Snap Decisions

Digital cameras are great, but there are so many of them out there and photo quality varies greatly among the different makes and models. If you’re in the market for a new camera and want to see samples of what a particular device can do, check out the Flickr Camera Finder page. Here, you can find the most popular camera models in the Flickr community and see what the serious photogs are toting. (Flickr has graphs on the Camera Finder page that break it down even further, for the most popular cameraphone and point-and-shoot cameras.) Click on a model or brand on the Camera Finder page to see sample photos taken by that type of camera — thanks to the EXIF tags embedded in the posted photos.

Like Flickr and want to hang around? Not only do you get a ton of free space to host and post your pix, you can join photography groups that display and discuss photos on specific topics or themes — like the New York City subway system, fruit portraits or Kermit the Frog in action. Not sure what’s out there? You can search for groups by keyword. The groups you join will have their own discussions among the members, where you can chat with your fellow photographers on technique and tips.

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Flickr also has a blog that highlights different themes, photography-related news or picture sets. (Flickr’s developers have their own coder blog as well.) If you want to see photo samples form around the world, there’s also the Flickr Commons, a collection of pictures from international photography archives.

Reading thorough reviews of new camera models can also give you a good understanding of each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Check out the Steve’s Digicams site, which also posts product news and announcements about services and software. The Photo.Net site has camera reviews, photographer forums and how-to articles, as does Digital Photography Review.

Doing your homework this way may take some time, but hey, it’s not like you have to go find a parking spot at the mall and spend the day fiddling with demo models. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words of well-written review or tutorial might just help you take a better picture.

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