Eric Praetzel - My 35mm Cameras

As of July 2000 I am using a HP S20 slide / negative scanner to scan the slides and negatives of my vacation at 1200 dpi. I've not found 2400 dpi to be worth it. ie the files are 4x larger and there is very little noticable difference. It would be useful for printing but not viewing.

Digital Cameras

Sony DSC-WX50 Digi-Camera

This camera is 16.2MP

From the start the camera would stop responding. After about 200 pictures, and 4 weeks the problem became clear - the battery was not making reliable contact with the camera and so it would loose power until the battery jiggled back into place. Unfortunately I had to pay $17, and wait 6 to 8 weeks to ship this back to Sony for "repair". At this point I don't know if the camera or the battery is at fault - Henry's where I bought the camera did no diagnosis of the problem.

I'm not very pleased with the camera.

  1. The panoramic picture mode is nicer than I can stitch pictures together but it's a much lower resolution than the camera allows.
  2. The 1080p movie mode isn't anywhere near as clear as I would expect.
  3. They really did a great job of hiding the macro mode - it's called the "gourmet food" mode!!
  4. Battery life has failed to impress. I was hoping for 200 pictures per charge - but it looks more like 130.
  5. It is small and will likely be very hard to use for anyone with large fingers.

Cannon PowerShop A590 IS Digi-Camera

Generally this was a fairly good camera with a few issues:

  1. Over 2 years more and more specs of dust collected inside adding a fuzzy spot to each image.
  2. The lens has to be cleaned several times a year as a strip of dust collects on it - right under where the protective shutter is split.

I managed around 400 pictures with Advanced Lithium batteries and 350 with Duracell CopperTop batteries - 1/3 the cost and nearly as many pictures per pair of AA's!

Kodak LS 443, DX7440 Digi-Camera

In comparison to my 35mm Pentax I can say that the Kodak LS 443 definately gives pictures in better focus (nature scenes at infinity) than my 28mm lens on the Pentax.

As of August 2005 I now have a refurbished Kodak DX7440 4MP DigiCam as a replacement for my crappy LS443 which suffered it's 3rd major failure in 2 years and was no longer being repaired by Kodak.
I've taken about 200 pictures with the camera and it's a vast improvement over the LS443 - I'd say that it's about "average". I will not trust it unless it manages to work without a failure for 2 years. Some of the controls are a nice improvement over the LS443 and some are a step backwards (zoom). The flash appears to work fairly well as opposed to being horrible.

I have a Kodak LS433 4MP DigiCam and I would not recommend it. It's ok, but the picture quality is not sharp, the auto-light detector (for types of lighting) drives me insane and the flash over-powers images far too often. It turns on when it's in your pocket and I've seen too many out of focus pictures - even in landscape mode! The camera doesn't tell you the f-stop or shutter speed and blury pictures have often resulted from not knowing it was at a slow shutter speed. In comparison Cannon cameras embed such info in the JPEG comments. It's ok and I have no experience with other cameras (directly) but I would not buy this camera again! I have the wide angle lens attachment and it's quality is worth what you pay for it (aprox $100) - it's not as good as what you're expecting and a pain to put on and take off and carry the camera with when it's on.

Note: This camera takes out of focus pictures when in Landscape mode on bright days when fully zoomed. For some reason when the aperature stops down fully - the pictures become blurry. They never addressed the problem or responded to my reporting it

I would recommend a Cannon Powershoot G2/G3 or S45. Friends have also been very happy with their Fuji cameras.

In July 2005 the camera died again and Kodak no longer repairs it. They offered an upgrade to a "refurbished" DX7440 for $125. That camera is reputed to have shorter battery life and all of the image quality problems.

In July 2004 Kodak repaired the LS443 1 month after the warranty expired (but it was done under warranty). They did not fix the problem with the camera resetting and deleting pictures, but the shutter and lens mechanism was repaired and the main on/off/mode switch was replaced with on that was lower profile and stiffer so that the camera is less likely to turn on in a pocket.

Near the end of the 12 month warranty the camera started to blank 1/2 of the screen and do a power-up reset while taking pictures - typically when I got to the 20th to 40th picture. In so doing it would wipe out the last 10 to 20 pictures and leave the memory card corrupted. About a month after that (1 month after the camera warranty expired) the CCD sensor went dead. Kodak has said that they'll repair the camera under warranty if the camera shows no signs of abuse. I can't believe that the first problem is due to a faulty memory card - it should not cause a reset and corruption of pictures on the memory card.

Film Tests

I now have a digital camera (Kodak LS433 with wide angle lens) and I don't like the colors (they are too saturated - blues and greens) but generally it's an ok camera and you get what you pay for (if you have money to blow get an SLR digital or Cannon G2/G3).

A while ago I decided to do some tests with color negative film

XRays and Photographic Film

Films

Photo Paper

Digital Cameras

Yes I'm going to get one; when they get certain features I need [long exposures, ease of use, high resolution, low power consumption, storage of a large number of pictures, good lens selection and a reasonable price]. Digital cameras are not the same as shooting film. Ansel Adams once said something like this "Taking a picture is like writing a music score but printing it is like hearing the music performed". Basically, taking pictures and printing is an art. Digital photography removes that. However, digital photography can be cheap, fast and of reasonable quality.

Cameras

Here is a brief history of what cameras I've been using on vacations. To date I've met one person who had a 6 x 9 camera. That means that he was shooting negatives that were 6cm x 9 cm; about 2.5" x 3.5"!!

Camera Filters

Useful Information

Comments on Film Exposure

Here is what a professional photographer friend told me about over-exposing standard negative film (C41):

The ISO number, according to Techno-babble, indicates the 'minimal useable gradient', in English, the minimum exposure needed for an acceptable picture.
If you actually are silly enough to actually USE that number, you deserve the underexposed shadows (weak blacks, brown actually) you'll get (reason being that the shadows are placed on the toe of the curve, giving in other words an opacity increase which is subproportional to the exposure given... so, the photo paper doesn't get enough exposure whilst printing, hence muddy tonality.
All c-41 films should be exposed at half to 1/4 of the ISO number: grain is finer, tonality much superior.... your average 200 films have a useful range of 12 to 14 f stops, all on the straight line (opacity proportional to exposure) With long scale scenes, I put the highlights on the shoulder of the curve, so they tend to compress themselves and don't block up. Everything below that prints normally.

Film information is on the Kodak web site at: Color Negativ Films There is very little difference between 'pro' and 'not pro' regarding charecteristic curve.. here is a fairly typical curve
A wonderful family of color negative films are the Kodak Supra line
They are designed for 'imaging professionals' who will be SCANNING the film... extended range (impossible to overexpose, or 'over-scale' the picture, also 'overcoated' to minimze handling scratches.

On grain. I was getting great results in the mid '80s shooting pro soccer on 1000 speed color neg. I made grainless 16 x 20s. Here's how:
This is chromagenic film: the silver is bleached out during processing, after clouds of dye are formed about each silver image grain. If one gives more exposure, more dye clouds are formed, overlapping, and eliminating the clear parts of the negs. More exposure, therefore, less grain. Exactly the opposite oftraditional photography.
If a c-41 picture is grainy, its not the film, its been UNDEREXPOSED.


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