Santa dropped a Cannon A720is under our tree. It's an 8MP vs the old
2.3MP Ricoh RDC5300 that preceded it. So far, I like the pictures from
it much better than the Ricoh. The flash seems to be much better as
well as the 6x optical zoom vs the 3x of the Ricoh. I also like the
anti blur and the movie/sound capabilities. I put a 4GB card in it (max
32GB) as opposed to the 64MB max card I have in the Ricoh. It takes two
AA batteries vs the 4 AAs for the ricoh and doesn't appear to eat them
at anywhere near the rate the Ricoh does. It's also much faster on
powerup and between shots.
Also, the price of $185 (Amazon) vs the $550 for the Ricoh in '99 made
Santa feel good.
Something to think about, I wonder if you compared the 2 cameras together
but both being new would have any effect on the results. A CCD with 8 years
of wear may not perform as good as one that is brand new.
This is of course discounting all the bells and whistles that the new one
has over the old one. ;~)
More likely the in-camera processing is different between the two. Or
the program defaults are different. Might be possible to adjust the
Ricoh to give results similar to the Canon, might not, depends on how
much adjustment it allows.
That could well be - they both have more options/settings than I can
comprehend without the manual in hand, and by then, the picture
opportunity is long gone :-( In the olden days, one reading of this
stuff and it was imprinted, but now-a-daze I have to get the book out to
set the alarm clock.
However, considering the photos are going to be viewed on a computer
screen, which is normally set to 96 dpi, even a 1 Mp camera will manage
that job well. Otherwise, with a hi-pixel count, you're going to have
to be throwing away pixels anyway to get the thing down to a viewable
Now if you'r talking about printing pictures, especially enlarging
them, the the higher Mpixel ratings can be a help, but come on; what
good is a 3' x 4' photograph? I've only used high pixels once; when I
wanted to get some individual faces out of a photograph and wanted to
keep their detail.
In addition, 6 megapixels doesn't necessarily mean there will be 6
megapixels in the photo; for that info you have to research and dig into
the camera specs a little deeper. Multiple pixels can be defined/used
in different ways semantically and synctacticly.
I was looking at some framed wildflower prints in the "guest room" the other
day, ones that I took a few years back with one of the first Sony Mavica's
with an optical zoom lens. This camera had to be less than 1 MP, but the
prints were framed for a good reason ... they are excellent "photographs"
... I keep thinking of the old saying in the recording biz: "I'd rather
listen to a bad recording of a good song, than a good recording of a bad
... that's the whole story, and all you really need to know. :)
As with anything these days and the introduction of more technology, the old
cameras and their lenses were higher quality and I highly suspect that with
older technology the CCD's were larger also. Really and truly, the more
megapixels are good if you want huge blow ups or to blow up small parts of
an image. Past that you would never tell the difference unless the lens was
crappy, which I suspect also is the case today vs. 5 years ago.
That's a blast from the past. Except, I used a Contax. I pushed the
Tri-X to 650 and gave it a bit more time in the old Microdol or D-76.
I had a Leitz enlarger with a Nikon EL Nikkor lens ( all the rage back
Then I printed onto a variety of Ilford papers. I have many of those
shots and each and every one means something to this day. Considering
many are close to 40 years old, the archival quality is simply
As a hobby, carving with light was very satisfying and could be
intense with the dodging and burning and getting the contrast/mood
I miss it sometimes. The ritual. The mixing of the chemicals, the
smells..feeling a bit like The Wizard Of Id.
These days, my HP 9800 13" x 19" borderless with a photo-grey
cartridge on watercolour paper, gives me some that back. Costs about $
5.00 per print. Nice paper is expensive.
It reminds me of the machine gunner vs the sniper analogy. Squeezing
off 100 shots without consequences isn't the same as that one shot
opportunity. Mind you, I have taken group shots and moved heads around
between frames to get optimum results..LOL
The part I really don't miss. I felt more like a mad scientist.
Epson R1800. Lousy black and white, but gorgeous color. Next time
around, the R3800 (hoping my wife isn't looking, because IIRC, it runs
about $1,300..refurb probably $900).
The old Canon would give me about a four shot blast, maybe five, while
a particular scene was in focus--manual focus, remember? Actually,
through about '99, I found manual focus far more effective than
autofocus, but Pentax's current version is decent, though it tends to
hunt in low light with some lenses. The buffer fills at about nine raw
shots, which is twice what the manual Canon would do--nearly 40 years
But there's another point in favor of the DSLR: weight. The camera
itself is a tad heavier than the old F1, I think, but overall, whenyou
add the motor drive and bulk back, the Canon outweighed the K10D by
about four to one. That doesn't count the need for a changing bag and
another sealed tin with another 50' of film ready to load. And zooms
back then were one step up from useless, at least for publishing, so
to be fully equipped, you needed a 28mm, a 50mm, a 100 or 135mm, a
180mm or 200mm, and, if your back would take it, a 300mm.
