10 Tips for Better Digital Photographs

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by jon-monon, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member


    I hear you bud...

    Now Nikon has their 8700 out which is 8 megapixel and they've added a choice of 12 quick scene options. My wife has those scenes on her Nikon 4300 and it works like a charm.

    I'm still content with my 5700 though. Since I don't print pictures larger than 8" X 10" so I can't justify getting the 8700.....yet.

    The one feature that I really like on my 5700 is the rotating & swivelling viewing screen. If your'e in a crowd you can just tilt the screen down and hold the camera over the heads of the people in front of you. It also works great when looking down when photographing "stuff" on a table.

    Sony, Minolta and others have 8mp out too.
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    That's interesting, Dan, looks like fine jpg is the way to go most of the time. If I had a higher end camera like you guys have, I would probably reserve tiff and/or RAW for portraits of my wife who deserves the best :D :D :D

    Goatee - no prob., friend, didn't mean you said anything wrong, and it's all darned good advice. 95% of hte time I follow it myself, but 5% of the time the photo's are not important enough to even keep, much less back up, to me anyway. Probably schmardter to just follow your rules all the time, because as time goes on, photo's that might seem silly at the time can really gain value. I have a shoebox full of carelessly tossed prints from the Philippines, and I hate to look through it, because each time I do I have to go out and buy another photo album for the cool pics I pull out :D I wish I had notes on those! OK, I've dug my note pad out of hte trash, shaken the coffee grounds off it, and I'll take some notes :D But I'm going to type them into a text file or scan them in and keep them with the archive.

    Anyone know of a utility to pull out the EXIF info to a txt file? That would be ideal.

    Don't feel bad Shamus, Minoilta has a Z2 out already too! Can't always have the newest. The shame is the Z2 is 4 MP and the Z1's weakest point is the 3.2 MP limitation. It's much like a computer, the technology is fast, so it's only a good investment if you get your use out of it, and you'll drive yourself crazy if you watch the prices drop on what you bought, or alwasy try to have the best. Funny on the RAW files, mostly cameras wich support it are high enough res to not be as important to have it. There are good, older pro cams that have it and are 2 MP, perhaps this is where RAW is more usefull.

    I would highly recommned anyone who is considering an upgrade to wait for about one year. If you need to get a digital cam now, I would get a sub-$300 one and plan on replacing it soon. The features that will be out on midrange, consumer level camera, liek the ones most of us in the discussion have, will be astonishing. You should see video that will parallel todays digital video cams, full screen high quality 30 fps. They will get as fast as a film SLR or a high end pro digital SLR (one reason I chose the Z1). Features like digital anti shake will become commonplace. It will be an exciting couple of years for digital photography for sure!
  3. krokodil

    krokodil Member

    Hi Jon

    be careful with the digital SLR cameras, those are designed really for professionals and even for those it is a costly issue.
    The main dissadvantate of those cameras in comparison with the classic film cameras is the CCD chip itself, wich is always the same, always on the same position not like to film (every frame is a new position on the material). If you can replace the lense on the SLR camera, you usually cannot protect the CCD (which is fully sealed on a cheaper cameras) and any dust practicle (etc.) is very big in comparison to the CCD lenses (3-8 mil pixels on 1/4 square inch CCD) and will create the same problem on every snapshot. Usually it is very difficult to remove such practicles (experience from the professional broadcast cameras).
    Such cleaning is very costly and may end up in a CCD replacement.

  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    That will be out of my class for this life LOL

    I think the next one for me will be whatever replaces the Minolta A1, or Fuji S7000. The Z1 is a good compromise for what I need and will do nicely until I can afford the $500 to 800 range cameras with the upcoming features. I don't think true SLR and interchangeable lenses will ever fall into this price range, but their other high end features will be there soon!
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    And right there you have an indication of the difference in quality. A digital image, as far as your computer is concerned, is essentially data. The more data, the higher quality image hence the bigger file size.

    I use the highest possible setting when taking model photos, which are of necessity indoors under artificial light. When I'm taking outdoor shots I step the quality down a notch, because the lighting conditions are that much better. When I'm on a trip, I revert to my regular SLR camera, on the theory that film is more universally available than more memory cards, and that by the time I pay for photo paper and toner, I might as well save myself the time and effort.

    Thanks for the info on multiple saves in jpeg format Paul. That's news to me and I will definitely find a new file format.

  6. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    The trouble with an open forum that lets anyone in, is there is always some nutter sticking his oar in making useless unhelpful comments. Allow me to contribute..heehee.

