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Tech: Megapixels

wysiwyg 16 Aug 05 - 06:24 PM
Bev and Jerry 16 Aug 05 - 06:35 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Aug 05 - 06:46 PM
Bill D 16 Aug 05 - 06:47 PM
Bill D 16 Aug 05 - 06:49 PM
LilyFestre 16 Aug 05 - 06:49 PM
LilyFestre 16 Aug 05 - 07:09 PM
PoppaGator 16 Aug 05 - 07:12 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Aug 05 - 07:18 PM
wysiwyg 16 Aug 05 - 07:19 PM
Bev and Jerry 16 Aug 05 - 07:34 PM
wysiwyg 16 Aug 05 - 07:35 PM
PoppaGator 16 Aug 05 - 07:46 PM
wysiwyg 16 Aug 05 - 07:55 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Aug 05 - 07:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Aug 05 - 08:00 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Aug 05 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,petr 16 Aug 05 - 08:58 PM
wysiwyg 16 Aug 05 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 16 Aug 05 - 09:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Aug 05 - 12:16 AM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 05 - 04:23 AM
s&r 17 Aug 05 - 06:25 AM
Grab 17 Aug 05 - 08:26 AM
Bunnahabhain 17 Aug 05 - 11:13 AM
robomatic 17 Aug 05 - 11:28 AM
PoppaGator 17 Aug 05 - 12:47 PM
Grab 17 Aug 05 - 12:57 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 05 - 02:32 PM
wysiwyg 17 Aug 05 - 02:44 PM
wysiwyg 17 Aug 05 - 02:51 PM
wysiwyg 17 Aug 05 - 03:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Aug 05 - 03:31 PM
Bunnahabhain 17 Aug 05 - 06:15 PM
PoppaGator 17 Aug 05 - 06:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Aug 05 - 08:06 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 05 - 11:42 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Aug 05 - 12:50 AM
GUEST,Steve Parkes 18 Aug 05 - 08:27 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Aug 05 - 10:02 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Aug 05 - 10:41 AM
Bunnahabhain 18 Aug 05 - 03:12 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Aug 05 - 05:59 PM
wysiwyg 18 Aug 05 - 06:14 PM
Grab 18 Aug 05 - 07:22 PM
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Subject: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:24 PM

What's the lowest I can go on a digital camera, and get reasonable (not studio quality) results?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:35 PM

Ours has three megapixels and it seems to be fine for everything we do including making 8 x 10 prints - but, we always shoot at the highest possible resolution (no compression) so, even after cropping, there's plenty of information remaining in the image.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:46 PM

I've taken pictures in the basement, and they seem ok.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:47 PM

2 megapixels is as low as you should go....that will print a 4x5 and do a decent job on an 8x10....3+ is great, and these days is not hard to get reasonably

mine is only 2.1 and I seldom need the highest resolution...for snapshots showing "where you were and who was there" 150,000 bytes will suffice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:49 PM

ah, but Foolestroupe....have you tried in the Marianas Trench?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: LilyFestre
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:49 PM

LOL!

Susan...if you are looking just for the website, 3 pixels is fine, although zooming in and larger prints can get grainy. I would suggest, however, for the very minor difference in price that you take a look at the 5 pixel variety. Great for online but especially nice for prints and enlargements. Check your email woman.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: LilyFestre
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:09 PM

2.1? YIKES.

If you can swing it, spend a little more, the results are SO MUCH better.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:12 PM

Mine is 3+ megapixels (3.2? 3.5?), which was pretty good when I bought it two years ago.

I usually try to buy the second-best available computer-gear alternative at any given time ~ the very best is usually overpriced, and is gonna become second-best very suddenly very soon anyway. It usually makes more economic sense to buy the technology that was state-of-the-art a month or two ago, at least when you can buy it at the newly reduced price.

I rarely shoot at the highest possible quality anyway , because until very recently I was using a minimum-size picture card, and I preferred to enable the camera to hold 15-16 shots at a time rather than a mere 7 or 8. Results were still good enough for me. I know that I can select "best quality" instead of "high quality" and get better resolution when I want to.

