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Author Topic:   Photo questions for you pros.
JFM posted 01-06-2002 04:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for JFM   Send Email to JFM  
Jimh, I looked at Catacea 47 and saw how nice and clear the award cert. looked. Did you do that with a digital camera? If so what kind and what do you recomend? Also, did you scan most of the Catacea photos? If so what kind of scanner do you recomend. Anyone else out there with this type of experience please chime in. Thanks in advance. Regards, Jay
Ventura16 posted 01-06-2002 06:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
Jay, these days most digital cameras are very, very good. The "mega-pixel" issue is not really a big consideration unless you plan to print out photos...then, the more resolution the better off you will be. For web use, anything over 1.3 mega-pixels should be fine. These cameras can be easily found under $200. Because the camera optics are still important, the best manufacturers of conventional cameras are generally the best at making digital cameras...Nikon, Canon, Fuji, etc.

As far as scanners go, look for lots of actual (optical) resolution...not inflated "interpolated" resolution. When scanning, the more resolution the can always downsize a large rez image, but you can never get back detail that wasn't captured to begin with. Some of my favorites are Epson, Canon, HP and Umax.


JFM posted 01-06-2002 09:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Sorry about my spelling of Cetacea. I understand SLR photography. Do you use shutter speed and f-stops the same way in digital? when I looked at digital cameras 2-3 years ago the only ones I saw were point and shoot. I also would like to know how you interface the output of the digital camera to the computer,1394, USB or what? Thanks, Jay
jimh posted 01-06-2002 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
No digital cameras here. Back in 1994 when I started producing web content both scanners and cameras were out of my budget, so I "rented" them from Kodak by having my 35mm negatives scanned to Photo-CD format. That used to cost about $35/roll.

With the price of digital cameras and scanners dropping, the PhotoCD scan seems expensive these days, so now I generally let my local Kodak Lab scan them for me (for about $8/roll) as JPEGs to CD-RWs.

I do have a scanner, a UMAX Astra 1220s so I can scan prints or other artwork. That is what scanned the certificate.

The images in Cetacea are a mix of actual photographs that I have scanned and digital images people sent me, either from their scans or from digital cameras. Most of the images that are in Cetacea have been tweaked in Photoshop. I have an idea for a Cetacea page that just demonstrates the steps involved in getting a good image on the web.

It is best to start with a lot of pixels, then throw out the extra data as you go, until you end up with convenient web-sized images that about about 50-kiloByte JPEGs.

Ventura16 posted 01-06-2002 11:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
Although some of the higher end digital cameras use interchangeable lenses llike an SLR, the majority are point & shoot with some control over exposure, zoom, flash, etc. The results you can get from a combination of one of these cameras with Photoshop or another good image editing software is quite amazing. Interfaces are generally either USB or serial...IEEE1394 (aka FireWire on the Mac) is generally used for digital video cameras, but not digital still cameras.


jimh posted 01-06-2002 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I meant to mention some of the historical problems with color images on the web. The display resolution of color was initially really awful in the PC world, but nowadays it seems to be catching up to the point where most people have video cards that can handle "24-bit" color or "True Color". For years I used to almost barf when I saw how my pages looked on PC systems that had only 256-color video.

Another problem is gamma correction. Most systems still don't have any handles on this parameter. For years the typical PC monitor, video card, driver, and system software had no gamma correction and ran with displays that generally looked awful. To compensate I tend to crank in some gamma correction on all the images, so that they end up looking decent on the "typical" PC monitor.

For more info see this page I added about three years ago:

Highwater posted 01-06-2002 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
I have been pleased with my Sony 2.1 mega pixel cyber-shot. You can manipulate the f-stop and shutter speed, albeit indirectly. It does not come with the NP-FS11 battery you need, though, and that is another $100. If I had realize this in advance I would have purchased the 3-magapixel Sony since it comes with right battery and it has a better zoom lense.

My camera came with 4 megabytes of memory. I immediately ugraded to 128 mb of memory, which allows me to take about 2,000 pictures before I have to either erase my memory stick or buy another memory stick.

