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SCUBA-L  October 2001, Week 4

SCUBA-L October 2001, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Digital photo - warning long

From:

"Huntzinger, Hugh A [AMSTA-AR-CCL-B]" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 23 Oct 2001 16:27:51 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (152 lines)

John writes:
>
> This post kind of addresses some of Hugh's issues...
> Hugh is incorrect in thinking you need memory media to
> archive all your shots...

Oops...that's not what I meant to say or infer.

I do believe that its appropriate to move the image data off of the camera's
memory media into some other medium.  What I intended to say was more of a
statement of the obvious:  the more photos you want to hold between PC
downloads, the more camera memory media you're going to need to store it
all.

For example, ~400Megs of Smartmedia cards would probably cost around $300,
and would hold ~300 of your JPEG resolution images before one would need to
start deleting, or copying them over to a PC, where the storage cost per
megabyte is pennies.


The fly in this ointment are things like wanting to shoot TIFF's instead of
compressed JPEG's, which gobble up more memory space.  We now have to decide
to either pony up more money for more Smartmedia cards ($$), or accept a
shorter "duty cycle" of how many images we can capture before you must go
and download them to a PC.

For example, if we assume that a high quality JPEG is ~1/4th the size of a
TIFF, then holding ~300 TIFF images between PC downloads will require over
$1000 in Smartmedia cards.  Ouch!

For most of us, this will very quickly causes a reassessment:  "Hmmm...do I
_really_ need to hold ~300 images between downloads?"


> That's [~400MB?] enough for the 4 weeks of diving I
> did in July.  I do delete many shots, though.  This is
> an advantage for sure...I can delete underwater.

A good example of YMMV in a couple of different ways.  I shot that many
images in but a single day when I was up in Alaska this summer.  Granted,
perhaps 50% of them were exposure bracketing, but I'd be very reluctant to
delete too many of these until I got a very good handle on if the digital
camera's systems exposure controls...I doubt that their very small display
is capable of showing me which ones are worthless because they over
saturated the CCD.  I was also extremely weight-limited on this trip, so
carrying an extra ~5lbs for a laptop to do backups would probably have been
a problem.


> I am not processing anything I don't like.

I don't either...I don't have the time, so I delegate that job to someone
else to do :-).


> One negative that support Hugh's arguments is it is optimal
> that you have a good computer system to use the pictures well.

All systems have hidden or unobvious costs.  If its not a new PC, scanner
and medium format photo quality color printer ($500), its for a 35mm slide
projector, a light table, or a video deck, dubber, TV, etc.  Even if you
have the money, you'll run out of room in your basement :-)


> A few more advantages:
> ...
> Heck , I can view my shots on the boat... Common post dive
> conversations go like, "Did you see that purple fish? What
> was that?..Let me show you.."

Having immediate photographic proof kills any tall tales and dive lies.  I'm
not so sure I'd call this an "advantage" I really want :-)


> 3) My camera does QuickTime movies up to 15 seconds long
> with sound. I treasure the Yap Mantas I have recorded
> in motion. That really takes you back to the dive.

I agree...*sound* is a media feature that's going to drive me to go buy
something, probably very soon.  Two of our cherished memories from
Switzerland in 1999 were a yodeler along a high mountain trail, and the
sounds on a morning chairlift of a waterfall and cowbells that were
fading/blending with each other.


> But with media, Hugh assumes that he wanted to keep every shot.
> In 360 shots I would keep about 36 if I'm lucky.

Yield is a sticky issue.  I want to be able to control where and when I do
my editing, and what I'm really saying is that I don't want to be forced to
do it "immediately" because of (Memory Card) storage limitations.  It
doesn't bother me (too much) to throw out fully developed and mounted
slides.



> ...I can state very confidently that if you are thinking
> of buying a low-end intro type u/w camera - go straight
> to digital. You will learn more in one day with a
> digital camera than you can learn on a whole trip of
> shooting slides. You will be much more pleased with your
> pictures even if you are only watching them on the TV.

Agreed.



> ...I heard that the common word on the street in that negatives
> are about 16 megapixel resolution. Right? Anyone know?

Higher.  The veritable (~5 year old) Nikon LS-1000 film scanner is 2700dpi,
which would be roughly 10 megapixels.  It makes a 25 Megabyte color file
from a 35mm slide at what I think is a rated bit depth of 8 bits per
channel.  But the new Nikon LS-8000 scanner is 4000dpi, which would be ~24
megapixels.  It also 16 bits per color channel instead of 8 or 12 bits,
which is double of many digital cameras; Nikon says that this system will
make files up to 790 MBytes in size.

To really come up with a number, you would have to go and find how many
lines per millimeter the film stock is rated for and then figure out how
many true bits of depth you have.  For the first part, B&W films can resolve
up to ~250 lines/mm (6000+dpi), but the highest I've seen for color ISO
100-200 film is around 150 lines/mm (~4000dpi).

The other part of the problem is that everything you're measuring is really
a _system_ performance, so the quality of the optics, what f/stop you're
shooting at and what wavelength of light you're using to measure this with
are all variables.  Pragmatically, this drops the effective resolution back
to probably ~100 lines/mm and overall, I don't think that we need to be
worried about any resolution higher than what the LS-8000 currently
delivers.  I'd call the LS-800's output to be a 24 Megapixel "double
precision" (16 bits/channel) digital camera equivalent.


> I've been told that CCD's are more receptive than film. To me, the
> adjustments in low light are easier.

The metric I'd want to use as the basis of comparison is the respective
mediums' exposure latitude.  I don't know which one is better/worse.



> I guess you can tell I like digital. The day I dread is when
> I find the next latest greatest kit I really want - ouch!

The older we boys get, the more expensive the desired toys become.  If it
ain't a sports car for that midlife crisis, it will be "gear" of one sort or
another.


-Hugh    NED German Car Association (GCA) Charter Member

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