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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Point and Shoot DigiCams will Ruin Photography....
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07/09/2004 12:26:37 PM · #1
...if put in the wrong hands.

I'm not starting this discussion to put people with P&S cameras down, as I feel that introductory digital cameras are a great way to get people involved in photography and have many advantages over standard film P&S cameras, IF USED PROPERLY.

I bring this up because of something I came accross the other day which disturbed me very much.

Many, many years ago, I went to a high school, and still to this day, I receive their Alumni Magazine. Although I never attend any of the events they organize (I'm antisocial and don't like small-talk), I always flip through the magazine just find out what's going on, and if any of my former school mates are overachieving.

In the most recent edition, I observed something very odd. All the photos were VERY grainy. But not grainy in a BW sense. Grainy as in DIGITAL NOISE! It was really horrible. None of the images were sharp, and most people looked blotchy and bad. I thought about it for a while and came to a conclusion. These photos are mostly taken by students and the like, during events and functions at the school. These students are most likely equipped with small, portable 2-3 megapixel cameras, which are probably set at low or medium resolution, at best, in order to maximize the number of pics they can take. When the editors of the magazine prepare an edition they pick from the files they are given by the students. These are very LOW RES images, and in turn make for a very crappy reproduction in the final magazine.

In the past, before the arrival of affordable digital cameras, people had P&S film cameras. No matter how bad the photographer, the images still had relatively good depth and detail, and made decent images when transfered to print media, as the editor could go to the source and use the negatives or at worst a scan of the printed image.

I guess what I'm trying to say it that people have to realize that what they see on their screen is very different than what will come out once it gets printed. Poeple might find that a 1 meg image looks GREAT on their computer, but will make a really lousy print, even at only 4x6.

So finally, a notice to all digital photographers:
PLEASE USE THE MAXIMUM FILE SIZE YOU CAN ON YOUR CAMERA!

You never know what will come of your photos, so be prepared by maximizing the file size.
For the good of photography in the long run, PLEASE!

Message edited by author 2004-07-09 12:27:04.
07/09/2004 12:40:04 PM · #2
Err I don't think a few amatures who obvviously know zilch about photograohy wilol ruin the photographic world - your title may be slightly exaggerated there.

And as for "So finally, a notice to all digital photographers:
PLEASE USE THE MAXIMUM FILE SIZE YOU CAN ON YOUR CAMERA!" as per my last post on another thread, many pros don't so why should amatures...?

I think you will find that it's more the magazines fauklt for selecting them and printing them at a size bigger than their resolution..

Perhaps they are ruining the world of production editors..


07/09/2004 12:41:42 PM · #3
I couldn't shoot a wedding last weekend and the girl who took my spot [who actually has a lot of experience and camera knowledge] shot the entire first half of the wedding in *gulp* SMALL mode.......she did it on purpose which is astounding. The first photographer [I would've been second] just about had a heart attack when she picked up on it.
07/09/2004 12:51:49 PM · #4
I hope they were not paid too much!

07/09/2004 12:53:37 PM · #5
Originally posted by jonpink:

I hope they were not paid too much!


$500 or $600, it was an entire day shoot and she drove in from another province. She's a 'good' photographer and was using the 10D which she knows quite alot about it, it was just wayyyy strange that she was so nonchalant about doing that!
07/09/2004 12:55:28 PM · #6
When I worked on the paper at my place of employment we only printed the pictures, at max, at 3 inches. No matter how good the photos were or even if they were taken on film, they always seemed to turn out like crap when printed. I think it was because of the printer that was used. It was more for printing glossy catalogs so the ink was probably wrong for the paper that was used.
The differences you noticed could be from any number of different reasons. Take heart, all is not lost.
07/09/2004 12:57:34 PM · #7
Lori, did she know she was shooting small? And how small is small on the 10D?


07/09/2004 01:06:32 PM · #8
it's not about the camera. it's all about the alien behind it. ;)
07/09/2004 01:14:46 PM · #9
I dont agree on your statement to use maximum file size always.