For display on a computer monitor (wallpaper, web page, email, etc.), you can go for very low resolution with no visible loss of quality. I don't think any digital camera ever made for the general public was ever too-low-rez for pictures to be displayed on computer screens (72 lines per inch). Of course, printouts of pictures require much greater detail (higher resultion).

I would think that anything being sold today is more than adequate for prints up to at least 5x7, probably 8x10 if you're not looking for flaws. I think that's what you mean by "reasonable (not studio quality) results." Pictures from a moderately-priced camera marketed to today's general consumer public will yield prints that are perfectly satisfactory, but would suffer in comparison to shots of the identical subjects taken with a higher-megapixel camera. The greater sharpness of the max-rez image just lends greater "presence" to the image, which is certainly nice, but if that kind of super-high resolution isn't there, most folks will never notice its absense.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:18 PM

I wouldn't stoop that low Bill D!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:19 PM

Hardi saw both a 3 and a 4 for $99. The 4 had been $140 last week. I don't care if it has a view screen.....

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:34 PM

Susan:

Not sure what you have in mind but for us, the best part of the digital camera (as opposed to film) is the display. After you shoot, you can see how you did and shoot again if necessary. This feature has improved our pictures immensely. Also, for very close shots (macro mode), the viewfinder suffers from too much paralax so you need to use the display to see what you will be getting.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:35 PM

OK, I dunno what features it has, but the 4 is an out of stock Vivitar.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:46 PM

Ditto to Bev and Jerry's endorsement of the viewscreen. I think it's a great feature, and worth much more than an extra megapixel or so, all else equal. It definitely provides a more accurate representation of the picture being recorded than what you see in the little viewfinder, and (like they just said), it allows you to make the best use of digital photography's "disposability," which may be its most important single feature in comparison to film-based technology.

Also, you can see the shot that you're framing even when you hold the camera up or out at arm's length to gain a perspective or angle you simply couldn't attain when squinting through the viewfinder.

In other words, I wouldn't advise giving up the screen in order to pay for the maximum avilable number of MPs; much better to get the screen and the other usual features along with the "good-but-not-great" megapixel score.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:55 PM

OK, thanks, all.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:59 PM

They've come down so much in price. I refused to bother with the lower megapixels--I use film and good lenses most of the time. But I found a little digital I love that is 5.1 megapixels. You need to buy a memory card for any of them, and for this little CoolPix Nikon 5600, a 256 meg card and battery charger I paid $300. Base price on the camera is right at $250.

The reason I bought this is that the camera has a zoom lens (35mm to 105mm) and is smaller around than a deck of cards, if a little deeper than one. The choice on casual trips is to take the big SLR camera and lenses or not, or to choose which lenses to take or leave behind, and I end up leaving it more than taking it. This little one means some decent photos will be taken because I'm willing to tuck it into my handbag and take along, and I have some control over the shots it produces. It's great for closeup also. It is exactly what I needed.

I have a little 2.1 megapixel camera I bought a year or two ago for next to nothing that I use for emailing back and forth with a friend (we send photos of our yards and work on our houses), but that's just for email. The Nikon photos can be printed like regular photos and look quite sharp (my camera shop is where I'll take them, I'm not planning to start printing with a home printer). I have it on the high jpg setting now, but I can go to the very dense tiff files also.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 08:00 PM

P.S.--my viewfinder is through the lens, going with the wide to telephoto setting, etc. To save on the battery I can turn off the screen and still focus nicely and frame through the viewfinder.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 08:31 PM

If the concern is only for web posts, a 3 inch by 5 inch "on the screen" at 72 dpi screen resolution will contain (3 inches x 72 dots/inch) x (5 inches x 72 dots/inch) or 77,760 pixels. Obviously, ANY camera you are likely to find for sale at retail will take "adequate" pictures for web posting - IF you can take exactly the picture you want to post.

Any processing you may want to do before you get the "postable" picture is going to throw away quite a few of the pixels, so it's well to start with "as many as you can get."

A couple of years ago, 2 MP was about the best available in "consumer cameras." If you find a very good deal on one with 2 Megapixels and if web stuff is all you need, then that may be adequate.