I connect to my Macintosh via USB (it works fine with a PC, too). I can download 100 pictures in about a minute.

triblet posted 01-07-2002 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Jim, your Mac bias is showing.

Nobody has 256-bit color. 16-bit color looks
passable to the amateur, 24-bit looks good
to most everyone, 32-bit is great, there's
a little 40-bit color around.

Modern windows video drivers have gamma
correction. Problem is that the default is
different from what the Mac has. Neither is
wrong, just different.

Chuck, who has been doing digital imaging
since 1973.

blackdog posted 01-07-2002 09:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Purchased the Olympus D490 digital camera, 2.1 mega, about 6 months ago. It is a point and shoot but thatís what I wanted. At the time it was running about $460 bucks and I thought I got a deal on it for $360 at Micro Center. 2 weeks after I bought it the newer model came out with a USB built in and about the same price as I paid. Oh wellÖI also bought a card read for about 30 bucks and I really donít miss it.

Works pretty well for a point and shoot. Flash photos are not that great but I knew that going in. One draw back is the largest memory card (which is the film) is only 64mb. This camera will not support the 128 cards, or so I am told.
Over all I like it, itís small and compact and can easily fit in your pocket. I have blow up some pictures and they are of decent quality. No larger than 5x7 as the 2.1 will start to look grainy. One other great feature is that you can hook it into your TV and review the photos


JFM posted 01-07-2002 10:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Thank you all for the great info. I have some nice Nikon SLR equipment and have just looked at Nikon's website. For the lenses I have the D1 series looks nice, but when I called the local dealer for a price, I can buy a used Montauk. I think the way for me is a scanner or an inexpensive digital point and shoot. Thanks, Jay
daverdla posted 01-07-2002 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
I have the earlier model Olympus D460Z. Basically, it's the same as yours without USB. I've used it for about two years (I paid $500). It's been great for work.

You can change the memory/picture to enhance photos that you'd like to enlarge. SHQ-TIFF mode is the max on mine ~ 4Meg per picture. I keep it set on HQ-JPEG ~ 225k per picture. It's okay for work at this setting. I've printed some pictures taken in the HQ mode on photo quality 4x6 with an HP1220C that look okay.


Tom W Clark posted 01-07-2002 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I use a three year old Epson PhotoPC 700 which I paid about $500 for. It is a 1.2 megapixel point and shoot, moron-proof camera. I bought it for use on the job, recording views and inspecting potential projects. It has proven to be a thoroughly abusable camera. It rides around in the glove box of my truck and has never given me any trouble.

It downloads to my Mac via an ADB cable. PC's use a serial cable. Both are supplied with the camera as is the image manipulation software by Sierra Imaging.

Bought used for considerably less than I paid, it would be a superb camera for setting up pictures for the web or Ebay.

It is nowhere as nice as my brother's new Nikon Coolpix 775, which costs about $400 and is much smaller with greater capacity and many more user adjustable features. I have seen some photos he has printed out and they are superb, approaching the quality of a 35mm SLR. It connects via USB.

blackdog posted 01-07-2002 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Still learning how to use it. I see what you are talking about with the picture quality setting. If I set it on the highest setting the 64mb card only holds 11 pictures! I have blown up a photo on the 2nd highest setting and it looks pretty good. Thatís where I usually keep it. Micro Center in St Davidís Pa has the best price on Cards I have found. They are getting cheaper every day.
Thinking about buying a photo printer like the Cannon or HP1315 to print some of the photos. Anyone have one?


DCPeters posted 01-07-2002 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
I use Fuji Mx2900 zoom with 2.3Mpixels and a HP1218 with the memory slot in the printer. I like that feature...stick in the "film" get a "contact print" with one button and also no cables to connect. Fast usb downloads too.

It still is no match for my Minolta 7000i AF with various large aperture macro/ tele lenses.

I have trouble deciding when to use the digital...I usually take film and get the photos developed and put on CD by the developer. The Fuji camera sits around gathering dust much of the time. I imagine that I could make the Fuji work better with some experience, like anything else.

