New to digital photography - some basic questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jon_Are, Oct 27, 2002.

  1. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    I’m having great fun with my new digital camera (3.2 megapixel Sony DSC-P71), but I am full of questions.

    What most confuses me is image size…

    These are my options: 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1280x960, and 640x480.

    I understand that the larger the image size, the higher quality the print (and the larger the image on the computer screen). However, I am able to change my image size after shooting the image (this can be done on the camera or within Adobe Photoshop). Doesn’t the image quality deteriorate when I change from, say, 640x480 to 1280x960? How would this (changed after the fact) print compare to an image that was originally shot in 1280x960? It doesn’t seem logical that I can change an images size (“quality”) after it is already shot.

    Also…with regard to most of my images, I’m sure I’ll want to send them as email attachments, plus have quality prints made. Right now, I’m shooting in 1280x960, loading them into Photoshop, and then individually downsizing the ones I want to email. Then, of course, I have to upsize the images to their original size after emailing. This seems cumbersome, especially when I want to email a dozen or so photos. Is there an easier way?

    Finally, I’m curious as to what image size most people select when shooting their photos.

    Thanks for any help,

    Jon
     
  2. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    yes, increasing image size for printing purposes leads to degradation in quality. photoshop uses bicubic interpolation to sort of approximate things when increasing image size. there are third party programs and photoshop actions that also do this. if you plan on making prints, shoot in the highest resolution you can. then use photoshop or another proven method to increase the image size for 300dpi printing at the dimensions you want printed, IE 8x10, 16x20, etc.
     
  3. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Very interesting subject for me, as I want to get a scanner, and then get large photos reduced in size, and eventually arranged on standard sized 8.5 x 11" pages, with captions.

    I believe this requires "scalability". Since my concern is with reducing the size of say, an old 8 x 10" portrait, it's a bit different than Jon's concern.

    Trouble is, after a couple of years, I've become convinced that the hype around the ease of computer use, and the power and versatility of many computer programs - is just that - hype.

    The only program I've tried doesn't actually reduce an image, but just allows some cropping. And silly image manipulations. And comes nowhere near to allow me to tastefully arrange 3-4 old family photographs on a page. It's a cheap program, so perhaps what I need is a $250 program instead of the $50 one I got, but my limited experience with computers makes me leery (ie, my cd burning experience hasn't been quite the "piece of cake" thing.)

    And I have a lot of concerns about actually printing. Long term stability of the ink colours, paper, etc.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this, or know where there is an FAQ site on the subject. TIA!
     
  4. Gregory Scott Bass

    Gregory Scott Bass Stunt Coordinator

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    3 words...picture window pro ...Its cheap fast easy and does 90% of what photoshop does and probably 100% of anything you can think of. [​IMG] no I don't own stock lol I am just in love with the program. I do all my digital art with it as well as basic image clean up and resizing. Scott
    http://www.mercury7.com
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Jon,
    My recommendation-
    1. Shoot EVERYTHING at the highest resolution- 2048x1536, "Fine" if your camera offers it (I can't remember which Sony's do)
    2. Keep this original as the master on your hard drive. Do not alter it in any way. If you wish to make alternations (resize, crop, etc.), copy the file to another name, then alter it.
    The reason that I say this- you never know what you may want to do with the pictures down the road. You may want an 8x10 of a nice scenery photo, and you'll want quality in the original. Upsampling is a poor substitute, IMO. And, your example of resizing from 1280x960 to 640x480, and then back, does not bring you back to the original photo, because:
    1. Once you downsample, the original quality is gone forever.
    2. JPEG compression is lossy, so each generation is further removed from the original, anyway.
    In order to do this, you may want a bigger Memory stick. They're fairly cheap, now. A 64MB will do for most, unless you are a "click whore,"[​IMG] in which case, get a 128MB. Check online for good prices.
    This is my experience. I've owned the DSC-S70 for about 2.5 years now, and have about 2500 photos stuffed onto my hard drive. We've recently decided to create an "art gallery" of sorts in our guest room, with 8x10s of scenery photos we've taken over the years. Having the original high-quality images really paid off.
    FYI- for printing, it's hard to beat a place like Costco. 20c for each 4x6, $1.50 or $2 for an 8x10- at one-hour photo. Outstanding quality, too- as good or better than any online service I've tried, and I've tried several. This works out to be cheaper than printing at home.
    Do you run Windows XP? Picture resize is an intergral feature. Alternately, I find that the shareware VuePrint has one of the best JPEG algorithms I've come across.
    John,
    Microsoft's "Picture It!" is useful for what you are trying to do. It's not too difficult to figure out, but you will need to read the manual to figure out a few details.
    Todd
     
  6. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    Check out the forum at http://www.dpreview.com. There's a lot of good information about digital photography and knowledgable people over there.
     
  7. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    I've never taken a digital picture in any size other than the largest size and highest quality. Memory is cheap, so I don't wanna risk taking a once in a lifetime picture, only to be stuck with a 1024x768 copy instead of a full 4mp version. If I need to make it smaller I can always resize it with Photoshop 7, but I couldn't do the same if I needed to make it bigger.
     
  8. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Thanks for all the great advice, guys.

    Todd: My Sony does offer both 'fine' and 'standard' shooting modes. I've shot everything in fine and will continue to do so.

