PIXIPORT digital photo gallery
PixiPort's Round Table

Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham
Melanine Kipp
Melanie Kipp
Greg Summers
Greg Summers
Mike Baldwin
Mike Baldwin
Bob Snell
Bob Snell
S bhort
David Mendelsohn
David Mendelsohn
Helyn Davenport
Helyn Davenport

Advantages and Disadvantages of film and digital.

Greg-Advantages of digital:

1. Immediate results
2. Grainless
3. In many fixed lens digitals, the combination of lens and sensor allow for extremely close focusing without much effort
4. Switching sensitivities and film types on the fly.

Greg-Disadvantages of digital:
1. File size

Steve-No problem with today's storage devices

2. Processing speed to ready the camera for the next shot in full resolution modes

Steve-How about 4 frames per second?

Greg- I have a friend with an E10 - as I remember, in Tiff format the camera took almost 30 seconds to ready itself for the next image - except in burst mode. I only used the camera once. So, are you saying that if you shoot in tiff - and it saves in 12 meg files, that it can shoot just like a film camera? In jpeg, I know you can, but I didn't like the jpeg results.

Steve-Jpeg can be saved at two low compression modes on the E-10. You cannor see the difference. Try this yourself. Take a large tiff image and save it as a jpg with low compression. Then open both of the images in Photoshop. Drag one into the other with "snap" on. You will have two layers perfectly lined up. Now in layers chance the properties of the top layer to difference instead of normal. What you will see is only the pixels that are different. There won't be many that really show up with a difference you can see. Now go back to normal. Magnify an area to some extreme amount. By clicking the eye on the top image on and off you will be instantly comparing the exact area between the two. You will have a very hard time seeing any difference. When you look at dmax readings from tiff, raw, and low compression jpg there is very, very little difference. In fact, I can't imagine why people feel they must use raw other than it is a smaller file than tiff. I will send you some web pages with "see for yourself" reviews

Greg-Tell me more - There is nothing's I'd like better than to leave film behind for the most part. I know from experience that printing large on inkjets is possible. I have a few 11X14 from my D600L - with a 1.4 mp sensor. I've also used the D1 and found it is very slow, except in burst mode if you shoot in tiff and I've used the D1 a number of times.

3. Color depth. Digital cameras record mainly in RGB and when used in JPEG a good deal of color depth is lost.

Steve-How about 16 bits per color?

4. Batteries

Steve-Use rechargables. Mine last through 5 hours of shooting

5. Portable storage is small and slow

Steve-I store 200 images as fast as I push the shutter. Microdrives store more but are a little slow getting up to speed. My camera will hold a 180 and a 120 meg cards - together for 300 megs - or a gig with a microdrive

6. Environmental concerns

Steve-None polluting. No silver, no chemicals, and 100% renewable.

7. Fixed lenses except in expensive models

Steve-Not really. My E-10 has one lens, 9-36 (equal to a 36-142) at f2.0. There are add on lens that go wider or longer - up to 420mm. How would you like a 2 pound f2.4 420mm tele at a small fraction of the price of a 400mm f2.8!!!!!!!

8. Noise in shadow areas

Steve-Actually less than with film with the newer chips

9. Many not good at low light

Steve-The E-10 is much better in low light and it can be hand held at a shorter shutter speed (two stops worth)

In my opinion, digital is still in its infancy -

Steve-That was last week. :^)

and while it has come a long way in the past three years from when I first bought my Olympus D600L, the inconvenience of the long wait times between shots in tiff or raw format, is a huge negative. It takes an average of 50 seconds to for tiff files to be processed and saved to compact flash cards. In jpeg, the color depth is compressed and the camera speeds up.

Steve-How about 4 frames per second in raw format? The E-10 does it.

This severely limits most digital cameras for high quality, large print work and in my work, being to react to color or composition is important.

Steve-My 13x19 prints from 4.1 megapixels look great (12 meg file size).

Digital , however provides some things film cameras can't and all you have to do is look at some of Melanie's close-ups to see that. The colors are rich and the sharpness at close quarters is incredible.

When the speed picks up and the file size increases, I'll say goodbye to film for most uses. Just from an environmental standpoint, the days of chemicals and chemical processing has to be over. Digital, however present it's own concerns as the new replace the old and the discarded technology dissolves into the air and soil.