I am now WAY too old for that. Half the time now, I leave the second
camera at home, and keep my fingers crossed. Not really: I leave it on
the golf cart, where I can usually reach it in 10 minutes at most. It
might get stolen, but so far, not.
Oh how we envied the pros with the trackside photo passes, the bulk film
loaders, and motordrives. Anyone can come up with a handful of
magazine-worthy photos with that combination (so we thought). I actually
fanagled a photographer's pass for the '74 Canadian GP at Mosport through a
local short track rag here in Houston. I was still stuck with my SRT-101
(match needle!). The future article never developed and it went nowhere but
for just once in my life . . . ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h. Somewhere in my attic
I might still have those Tri-X proof sheets.
NuWave Dave in Houston
BTW, how much do you miss film? Or, put another way; do you think
You don't need the contacts. You do need the negs. Have some fun and
scan them in and fool with them in PSP or another lower cost program.
I use PSP 12 right now: it is not as good in some ways as PSP 11, but
it does handle the K10D raw files without an itnermediary program. It
also locks up about every other time it is used.
I might shoot film again, if someone loans me a camera and loads it
for me, and there's someplace to get it all processed, and put on CD
or DVD. I sold all my film gear, including darkroom equipment, years
If I shot JPEG heavily, I'd still be there with you. Unfortunately,
shooting raw requires a convertor in the computer, sincne I'm not
using the one in the camera. I may change from raw to raw+JPEG, though
that means my 8 GB card will hold only about 385 photos.
:> BTW, how much do you miss film? Or, put another way; do you think:> you'll ever shoot film again?":> Just kidding.
: You don't need the contacts. You do need the negs. Have some fun and
: scan them in and fool with them in PSP or another lower cost program.
: I use PSP 12 right now: it is not as good in some ways as PSP 11, but
: it does handle the K10D raw files without an itnermediary program. It
: also locks up about every other time it is used.
: I might shoot film again, if someone loans me a camera and loads it
: for me, and there's someplace to get it all processed, and put on CD
: or DVD. I sold all my film gear, including darkroom equipment, years
Do you do much B&W with digital? What equipment (both camera and printer)
do yuo recommend?
-- Andy Barss
Almost no black and white. No editor wants much of it these days...my
next book will be all color, something that never used to happen...and
they can convert if needed. Like most people, I'd recommend what I
use, but that doesn't necessarily mean it really is the best for you.
I use a Pentax K10D, and an Epson R1800 (buy a refurb from Epson and
you can save a remarkable amount, with a one year replacement warranty
if it quits working). Given the budget, I'd have opted for the R3800,
but that, I hope, is this year's second big purchase. The first will
be a K20D (or whatever the model number is), when that comes out.
I can tell you that if you're interested in black and white, you do
NOT want the R1800. The R2400 is fine, as is the R3800, but every
blinking B&W I've printed, without going to sepia in the computer, has
a bluish cast. With a couple of recent deaths in my wife's family (her
parents), I've been scanning and printing numerous old photos. I'm
going to start sending them to WalMart on a CD instead, I think.
Cheaper, for one thing. Better B&W, for another.
The K10D has a filter feature, processing done in camera, that allows
you to reproduce JPEGs in B&W, sepia, and a variety of colors, in
addiiton to a straight shot. It also has a couple of junk "filters,"
a slimming filter, and one for softening photos (presumably for
shooting faces like mine with plenty of lines: I worked for these
damned lines, pits and scars, and I want to see them).
It's funny, the difference in generations ... be it noted that the pendulum
may be swinging the other way:
I think of text messaging as a PITA, while my 22 year old daughter prefers
it over all other means of communication, including voice ... IOW, these
kids twist technology to suit their tastes, and set trends in doing so.
Bought her a Canon Power Shot (don't recall the model) for her birthday last
summer and noticed the other day that she ONLY shoots in black and white.
Had to insist, as the designated photographer for family Christmas this
year, that she shoot in color. Her roommate, the staff photographer for the
college rag, does the same, as do the other kids who hang around here during
Apparently black and white is far from dead, and seems to be preferable, as
far as these youngsters are concerned.
(and if you can't beat'em ... I texted all my "Happy New Years" Last night!)
Nothing dies. Check out flare pants, which came back a few years ago,
though in a much goofier form. Extreme seems to be what today's trend
setters are all about. Maybe that's what they always were, but we
didn't notice, because the trends didn't seem extreme at the time.
Today, hot music from the '50s, say Bill Haley and the Comets playing
"Skokian", would never make it. There was a recognizable beat and
theme and no cussing.
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