More recently there were lots of 3 MP cameras at consumer prices, and some of them may be pretty cheap now. For "good" prints you probably should have a finished picture at 150 dpi or better. If 5x7 inch prints are the most you'll need. (5 inches x 150 dpi) x (7 inches x 150 dpi) = 787,500 pixels. You can get that fairly easily even from a 2 MP camera under ideal setup conditions, but "typical normal amateur" preparation steps such as cropping etc will often throw away half or more of the original camera pixels. If possible, a 3+ MP camera will give you a lot more versatility.

With careful composition before you take the picture a 3 MP camera can easily produce very decent 8x10 inch prints, but cropping and color adjustements, etc., will eat up the pixels that come from the camera. Current recommendations put the minimum acceptable camera at about 3 MP for casual print users who may want an occasional enlargement. If you're willing to be really careful about setting up the shots, and take only what you will want in the final print to minimize cropping, you can sometimes get reasonable 8x10 prints from a 2 MP camera, but it's a lot more work.

If you get started with "working over" the pictures you take, you'll find that you'll probably want to do quite a bit of cropping and enlarging of little pieces of original images, and for this reason getting as high a pixel rating as is affordable is strongly recommended. It doesn't make any difference how many pixels are in the picture - it's how many pixels are in the part of the picture you want to crop out and enlarge.

For some people, 5 MP cameras now are pretty "affordable." I'd get that if I could, but I'm not one of those people at the moment. For anything above about 3 MP though, I'd want a lot of other features; so if you have only a 3 MP budget now, look for one with fairly simple "snapshot" features.

Recycle time (to save one shot and be ready for the next one) is a RPIA (royal pain in the ass) with all early model digital cameras, and only a few of the the newer ones have really cut into it. It would be a key feature I'd check out if it comes down to choosing between a couple of consumer grade cameras, but it may be difficult to get useful info. Shutter delay is also annoying, and some do a little better than others. Check it out if possible.

Anything 2 MP or better can make decent web images but 3 MP makes it a lot easier and should be reasonably affordable now. Get as much as you can afford, and you'll use the camera longer before you "really need" a better one.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 08:58 PM

we did a lot of research before we got our camera last year.
its compact pentax optio 4mp. Id say 3mp should be fine but 4mp works very well for print quality (I run a print shop and have used the camera for printing purposes - I only shoot at the highest resolution)

It cost around $350 Canadian, and dropped to $250 in 6mths or so although its hard to find now.
But the handy feature is that it uses AA batteries as well as the bigger camera battery.
Ive used the sound recording capability in sessions as well.

I must say that we taken way more pictures with the digital camera than before, and its great to go back and delete them if youre not happy with the pic.
Also I enjoy making slide shows (using Studio Plus) with added music and titles, its a great way of using all those digital pics.
Petr.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 09:11 PM

Always ask a Catter!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 09:50 PM

Has anyone got any recomendations regarding the use of a digital camcorder versus using just a digital still camera to capture images? It seems that the prices are dropping on these too and that the added features of one of these little marvels might be worth while. Many say that you can take still images with these as well and many of the still cameras seem to have a movie mode incorporated in them. It seems they are each trying to be both. Wouldn't it be wise to consider a digital movie camera that could also take still images? They are now getting quite managable in size, have reasonably good features, resolution, and the view screens are plenty large by comparison to those available on most digital still cameras. Can one get the same quality as in a still camera? If so, why not spend the money to also have the more formidable video/audio features they offer?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 12:16 AM

reggie, good questions, and I don't have an answer particular to these two comparable cameras. Only an observation: I try to purchase items to perform the dedicated task they were designed for. I generally don't buy things that try to be all things to all people. I own a scanner, a printer, and a fax, not one of the three-in-one jobs, on the theory that if one of them breaks, I can replace it inexpensively. And each one by themselves usually works better than those stuck together (scanners in particular). Why replace the whole thing when only one part of it is no longer working? On that same principle, then, I wouldn't buy a movie camera with the main intent that of using it to make stills. If this is an incidental action, that's different.

My little digital camera has a movie function, and I tried it the other day, but I haven't downloaded the results yet. It isn't something that I plan to do regularly.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 04:23 AM

One issue to be considered:

The digicam, in order to meet frame rate requirements, must use a raw format that allows relatively fast saves of the camera pictures. This often is a slightly different raw format than is used in digital still cameras, where the requirement is to save individual frames and where you can wait until the camera is ready to take the next frame/picture.

