It's time for a digital camera - and I'm not happy

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Julie K, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    I have been postponing the purchase of a digital camera waiting for the resolution to increase and the prices to come down. However, an incident yesterday, which was dominated by incompetence, carelessness, and a good dose of cluelessness, has forced me to reconsider and and decide, much against my desires, that the time has come for me to join the digital age in photography.

    I have a very nice Olympus 35mm SLR. The camera operates anywhere from purely automatic to purely user controlled and everything inbetween. I've got some nice lenses for it and it's relatively new. It should give me years and years of good service.

    However, good service is something I can no longer rely on with photoprocessors. I took a recent roll of film down to the local supermarket, recently set up with a Kodak processing center. Because I wanted a photo CD as well as double prints my roll was shipped out for a few days. All well and good and probably the only reason the photo CD and double prints were ok.

    The problem came about when I wanted an 8x12 and two more 4x6 prints of one frame. The freshfaced counter people burbled with excitement over the fact that they could produce such marvels themselves.

    My natural skepticism bumped out of neutral into second gear.

    But despite the uneasiness I began to feel, I left the negative.

    Next day I return and pick up enlargement and reprints. Surprise of all surprises, the 8x12 was really an 8x12 and not an 8x10 (counter person the day before didn't seem to know the difference).

    But, clueless little counter person had left the protective plastic covering over the negative. The negatives had originally not been returned to me in the familiar plastic sleeves, but with a plastic covering attached with sticky-stuff at the top of the negative. All good, I had thought, until I saw my 8x12 with swirling, bubbly patches of plastic induced guck on it. The picture was also a bit blurry and indistinct. Exactly what you'd expect if you left plastic on the negative.

    I pointed this out to CP, and got the response "Oh, we *never* take that off" in bright cheery tones.

    The 4x6 reprints weren't as bad, but there were big red streaks across the prints from some foul-up in the process. CP had not noticed when CP made the prints.

    I peeled off the plastic strips, much to the amazement of the assorted CPs, and handed the negative back. Two hours later I got passable 4x6s and an 8x12.

    But no negative.

    Negative was quickly found, but then as perky bright CP retrieved it from the machine, she grabbed the negative by the center with her grubby fingertips. AAARRGGH. Don't they teach the people who run these things anything, like "handle negatives by the edges and don't put fingerprints on the emulsion"?!?

    So, I'm going to go digital and hopefully avoid such problems in the future. Although I feel badly about how much use I've still got left in my current camera. I hate buying something new to replace something else that's perfectly good.
     
  2. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    Maybe, instead of giving up on the traditional camera, you should give up on the supermarket photo department. I would think (or hope, anyway) that you wouldn't see such incompetence at a dedicated photo finisher.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    I hate asking for reprints of photos via a negative because of not only the poor handling treatment by most of the counter helpers, but because the reprints never look as good as the initial run of prints and the cropping leaves something to be desired as well for the usually non-caring (clueless) photo customer service folks.

    You don't know how many times I wanted to go ballistic when I see people going through a stack of photos and on each one, the person MUST hold the photo while applying their thumbprint in the bottom corners on each photo for no good reason except simply because they treat photos like they would a piece of paper with no regard to the integrity of the photo's surface.

    I always handle photos on the edges (probably go through OCD gymnastics to hold them thusly to avoid fingerprints at all costs).
     
  4. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    I suppose so, but there are a couple of difficulties to that as well. I have used a local dedicated photoprocessor but wasn't real happy. As for the supermarket thing - I had originally thought the negatives would be sent out for the enlargements. That has worked in the past.

    But the major difficulty is an internal one. Yes, I'm upset at the thought of replacing my perfectly fine SLR with a digital camera that simply cannot offer the resolution of film. However, the digital camera would be a brand new electronic toy!!!!

    So, I'm torn.
     
  5. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Gabe. We started getting eratic results in our developing and reprints from the local supermarkets and pharmacies, so my wife started taking the rolls to a local dedicated processor and the results were fantastic. It is well worth the extra we them to get top notch photo finishing. I would suggest not giving up on your SLR yet and do some shopping around for a good dedicated processor. Just my .02 cents.

