23, 2004 15:33 PST
How many of you have digital cameras? I am a serious
photographer. I like
to shoot slow speed slide film, use a tripod. I have a quality
a better primary lens.
Last Friday I purchased a Kodak Easy Share DX 4530 digital
wanted to have a camera that would give me quick snapshots with
picture. The camera is a 5 mega-pixel and can be bought at Wal-mart
Staples for just under $300. It is a relatively inexpensive
I took it with me when I went to videotape the floating of a
large log raft
built to celebrate the bicentennial of Clearfield County, Pa.
When I got
back I downloaded the images to my laptop. I was blown away by
of the images. I took about 20 pictures, some in good light,
pouring rain, all of them hand held. Viewed at a screen
resolution of 1024
by 768, the images were amazingly sharp. The colors were saturated, giving
the impression of old saturated Kodachrome slide film.
When viewed at 2580 x 1932 some blur is apparent in the images.
I am not
sure if it is the imaging of the camera or just shake from the
shots. The bottom line is that the images are exceptional for
digital projectors, and prints short of poster sized
I am still waiting for slides I took in a week and a half ago to
developed and returned. These images from the digital camera are
for viewing immediately on the camera back or in a matter of
minutes on a
laptop in the field. You can see if you got the shot you wanted.
you can reshoot now. There is now two-week lag time between
seeing the pictures.
Cost wise the digital camera is great as well. The images are
a 2 MB digital file. I can burn 350 of them on a 10 cent cdr. If
prints, you can choose to print only the images you want. The
be emailed or posted to the web without digitizing them, just a
resizing. Cost in the raw digital format is negligible. You can
shots of that leaf and not think about the money.
I bought a 256 SD card for in the camera- the manual says it
between it and the camera internal memory 166 shots. I bought rechargeable
AA batteries, so the cost of operating the camera is extremely
small also. I am sure I will want a better camera with more options,
interchangeable lenses etc on down the road, but I strongly recommend trying one
cameras. It is small, it fits in your pocket, takes great
negligible cost, digital format images, 3 x telephoto lens, with
wide angle and close up capabilities. Go out and buy one.
I posted one of the images to my website at this address:
crashing_into_bridge_.htm (offline now)
This is a
smaller version of the raw image at 1024 x 768, 360 kb, clicking
on it will take you to the full sized image 2580 x 1932 1.8 MB
the camera- unretouched.
23, 2004 17:38 PST
I bought an EasyShare DX6490 (my third digital camera). It's
quite small in size, with only 4MP's, but will zoom in at 30X
(10 optical X 3 internal; 38 to 380mm). Some
photographers and computer techs recommended this $450 camera
over a thousand dollar camera. I took decent
pictures of Will inside the thick crown of the Middleton Oak, as
well an alligator, turtles and waterfowl over a hundred feet
away (although I can edit these images substantially afterwards,
I did little editing on these shots). Such distances sometimes
require a tripod, although leaning against a tree also works. I
also find the B.R.A.S.S system, used to fire military small
arms, helps (breath, relax, aim, stop breathing & squeeze). You
can tell when you have a sharp image if after several
enlargement clicks the subject remains clear. This camera will
hold about 177 shots of 1.75 MB images (3 out of 4 star size). The
flash & zoom all work on the same charge from a charging
station that also downloads my images to my desktop (no
replacement batteries like my other 2 cameras). This
camera also has a mode for taking pictures in near darkness (you
may remember me posting some Spanish moss-draped live oak
images, taken in Susannah at night, a few months ago). It's
important for me to take shots in poor lighting high up in the
crown. As a backup on important trips, I still
take my 35mm (just in incase I can't download). So
far, my digital images were good enough that I didn't even
bother developing the film. Where previously, I
kept thousands of photos, which I would have to scan, I now have
10's of thousands of images on my desktop. I
tire of hearing arborist's yarns without photo backup. It's
great to back your story with photos, as well as include them in
written reports. I would encourage anyone that
has not already gone digital to come up to the 21st century.
23, 2004 21:21 PST
Thanks for the comments. I think that photographic documentation
valuable scientific tools that is often under utilized and is
appreciated. With the advent of small digital cameras, I hope
aspect of field research will be explored more fully. One more
easily used in the field to better our understanding of the
24, 2004 07:47 PST
Just a word of caution about digital cameras...they have great
capability when dealing with the web and desktop publishing. But
HOWEVER regarding Dale's comments about "big
(or prints generated from a drop-off printer) have notoriously
periods of color accuracy when displayed in sunlight. I am
turned off by faded and color-shifted images put on display to
me about some public feature.
Secondly, the issue of enlargements is one common to all of
You must have lots of "information" (either a big
negative or lots of
pixels on your memory card) to pull off a serious quality
There are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the digital world and
the public have become rapt to their pitches. Research and
hope your budget can accommodate both web and print applications.
analog and digital photographer
24, 2004 09:43 PST
For the serious photographer, digital is a very tempting medium.