When you save stuff out of the camera/digicam, individual frames may be in the same format, but internally there is some difference, and the digicam doesn't typically capture anything approaching the resolution and clarity of what you'll get with a decent still camera. The individual digicam frames don't need to "freeze" the action in the same way that an individual shot with a still camera does, so there's often some pixel dropout and/or blurred motion that will average out over a few frames when viewed in a "movie," but is very apparent in a single frame.

I would concur with SRS that if you want good "pictures," you should use a "picture" camera. If you want good movies, use a movie camera. The ability to use one to do the other involves a number of compromises that, if your standards aren't too high, may be acceptable, but ... everybody needs a few principles to guide them through the tough spots, and you're "cutting corners" when you try to get everything out of one machine.

Many "digital still cameras" allow you to record a few seconds of "movies," but the individual frames are usually vastly inferior to what you'd get with a still shot. You can extract individual frames from a digicam recording, but - in my experience - they are usually unusable for any but the simplest and crudest "still photo" reproduction. Even single frames cut from commercial movie CDs will make you wonder "how do they get away with that."

For your uses, it may be "good enough," but you'll likely run into times when you'll wish you'd done it "the real way" no matter which way you compromise.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: s&r
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 06:25 AM

I have good 8 x 10 prints from 1Mp - it can depend on the subject matter - a forest scene worked well because there are no smooth areas to show pixellation. Portraits would be more prone perhaps to show pixellation in the skin tones. At 2Mp on a full length shot I was able to produce an enlargement showing the ser.no. on a concertina clearly.

I find the biggest problem with Digi cameras is shutter delay - now cured by a Nikon D70 (ouch) which has a mechanical shutter.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Grab
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 08:26 AM

We've got a 4 point something - Canon A80. Works OK for me. Basically, anything over 2MP will be plenty adequate for your typical snapshots, and anything over 3MP will allow some enlargement (the more pixels, the more you can blow it up). With more pixels, you can also start using the digital zoom without losing too much picture quality, which can be handy.

Thing is though that high MP is only like getting a decent grade of film, so that's only a fairly small part of the story. You also want your camera to have good exposure metering, good auto-focus, clear optics, and ideally give you the option for full manual control of everything. I'm not a great photographer, but there's no way I'd get a camera now without manual settings for F-stop and shutter speed, because without those you don't stand a chance of getting decent nighttime shots, or shots of things with a wide range of brightnesses like concerts and stuff.

If all you're after is a cheapo snapper for holiday pictures, any 2MP will probably do, and it'll not cost much. But you'll need to be aware that the quality you'll be getting will be no better than a cheap 35mm. If you don't care about that, then fine. If you do care though, you might want to do a bit of research to get something that takes better pictures. When I did my research, Canon were out on top, and they still seem to be pretty good today too.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 11:13 AM

The Shutter lag is the biggest problem with almost any digital camera. Unless you are buying a digital SLR which does not have any, make sure you try the camera on a moving subject, and do not buy it unless you are happy with it, or you will curse it every time you use it.

The other thing is get a sensible size memory card. This will allow you to shoot at top quality. There's little point in paying for image quality, and then not being able to use as you've not got room.
I'm using a D70 slr, at 6.1 Mpix, and a 1 gig card give me just over 300 frames.

A 1 gig card is about $70, and you will be able to take your camera on holiday, and not worry about running out of room. A 512 meg is about $40.

It's also worth trying to find a camera that will take standard batteries. Investing in a few sets of NiMH, or Li-ion batteries (good rechargeables) will save you the cost of your camera in not very long.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: robomatic
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 11:28 AM

I've got an old Olympus 490 that goes to 2.1 Megapixels. But sending high res photos over the 'net is still kinda clutzy, so I often take both high and low res. The higher res photos run 300,000 to 600,000 Bytes, and the low res run about 50,000. If you go to higher pixel photos, you'll be able to print them better and larger, but send them slower, and they'll take up more storage.
People are beginning to experience the problems that come with having lots of photos in storage but no easy way to label them or pick them out.
Save fewer photos and have a method for labeling and dating them, so that someone else could go through your things and know what they were.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 12:47 PM

Thanks to JohnInKansas for a characteristically helpful post, technically detailed but absolutely understandable. He mostly verified what I suspected, but I didn't have the numbers and vocabulary to back up my opinions/suspicions

Shutter lag-time is a terrible pain in the neck. I had thought it would be an issue only when shooting with the flash, but I've learned that it remains in effect even with the flash turned off, when shooting under good natural light.

