Is a 1 Mega Pixel digital camera capable of taking photos of film quality?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ken thompson, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. ken thompson

    ken thompson Second Unit

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    My father-in-law just sent me his old HP C-200 digital camera. Is old and only 1 Mega Pixel. I haven't taken any pictures with it yet but was wondering if this thing is going to take decent pictures. If not, what is the minimum number of dpi one needs to take good pics?
     
  2. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    1mp will not cut it unless all your prints are to be wallet size. The top of the line digital SLR cameras like the Nikon D1-X can approach pro film quality and is used in print media, but it's thousands of dollars.
    I have Sony DSC-F707, which is at the upper end of the "prosumer" camera market, and it's only good for up to 8x10 photos without starting to look pretty digital when printed. It's a 5MP camera
    The next step up from that would be 6MP camera like a Canon D-60, which is a digital SLR and is considerably more expensive..
    If you want nice snapshots that look good, look at something equivalent to a Sony P5 or P7 or a Minolta DiMage X.. Something very compact that still takes good photos.
    here's a sample from my F707, btw.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. ken thompson

    ken thompson Second Unit

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    Thanks for the reply. I was hoping to not have to spend quite that much but I guess I'll have to. Those photos look great. Do they look as good when you print them on photo paper. I also want to get a color laser printer and make my own prints. BTW the camera is an HP C-200. Is anyone familiar with this camera?
     
  4. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    To add to what Josh said, the 1MP camera will work fine if you want to post pictures online to share with others. However, if you are interested in larger, full res prints, you will need higher resolution.

    I currently use a Kodak DC4800. It is a 3MP camera. 5x7 photos (printed at Ofoto.com) look very good. I'm not sure how good 8x10 would look as I haven't ordered any yet.
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Ken, I say avoid all this headache and just send me the camera. [​IMG]
    Then maybe I can actually post some HT construction pics.
     
  6. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Unless I need to post pictures online, I wouldn't touch any camera less than 3 MP. My old HP 1 MP model is fine for images of stuff I sell on eBay, but not much else.
     
  7. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Michael*K. I think 3MP is the starting point, and you can get some great deals at that resolution.
     
  8. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    ken,

    I'd say take a few pictures of a variety of things (indoor and out) with the HP camera that you have and then take them to a Kodak PictureMaker type kiosk and print a few off and see what you think. These kiosks are available at Wal Mart, Meijer, and some drug stores. Wal Mart's 4x6 prints are only $.48 a piece (half that if you upload online) so it wouldn't take a major investment to see what the camera is capable of.

    JSK
     
  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I still can't recommend spending money on a digital camera unless you have specific, low resolution needs for it. If you are looking for something of archival quality, your best bet is still film. While the shots above may look good on a monitor, and may even be passable printed on a home printer, most digital images fall apart fast when enlarged.

    They also don't have the same density range film does, so if you shoot under or overexposed, you'll have a hard time correcting since the information simply isn't there.
     
  10. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I agree, Jeff. For photos that you want to see last for generations, film is still superior.
     
  11. Jared_B

    Jared_B Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, makes me wonder what digital pictures you've been looking at.

    There are several people here who have commented about their digital prints being indistinguishable from film. When you add in all the other benefits of digital, I can't see why anybody still uses film. Most reviewers regard a 6MP digtal to be equivalent to film when printed at up to 11x14. Even some professionals I know have switched to digital SLRs.

    If a print fades over the years, at least you still have the original copy (just like a negative) to make another print with.
     
  12. John Chow

    John Chow Second Unit

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    Having seen some photos that my brother printed from pics off of my 1.3 megapixel camera, i would agree with the others and say you have to go higher to get something more indistinguishable from film.

    However, the I consider the benefits of digital to be greater than film by far. Ranking #1 on the list is probably the instant feedback where you have a good idea of whether your picture came out good or not as soon as you take it. Plus you don't have to worry about film developers screwing up your pictures or anything like that. Personally, I never cared for organizing photos in albums and such, and would generally lose track of them. On the computer, I can have them all categorized nicely and neatly. Plus, if I ever get a projector in the future, it's an easy hookup to basically have my own slide projector if I want to show stuff to other people. Add the easy sendability factor and other factors i haven't mentioned, and it's easy to see why digital is becoming the way to go for any but the really serious pros.
     
