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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Camera Quality in Voting
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Showing posts 1 - 13 of 13, (reverse)
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04/02/2002 01:10:37 PM · #1
Architecture is the second challenge in which I've voted. I notice a wide variety in image quality, and I assume that this has to do with equipment quality. I see that, when voting, we're not told about the equipment used for the capture. But I do see a large disparity between the highest quality images and the lowest.

So, my question: how do other voters accomodate image quality when they vote? If we incorporate image quality into our vote, photographers with great equipment have a large advantage. If we don't, it seems we end up giving high marks to chunky or blurry images.
04/02/2002 04:07:13 PM · #2
I'm using a palm-sized, super-tiny-lensed Canon PowerShot S40 which retails for about $500 these days. To think I payed $625 for it two months ago! While it's not a $200 camera, it's certainly not a high-end $2000-$5000 digital SLR with a high-quality (another $500+) lens. But I still won!

The PowerShot S30 takes images that are smaller but identical in quality as mine takes, selling for under $400, and thee are a host of other even less expensive ones that are almost as good. If your camera takes an image at 1280X960 or more and doesn't completely muddle the image with a bad lens, you'll be able to produce stellar results at 640X480 with proper attention to subject, lighting, exposure, cropping, levels adjustment, sharpening, and compression. There are a *lot* of variables that go into making a good photo!

I posit that the camera itself really doesn't make that much of a difference at 640X480, and am willing back that up by taking some decent photos with a crappy camera. :)
04/02/2002 04:14:54 PM · #3
To backpedal a little...

The one *huge* advantage that DSLRs have is the ability to compose your shot with a real through-the-lens optical viewfinder. It's much harder to frame your image on a tiny LCD or that obnoxious little pinhole you get on most consumer grade cameras. I compensate for this by shooting between 10 to 150 pictures of each of my subjects and picking out the one I like the best, so it's an advantage that can be mitigated.

You'll also have lens options, if you're willing to carry around 15 pounds of standard zoom, macro, and telephoto lenses. Yet many consumer-grade cameras have optional lenses as well. Alas, mine doesn't.
04/02/2002 05:21:28 PM · #4
I agree with Mousie's comment - the 640x480 does give us a level playing ground but some people are not taking the advantage of the maximum file size of 150Kb. I checked one of these and found it to be only 50Kb which seriously degraded the image.

Vin
04/02/2002 09:36:39 PM · #5
so, Mousie and vin rigby, you appear to say that when voting, we ought to consider the apparent quality of the image, so we ought to downgrade our vote for bluriness, chunkiness, pixelation, and graininess, that's probably not intentional.
04/02/2002 09:47:12 PM · #6
Originally posted by Mousie:
I'm using a palm-sized, super-tiny-lensed Canon PowerShot S40 which retails for about $500 these days. To think I payed $625 for it two months ago! While it's not a $200 camera, it's certainly not a high-end $2000-$5000 digital SLR with a high-quality (another $500+) lens. But I still won!

The PowerShot S30 takes images that are smaller but identical in quality as mine takes, selling for under $400, and thee are a host of other even less expensive ones that are almost as good. If your camera takes an image at 1280X960 or more and doesn't completely muddle the image with a bad lens, you'll be able to produce stellar results at 640X480 with proper attention to subject, lighting, exposure, cropping, levels adjustment, sharpening, and compression. There are a *lot* of variables that go into making a good photo!

I posit that the camera itself really doesn't make that much of a difference at 640X480, and am willing back that up by taking some decent photos with a crappy camera. :)


I'm with you Mousie, and I already proved it by taking some crappy photos with a decent camera.
04/02/2002 10:29:00 PM · #7
lol
04/02/2002 10:34:18 PM · #8
I suspect that poor image quality is partly due to improper compression (I've noticed lots of jaggies). The dimension limit of 480x640 is equivalent to 307K pixels (a 1-megapix camera will do more than suffice). The main advantage you get with a higher grade consumer camera is better lens, and better image capturing devices. Charged Coupler Devices (CCD)is the default image capturing device all consumer grade camera. However, the quality of CCD's produced can vary widely. Cheaper cameras get the poorer quality CCD's, while more expensive ones get higher quality CCD's. Always do research on the purchase of a digital camera, make sure to look for reviews on image quality, and read up on users comments. Another important thing to look for is image artifacts (you know, those annoying little white speckles that shows up when you take night shots). More expensive camera will try to correct for this. I remmember trying out a Fujifilm FinePix 6800 prior to purchasing my G1. And there was a definite difference in the amount of artifacts present in night shots using the FinePix 6800.

* This message has been edited by the author on 4/2/2002 10:36:47 PM.

* This message has been edited by the author on 4/3/2002 8:04:39 AM.
04/03/2002 02:11:23 AM · #9
Personally i wouldn't knock down a picture much for having the sort of noise indicative of a sub-optimal CCD, but yes, I think image quality is a large part of what makes a picture interesting to me. I've used *realy* crappy cameras and squeezed decent images out of them... it's more work, but it's possible.
04/03/2002 07:48:24 PM · #10
thanks all.
04/04/2002 07:51:59 AM · #11
just being devil's advocate .. hehe ..

i posit that camera quality makes a large difference, especially at the extreme ends of the price ranges, especially the lower end, and in combination with changing technology; in other words, an in-expensive camera from 2 years ago would prolly be worse than an inexpensive cam from now.

it *really* manifests in 2 places: image sharpness, and 'color rendition', imo.

you *can* to some degree offset this with lighting: I shot some museum pieces for deaccessioning as a favor, using a mavica fd-7 (a camera that stores to floppy disk), and i found if I blasted the pieces with good lighting from 500W floods, i could get the signal to noise ratio into a useable place. But then the tradeoff was the other thing about this camera and other cameras that were designed to work with the more limited storage media of the past: even in 'fine' mode its jpeg compression is brutal).

there is definitely more difference between digital cameras than there are between 35 mm cameras, which in a sense all use the same 'ccd.'

sometimes, when im voting, and i come across an image that appears to be from an older camera, i'll try to imagine the same composition shot with a better imager.

btw, the s40 is a really nice camera and was voted editor's choice by laptop magazine, even over the g2.


04/04/2002 03:01:07 PM · #12
Well yeah, it *is* a very nice camera, that's why I finally broke down and bought one!

But regardless of the quality of a camera's glass and CCD, a shot of an interesting subject that's lit, composed, focused, exposed, cropped, leveled, sharpened, and compressed correctly is still going to be a great photo. And a photo that in not will be immediately discernable. Inherent image 'quality' right out of the camera is only one factor out of the ten I just mentioned, could it possibly overwhelm the other nine, each of which can be individually evaluated by someone who knows what to look for?

Todays film and film cameras totally blow away yesterday's technology, but I bet you'll find many outstanding photographs taken all the way back to right after they were invented. ;) In almost any competition the winner is determined by a combination of performance and equipment, but I think that in photography the camera itself is a minor factor in the results. There are ways to work with or around any technical limitation of your equipment!

This is my really long winded way of saying that people should not get discoraged just because they don't have an amazing camera. You can still take an amazing photo!
04/04/2002 03:25:30 PM · #13
Mouse, have you lost your marbles?
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