lens vs. image sensors in digital photgraphy

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by aniramca, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. aniramca

    J. Clarke Guest

    Actually, yes, and at one time it was for its size the best in the
    world--there's a reason that the Vatican uses Swiss guards and it's not
    that they're Catholic or that they're cheap--when the decision was made
    the Vatican was a real country fighting real wars and the Swiss mercenaries
    were feared.

    The Swiss still practice marksmanship the way the English used to practice
    archery--they're a sniper army, guaranteed to make any invader miserable
    long after he's declared victory.
    J. Clarke, Dec 12, 2006
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  2. wrote in @j44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:
    I think you started an interesting discussion. A better way to analyze
    the problem would be to consider a series of thresholds. If any
    threshold is not surpassed then you have no chance to take a good photo,
    but if they all are then the responsability of the resulting picture lies
    completely on the camera operator.

    A magazine photographer once put it more succinctly: "Spend more time
    focusing on your subject than you spend focusing on your gear!"

    In my personal life I tend to carry a more feature-rich camera when I
    have time to sit back and take a few photos, and I'll carry a P&S when
    I'm just tooling around. Remarkably, I have captured a few snaps on my
    P&S that I do remember and go back to and enjoy. I don't think its all
    in the camera. Its also the subject, photographer, time of day,
    inspiration, LUCK, etc. The simple ability to fit a camera in your
    pocket may be a more tangible advantage than an f/2 lens in many

    On the other hand I recognize that many intangible qualities can add
    value. How fast and sharp your camera is able to focus, how fast images
    are recorded to memory, the on-time vs off-time, etc. can give a nice
    feeling and make you feel more capable and confident as you take
    pictures. Its similar to driving a BMW vs a Toyota, both are capable on
    the highway, but one has tighter handling, more power and may give the
    driver a bit more confidence. Does one get you to the grocery store
    "better"? Thats higly debatable but you may enjoy one more than another,
    and if you put them both to their limits you may find differences there.

    Overall, I'd say once you have gotten into a certain low-eschelon of
    camera the discussion becomes irrelevant. Most of the technology today
    is quite exceptional as compared with what may have been available in the
    past. I think we will soon enter a realm where photographic qualities
    are judged more on a photographers ability to exploit the features that
    Camera vendors do not market than the features people focus on in these
    groups, reviews, and adverts. The question I ask myself is: "how can
    you take your camera to the next level without waiting for more
    megapixels from Japan?"

    - JC
    John A. Crabtree, Dec 12, 2006
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  3. aniramca

    jeremy Guest

    As much as we advanced amateurs like to turn our noses at consumer P&S
    cameras, including digital models, the overall quality of consumer images
    has been steadily spiraling upward over the past decade. The margin of
    improvement of image quality between higher-end cameras and P&S models has
    been shrinking. Today's consumer cameras come with zoom lenses, much
    improved exposure automation and now we are witnessing the introduction of
    anti-shake. This is freeing the consumer up to compose the shot, rather
    than be sidetracked with exposure concerns.

    P&S cameras may not have as wide a range as SLRs and multiple lenses have,
    but their compact size and lack of accessories makes them easier to take
    along in situations that we would not lug all the bodies, lenses, filters,
    and other gadgets.

    The advent of digital has encouraged consumers to take a lot of
    pictures--lots more than would have been taken had the consumer recorded
    them on film.

    The overall quality of consumer pictures continues to get better. They may
    never equal photos taken on excellent equipment by experienced
    photographers, but they are of a quality level that a lot of consumers are
    very pleased with.
    jeremy, Dec 12, 2006
  4. aniramca

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    I have a twenty five year old one that has been used to open countless
    tins, mainly while camping which is appropriate as it is a Victorinox
    Neil Ellwood, Dec 12, 2006
  5. aniramca

    Ken Lucke Guest


    How the hell do you think that they've remaied "neutral" for so long?
    You can't remain neutral if you can't defend yourself, because the very
    first agressor down the pike who doesn't respect that "neutrality"
    conquers you. It doesn't take two antagonists to make a war.

    IIRC, all able-bodied Swiss men between 18 and 30 have to serve, and
    women have the option. ISTR, also, that there is some requirement for
    all previous military personel to own a weapon and a certain minimum of
    ammunition at home (that one's vague, I may be wrong in my recollection
    of that part). Makes it tougher to invade and conquer a country when
    virtually every household has at least one trained military person and
    weapons at their disposal. Probably part of the reason their crime
    rate is lower, too. :^)

    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    -- Charles A. Beard
    Ken Lucke, Dec 12, 2006
  6. aniramca

    J. Clarke Guest

    Most of the ones that I have seen other than the miniature versions have
    the can opener and bottle opener, either of which by the way will open a
    paint can.
    J. Clarke, Dec 12, 2006
  7. And, if what I was told by Swiss national friends some 25 years ago was
    and is true, the training isn't pussy-footing around some semi resort
    camp in tropical climes, either.