Then I would have all my pictures around 17 MB.
15 images on the chip, or 30 after I get my new one.

Use your best quality without using raw format unless you realy want to.
07/09/2004 01:36:20 PM · #10
thats funny. and I always thought that butterfly photography would ruin digital imaging- just like the dh ruined baseball or the 3 point shot ruined basketball.
07/09/2004 02:11:08 PM · #11
Originally posted by jonpink:

I think you will find that it's more the magazines fauklt for selecting them and printing them at a size bigger than their resolution..

Perhaps they are ruining the world of production editors..


I've received this magazine for close to 20 years now. Never have the images looked worse. They are not Life Magazine, but they're not amateurs either. They can only work with what they are given. Garbage in, garbage out!

It's not just in this magazine either. Everyday I walk around and notice images that are put up all over the place (the resto where I had lunch today for example) and it is obvious they are taken with a low end digicam. It's giving phoyography a bad name.

Message edited by author 2004-07-09 14:16:07.
07/09/2004 02:13:51 PM · #12
Originally posted by siggi:

I dont agree on your statement to use maximum file size always.

Then I would have all my pictures around 17 MB.
15 images on the chip, or 30 after I get my new one.

Use your best quality without using raw format unless you realy want to.


I certainly did not mean that you have to used the TIFF or RAW formats, but at least shoot at the maximum resolution you can. If you've got a 3 meg camera, don't shoot at small or medium. Use the biggest size you can, then make resized copies for computer viewing.
07/09/2004 02:19:52 PM · #13
I shoot grads professionally for the largest Graduation studio in the country, and we use 10D's and D1's at Low Q/High Compression. The files end up being about 650-800k and make just fine 8x10's when printed by our pro studio. Since I just take the pics, I don't know what magic they perform to pull this off, but it seems to work out. (I personally shoot in Large/Medium quality on my DReb and 5050).
07/09/2004 02:20:24 PM · #14
40 years ago,
SYNTHESISERS WILL RUIN MUSIC!!

Discuss...
07/09/2004 03:12:25 PM · #15
I have to say that I have seen the opposite of this, my parent shot film for years with normally fairly poor results. A number of years ago they picked up a Nikon Coolpix 950. This is not a high resolution camera but as soon as they started taking photos with it I noticed an improvement in the quality of their photos.

I have just come back from a memorial for my Grandmother, she passed away at age 98 this year. As part of the get together we looked through the photos that had collected over all those years, I have to tell you that they mostly were of poor quality. I have been scanning a number of them in, the prints as the negatives where lost long ago, and the images do not come close to matching the output of even a fairly low end digital camera.

At this memorial there were lot of family members taking photos, I put all the photo together on a CD so we could all share what was taken. I have compared these photos to the photos taken 22 years ago when we had the same family members together for my grandfathers memorial, the digital photos are better.

There will be those that will argue that in the proper hands film photography can be better then digital, this may be true in many cases, but for the average picture taker they will get better photos using a digital camera. I come to this conclusion based on looking at large number of photos taken by the same people, some taken with film cameras and some taken with digital cameras.

So there is a question as to why the same people seem to take better photos with digital cameras, there as several reasons but the main one is that they did not take bad photos. The photos were processed poorly. We have a film scanner and the quality of a print that I can get from scanning the negative and printing for myself is often way better then what we get from the photo lab.

The other thing that I noticed what that in the hundreds of film prints that I looked at there were virtually none larger then 5 x 7. Now we are all printing lots of 8x10 prints. Because we can pick and choose what to print we tend to print fewer photos but when we do print them we print them larger.
07/09/2004 03:23:40 PM · #16
Seems that there an awful lot of assumptions in the original post of this thread. Even if they are all correct the conclusion, or the advice so adamantly given, does not necessarily apply to all situations.

mariomel- have you considered contacting the editor of the mag in question? Maybe they would be receptive to an offer from an old grad to write an article for the mag on photography, or perhaps a tutorial piece designed to be distributed to their photo submitters. Maybe you could volunteer to serve as a Photo Editor for the mag.
07/09/2004 03:57:42 PM · #17
Originally posted by mariomel:


In the most recent edition, I observed something very odd. All the photos were VERY grainy. But not grainy in a BW sense. Grainy as in DIGITAL NOISE! It was really horrible. None of the images were sharp, and most people looked blotchy and bad. I thought about it for a while and came to a conclusion. These photos are mostly taken by students and the like, during events and functions at the school. These students are most likely equipped with small, portable 2-3 megapixel cameras, which are probably set at low or medium resolution, at best, in order to maximize the number of pics they can take. When the editors of the magazine prepare an edition they pick from the files they are given by the students. These are very LOW RES images, and in turn make for a very crappy reproduction in the final magazine.


There could many reasons one including that the alumni magazine could be done on a volunteer bases and that they don't have much money to work with.
07/09/2004 04:09:17 PM · #18
How is a point and shoot camera any different then all the throw away and cheapy 35mm that have been out for years (without ruining photography)?
Poor editing may ruin a newsletter, but a camera can't ruin an art.
07/09/2004 04:15:14 PM · #19
Originally posted by louddog:

How is a point and shoot camera any different then all the throw away and cheapy 35mm that have been out for years (without ruining photography)?
Poor editing may ruin a newsletter, but a camera can't ruin an art.


Because cheapy 35mm film can still be reproduced at a reasonable size, with reasonable quality - low resolution or highly compressed JPEGs will always look crappy - no matter how good the picture is. Least that was the original point in the post.
07/09/2004 04:22:29 PM · #20
Quite simple really - unless you go for a high end DSLR, i can use a point and shoot 35 mm film and get way better resolution and clarity than any digicam.

Originally posted by Gordon:

Originally posted by louddog:

How is a point and shoot camera any different then all the throw away and cheapy 35mm that have been out for years (without ruining photography)?
Poor editing may ruin a newsletter, but a camera can't ruin an art.


Because cheapy 35mm film can still be reproduced at a reasonable size, with reasonable quality - low resolution or highly compressed JPEGs will always look crappy - no matter how good the picture is. Least that was the original point in the post.
07/09/2004 04:52:48 PM · #21
My knee-jerk reaction to seeing grainy photos printed is "What a moron!" or "Look at this crap photo!"

Then..... I take a deep breath and realize that if they didn't have a point and shoot digi-cam there prolly would not have been a photo taken.... and then the moment would be forgotten.

A lousy photo is better than no photo at all. A photo does not have to be 6 mega pixil or technically proficiant to conjure up a fond memory or capture an important moment in life.

Try to remember when you bought your first camera. Avoid becoming a D-SLR snob. Not all photography needs to be art.... it just needs to be beautiful to the person who took it.


07/09/2004 04:54:00 PM · #22
Originally posted by JoelHSmith:



Try to remember when you bought your first camera. Avoid becoming a D-SLR snob. Not all photography needs to be art.... it just needs to be beautiful to the person who took it.


But in this case we are talking about published pictures - a wee bit different...
07/09/2004 04:56:10 PM · #23
Published in a yearbook.... not National Geographic.
07/09/2004 05:07:41 PM · #24
Originally posted by JoelHSmith:

Published in a yearbook.... not National Geographic.


Fisrt of all it is a magazine published 4 times per year and sent out to all previous students.

But my point is that, for the OCCASIONAL photographer, who only snaps shots once in a while, film still seems better suited. There are MANY advantages to digital for these users, such as sharing, etc, but it comes at the cost of loss of QUALITY. A bad picture from a disposable camera, will look atot better than a bad 1 meg image, once made into a 4x6.
07/09/2004 05:23:46 PM · #25
Who really looks through those alumni mags with a magnifying glass? Not me.

Edit: Most viewers of the alumni mags are not professional or even have an interest in photography except for snapshots.

If you have such a strong feeling about the content why not offer your services.

Message edited by author 2004-07-09 17:32:44.
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