The instant feedback and ability to immediately work with the
images you take are a major advantage. The ability to take as
many pictures as you want without being limited by film and
development costs as well as scanning and processing costs is
also a significant bonus. A lot of professional photographers
are switching to digital for these reasons. All of the
photojournalist, sports, and wedding photographers I know have
made the switch already and a surprising number of nature
photographers are switching as well.
I own two digital cameras: a 5 megapixel point and shoot I use
for snap shots and while in the field doing wildlife research,
and a 6 megapixel DSLR I use for my photography business. I am a
very picky photographer when it comes to quality and detail in a
photograph which is why I shoot some of my pictures with an old
style 4x5" large format camera when I want to make really
big enlargements to sell at shows and galleries. But I also sell
images taken with 35mm film and the 6 megapixel camera at these
same venues. To tell you the truth most of my customers have a
hard time telling the difference between formats.
I would probably feel comfortable making prints up to
11x14" with the 5
megapixel. I regularly make prints up to 12x18" with the
6mp DSLR and usually can not tell the difference between these
and the ones shot with 35mm film except for the total lack of
graininess in smooth areas (a major advantage for digital). I
know several photographers using the same camera and making
prints for sale up to 20x30 inches but if I get closer to these
pictures than a normal viewing distance I notice the lack of
Right now film and the high end digital cameras are very close
with each having slight advantages in different areas. If you
have a spare $7000 hanging around you can get a digital camera
that will top 35mm film and even hold its own against large and
medium format film. As soon as the top end cameras come down to
an affordable price in the next year or two my 35mm and perhaps
even large format camera will be retired for good.
You can see some of my photos at:
though at this compressed size you can not judge the quality. In
the Western Gallery both Emerald Bay Surprise and Teton Sunbeams
were taken with the 6mp digital. I also took a version of the
Teton Sunbeams with 35mm film. The digital version wins
hands down due to the silky smooth sky.
24, 2004 17:51 PST
I just bought a Canon Powershot A80 and am SUPER impressed with
it. The clarity and low-light capability is superb, and it takes
decent video clips as well. It can function as a completely
manual "SLR" (with optional lenses as well) or as a
automatic point and shoot.
I think 5.0 mega pixel relates to appox 12" x 10"
24, 2004 20:29 PST
I am very pleased by the quality of my 5 mp digital camera. It
is the way
to go with many specific applications. If I want something from
can make big enlargements, I am still going to go with my 35 mm
grained film. I am not convinced yet, or at least I can't afford
end digital for big enlargements. I expect to use both if I am
a particular shot. The film with my fingers crossed that
be ok when I get it back, and the digital to make sure I got the
still in the field. For point and shoot shots digital is the way
For many standard applications it is cheaper, handier, and
images so that you know you have the shot. For big enlargements
has the upper hand by a little. I have a slide scanner. Not high end,
but it generates a 40 mb+ uncompressed TIf file from a slide
scan. That is
bit larger than the 2 mb compressed jpg generated by my Kodak
Easy Share digital. More data, the greater potential image
quality. Actual image
quality depends on a lot of other factors as well.
25, 2004 03:37 PST
About 5 years ago when I decided to buy my first great camera, I
lot of time tying to decide between digital and film. At that
decent digital would cost $1,000 and it was obvious that such an
investment would rapidly depreciate as the technology advanced.
bought a Nikon F100 35mm with a wide angle and a telephoto lens,
quality tripod, etc. Cost a lot, but this is equipment meant to
lifetime. And, it gave me a chance to understand the
photography dealing with shutter speeds, aperture and other
features- regarding depth of field, the trade off with film
many other issues. I could see that eventually digital would
film, but film seemed a good way to understand the basics of
I can see now the very high quality images produced with digital
and the convenience. But, in a perfect world, it would still be
have both- and, in fact to go a step further and get one of
ancient "large frame" cameras that take huge
negatives. I've seen very
large blowups from large frame negatives and they blow the socks
anything you'll see from a digital camera, for some years yet.
make a poster with a digital image and stand back 10', it may
fine because you can't see the detail from that distance, but if
walk right up to it, you'll how blurry it really is. If you make
poster from a large frame negative, the detail is microscopic up
So, it's a decision as to what you really need.
I'd love to take pictures with the largest sized camera that
I don't know what that is- but I'd love to make blowups the size
billboards of different forest scenes which would clearly show
have about forestry- silviculture, tree maturity, etc. Perhaps
make a fortune practicing forestry, when I retire, I'll offer a
million bucks to build a museum, where these wall sized photos
viewable by students and my fan club. <G>
25, 2004 18:36 PST
Joe, Check out Clyde Butcher's website...do a google search for
it. I think
somewhere within it there are references to his lab and the
prints he can make of his beloved Okeefenokee (sp?) Swamp.
I've had my 8x10 images enlarged for billboards that were 8x26
largest field (portable) view camera I know of is 16x20.
Some early classic photographers had monsters. If you are really
about ultra-large format cameras, I can help.
Many of those guys contact printed with a different type of
than the projected enlarging we do today.
Finally, check out the ENTS website and go to the gallery
the images I have there are available as 15x45" sepia
prints output with a
converted Epson 3000 printer.