    Vive les Suisses!
    John McWilliams, Dec 12, 2006
  8. I suppose it depends on what you mean by an excellent photo. If your idea of
    an excellent photo is sharp, well-defined test patterns, then all of these
    parts of the camera have to work well. The chain is only as strong as its
    weakest link. Film in fact plays a major role, as did printing paper. There
    is a reason that Ansel Adams wrote a whole book on "The Negative." Your
    simplistic view of film betrays an appalling lack of understanding of
    photography as a process. You do not even mention Agfa, for example. All the
    film manufacturers made dozens, if not hundreds, of different kinds of film
    for all kinds of purposes. Film types vary considerably in grain, color
    balance, contrast, ISO sensitivity, stability, and so on. There are vast
    differences between a professional quality low ISO black and white portrait
    film, an IR BW film, an "indoor" consumer color slide film, and a
    professional studio color slide film. Many photographers considered film
    choice by far the most important part of making a good picture, and here you
    toss it off as playing "not much of a role."

    In actual practice, though, ergonomics are probably by far the most important
    quality, especially with digital cameras. The easier it is to see and frame
    the subject, focus on it, and choose the appropriate exposure, the easier it
    is to take a good picture. The sharpest lens in the world will not help you
    if cannot hold the camera steady, and the vast majority of digital cameras
    are impossible to hold steady while framing the picture through an LCD.

    While camera manufacturers claim to make good lenses, they most certainly
    recognize that no lens compensates for a bad body. Manufacturers have
    constantly introduced new bodies with new features, greater reliability and
    ruggedness, better shutters, and better film transport mechanisms. It is
    ridiculous to say that manufacturers emphasized the lens, except to note that
    most manufacturers knew that people were going to buy more lenses than
    bodies. But if you look at the advertising, the lenses always surrounded the
    latest and greatest body.

    A good quality lens does not alone make a good film camera. You are setting
    up a straw argument here.
    You know what? The sensors nowadays really are good. Yes, DSLRs have better
    sensors than other cameras, but that is about it. The difference between a
    Nikon and a Canon is miniscule.

    All kinds of people can argue about why Konica/Minolta failed, but basically
    it has to do with bad marketing rather than any genuine inferiority of the
    Christopher Campbell, Dec 12, 2006
  9. aniramca

    Surfer! Guest

    Yes, it was a very special expensive screwdriver... :)
    Surfer!, Dec 12, 2006
  10. aniramca

    smb Guest

    Yep, I was kidding. I know the requirement for every able bodied man
    to serve and have a weapon in his house. It's just funny to think
    about a Swiss army because they've never done anything with it.

    Except market cool knives, of course! :)
    smb, Dec 13, 2006
  11. And compulsory national service for all males aged 19 unless they have
    completed the required term by voluntary military service before then.

    Military manpower available 1,707,694 + 1,662,099 voluntary females
    (2005 figures).

    As I recall, it is also a requirement for every home to have at least
    one working firearm and a quantity of ammunition.

    However, military spending is less than 1% of GDP (cf. USA >4% on GDP
    that is 50x higher), hence the Swiss Army Knife. ;-)
    Kennedy McEwen, Dec 13, 2006
  12. aniramca

    acl Guest

    I don't know, to me it seems that various neighbours could have fairly
    easily have invaded them succesfully (eg the Nazis were unfortunately
    rather succesful elsewhere in WWII) had they wanted to during the last
    two world wars. It had very little to do with having a large reserve
    army, and more to do with smart political manouvering by the Swiss.

    As for the effect of having weapons in people's homes, I come from a
    country in which this is also the case (after more than 2 years
    compulsory military service, and in the reserves with regular training
    until 45 with lighter duty until, I think, 55). I have never heard of
    any crime commited there by a military weapon, nor of anybody using one
    in self-defence. On the other hand, people sometimes do shoot each
    other with hunting guns, which are almost as prevalent (obviously,
    organised crime is a different story: presumably, they have illegal
    weapons). The murder rate is, in general, much lower there than in
    London, where guns are illegal (and this is enforced).