    A 35mm camera with snapshot film is about 90 megapixel. The current state of the art Digital Cams that are commercially available are 40 megapixel. Really nice pics but the ones I've seen are all cheats. Apparently the guys using them will take a dozen or more shots and then stack them on top of each other to get better resolution and contrast. A daunting task with film. They seem to be very succesful as some 30+ new objects in our galaxy were discovered within the first 3 months of these guys using them.

    Another irrelevancy. I have a 2400 dpi (optical) scanner which I use to image jewellery and gemstones. I use this scanner to take 60+ Mbyte files. Printed on 8x10 with a high end 1440 dpi printer they are almost as good as photographs. Totally impractical for the modeller but my scanner can resolve an object up to 200mm above the glass bed. I can and unfortunately have too many times cut and polished gems that are less than 1mm in diameter. Try taking a picture of something this size that will show off my clever faceting with any 8mp camera.

    I have a small collection of digital cameras but as I have a price limit of $30 CDN none of them are very useful for modelling pictures. Although I have had some success shooting through a magnifying glass. My newest is the size of a credit card and about 6 mm thick and makes 800x600 pics. Luckily I have friends that have real cameras or no one would know what happens in the train room.

    Jon, if you have the latest and greatest hotdamn superduper Windows PC or alternatively any old Mac with firewire you can get an ibot camera that will give you 30 fps at 800x600. These cameras make the finest video I've seen but unfortunately they are tethered and firewire won't go very far.
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    LOL - seriously, what keeps a forum in line is a little moderation and a lot of peer review. A fellow can't get to out of line without some schmardt fellers pointing out the misinformation. In some forums, the poor guy better have an asbestos flame suit on, but here he can expect a gentle, loving prod ;) The result is we have most excellent discussions, and all of us learn from it.

    Linux baby, Linux! :D :D :D I keep a W98 box around, but nowhere near the bleeding edge. My Linux box has two brains and more memory than I'll ever have :D :D :D but no firewire. Didn't even think of it when I built it, but I could always add a card.
  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Photos for magazines

    Allow me to add some information for anyone aspiring to have their digital photos published some day.

    Most magazines say they prefer slides. Why? Because these can be scanned on very expensive, super high resolution drum scanners. Flatbed scanners are not up to the task.

    But the fact is, that nowadays, all those scans are eventually digitized. And if you follow a few simple rules, there is no reason why your digital files can't be at acceptable resolution for publication.

    First, a little background info about offest printing. Printing is not "continuous tone" like a standard photo, it is "screened". In other words the ink is printed as little tiny dots. The closer together the dots are, the darker they look, the further apart, the lighter. Take a look at a newspaper and you can actually see the dots that make up an image.

    The "halftone screen" (or dot pattern) can vary in resolution depending on the paper you're printing on. Newsprint absorbs ink, making the dots spread out, kind of like a blotter. This would darken or mess up the image so printers compensate by using a coarser screen - usually 85 dpi (dots per inch).

    Glossy magazines use "coated paper". It actually has a thin coating of chalk so that there is little or no absorption of ink. This allows the printer to use a finer screen, typically 133 for most mags. Sometimes 150 for "art mags".

    Still with me? Good! Now back to our part in all of this.

    The rule of thumb followed by the graphics industry is that an image needs to be double the resolution that it's printed at. Sooooo..... for your typical mag, printed at 133 dpi, our image needs to be at 266 dpi minimum.

    But, and this is crucial, it can not be enlarged once it's digitized. Why not? Because the resolution will change for the worse. If I have a 1" square image at 266 dpi and I blow it up to 2" square, I still have the same number of pixels - they are just bigger. So my image is now 133 dpi - and that won't work. So, you need to supply an image that is as big as it could possibly be printed (a full page of MRR is 8" x 10-3/4") at 266 dpi. That should give you a file size of approx 17 megs.

    Magazines don't trust their potential contributors to understand all this and that's why they ask for slides. But if you do understand, then there's no reason not to submit digital files.

    Ok. Class dismissed. :D

  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    I always use the largest Tiff file available for publication, these files are a massive 5.6megabites big for each photograph, I tend to send around 30 of these to Model Railroading on CD for them to pick which ones they like.
    If I were to post one here that large, you would have to scroll the screen sideways and up to view it. They are bigger than an A3, they can be reduced to what ever the magazine requires.
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Thanks for the info you two :D

    Am I to understand, 8 X 10 3/4 at 266 dpi =

    {8 X 266 is 2128, 10.75 X 266 is 2860}

    2128 X 2860 pixels?
  11. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Yep! You got it bang on!


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