First, I need to apologize for RJ's ignorance. I am a professional photographer,
and occasionally I let him help me. He has taken a class or two and fancies
himself an expert, which he is not. If you don't want to read a lengthy discourse
on film versus digital and fuji versus kodak, feel free to delete this message
unread. RJ was attempting to answer someone's question, and I felt the need to
step in before he went overboard
If point and shoot is what makes you happy, then go with it. As far as film goes,
it is all a matter of personal preference. Kodak has a great marketing machine,
and their products are finally catching up to the marketing. Fuji has a reputation
for great color saturation, but it depends on the film and the situation.
Different films are suitable for different purposes. I use both fuji and Kodak in
the studio and I use several different film types from each brand - different ISOs
(film speeds) for different purposes.
If scanning at the photo lab isn't working properly, it's either a lab problem or
a lack of calibration between your monitor and the lab's scanner. Try looking at
the files on another computer. If you have an adequate exposure, and they can make
a good print, then there should be no reason for them not to make an adequate
scan. However, if you're just creating digital files as a means of saving the
images and sharing them online, then scanning prints on an inexpensive home
scanner will give you what you need. Labs typically use high-end scanners - if you
are really getting bad scans from a lab you need to send them back and make them
do it right, or refund your money.
High end professional digital cameras run up to ten thousand dollars (and medium
format digital camera backs are way way way more) and that's a major price cut
from last year or the year before (they were $15 to $25 thousand then). There are
half a dozen good pro-am digital cameras in the $2 to $5 thousand range now. And
there are lots of good $1000. cameras if you don't want to print anything larger
than a 5x7, or possibly (on a good day) an 8x10. If all you're doing with the
digital camera is capturing images to save on computer, then almost any decent
digital camera will do. I would recommend something in the $500 plus range, just
to give you a little flexibility. The lower end (cheaper) cameras will be obsolete
within the next 2 years simply because the better ones will drop in price. The
larger the digital capture, the better the image quality. Again, totally not
relevant for the typical hobby photographer.
And yes, digital cameras are wonderful for learning about photography. As you
said, if you create an image and don't like it, you can delete it - no film and
processing. I'm waiting for the new Canon high-end camera due out the end of the
year, so that I can stop spending money on images that RJ creates for me (when
we're shooting weddings) that have to be trashed. He's an enthusiastic shooter and
is always trying to get a better shot, which leaves us with lots of images that
don't satisfy either of us.
He worries about text-book lighting and composition and doing things just the way
he was taught (and he's very pigheaded - he believes that he's right, no matter
what, and he usually isn't right) - I'm more of the creative type - I want things
to look the way I want them to be and I don't care if the textbook agrees with me
or not. The difference in what you typically see online has very little to do with
digital vs. film capture. A semi-competant Photoshop user can alter images so you
can't tell the difference online. Computer monitors just do not have the
resolution to deal with the differences. In a paper print, you can tell the
difference, especially with a mass market digital camera. And especially if the
equipment has not been properly calibrated. Did you know that most magazine
advertising images are being shot digitally (very high-end) and have been for
The clarity difference you see online is simply a factor of what resolution the
file is. And the color is simply a calibration situation. You can have calibration
issues regardless of the capture method. Different scanners are different and
different cameras are different. Professionals are constantly recalibrating their
equipment to achieve good color balance. And we have to do the same type of thing
with film. The temperature of the chemicals used to process the film, and the
length of time the film is souped and a hundred other factors all affect how a
print comes out. There is no one perfect solution.
Mass market labs rarely do any better than a mediocre job of color correction. The
equipment they have only allows them to do a certain amount, and most of it is
computerized. The computer uses mathematical algorithms to determine the color
balance - some labs do have a human watching over the machine just to make sure it
doesn't screw up badly. When I run 35mm through a local one hour lab - if I'm just
experimenting, I frequently get sun-burned (very red) people and very blue wedding
gowns. Also, mass market labs use a much more high contrast processing system and
paper than professional labs. If you have something that you want printed as an
enlargement, or that's really important to you, check your local phone book. Most
communities have a photography lab that is open to the public but is primarily a
Back to film recommendations - use the lowest ISO you can - typically finer grain
and somewhat better color depth. Buy a few rolls of different films (a few Fuji, a
few Kodak - I'd stay away from the generic and less well known brands, and stay
completely away from the kinds of film they send you for free when you send your
film in for processing), in different speeds and shoot the same thing on each of
them. Just get 12 exposure rolls if you can so you won't be throwing out too much
money. And shoot the images of something you like that has colors in it that you
like so that you'll be able to evaluate the films to your taste. Different films
render different colors differently, so a film that gives you nice rich reds may
not give you great flesh tones, or may not do white whites real well. If you like
to photograph sunflowers, a film that gives you great true blues isn't what you
need. Don't you just love answers that don't answer?? RJ wants me to tell you to
use Fuji. He believes in Fuji - I believe in different tools for different things.
Anyway, I know this has been a long winded response, and probably way more than
anyone on this list cares about. Feel free to use your delete key. And if you want
to ask me anything specific, my email address is email@example.com.
I'm not on this list.
Good luck. Katherine
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 17:52:23 -0700
From: Sandra Barss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: cameras..
I have been using a Pentax 35mm film camera and I would like to know what you
would consider a good film.
I have tried the "scanning in at the photo lab route", but the colors are all
distorted. I also get a set of prints at the same time and those are the pictures
I end up posting 95% of the time (by scanning the print). I can see the
difference in the clarity of the photos posted from digitals (although I would
probably disagree that all digitals render color better than standard cameras).
What could be happening to the colors when I get the lab to scan the film in. I
figured the lab was just doing an excellent job of color correcting.
"R.J. Baynum" wrote:
> I understand the benefits of
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