an anachronistic view of amateur photography in the digital age
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Canon Digital Camera

Until early November, I had been using a film camera for pictures to be put on my Porsche 912 WEB site. The camera was a Canon EOS IX Lite body with a Sigma 28mm-80mm Macro Zoom. This camera uses APS color negative film. Recently I have been ordering a Kodak Photo CD with every roll. This CD provides 1580 x 1100 images at about 500 KB in size. Previous to that I used a Canon FS2710 film scanner and occasionaly a print scanner.

Recently I have changed to a new camera and processing system that is optimized for producing pictures on the WEB. The problem is the cost and inconvenience of the film camera. If I am working in the garage it is a hassle to take 4 or 5 pictures documenting a little project then waiting until the balance of the 25 exposures are complete and then making two trips to the photo lab for processing at a typical cost of $30.

We have had a Canon Elph in the family for several years. It is also an APS film camera. The advantage of these tiny cameras is they reduce the pain of carrying a camera. The camera that is home in the drawer takes no pictures. A more convenient camera gets used more.

Digital cameras provide the convenience I wanted but the resultion was not good enough. The 2 mega-pixel cameras provide 1600 x 1200 resultion at either 500 KB or 1.5 MB. They are competitive in quality with the APS - Photo CD process. The Canon Digital Elph is a similar form factor as its APS brother.

The images are loaded into the computer using a SanDisk Compact Flash memory module interface. Plug the flash card into the ScanDisk and the computer is tricked into viewing this like another disk drive. Now you can load directly into Adobe PhotoShop for processing.

My family has been taking pictures since before WW II. The boys grew up near a photo dark room. Dad ran a commercial portrate and photo finishing business. My first job in high school was in a University motion picture processing lab. I put myself through college taking pictures. I know about dark rooms. PhotoShop is a dark room in a computer. You can do it all; crop, color balance, gamma correction, hue, saturation, dodging, localized enhancements, etc, this program is a marvel. My current philosophy is make it look good in PhotoShop and it will be good on the WEB.

Sharp pictures are nice. To avoid camera movement, I use a couple of tripods. One is a very small, able to fit under the car when it is on jack stands.

Most of my WEB pictures are set to 72 dots per inch and a maximum width of 550 pixels or a maximum height of 400 pixels. Image size and quality is a trade off with down load time. The images are designed to fall apart in quality if they are increased in size. I try to keep upper size limit of the images around 40 K max. Even this is really too large. Using a 28.8 modem, speeds of 3.6KB per second can be achieved. A picture should load in 11 seconds. This is really too long (8 seconds download max is a better target), but I hate to give up the image quality. I see that many people have higher speed services. The site supports 128 KB or 16 MB/sec. This rate would provide 3 second downloads which is probably fine.

Pictures

021501-215S A technique I have using more and more is to eliminate the background with a curved screen. The picture shows a very simple way to do that using a piece of paper and a chair. The whole process can take less than 15 minutes.
021501-216S Here is the resulting shot from this setup. It was taken at night using just the dinning room light as the light source. Thanks to the tripod, the picture is acceptable.
elphfS This is a very nice handful that does not even cover a playing card. I have been using this camera for my WEB photos since early November, 2000.
elphbS The little screen is perfect for close ups. The view finder great for snap shots and landscapes. The 912 site currently has over 580 images, about 1/2 are thumbnails of 100 pixels in width.

Last modified: Wed, 18-Jul-01 23:11:38 PDT