Digital is the future, but it still can't compete with film for speed and high quality at large sizes. It is coming on fast. I'm looking at a Minolta 7 - the new one with a 5 mp sensor, but I wonder, again, how fast is it really and in another year, how much better and faster will these camera become?

I could go on forever as I argue back and forth as to whether I want to buy one myself - I am so sick of scanning - arghhhh.

Steve-Gosh. Got an hour or two? I just sold $2,400 worth of excellent Nikon equipment. It was like selling my children. (I did keep my backup system). I also purchased the Olympus E-10, a SLR digital camera. The idea was to simplify the picture taking process. But on to the discussion. Digital is instant gratification. Instant feedback. And when you get home, instant prints. No mailers, no trip to the store, no waiting. Just take the picture and get on with it. It is a lot of fun. And that is why most of us are into photography. I also get to use slower hand held shutter speeds by two stops relative to what I would use with 35mm focal lengths. Imagine shooting a 420 mm f2.4 telephoto hand held at 1/100 second. You would have garbage. Your left arm would feel broken, and you would need a second mortgage to pay for such a lens (IMAGINE the size of this sucker). Yet the E-10 has such a lens - only it is a 105 f2.4 weighing in as a featherweight. Because of the small aperture of digital cameras I also get a couple of f stops of added depth of field. Digital cameras rule the close-up world (easy to hand hold because of slower shutter speed and greater relative depth of field. As an example: With a 35 mm camera using a 50 mm macro, and using Velvia, a flower in bright open shade might require an exposure of 1/50 at f5.6. My digital camera would be able to shoot it at 1/25 at f8. Of course the f8 would have the depth of field that the 35 mm would have at f16. It's all related to aperture. Digital cameras use tiny "film" and therefore small apertures. These smaller lenses also allow the serious lens makers to use the very best glass available. I might add here that not all digital cameras use the same size "film". The image receiving area can vary from .3"x.3" to .66"x.66" or larger. Of course larger areas require larger apertures. Look at some of Jeff Alu's images done with the Kodak 280. Enormous depth of field from a simple 2 pixel camera with a small chip.

The pro and high level consumer pro cameras all have wonderful resolution and excellent dmax. A slight problem is chromatic aberrations along high contrast border areas due to the very tiny apertures. However, new chip technology has been developed to minimums this (the new chip is used in the Minolts D7 - not yet consumer available as of June 22, 2001). Another problem is excessive depth of field which sometimes requires a high shutter speed - which might not be wanted. This problem is solved with a neutral density filter.

Like I said in the beginning, got an hour or two? It is interesting to note how rapidly the professionals are now jumping into digital

Bob-..... I definitely believe that Digital is the way to go, especially with all the recent advances in cameras that have 4+ megapixels of storage. The controls or the automatic features are about equal with more advances being made in the digital arena. One perfect example of where the gap is widening is in processing time. Yesterday I took my old reliable Nikon F3 with a heavy 300mm lens out on a field shoot and not only was worn out from carrying it, the bag, and tripod...but have to wait until tomorrow to see what I came up with. I also carried my Nikon CP950 in its carrying case, strapped to my belt. I shot 30 some shots with it, came home, plugged it into my USB port on my computer, uploaded the photos, did some corrections in Photoshop, and uploaded a few to my web site, all within an hour. In this fast paced age, I think seeing what you shoot, within hours, as opposed to days, is extremely important. This not to say there isn't room or need for both mediums, but I think the necessity to know digital along with Photoshop is extremely important. I believe that for some veteran photographers, there trusted film camera is like a security blanket and they feel they can trust it in all situations, however I think that while they are setting up their equipment and preparing a shot, they could back up some of their shots with a good digital camera, and be much more in control, especially if the film leaks or gets lost at the lab. Both have their pros and cons. What it ultimately adds up to is the photographer behind the equipment and their knowledge of all the variables of the equipment, conditions, composition, etc.

In closing, I will prefer to carry a much lighter weight bag and see what I've captured, within hours of shooting it.

Melanie-Greg raises valid points... But though digital is still an evolving form of photography... it has been around longer than we realize. I read today that it actually was invented when NASA needed filmless cameras to place on unmanned space craft...way back in 1954.... of course it was only B&W then... but digital is older than I thought.

I agree... when you take an image in tiff for optimal quality prints... it can be a slow, frustrating process.