    Conclude what you will.
    acl, Dec 13, 2006
  13. aniramca

    ASAAR Guest

    And not just knives. There's luggage, laptop computer cases and
    most appropriately, camera bags!
    ASAAR, Dec 13, 2006
  14. It absolutely is! Besides composition, quality of the image
    determines impact. In a cheap camera, a knock your socks off
    scene that is recorded by a camera that produces a soft or out-
    of-focus image, or an image that has high noise has reduced
    While I agree that it is ultimately the photographer that
    makes the image, I myself experienced in my learning,
    poor cameras that limited me, and I've seen many people
    frustrated by their cameras. Back in film days, my
    first camera was manual and I used a hand-held light meter.
    The meter misread many scenes and with slide film I got
    too many blown exposures. Finally I could afford a better
    camera with TTL metering and finally starting getting
    good results. The poor camera limited me for over 10
    years and I didn't know it.
    Ah, but to get to the level of the experienced photographer,
    how many people are limited by poor equipment? I have
    seen many. I have seen the frustration expressed by
    young photographers. I have seen the disappointment in
    people when they finally had what they thought was a great
    image and had an 8x10 (or 8x12) inch enlargement made only
    to be disappointed by the poor sharpness. I have experienced
    it myself when learning.
    As a 4x5 photographer, I think such an argument could not
    be made if the goal was to photograph action. As with
    all tools, all cameras have strengths and weaknesses.
    Fast action photography is not the best tool of a 4x5
    sheet film view camera. So I agree that knowing the
    tool is a major factor, but that is what the novice
    does not understand, and not only is the current range
    of digital cameras mind boggling for the new person
    to choose, but the range of abilities is far greater
    than we had with film cameras (with a notable number
    of them at the really low end). With film P&S cameras,
    we didn't have the huge shutter delays, and you could use
    the same high quality film as the top SLR. The low end
    digital P&S cameras is like using a DSLR at ISO 1600 to
    ISO 3200 for every image, with added shutter lag.

    So, in my opinion, the beginning photographer can have more
    problems getting started and learning and being limited
    by equipment than ever before.

    Photos at: http://www.clarkvision.com
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Dec 13, 2006
  15. aniramca

    ink Guest

    It's between 20 & 35 now (used to be 20 to 42). You're drafted at the age of
    18, then have to do bootcamp upon reaching the age of 20. This takes 17
    weeks, in total you have to serve 300 days (as a normal enlisted man, much
    more if you become an officer). And it's correct, women have the option
    (they used to rise to the rank of corporal after 17 weeks, while men were
    still lowly privates... heh... no pun intended.)
    No, your memory serves you well. Every man/woman joining gets a fully
    automatic assault rifle (a pistol for the paramedics) and has to keep a
    sealed container with 30 rounds at home (you have to present that container
    every time you do the annual service - but you can get rifle ammo at every
    weapon store...)
    Possible... but it also keeps the suicide rate at a healthy level...

    ink, Dec 13, 2006
  16. aniramca

    smb Guest

    ...and I'll bet you had all the latest accessories to go with it! How
    many ounces did it weigh? Were the corners sharp? Was it a full
    blade model? ;-)
    smb, Dec 13, 2006
  17. aniramca

    smb Guest

    Only if you're assuming that the "cheap" camera produces soft or out
    of focus images. What you describe is a defective camera, not an
    inexpensive one.

    You're also assuming that "impact" is the defining factor of a
    photograph, and that impact can only be achieved with a technically
    perfect image. That isn't correct. Look at the work of photographers
    like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Edward Steichen, much of which was
    grainy, soft or otherwise less than perfect compared to today's
    standards. Their work had plenty of impact. It was the subject
    matter and how they portrayed it that gave the impact, not the
    ultimate technical quality of the image.

    That begs the question of what their work would have looked like if
    they had used the best modern dslrs, but that isn't the point.

    Again, it's a matter of selecting the right tools for the job. You
    wouldn't use a bargain-basement P&S that produces fuzzy, grainy images
    to photograph a sweeping landscape with the intent of making gallery
    prints, any more than you would use the same cheap camera that has a
    long shutter lag to take action photos. The point is that not all
    lesser expensive cameras fall into that category. Some of them are
    capable of some very nice images.

    Did you see the site I referenced in some other messages here?


    It shows some stunning work done with a 3 megapixel P&S, and has
    nothing to do with KR's opinions. :)

    But at the same time, many photographers of that era made wonderful
    images with manual cameras and hand-held meters. I've been there,
    too. Part of the skill is in interpreting what your meter tells you.
    I quickly learned to compensate in some lighting conditions, as well
    as to simply use a gray card to take readings from. Even so, the rule
    of the day was to bracket your exposures if the image was important.
    It's all part of the learning process.