I bought my first 35mm SLR 28 years ago when my daughter was born, and (as you might imagine) took tons of pictures, many of them quite excellent natural-light baby portraits. Now that she has grown up and produced our first grandchild, I'm trying to get the same kind of pictures of the new baby using the digital camera, and it has been frustrating. A baby's smiles are fleeting, and the kid's expression always changes between the time you hit the shutter button and the moment of exposure. The only solution I can see is to shoot film and then scan the prints ~ you'd think that technological "progress" would have come up with a better solution than this! (My camera also offers a quick-sequence feature, which I haven't tried yet but which might help ~ shooting a half-dozen quick shots within a few seconds might yield one good baby-smile shot, even though the first photo of the sequence will still be delayed for a second or two after hitting the shutter-button.)

Another note: "digital zoom" is pretty useless for anyone who routinely re-saves (and potentially crops) pictures after uploading to the PC. Once you've pushed your optical zoom to the tightest possible shot, shifting into digital zoom for an even tighter crop enlarges the pixels along with the whole picture; it is essentially nothing more than an in-camera cropping tool.

For tight shots, I prefer to keep digital zoom turned off, zoom in as close as possible with the camera's optical zoom, and then apply additional cropping if desired while working on the computer screen, where things are more visible and time is no longer an issue.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Grab
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 12:57 PM

Shutter lag on a decent digital will often be down to it setting focus and metering, which a regular camera also has to do. The best approach with an auto-focus is to do the "hold-the-button-halfway" thing to get the camera to set everything up, and then wait for the moment. When the moment comes, press the button all the way, and a decent camera should take the picture damn near instantly.

Alternatively, use the full-manual options (reverting to 28-years-ago SLR mode :-) and things should happen much quicker.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 02:32 PM

Shutter lag and recycle times have been greatly improved in recent digital cameras, although reports are that some otherwise great cameras still have problems with them.

One of the most common picture "spoilers," especially with lower priced digital cameras, is the autofocus feature. Many digital cameras use an optical autofocus, and you must do the "half way down" press on the button and give the camera time to get focused before you do the final click to take the picture. In really cheap film cameras it was common to have small apertures that gave pretty good depth of field without focusing; but most digitals - even the cheapest ones - will give fuzzy results if you click through without letting them home in on the object.

A second problem with autofocus in many cheaper cameras is that the autofocus function requires a more brightly lit subject to get focused than the sensor needs to take a fairly good picture. You can often get fairly good color and saturation on big blurs of nothing because of this, if you try to take available light snaps in even slightly dim conditions.

And even though the wimpy flash units can provide enough fill for the picture, the flash illumination isn't there to help get in focus. This makes it impossible to take good flash pictures in low light situations, because you can't get a good focus. (You can set a candle at subject distance off to the side, half-press the shutter to focus on the candle, and then swing back to the subject before completing the shutter press; but that's ridiculously cumbersome at a party.)

It's still pretty much "you get what you pay for," or as the cynic says - "about half what you pay for." Really good digital cameras are much more affordable now than they were even a year ago, so it pays to check the specs before making a new purchase. A little more spent can get a lot more quality, versatility, and ultimate satisfaction now. Sometimes though, you just don't have the little bit more to spend.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 02:44 PM

I think the whole deal is way too obscure. Megapixels-- who the heck came up with THAT? Why didn't they just call them sumpin I could understand, like farticles? Trust me, it goes with the sound they make when they fire.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 02:51 PM

Or pooticles.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 03:18 PM

DPI, Dingleberries Per Inch-- I get it.

~S~
A tad sleep deprived....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 03:31 PM

My little digital camera does use the half-way down auto focus thing, but with the SLR I've been doing the half-way-down light meter thing for years, so for me it isn't anything that needs adjusting to.

I'll restate the reason why this camera works out well--I already have a good film camera and I use it a lot still, in the context of my work and for photos I want to publish. I take photos of my family with it, but because it is a larger camera with various lenses and such, I don't get it out as often as I might if it were a quick little point and shoot camera.