  13. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    What John said. The convenience of being able to organize (not to mention back up) your photos as computer files just can't be beat.

    While I agree that a 1MP camera doesn't cut it for print photos, I find that my Fuji 2.1MP digital camera produces 4x6 prints (from Ofoto.com) that are indistinguishable from film. 5x7 prints from my camera are not as good as film, but still very decent, and I have no desire to upgrade.

    But if I were shopping today, I'd consider 3MP to be the lowest acceptable resolution.
     
  14. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    To print at film quality, you need to be able to represent your file at around 300 pixels/inch. If you take your digital images to print on a Fuji Frontier machine, this is the output resolution.

    Don't confuse this with printer's dots/inch which is much higher. It may take 6 to 8 dots to make a pixel of the correct shade.

    Andy
     
  15. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    About once a year I buy a digital camera, since they would make my professional life much simpler if I could get the quality I need. They have all gone back. The last one was a $2500 3MP Kodak, which was absolutely horrible. First, the LCD image and what was actually being shot were completely different, so you couldn't judge by what you were seeing. When I finally managed to figure out how to compensate for the inadequate viewfinder, the image quality was horrid - full of digital grain, no dynamic range, and loaded with artifacts. Sure, they looked fine on screen, but were in no way equal to a film camera of a third the cost in terms of quality.

    There is no way an inexpensive digital camera is indistinguishable from film, and they never will be. The quality will get better with time, but they aren't the same thing. Perhaps in a few years I will change my mind, but as of my last experiment, they are not up to the task yet.
     
  16. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    I guess it depends on whether you most value convenience or quality.

    I still use my Canon AE1, which is 20 years old.

    Takes awesome photos.

    Jon
     
  17. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    Two factors I have not seen mentioned here are flash control and creative control.

    For what an entry-level point-and-shoot digital camera costs, you can just about buy a 35mm SLR kit that has a zoom lens and a separate bounce/tilt flash.

    The digital camera's back-panel LCD may serve much the same function as a SLR's "through-the-lens" prism viewfinder arrangement. However,

    1. The digital camera lens will be non-interchangeable and will likely be slower. On a SLR, with a 50mm fixed lens, you can get lens apertures of f/1.4-f/1.8 that allow for low-light shooting and that allow for creative blurring of stuff that you don't want to be in focus.

    2. The digital camera's (weak) direct flash will more or less guarantee "red eye" in every flash picture you take where the subject is looking towards the camera. This can be fudged with postprocessing, but it is still bad. On a SLR equipped with an add-on bounce/tilt flash, you can bounce light off ceilings and walls, which will usually prevent "red eye" entirely.

    3. Digital cameras tend to impose lags between shots, while the camera writes the data from the last shot to a flash card or removable disk.

    I carry a 2 megapixel digital camera and use it for some family photos, but I am under no illusion that just because it is "digital", it is superior in every way to my old manual-focus SLR.
     
  18. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  19. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    What I'd like to see is a semi affordable SLR type digital camera. For now I've just got an old Kodak DC210 that I use for posting stuff on the web. It would be great to be able to buy a digital camera that could use the lenses I have for my Pentax K1000 (I know it's ancient) and Pentax ZX-5.
     
  20. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    Ken originally asked about taking "decent" pics, and IMO you don't need an expensive camera for "decent." Depends what you want, of course. My brother has an old Olympus 640x480 that even cuts it quite well (no, not film quality) for 5x7 but definitely not bigger than that. It's amazingly good for 640x480, though.

    I've used Sony Mavicas and the like, and they tend to have lots of features, but the pictures are often crap. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. The Mavicas and the like are some expensive stuff, but here's my brother's old Olympus D220 or whatever it is taking better pictures. I'm currently considering getting a new camera to replace my lousy Polaroid one, and I hardly bother looking at non-Olympus ones now.
     

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