    The Sony came with an 8MB memory stick, but I got an additional 64MB stick free with the purchase of the camera.

    I have PhotoShop Elements, which seems to have all I'll ever need for photo management.

    As for prints, I'll try a few different things. I need a new printer anyway, so I'll pick up a mid-range one and see what it does. I think most of my prints will be commercially done, however, for various reasons (the price of ink/photo paper and potential image degradation over time). Costco's price seems to be the best around, so I will definately check that out. I'm also trying out Snapfish.com - the first ten prints are free. After that, they're 29 cents each if you pre-pay for 100.

    So...do you guys email photos often? I assume you make a copy of your image, downsize it, send it, then delete the downsized one?

    Is there specific software for managing large amounts of images? I can see my hard drive looking like the overstuffed and disorganized shoebox full of photos that currently sits in my closet. Any tips on organizing?

    John: I know what you mean about alleged ease of use for scanners, software, etc. So far, though, all aspects of my digital photography venture have gone surpisingly smoothly.

    Thanks again, all.

    Jon
     
  9. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    The best way to organize you pictures, is to put them in folders that are named with the date on them and a short description of what's in the folder.

    This is how I name my folders for convenience and ease of use:


    "October 7th, 2002 Pictures from the park"
    "October 31st, 2002 Halloween pictures"

    and so on.

    As for e-mailing pictures, if you have a large amount of them, think about putting them up on PBase and then just e-mailing them the URL, that is what I do. If you just have one or two, then simply make a copy of the picture, re size it, then send the re sized one.
     
  10. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    I too appreciated all the info, and the links. Jon, BTW, there was a thread on the Computers and HTPC Room just a few days ago which seems to touch on your question about arranging photos. I'm hoping Cam's system will suffice for me when I get into it, but a lot of people seemed to be looking for a bigger system. At least, I think that was the gist of the thread. It was called "Organizing Digital Photo Colllection"
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=100879
    For storage of large numbers of photos, I assume CD-RW is a good solution, plus the security of having backup copies off of the actual computer
    PS, I wonder if this thread would have gotetn more input if the Moderators had bumped it to the Computer room?
     
  11. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    I've been shooting with my Fuji 2600 at its highest (2.0mp) resolution and then altering the size to put on a new website. Here's 1 at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium(may be a little rough looking due to the resizing):

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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  13. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    So, what do you folks think is the best "Bang for the Buck" in today's Digital Cameras ? Got to start thinking of a Christmas present for.... my wife ! Yeah, my wife will use it more than me, right ? That's the ticket.

    Also - I may soon be purchasing a Sony KF-50XBR800 RPTV that has a MemoryStick media slot, is this Sony proprietary or supported by other camera vendors ?

    Thanks
     
  14. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Kirk:
    MemoryStick (MS) is a Sony proprietary media; but it is fairly standard. (meaning only Sony cameras store to MS, but many other devices can read MS, including the newer HP & Epson printers, all multi-card readers, etc. I think Sony is the only co. putting MS readers in TV's, DVD players etc ... because it presents another easy way to view pictures.
    I wouldn't worry about the storage media format when choosing a digital camera. The 4 common formats are CompactFlash (Kodak, Canon, Milolta, Nikon), SmartMedia (Fuji), SecureDigital (Panasonic, HP) & MemoryStick (Sony). You should pick the camera based on price & features. It's hard to recommend bang-for-the-buck, without at least knowing how important resolution (relates to max print size) is to you. As a general guideline:
    2.1MP Great to 5x7, Good to 8x10 (no cropping)
    3.1MP Very good to 8x10
    5.0MP Very good to 11x16
    I do recommend getting a camera with a 3x min optical zoom, forget about the digital zoom specs (you can do it in post-processing). Lastly think about point&shoot simplicity vs. your desire to control things like exposure, aperture, etc.
    Prices haven fallen tremendously, 3 MP can now be had for $200-$250. Also consider refirb deals, which abound.
    Scott
     
  15. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    Despite the fact that Sony is trying to push MS by putting it in some of their consumer products, I would stick to products that use CF. It is much more universal and commodity priced. If you shop around, you can buy a 512MB CF for a little over $200. When you go on vacation and want to take a lot of digital photos (and not have to haul your computer around to DL them), the price of your storage media will be significant.
    Andy
     
  16. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Andrew has it right regarding CompactFlash memory. I'd never buy a Sony, why, because they choose to use a proprietary memory device that they have yet to upgrade to over 128 mb's. With 4 and 5mp cameras very common now, those 128 meg cars are good for about 40-50 pictures, and that is not very economical, I mean who wants to carry around 4 memory sticks, where I could just buy a single 512mb CompactFlash card, and for way cheaper too!

    Canon is generally said to be the best brand for price and image quality, with Nikon and Olympus close behind. Canon is just about to release the new Canon G3, and the Canon S45, both of which will be excellent cameras.
     
  17. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    I am eagerly awaiting an online review of the G3 myself. I'm going on vacation the second week of December, and I would love to be able to pick up a G3 before then, but I know it's going to be chancy with most stores not even having them in stock yet.

    Dave, that dpreview site is great, I've learned a lot from that link. Thanks!
     
  18. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Dave, according to some poeple on the forums at DPreview, the G3 will be shipping any day, as the retailers have said so to the customers. I really can't wait any longer!
     

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