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[filmscanners] Re: traffic

On 6/30/04 7:35 AM, "Clark Guy" <guy.clark@siemens.com> wrote:

> Digital cameras are much like computers.  If you wait to buy the best one,
> you'll never get one!
> What I did was get a couple of Nikon coolpixes (950 and 990) on eBay for my
> wife and myself.   They are old enough to be quite affordable, and they have
> advantages over many other cameras for my purposes (the 950 for example, can
> take IR pictures without internal modification with a good IR pass filter,
> at reasonable shutter speeds (like 1/15th second in bright sunlight)  The
> twistable body has some advantages for shooting over people's heads.
> There's many accessories available for them as well.

My ladyfriend has a Coolpix 4500, which is the current version of the same
series.  I've used it myself, and it's an impressive device.  I especially
like its macro/close focus ability - if I recall right, it will focus as
close as an inch or two from a subject.

But this digicam does not, in my opinion, compete with a good film SLR.  We
have quite a few vacation shots that were taken at the same spot using
Cindy's 4500 and my F100.  The differences are not huge, but the scans from
my F100 shots look better.  What is most noticeable to me, is that the
highlights on the digicam shots tend to blow out more often.  The tonal
variations look natural as you go from shadow into brighter areas, but then
suddenly there is a featureless blotch that looks like someone spilled
whiteout on the image.  I've read explanations that attribute this effect to
the linear transfer function of the digital sensors.  They saturate
suddenly, whereas with film you have an s-shaped transfer function that
saturates more gracefully.

Perhaps the digicam sensor blowouts can be avoided by carefully setting
exposure to avoid clipping.  But this is not always possible.  Perhaps the
problem is less serious with DSLRs, since they have larger sensors, more
dynamic range, etc.

I'd like to make the jump to a DSLR, but I've been holding out for a
quasi-affordable model with 8-12 Megapixels.  Sometimes I like to make
13x19" prints, and I'm not yet convinced that the 6MP cameras can record
enough data for that.

Julian Vrieslander <julianv@mindspring.com>

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