    Regards,
    Phil
     
  6. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    I was convinced that digital cameras were no match for my Contax RTS SLR with 3 Carl Zeiss lenses. But then I discovered the Canon EOS 10D SLR digital camera.

    It’s a 6.3 mega-pixel SLR that has brought back the fun of photography to me. It’s expensive, especially if you purchase a Canon “L” series lens, but the quality is amazing and it’s an SLR with interchangeable lenses! My Contax is now playing second fiddle at work in a desk drawer in case a photo opportunity presents itself there.

    There are many digital SLRs now to choose from, but they aren't cheap.

    What I really like about digital cameras is that you get instant feedback on the pictures you take, and if it’s no good you can delete it & try again.

    Jay Taylor
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I have a Canon 300D "Digital Rebel" SLR camera. It's < $1,000, and pretty decent. It is plasticky in feel (some say it is superior for durability compared to regular magnesium alloy used in "high-end" SLRs) compared to the mostly-metal Canon 10D. The nice thing about the Canon SLR cameras is that they use a CMOS sensor - smooth images without the traditional CCD grainy noise.

    I think Olympus has a digital SLR, but the price is nearly astronomical as far as I know ($2,000+, no lens). But, you might consider it if you have a significant investment in Olympus lenses.

    Whatever you do, go visit the camera store and handle the cameras yourself. Personally, I would NOT buy a camera online, simply because it is far easier to deal with quality control issues like stuck CCD/CMOS pixels, flaky LCD screens, focusing problems, etc.

    Is your Olympus an autofocus camera?
     
  8. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    My Olympus has autofocus and manual focus modes. I would want the same from a digital camera.

    I did look a bit at the Sony F-828 but have seen quite a few negative reviews, especially in terms of noise in the image.

    I'll definitely have to investigate the Canons.
     
  9. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Most digital SLRs have manual and auto, and everything else. I've got a 10D also and so far as I know you can do everything with it that you can do with a film camera, except put film in it. I don't think it can do IR which I think is just a matter of the type of film you use, but I don't know much about that.
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    If you have an investment in lenses, definitely look into the Digital SLR's.

    One word of warning: A co-worker recently bought what she thought was a 6 megapixel SLR, but she didn't investigate too well and realized that the camera was really a 3 megapixel and used some sort of "doubling" to produce the 6 megapixels. [​IMG]

    It's bad enough the technology is hard to keep up with, and I hate when they try to deceive you like that.
     
  11. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Well, I don't have an SLR... just an APS-type camera. On my most recent photo-developing run, I went to the new Wal*Mart near my house...to try out their lab. (Yeah...Wal*Mart. There is really diddly-squat for photo developers near my home.)

    Took in five rolls of APS film, and one 35mm. Every print looked nice, done up as I'd asked.

    However, I discovered I'm missing one of the APS rolls, so the negatives are gone. (Thankfully, they weren't horribly important photos...just a car show.) Still...very annoying. My hunt for a decent photo-finisher continues. As does my campaign to convince my wife we NEED a digital camera. [​IMG]
     
  12. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    Jay, Max, Keith (and anyone else with the Canon) -
    how does a photo look enlarged to 8x10? How much softer is it than a 35mm negative blown up to 8x10?
     
  13. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    If you choose a high quality lens from Canon, then the image is very similar to a high quality 35mm 8x10 enlargement. In fact you can make high quality 11x14 & 16x20 prints.

    Unfortunately some people make the mistake of purchasing a high quality digital SLR body and a low quality lens.



    If you have an investment in Nikon or Canon lenses then you will probably be able to use them on their digital SLR cameras.

    However, Julie has an Olympus 35mm SLR. Olympus decided to go with the new 4/3 System Lens Mount on their digital SLRs. Julie’s lenses won’t work on Olympus’ digital SLRs.

    Jay Taylor
     
  14. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    Just my luck. Prior to the Olympus I had lenses for a very old Minolta. Needless to say I was peeved at buying new lenses and it looks like I'll be peeved all over again if I go digital.

    The Canon sure does sound nice though.
     