That said, I don't like the point and shoot cameras that have no variation in the lenses. This little Nikon gives me a lot of control. Any small camera is going to have to do that to make me happy, even for informal usage.

Since many of my photos end up online or digitized to put into print documents, using a camera that takes digital photos clear enough to crop or enlarge is very useful, and saves the step of scanning or the cost of having a disk burned at the time of processing. I just did a search for small film cameras and found one for a nice price, an Olympus. I don't know how the lens compares, but given very similar features, if I'd stumbled across this in my travels, I could have been equally happy with it. (It costs less than the digital, but I'd spend more money on film and more time changing it out). Olympus Infinity Zoom 105 QD 35mm Zoom Camera .

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 06:15 PM

A few people are pointing out the potential problems with sending large photos on the 'net.

Remember, if you have computer access( and if not, how are you reading this? ) you will almost certainly have access to some kind of image editing package. You can always shoot large shots for printing, and resize them down to something that will look fine on screen for the net.

Also storage of these photos. Recordable CDs work. Get a few top quality ones, which should last better than the cheap, and put your photos on them.

Labels are simple. Do it by dates or events. If 'spring 2005' or 'xyz festival' isn't enough infomation to tell you what's on it, then you have a worse memory than mine, which is quite an achivement.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 06:34 PM

Naming/labeling: I try to be consistent in putting year first, then (numeric) month, then (brief) description when naming folders of pix (and usually the pictures themselves within the folders/albums).. That way, they are automatically listed in chronological order when sorted in alphanumeric order.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 08:06 PM

To share, you can also consider places like Yahoo, which has unlimited space for your photos if you want to put them there in albums. You can choose to keep them private or make them public, and you can let people buy prints (I don't suppose you collect from them, Yahoo probably makes money on that). If they're important or precious, I wouldn't save them online in the big slush pond that is the servers of Yahoo, but the good thing is, if you're patient enough to load a large file you can stash it there and if someone needs access to it, you can tell them where or invite them to view it. Downloading an image from there would be like an ftp operation. (I don't remember if it takes TIFs, but it does take two or three types including JPGs. I think PNGs are okay, and they're very large also. PNG and TIF are more stable than JPG, but they're also much larger.)

If you want to make a print, or use an image in a print document, the rule of thumb is that it should be AT LEAST 300dpi (or pixels). For the web, you need 72dpi. To display a 300dpi image on your computer at 100% you'll cover the area of several monitors. Hence the need to reduce them (I tend to save them around 600px wide) to post or send.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 11:42 PM

Most cameras - cheap ones like mine at least - will download images from the camera as 72 dpi .jpg. What you download from the camera is the best you'll ever get from that image, but saving it at 72 dpi is fine. Set at max resolution, my little wimp 2.1 MP camera saves a 72 dpi image, but it's sized at 22.222 x 16.667 inches. It's perfectly ok to save it that way for archiving, and if you print it to most printers, and let the printer resize to anything less than 5.333 x 4 inches, you'll be printing at 300 dpi or better.

It doesn't really matter what the "dpi" is when you save. It's how many pixels are present in the image.

The image I get from this camera is 1600 pixels wide x 1200 pixels high, and that's all that really counts as long as you save it all. (And the fact that my "2.1 MP" camera only produces a 1.8 MP image is about typical.)

If you don't have an image editing program that lets you resize without resampling you should save and archive your "original" picture just as it comes out of the camera. Make a copy of that file to do any editing and printing. Never exit and save from any program if you've got the original open, regardless of what format the file is.

With inkjet printers commonly available for use with personal computers, if the ink goes on the paper at 300 dpi you'll get about the maximum quality that the printer is able to produce. To get this "full capability" best picture, you may need the name brand inks and specific (usually photo grade) papers.

For ordinary snapshot prints, most people will be unable to see any significant difference, except perhpas by close side-by-side comparison, between a snapshot size print at 300 dpi and one at 150 dpi. Similar statements apply to 4-color versus the popular 7-color (or in some cases 9-color) inkjet printers. A 150 dpi 4-color print on a typical inkjet printer is "glossy magazine quality" or better. If you're sending an image file to the magazine for them to set up and print, they may demand a much higher resolution, but your print will look just about like what they'll end up with on the rack at your favorite book shop.