    Even so, what you describe is a problem with the light meter, not the
    camera. As I learned more about light meters, I found out that an
    incident meter gives better overall results than an averaging one. I
    also learned that a handheld meter with a spot attachment was very
    useful for high contrast scenes. When I got into medium format, I
    did not choose the TTL option because by that point I was very
    comfortable with using a handheld meter.

    I use the same techniques I learned even today with my D200. No
    camera with TTL gives perfect exposures all of the time. I use the EV
    compensation controls frequently. Even years ago with film, my first
    TTL 35mm slr would blow highlights on slide film. I learned to
    compensate by simply changing the film speed setting when shooting
    scenes where that would be a problem.

    Again, part of the learning process. If your goal is to make large
    prints, then you learn to use a camera that is better suited for that.
    For instance, I have rarely seen any prints larger than 8x10 from a
    35mm film camera that were truly crisp, regardless of how good the
    camera and lens. Years ago I bought a medium format camera for that
    purpose, and it worked wonderfully. But that doesn't mean my top-rate
    35mm gear was cheap or poor. It was just intended for a different

    So does that mean that you recommend a beginner start out with a D2 or
    a 5D?

    IMO a beginner can do quite well with a cheaper camera, even a P&S, to
    learn the fundamentals of what makes an image good. I've seen lots
    of good work made with very inexpensive cameras. Not all
    inexpensive cameras produce fuzzy, grainy images; some of them do
    quite well. Now, if that person wants to apply what they've learned
    and make bigger prints for display or shoot under more demanding
    conditions, then of course they should look at upgrading. But why
    invest all that money up front?

    I think a big part of it is the myth that a better camera
    automatically means better pictures. To someone who hasn't
    experienced those frustrations, a good picture is just a matter of
    buying an expensive camera and pointing it at something. A beginner
    can get the most expensive camera he can afford and still be
    disappointed that his photos are poor and uninteresting, even though
    they may be sharp and perfectly exposed.
    smb, Dec 13, 2006
  18. aniramca

    jeremy Guest

    The argument has merit, but there is another, equally valid, side to that

    Cameras with lots of automation may allow newbie photographers to become
    lazy and not develop their skills, preferring instead to let the camera
    handle the focus and the exposure.

    One reason that I can't stand P&S cameras is that they don't let me set the
    aperture. I like to pay attention to DOF, and I often shoot at shallow DOF
    to visually isolate the main object in the frame, without cropping it out of
    its surroundings. I started on a manual camera and I am grateful for having
    not had a camera that made decisions for me.

    Those of us that shoot static objects, like landscapes and architecture, are
    hampered by automation. Depending upon the type of subject that one
    photographs, lots of automation may be a Godsend or a crutch.
    jeremy, Dec 13, 2006
  19. aniramca

    Scott W Guest

    I note that in one photo he was saying that a D30 would have been handy
    to have.
    In one photo he asked the musician to hold still. And whereas the
    photos look very nice as web pages we really can't tell how they
    would look as say 8 x 10 prints, or how much better an 8 x 10 print
    might look had he used a 5D.

    Depends on how much money they have, I would suggest to anyone who want
    to learn
    photograph instead of just taking pictures to start with a DSLR, note
    these can be
    had pretty cheap now a days.

    Do you know personally of cases where someone has gone from a point and
    shoot to a DSLR where their photos did not improve dramatically? I ask
    because the people I know who did switch did see a dramatic

    Another tidbit to think about, I belonged to a photo contest site, it
    is just for fun but each week people submit digital photos that
    everyone votes on, there is a theme for each contest. The site is
    called dpchallenge.com People started to notice a couple of years ago
    that the people with DSLR cameras were taking the top spots way out of
    proportion with the number of people who owned DSLR cameras. Now one
    answer given at the time was better photographer will tend to buy
    better cameras, but then it was noticed that people who had switched
    from point and shoots to DSLRs had a jump in their scores. I just took
    a look at the site, it is very rare for someone to place in the top
    three places without using a DSLR. Note at the time of voting no one
    knows who's images are who's and no one knows what camera was used
    for the photos.

    Scott W, Dec 13, 2006
  20. aniramca

    nick c Guest

    According to: http://www.gca.org.za/facts/briefs/10switzerland.htm
    only 27% of swiss households have guns. However, look at the suicide
    rates throughout the world:
    comparing nations with strict gun controls and one could say that
    availability of guns is not a driver for high suicide rates.
    nick c, Dec 13, 2006
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