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Digital Camera Vs Traditional ?

Posted on 1998-11-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Hi people,
Q1. Is the operating cost of digital zero ? (film & development) ?
Q2. Is the zooming of digital camera x10 what the traditioal camera offering the most ? (i know not much about cameras).
Q3. What features of a digital camera (~US$750) are not provided compared to traditional camera, if one wishes to learn & appreciate photography ??
Q4. Why is a digital video camera cheaper than a digital camera ? If so, is it better to use a video camera to learn photography by clipping video pictures ??

Thanks, and best regards,
Collin
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Question by:collinng
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A1. Cost is not exactly zero. You have cost in time/storage/printing to consider. Good color media is *NOT* cheap. Preview on screen is free, but hardcopy is not.
A2. Electronic zoom (vs optical zoom) cannot give detail and clarity that optical zoom can. It's an interpolation algorithm or double sampling, in either case you can't get more info out of the image than there are elements in the imaging array
A3. If you want to learn the "art" of photography then you need to study the classic skills of composition and texture. Shoot B&W film and learn the effects of f-stop, shutterspeed, etc. on depth of field, composition, contrast and texture. An automatic camera (electronic or film) eliminates this "gut level" learning. I was "classically" trained and it took about 5 years of steady shooting to develop a "good eye". B&W film is cheap, you can shoot and print an 8x10 for about $.25 each. You can shoot and develop the film for about $.02/frame assuming that you don't print. No substitute for "lens time".
A4. Video camera doesn't store images in RAM, it writes to tape in real time (usually analog at this point) tape drive mechanicals are in high volume production and even tho are more complex than drives on digital cam's are fairly low in production cost. No. It is not better to learn by clipping video. You won't be happy with results as most video cams rely on human persistance of vision to help with image quality. Appearent visual quality of motion video is sharper than of stills. This is because even tho each frame is a little "fuzzy" the human eye/brain  uses data from sequential frames to sharpen the images. If you want good, sharp, stills you need a still camera.

Electronic photography will eventually overcome wet emulsion in image quality, but it ain't there yet. At small sizes electronic images are Ok, as you attempt to enlarge things fall apart.

Some performance figures on the human eye.

Normal vision acuity is about .003" at a standard "eye relief" distance of 14". That is you can see a object that is .003" wide (about a human hair) from 14". If you measure the distance that you normally hold a book to read you'll find that it averages 14" from your eyes. You can work out the math and figure out what angle a triangle subtends if the adjacent side is 14" and the opposite side it .003".

Projecting this resolution of the human eye into an 8x10 print then you need a capture resolution of about 2400 x 3000 (.003" is about 300DPI * 8" = 2400 dots...)

The pixel boundaries are invisible when two adjacent pixels are the same color. Likewise, if the color of two adjacent pixels is very small, your eye will have difficulty seeing the change. Thus you can increase the appearent resolution of an image by increasing the color depth. Since color depth goes up linearly but X-Y resolution follows a "square law" then you can increase appearent resolution with increased color depth more cheaply than you can by attempting to increase X-Y resolution.

M

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