  15. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I have a 35mm Pentax K-1000 SLR myself. I figured a completely manual camera would go well with learning how to process the film myself, more specifically black & white material. It's actually very safe and easy to do, but so difficult to master! Still, nothing beats knowing EXACTLY what you need to do to extract that one horribly exposed shot. And you can experiment with alternate film stocks such as infra-red, high contrast and high speed.

    I've yet to dive into digital photography because I haven't seen a camera that I could learn to love i.e. SLR type with interchangeable lenses, high pixel count, total manual mode and low price.
     
  16. Charles Guajardo

    Charles Guajardo Stunt Coordinator

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    You could also use photo mailers and send the film off for developing by Kodak or Fuji. They are relatively inexpensive and pretty fast. If you need a reprint or an enlargement, I would take your processed role to dedicated print shop, who should give you much better service that the local supermarket or pharmacy.
     
  17. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    I would imagine that a 10D (or any other 6 megapixel DSLR) would produce 8x10's that look BETTER than most 35mm films (except possibly the very low speed stuff (like ISO 25 or 50 or 64 or whatever you can get). Printed at 300dpi (which most people say is the maximum resolution you need to print at) gives you a 10x6 print, so only a tiny bit of interpolating is required to get up to 300dpi (the pixel resolution of the 10D is about 3000x2000)... the bonus comes with the VERY low noise in the 10D images - actually, nonexistent at lower ISOs (100-400+), and very low at higher ISOs (800)... even ISO 1600 perfectly useable from the images I've seen - so when you enlarge, you don't get the grain starting to show up and degrade the images like you would with a lot of regular film.

    I hear rumors there will be a replacement for the 10D coming in the fall. I don't know if there will be a resolution increase or not, though I have heard some people say it might be 8mp like the upcoming Canon EOS 1DMark2 (a $4500 camera [​IMG]) I'm waiting for this to come out, and hopefully by then I'll be able to buy a good setup.

    The nice thing is DSLR prices are dropping. A Canon 10D is $1500 with no lens, or you can get a Digital Rebel for $1000 with a lens. There is also the Nikon D70 which just came out. $1000 with no lens, or $1300 for a camera/lens kit (the lens included is $600 by itself). Nikon's tend to have more noise than Canon though.

    Even the 4mp Canon G2 I used to have made very good looking 8x10's, and the Sony 717 I have now makes slightly better looking ones (after some cleanup with NeatImage. One of the things that bugs me about the 717 is it's higher noise level)



    Brian
     
  18. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    The ability to get instant feedback with a digital SLR is very important. Forty of our friends & relatives recently went to Florence & Rome, Italy for a wedding & to tour. When we returned home, those with film cameras were disappointed with the indoor “no flash allowed” shots in places like the Vatican.

    I was disappointed with the first few indoor digital shots that I took also, but quickly fixed it by cranking up the ISO to 1600 or 3200. The results were fantastic. Some of the pictures of frescos in dark rooms came out with more beauty & visible detail than we could see standing in front of it!

    Also, those with film cameras had picture CDs made from their negatives when they had them developed. Some had the typical resolution of 1536x1024 pixels, and others had high-resolution scans of 3072x2048 pixels. They were no match for the 3072x2048 pixel Canon digital pictures although a large part of the inferiority with the film shots was due to inadequate lighting in the no flash allowed areas and using film with too low of an ISO film speed.

    As expected, the outdoor daytime shots were great whether you used film or digital, but the picture CDs made from the film negatives were still noticeably inferior to the digital photos.

    Jay Taylor
     
  19. Kevin Farley

    Kevin Farley Second Unit

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    Hey, just use a real developer like Mystic Photo Labs or some such. You don't want 16 year old morons touching your negatives. Or go to a real camera store with development labs.
    Digital's fun, but film will be around for a very long time.
     
  20. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    My taking the film into the supermarket was a freak thing. Normally I use a service at work and I've been satisfied with the lab it's sent to. In this case, I wanted the pictures faster (yeah, now I know...) but I would have not done it if I had thought they would do the work themselves. I had thought the negatives would be sent out to the Kodak labs.
     

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