Unfortunately the slight differences you get from higher dpi printing and from using the multiple ink processes become more apparent in larger size prints, so for 8 x 10 inch and larger prints it may be worthwhile to insist on 300 dpi and 7 colors if you want the best looking prints. There are no inkjet printers commonly available that will benefit from image resolutions greater than about 300 dpi on the paper, despite advertising claims of 1200 dpi (and higher) capabilities; but the explanations get pretty lengthy - and boring - on that.

Anything posted on the web will be displayed at 72 dpi. For most consistent results your web picture should be scaled to the size at which you intend it to actually be displayed, and should be resampled to something between 72 and 96 dpi at that size. There is absolutely no advantage in having a higher resolution image posted, unless you really expect viewers to want to save and enlarge it. What they see on screen will be at 72 dpi regardless of the image file size you post.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 12:50 AM

John,

This is all semantics. I set up and save my photos based on the height and width of the photo by the number of pixels, and having a working knowledge of how many pixels are required to do what is necessary. When in doubt, err on the large side. If someone isn't in tune enough with their camera to know that they're saving a 22" wide photograph, it might be more helpful to be able to set it at a given pixel density. Or avoid the bother and simply save it as a PNG or a TIFF. They have established densities and work for photos and web, depending on how you process them. There are many simple home-use photo management programs out there. (They also come with photo disks burned at the time film is processed and prints made. Kodak has a bonehead program that lets you save a photo for print or the web, without ever explaining how it does what it's doing as it runs photos through templates or filters). I guess they don't want to confuse the consumer.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: GUEST,Steve Parkes
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 08:27 AM

Somebody from Kodak was quoted recently as saying you'd need around 28Meg to get the equivalent of 35mm film. (It was in New Scientist, so it must be true!) I'll keep using film while I still can: I can scan the negs at home if I want to make digital pics, and besides, I have a large investment in kit that would be a sin to scrap. I do a fair bit of digital jiggery-pokery, I'm no Luddite. And I've got a bog-standard 3Meg camera, which is quite handy - but its not as good as my SLR.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 10:02 AM

I know! With all that I have invested in the camera, lenses, tripod, film, filters (and my investment is on the low end compared to many) I would hate to see this system go by the wayside. Photography is an art and the results are astonishing. Maybe Ansel Adams could have gotten some great shots with a digital camera, but the results with black and white film are so striking that, were he around today, one would doubt he'd stop using all of that equipment if only he could get his hands on a 7.1 megapixel camera and lenses.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 10:41 AM

Steve P -

Attempts to compare digital to film usually base the calculations on the minimum grain size that can be developed in the film, and the 28 MP 35 mm film is pretty much in the middle of the numbers cited. (Probably based on an ASA200 film or so.) This implies a film resolution of something like 4,000 - 6,000 dpi. (4 to 6 thousand "grains per inch" at 35mm negative size.) It doesn't matter much that most print papers have significantly larger grain, since the image is usually enlarged a lot - from the 35mm negative - when printed.

I haven't heard of any "public market" scanners with better than about 1200 dpi resolution, regardless of scan area, so if you scan a negative you convert the theoretical negative resolution of 4,000 dpi or more (at negative size) immediately to 1200 dpi at negative size. This probably is good enough to be enlarged digitally to make a good 8 x 10 print, but not really much more than that.

In principle, if you made a perfect optical print from 35mm film at about 3x4+ inches (snapshot size) the resolution on the print would be around 1200 dpi, and your scanner could pick up pretty much all that was in the negative, by scanning the print at 1200 dpi. There's a limit to how far you can go with it, since few scanners will let you scan at maximum resolution for areas as large as 8x10 (or 8.5x11) because of the enormous file sizes you'd get.

If you digitize by scanning negatives mainly to do snapshot size stuff, then you probably get good enough results with a negative scanner. If you really want to "recover all" the negative info, a fairly modest optical enlargement followed by a high resolution scan of the print may get you to almost the same maximum enlargement you'd get optically.

The point here, I suppose, is that digital and film are close enough that with proper use of both you can get "film quality enlargements" with digital files. The point is not that you have to do it.