Taylor posted 01-07-2002 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Transitionally, I too went the route Jimh recommends, getting Kodak to scan my film for me. You can get a photoCD from them it you want higher resolution, and I did that for the pics I sent Jim. Mostly I get a little floppy with screen resolution. But I still have to pay for film and development.

Realizing that I use digital images for email and screen viewing, which really means just snapshot quality, I got a 2.1 Megapixel Cannon S300, which is really a style thing, I like the Elph size, and I'm replacing a Elph APS camera for snapshots. I'm really enjoying taking all the pictures I want, I can hold 250 odd shots on the 128MB flash card I added. And I can see my pictures on the little LCD right away.

In my view, camera technology has not changed that much since before WWII. My Leica IIb takes fine pictures, it has great lenses, and we still can develop 35mm film at drugstore. Ok, we've added SLR and automatic metering, but does my camera really need to rewind my film for me? On the other hand, digital cameras are evolving pretty quickly, todays sexy Elph is next years paper weight. So don't spend too much.

One thing that has not changed in the move to digitial, you still need to hold the camera still, get the lighting right, and figure out when you subject does not have her eyes closed.

My two cents worth.

Taylor posted 01-07-2002 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
BTW, for comparison purposes...

This is a scanned image off a PhotoCD from Kodak, taken on a Nikon F2, with a less than perfect (non-nikon) zoom, 1534x1024. You guys have seen this one before. That's from the Canon digital Elph, 1600x1200. Taken a week ago Saturday, 12/30/01 on a pretty nice day at Camano Island State Park.

But I had to finish the roll and wait for development for the first one, the second one was on my computer screen backdrop Wednesday.

This is not Fine Photography. These are pictures of my family having fun.

Mark Gallagher posted 01-07-2002 04:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mark Gallagher  Send Email to Mark Gallagher     
I've had a UMAX scanner for a few years and it's been easy to use. After a lot of research I just got a Nikon Coolpix 775 2.1 megapixel camera. I think it was a good chioce for what I wanted. $399 including 8MB memory card, USB interface, lots of quality software, battery and charger. has great prices and service and they even offered a $50 gift card with the purchase. I used the gift card to purchase an extra 64 mb memory card. You can spend on average $100 to $1000 on a digital camera.

I have been very pleased with the results and find that you generally only keep a few photos from regular film. With digital you can see the image immediately and delete it or take it over if you don't like it.

The Nikon also offers their website where you can store and manipulate your photos for free! You can also orders color prints at a very reasonable price and have them mailed right to your home.

Jay, go digital it is great to be able to see the photos so quickly and also the easy ability to e-mail photos.


JFM posted 01-07-2002 04:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Taylor, I like your first photo better. From the looks of things I bet your Montauk's "bottom" liked it better too. Regards, Jay
JFM posted 01-07-2002 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Thanks Mark and all. I am going for the Nikon 775 now with the lowered price of $399.00. I do like the idea of editing pictures with the camera before printing out a roll. I have pitched thousands of duds over the years and only keep the good ones(big fish, nice boats, and family of course). Regards, Jay P.S. Yes I keep the pretty ladies too.
Taylor posted 01-07-2002 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Jim mentioned tweaking the image. Even the software they ship for free along with the Kodak Photocd is pretty good at making an image look sharper and more vivid, at least to my eye. I'm not sure what it does, but it sure makes a difference.

The software that came with the Canon is easy to use to grab images, and the panarama stiching is great, but does not do much for image quality.

I suspect that something like Photoshop can really improve an image, if you know how to use it. (I don't) Probably the same type of person who tweaks in Photoshop is the type of person who would spend time in a darkroom messing with the zones and dodging the image.

Anyway, software matters, if you have the time to use it.

