, a rotating camera and different focal lengths are covered: and for novelty, don’t miss Santas on Harley Davidsons, taken in Switzerland.

Any of these pictures can be used free of charge, but please, credit this website and make a link on your site back to mine.

Nimes, France         Aigues-Mortes   Elba   Pisa, Italy
Nîmes   Val Thorens   Bretagne   Disneyland Paris   Aigues-Mortes   Elba   Pisa
Rome, Italy pictures Belgium pictures London pictures underwater
Rome Atomium London Eye Clouds Coral Reef Lathe Coat of Arms
Stockholm Workshop Harrods Fog Rotating Camera Dog-Sled Racing Keukenhof
Monster Jam Disco Contrails Fisheye Sculptures Cows Speedway
pictures airplane
Focal Length Memorial Race Mosaic Harley Davidson Santas Raku Super Constellation Benches
Hydrants   Seagulls   Mirrors   Airplane   Pumpkin   Decompression Chamber