Another point is the user must feel comfortable using a PC... many general camera users are not. Printing then is another issue. Though many printers claim to produce photo quality images... generally the final output leaves a bit to be desired. Colors shift in a matter of months unless one is using one of the newer printers utilizing archival inks. I have an Epson 870 with inks and papers designed to prevent color shifting for 25 years. Higher priced models will provided stable prints for 200 years... far longer than traditional film color prints.

Both media present storage and organizational problems... you either frame the print and try to store the negatives/slides somewhere safe and in an order that allows you access to a particular image in a reasonable time ( and without loosing your mind in the process!), or you throw them in a box under the bed. ( Which method do you think I use??? LOL)

With digital you either store them on your HD ( and tiff files can eat up HD fairly quickly), or you burn a disc. Then how to keep track of what's on which disc???

My main problem with digital is this... What do you do when you go on vacation and take lots of wonderful pictures... fill up your memory cards... then see several more potential shots???

I know there is now a device, I believe called PhotoShow...that acts like a zip drive for storage. It is portable and will connect to a TV for viewing the files. You then can free up your cards.

I opted for a lap top to carry into the field. I can view my files... keep the ones with potential...trash the rest and free up my Smart Media cards for more shots.

Steve-The E-10 has a video out plug (RCA)

Steve-Simply delete the bum shots - or - be sure to store as a jpg. My old Nikon 990 saved 9 meg files as 1 meg files (9 to 1). Try as I might I could never detect a difference in a tiff and a 9to1 jpg. A simple test is to save an original tiff and then compress it about 9 to 1. In Photoshop open both files. Drag one into the other as a layer. With "snap" on they will be perfectly aligned. Then in the layer pulldown, go from "normal" to "difference" on the top layer window box. Look for pixels that have changed. They will be "the difference". or Get a second card! I have a 160 Flash II and a 32 Smart. 200 pictures is a bunch of pictures!!!!!! Oh yeah, I did get the E-10. More on that later (verses the Minolta D-7).

Melanie-I think digital is ultimately more environmental friendly than film... the only immediate problem I for see is worn out rechargeable batteries ending up in dumps. Still...compared to the caustic chemicals required for film processing, I think the battery problem is the lesser of the two evils.

Mike-A couple of comments on Melanie's points. Although archival quality prints are a possibility, it hardly matters as the original image can simply be re-printed later and will be as good as new!

As for CD storage and retrieval of images, I have a program called CompuPic which allows you to see thumbnails of all images on your hard drive or CD drive. Further, it is easy to create 'index prints' of stored images which you can browse through much quicker. I now store all my images to CD and have not had any problem tracking them down and uploading them when needed.

Sam-Well I am sorry I don't have much to contribute here as I still don't have a digital camera....not because I am one of those ...but have been waiting for the prices to come down here in Canada where the dollar is worth nothing...and would like to get a good one with interchangeable lenses.

I did like what Bob had to say ....would make life a lot more pleasant in the field and at home.

Melanie-I am with Bob... I have touched my film camera only once since going digital about a year ago.

Bob-Melanie makes some excellent arguments for digital. The one issue I've seen a couple of times and DON'T seem to have...is the time delay it takes to save a photo in a "tiff" format. My Nikon 950 seems to be ready to shoot again in just a few seconds. I too use a laptop to download each day's photos, when on vacation, so I have a fresh 64mb memory card for the next day's shoot. I also carry the 8mb card that came with the camera, just in case I run out of space, in some remote spot. I have 3 sets of rechargeable batteries that are always in some state of recharging, as these digitals suck out the juice pretty fast.

Greg-Regarding batteries - Nickel Metal Hydride is the answer - I've been using the same 12 AAs for almost 4 years 500 charges each over a lifetime and they last longer per charge than alkaline - and at 15/four and 500 uses - that's 3 cents a charge - and they are environmentally friendlier than cadmium etc. Get the 3 hour charge kind.

I think digital will replace film by the end of 5 years. Even medium format. 16 mp sensors which see in at least 32 bits - and adjustable grain, and color saturation. We'll see miracles, but you know, the best images will still come from the eye and heart of the photographer. Ansel Adams will still be cool.

We'll have 1 terabyte hard drives, 1 gig of memory and monitors that are so clear and accurate, you'll think you're looking out a window.

Bob-Greg should be a lawyer, as he makes an excellent case for both sides. I would say that you should go with whatever you're most comfortable....but should be learning digital and its capabilities so that you're at least up to speed on what is occurring in this new generation of camera equipment.



Previous Page