Ed Stone posted 01-07-2002 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
I have a sony FD92 that takes photos or
MPEG movies with sound.I can use either
a memory stick or floppy disc.
I have taken a lot of pictures but I'm
still very much a amateur.I know the
sonys are huge but I liked the convenience
of the floppys.
It also claims to have over 2hrs of battery
life and take up to 1600 shots.Comes with a
USB port and a 16x zoom.
Ed Stone
jimh posted 01-08-2002 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Definitely a "Mac" bias here. But in terms of display technology and color handling, the Mac systems were much better than early Windows.

Even today the typical home PC probably has the display running with no gamma correction, the color temperature of the monitor set at 7200-degrees or higher, the contrast wide open, and the brightness who-knows-where. Often the default color resolution is set lower, typically "64,000-colors", as this helps the machine run faster.

In addition, the JPEG rasterizer in Internet Explorer is terrible, it always goes for speed instead of good image quality. It is surprising how much better images can look if the JPEG engine is decent.

Many of these things are probably intentionally done so that the machine feels "fast" to the user--I see artifacts of this all the time in Microsoft software. You click and something happens right away, but it really does not finish immediately, it just gives the user the feel that the machine is fast.

On the gamma issue there are some problems. I have a workstation (NT-4.0) I use at the office where I have the display nicely set up and some gamma compensation applied, but then the whole Windows OS stuff looks terrible. All the icons and widgets and screen graphics of the OS look wierd, but the photographs look great. Then I have to make a bunch of custom changes to the APPEARANCE control panel to get the OS widgets back to shades of gray that look right, since they were all designed with a display system gamma of about 2.8 or higher in mind. They're all washed out, while suddenly the photographs reveal beautiful detail in the darker regions that was completely lost without the gamma correction.

blackdog posted 01-08-2002 10:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Bye the way. The software that comes with my Olympus is awful. I like the sound of Nikon Coolpix web site
kingfish posted 01-08-2002 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I have had a Kodak "280" (at least that's what I think it is) for a couple of years and have been very happy with it. I believe it's about 2 megapixel, looks and acts a lot like a rangefinder-type point-and-shoot, and uses SanDisk style storage media which I really like.

The cards are about 1-1/2 inch square and are available in storage capacities from 4 megs to 128 megs that I know of; the camera can be attached to a computer via parallel port or USB for settings or downloading, or you can buy this little gizmo that looks like your computer mouse that also attaches via parallel port or USB, and you slide the card into the front of it. Your computer thinks it's another drive, so you can access photos on the card, or download them to your hard drive or whatever. *Very* convenient.

Adobe Photo Deluxe Business Edition software came with the camera, and while I also have Photoshop (which is designed for people with IQ's that start 50 points above mine), I haven't found anything yet that I can't do woth Photo Deluxe. I use it all the time and love it.


triblet posted 01-08-2002 12:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Photoshop is probably overkill for what most
people want to do. It's swatting flies with
nuclear weapons for them. It has lots of function
for doing the creative artsy-fartsy stuff:
Layers, masks, that sort of thing. All most
folks want to do is crop, adjust contrast,
brightness, and color balace, resize, and
sharpen. There are any number of programs
that will do these, and are a lot cheaper and
easier than Photoshop.

That said, I do use Photoshop, but mostly
because when I started on it, it was the only
game in town.

And I'm still mostly on 35mm film (125 rolls
a year, mostly shot diving from my whaler).
My scanner will capture a 21 megapixel image at
40 bits per pixel. There aren't any digicams
that will do that yet, at least not for less
than five or six digits. I do use a Casio
3megapixel camera for grab shots. With an IBM
1G microdrive, it holds about 750 pictures.


SuburbanBoy posted 01-08-2002 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
You will also need a printer. I suggest one of the 6-color Epsons. They refer to them as "Photo" printers. They will work with both Pee Cee's and MucknTosh's. Use the Epson brand "Photo" paper and you will be happy.

I use a hybred Kodak/Nikon digital SLR. It will accept all of my Nikon glass. Plus, I like to have the camera shoot when I press the shutter release. None of the pointers will do this, even if pre-focused with a partial depression of the shutter release. But they have an advantage in cost and out of the camera picture appearance. Hence their popularity.



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