I should concede that I don't have a negative scanner, and haven't looked at what resolutions they're claiming recently. ("Divide the claims by at least 2" probably still works.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 03:12 PM

I've had a public market film scanner( about £150, IIRC) for a bit over two years, that claims 1800dpi, and delivers close to that.

A quick look at the market place shows a whole range of film scanners claiming 3600dpi upwards, from about £100, from reliable makers.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 05:59 PM

Bunnahabhain -

The numbers you see in the advertising are often "optimistic." I won't argue that there aren't new scanners with true resolution better than 1200 dpi, since I haven't searched out the specs recently; but the "guts" used by most of the makers are pretty much the same, and that's about the limit available without pretty exotic methods.

The mechanical horizontal resolution of 1200 dpi depends on having a "stick" about 8 inches long (for page size) with 9,600 separately addressable "sensors" for each of 3 or more colors. There are only a few makers of this particular kind of semiconductor product. The vertical resolution depends on being able to "step" the stick across the page (the scan part) in increments of 1/1200 inch; and in fact many scanners quote a much lower scanwise resolution than for the cross-page part due to the difficulty of producing the very stable motion of the scan bar that's needed.

The 1800 and 3600 (and higher) dpi claimed by quite a few makers in the consumer market are usually based on a 1200 dpi mechanical scan, with "interpolation" to simulate(?) something higher. With good simulation, they may actually look a bit better than the raw mechanical bits, but will not support the same amount of blowup as a true raw scan at the stated pixel density without introducing the same kind of artifacts you'd get if you took the 1200 dpi raw bits and enlarged them in your graphics program.

If you took the raw 1200 dpi scan and used expert methods to do your own enlargement to 1800 or 3600 dpi in a good graphics program, you could probably do a better job than the built in interpolation does; but the "digitally interpolated" higher resolutions may give the casual user a slightly better picture without resorting to learning how. (Always a good selling point for the mass market.)

Similar qualifications apply to (especially inkjet) printers, where the marketeers are trying to tell you what "result" you'll get with their product without getting caught lying and without boring you with dry dull truths.

To some extent, similar "almost truths" are common in camera pixel capacity advertisements.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 06:14 PM

1. I got a 3.2, used it a few times, think it will do the job. Have not tried out the editing software yet; still using an old package till after impending vacay. Does enough. So far just using auto-focus/flash.

Even before getting this, I've uploaded more than 60 pix into a site that had only 4 and only 2 of those had people in them, in more than 20 sub-pages that feature different aspects of our busy parish's ministries, in as much detail as anyone cares to delve into. Pages that are perking up nicely with all the pix.

2. Already have decent scanner, but screw that! I have about 50 MORE old print pix to scan for upload to the website-- WalMart is going to work on that while we are away. Parishioners are gathering more for my selection. They are so nice to let me photoedit, too.

3. The other shutterbugs in the parish are waking up. I believe at the Ladies Guild picnic today there may have been at least three women snapping away at one another. We are keeping shots where one photog shoots one shooting back, for a special page later.

Yes I am archiving as shot and as edited JPGs, and yes I upload them as GIFs, and yes the filenames have all been date/event/photog specific-- I'm cursed with that kind of mind.

Thanks all! The zillion details you all posted will come in handy as I try new tricks with this one (and start dreaming of the REAL expensive one I will never be able to afford). :~)

And yes, we like SLR/35 mm film, too-- Hardi's department. From now on, digital images, as well as print, from his work.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Megapixels
From: Grab
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 07:22 PM

Sure, but for cheaper cameras the limiting factors are most often the optics and focussing. No point having a perfect image of a load of blur, after all! ;-)

Also this doesn't take into account the ability to easily do exposure-bracketing and other stuff with a digital, which would previously have been restricted to professionals or highly-skilled amateurs due to technical requirements (finding a point-and-shoot camera that would let you adjust exposure, for one!) and cost of film. Also add the ability to adjust colours in editting packages. The end result is that although the resolution may not be as good, as a typical photographer you will get more good pictures from a digital.

Of course, when you start talking serious professional kit then film is still in front - but only because at that level, they have such high quality equipment that film resolution becomes noticeable, and such a high level of skill that every picture will be well composed and lit.

Graham.


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