OT: 6 megapixels best format for your woodworking pictures?

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While J. Clarke didn't specify the exact camera model he has, most or all of the Panasonic big-zoom cameras have pretty fast lenses, some models being constant f2.8 across the zoom range and others ranging to f2.8 at the wide end to f3.8 or so at the telephoto end.
Many similar camera models other brands aren't quite so fast, but still at least as fast as low-end 35mm lenses with equivalent fields of view.
I definitely agree that more megapixels on tiny sensors don't generally improve actual image quality, though. It's quickly getting to the point where diffraction effects are the limiting factor on image resolution even at fairly wide apertures, so having more and more pixels can't even capture more detail (but does result in more noise and larger files to deal with). It's also worth observing that the linear resolution of an image increases with with the square of the number of pixels, so the width or height increase when going from, say, 6 megapixels to 10 megapixels is only a factor of about 1.3.
--
Andrew Erickson

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot
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wrote:
[snipped for brevity]

Again, hits the nail on the head. The 'big' number increase, is in fact grossly overblown in its significance. The numbers game is a crock of shit. "Oh my... he was shot between the eyes with a .458 magnum, he'd be a lot less dead if he was shot with a .357!!!"
"I got 455 horses under the hood, now howcome that rascal with only 200 is whooping my ass?"
I got a 3 HP tablesaw and I'm a frickin' idiot, howcome I can't build a decent footstool?
Don't get me started....
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wrote:
[snipped for brevity]

...
You obviously need a 1/2 megapixal camera then so you cannot see the flaws in the footstool. ;~)
I like my 6.3 megapixal Fuji S7000.... that PS CS, and taking lots pictures in the quest for some good ones works for me!
John
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Half the fun for me is tweaking my images with Paint Shop Pro Photo (X2). I used to have a pirated copy of PS 6 or 7 that my kid came up with; too much learning curve for my surgically-altered brain and I still don't use a fraction of the features in PSP (just like my brain!). Still, it makes for a noticeable improvement in the vast majority of my shots.
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NuWave Dave in Houston



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As do I, but I like Fireworks instead. About four months ago, I bought myself a Nikon D40X camera with a 70-300 mm lens. I take all pictures at the highest resolution and then crop them or resize them to what I want. With a fast 2 gig class 6 secure digital card, I can take as many pictures as I want, keep what I want and discard the rest. I think this is the best part of digital cameras, the fact that it doesn't cost a cent after the initial camera purchase to take as many images as I desire.
Unlike many printers where the companies make their profits on the consumables, digital cameras don't really have any consumables to speak of.
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Not with the Nikon. It's got a Lithium Ion battery good for upwards of 250 pictures before a recharge is needed. And if I know I'm going to be somewhere that I'll be taking many pictures, it's a simple matter to use the power adapter, assuming a wall outlet is available, while the battery recharges.
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| > I like my 6.3 megapixal Fuji S7000.... that PS CS, and taking lots | > pictures | > in the quest for some good ones works for me! | | Half the fun for me is tweaking my images with Paint Shop Pro Photo | (X2). I used to have a pirated copy of PS 6 or 7 that my kid came up with; | too much learning curve for my surgically-altered brain and I still don't | use a fraction of the features in PSP (just like my brain!). Still, it | makes for a noticeable improvement in the vast majority of my shots.
I hear you on Photoshop... I started out with Photoshop Elements but was quickly frustrated by the limitations. I keep trying new things with Photoshop CS and am usually pleased with the results. For example, I took photos of reenactors portraying the British burning my home town. With PS I removed 21st century people, cars, telephone poles, aluminum windows in an old commercial building, street signs, fire hydrants, pavement markings, etc., to give it more of an 18th century look and feel. My days working at Colonial Williamsburg have influenced my tastes and PS lets me make things fit my tastes. ;~) PS also lets me fix a lot of problems... exposure, framing, out of focus due to wobble, etc.
Every photo I have had printed in the past couple years has been touched by PS... even if it's only cropping before going to the print lab on CD. I simply cannot justify printing them at home as the consumables cost more than the commercial lab charges (currently $.15 per 4"x6" print for quantities over 100) and the lab is using the latest Fuji mini-lab equipment. Speed is also an issue... for me to print at home the 194 photos I had printed Friday would have been a tremendously laborious experience. Add in the fact that there is a lab 1 mile from my house and that I can typically have the lab printed photos back in a hour or two and it's a no-brainer. How many could I print, glued to the computer, in an hour or two? Surely not 194! There is a professional lab practically across the street from the consumer lab but since I PS the photos myself I haven't found any advantage to using them--at a significantly greater cost--over the consumer lab.
A constant challenge is photographing the wooden items that I make. I know it's a lighting problem... how to show off the details and wood characteristics consistently has escaped my command thus far! The right way to do it would be to have a photography "studio" set up where I can place the objects for photographing... that isn't going to happen due to space issues. I need some kind of portable, easily stored "studio." That is one of my "when I have time" projects... with a long list of "I really need to get it done" projects. ;~)
John
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Andrew Erickson wrote:

There's another little issue. A 400mm f/2.8 lens for an SLR costs $6500 and weighs 12 pounds. Lot of factors go into deciding whether I use the SLR, the Panasonic, or the Coolpix 990 for a given shot. All have their uses and their limitations.
Slower on the other hand has two meanings in digital camera comparisons. One is the aperture of the lens, while the other is what in shooting firearms would be called the "lock time"--in that area the Panasonic is indeed slower than the SLR--there are things you can do to improve the situation but it's still there and for action photography it means more missed shots. On the other hand most woodworking pictures are more akin to studio photography so that's not an issue. But that is another area in which the Panasonic has a limitation--there's no way to connect an off-axis flash to it. Not a big problem--it will trigger a peanut slave just fine (which the Coolpix 990 won't for some reason)--but still less convenient than being able to plug in a PC cable. For woodworking photography I'd recommend the FZ50 over the FZ8 or 18 for that reason.
If I wasn't up to my ass in alligators right now I'd do some comparison shots between the FZ7 and the 30D.

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--John
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That is truely pretty fast for a telephoto on a digital that is not 35mm.

Most that I have taken a glance at are in the 4.5 and higher range expecially when the length of the telephoto goes up. I am sure the better higher dollar cameras have the faster lenses.
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Here's a good primer on megapixels, and why in isolation it's a useless measurement in most cases.
<http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/mpmyth.htm
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You sure have to pay for those "fast" lenses. I've been shopping for a 2.8 telephoto in the 100-300mm zoom range: OUCH! SONY wants $2300 for a 70-210 f2.8! I ended up with Tamron's 18-250 f3.5-6.3 as compromise and have been happy to date. And the image stabilization does give me another couple of f-stops. It was also less than a fourth of the price of that SONY. If only this Alpha would take the old Minolta Rokkor lenses I have. To the quality issue SONY's 18-70 kit lens for their Alpha line compare favorably [in image quality] to their new Zeiss 16-80 selling for several times more if you believe the written reviews.
--
NuWave Dave in Houston



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And that was pretty much the point of the article. Most 10 and larger megapixel cameras sold today are not a 35 mm digital SLR. Most hace tiny CCD's and limp lenses regardless of brand when compared to a 35 mm digital.
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True enough, but...the people who use those cameras are seldom going to ask for anything larger than 4x6 or a 19" screen size.
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: The more pixels, the more freedom you have with image cropping. You are : able to zoom in on a region of the picture and still end up with an image : with adequate pixel density.
The problem discussed in the article (and in more detail elsewhere) is that the pixels get smaller in typical cameras, i.e. the pixel density incrwases, and the size of the image snsor doesn't. This creates a great deal more noise in the image, so even slight cropping can give you a lousy picture.
Sure, more pixels AND a largr sensor are great, but those are professional cameras.
    -- Andy Barss
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wrote:

Ahh! you too read the article. LOL. I never realized how tiny those CCD's were on those small cameras.
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It's the "More=Better" mindset that keeps screwing us over. It's when my little 4 banger used to chew the arse out of the 'big metal' in this neighbourhood, people would at first get all pissed off, then they wanted to learn. "Where's the nitrous?" NO frickin nitrous.....
Hell, even in the late 60's my 1275 CooperS would make many people sit up and take notice. Sure they'd catch me at the top end, but I tell you, that little grey (and 5 other body colours) thing was talked about a LOT. It became a local joke trying to beat Rob through the park... nobody ever did. At a local Show 'N Shine, I attended as a visitor and parked nearby. When I had walked around to look at all the beauties I returned to where I had parked, and there were people all over that thing.
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Robatoy wrote:

Gal I used to date always drove Honda Civics (the sporty version, not the basic econobox--I forget the suffix). Her teenager used to sneer at them. One day one of his buddies with an overpowered Mustang pissed her off and she chased him down to "discuss" the matter. Her kid quit sneering after that.

You speak as if you aren't aware that the Mini Cooper is considered to be one of the great sports cars.
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It's the "Moretter" mindset that keeps screwing us over. It's when my little 4 banger used to chew the arse out of the 'big metal' in this neighbourhood, people would at first get all pissed off, then they wanted to learn. "Where's the nitrous?" NO frickin nitrous.....
Or the 18 volt drill over the 9.6 or 12 volt. Typically the biggest difference you notice is in the weight.
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So did I, until I read the article. Now I agree. Unfortunately the example you give is great on paper but in reality most digital cameras, until you get into 35mm SLR's have a tiny CCD by comparison, 20 times smaller. The lenses on those smaller cameras are simply not fast enough to let in enough light to properly expose those itty bitty pixels.
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"crop out everything except your door knob"
WOuld it not be simpler to set the 1MP camera to "close-up" and shoot the knobs?
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