Digital Photography

Monday, December 26, 2005

Scanning old family photos

With scanners the glass is the lens of the camera so be really careful not to scratch it.

Keep the glass as clean as possible. A lens cloth and cleaner would be a good idea. No window cleaner.

A cloth made to wipe fingerprints and smudges off photos is also good.

The cleaner the glass and the photo the fewer spots and specks you'll have on your scanned image.

I like to scan at 600 ppi. If you plan to print the photo this works. You will need to resize to 300 ppi - leave resample on for this.

As with other photo stuff you do on the computer watch to see which file the scanner is going to put your image in so you can find it later. You might want to start a file named "Scans", that makes it easy to remember where to look.

Your scan will have the edges of the picture and shadows around the edges so open the picture in your image editing software and rotate or straighten it ( wiggles sometimes when you put the lid down ) and then crop and do whatever tweaking and fixing it needs.

The scan may be better than the original at this point.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


In order to help you people need to know what you have - and what you want to do.

Figure out the answers to these questions. The box the camera came in should have most of the answers - as a last resort look in the specifications area of the manual.

Brand - ( Olympus )( these are sample answers )

Style and/or # - ( Camedia C-770 )

Pixels - ( 4 MP )

LCD - ( yes )

Viewfinder - ( yes )

Memory Card - type and size - ( xD 16 - 512 )

Movies - (yes - MPEG 4 )

Sound - (yes )

Optical Zoom - ( yes - 10X )

Type of battery - ( ion rechargable w/ charger )

What mode settings - ( Portrait/ Sports/ landscape/ night/ self-portrait/ A/S/M/ P/ Movie

Point & Shoot ( P&S ) - ( yes ) ( Fixed Lens )

DSLR - ( Digital Single Lens Reflex ) - (no) - ( can change lenses like on the 35mm cameras )

What kind of pictures do you want to take?

Indoor - Outdoor

Still - Moving

Close - Really Close - Far Away

Day - Night


For publication in print

For web

For E-Mail

How many pictures per session

How big do you want your prints to be - 4x6 - 5x7 - 8x10 - 16x20

Will pictures be shown as slideshows on TV or bigscreen

Do you want to go further than simple snapshots

How will you process your pictures - straight from camera at lab - print at home

How much post processing do you want to do

How much time do you want to invest in getting the pictures you want

Are you wanting to digiscrap - partial or total digital layouts

Is professional photographer or professional designer your goal

Once you can answer most of these questions someone will be able to give you much better help with your problems.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Digital Camera Lingo

These aren't necessarily what every manual or camera manufacturer uses for each of these terms, abbv. and letters but it may help you use the index in your manual:

A - Aperture Priority Shooting

A E Lock - Use for high contrast light situations

A F - Auto Focus

APO - ( apochromatic) lenses that use internal elements to bring all colors of the visible spectrum to a common point of focus, creating a sharp image.

Bit depth - color depth, determines the maximum number of colors that can be represented at a time - camera sensors typically have 12-bit per channel color - can be 8 bit - 16 bit - 24 bit - 36 bit

BKT - Auto bracketing

Camera raw file - a photo file containing unprocessed information, exactly as it comes off the sensor before in camera processing. You can then process the file on your computer.

CMOS - ( Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor ) a sensor technology that emcompasses all required camera circuits on a single chip.

digital zoom - don't confuse this with OPTICAL zoom ( it crops - it doesn't add detail to image )

dpi - dots per inch ( resolution when printing )

DOF - depth of field

DPOF - Digital Print Order Format

DSLR - Digital Single Lens Reflex ( think of a digital version of the film 35mm changable lens camera )

DVD - Digital Versatile Disc

ESP - meters light at and around subject

Erase - Delete - Remove - gets rid of images on memory card

EXIF - Exchangeable Image File - data - metadata - information added to image file by camera

File extensions - common image extensions - jpg - tif - png - nef - crw

Green Lamp - focus lock

HQ - high quality

HI - high speed sequential shooting

Histogram - a bar chart that shows the distribution of an images pixel values

Image Resolution - how many pixels

IPTC - International Press Telecommunications Council ( what you can change in meta data file)

JPEG - .JPG - .JPEG - .jpg - Joint Photographic Experts Group ( a file extension for images )

LCD - Display where you view menues and pictures - on P&S can be used as viewfinder

M - manual shooting

Macro - up close focus - 3" or closer

Meta data - information recorded by the camera about each image taken

Megapixel - 11 megapixels = 11 million pixels ( 1MP - 3MP = good 4x6 4MP - 6MP = good 8x10 7MP + = bigger than 8x10 )

Memory Cards - think of them as removable harddrivers for your computer camera
Kinds of cards - Compact Flash - Memory Stick - XD - SD - and others
Sizes of cards - 16MB - 32MB - 128MB - 256MB - 512MB - 1Gig - 2G - 4Gig - etc
Speed of cards - Ultra II fast than Ultra I - etc

MPEG - Motion Picture Experts Group ( file extension for movies )

Multi - meters light in many different spots in the image area

MP4 - movie file extension - MPEG4 - also are MPG2 and MPG3 extensions

My - my mode

MF - Manual Focus

Optical Zoom - 3X - 6X - 10 X ( think of these as 3 feet closer, 6 feet closer etc )

P - Program shooting

P&S - Point & Shoot Digital Cameras ( usually have a fixed lens )

Pictbridge - Camera to printer ( no computer )

ppi - pixels per inch

Pixel - picture element

PNG - ( Portable Network Graphics ) supports 24 bit images, png preserves transparency in grayscale and RGB images

RAW - working with camera raw files lets you set the proper white balance, tonal range, contrast, color saturation, and sharpening.

RGB - Red, Green, Blue values of pixels
RAW - image file extension ( camera doesn't do any processing of image )

S - shutter priority shooting

SHQ - Super High Quality JPG

Spot - meters just auto focus

SQ1 - mid resolution ( use for images that will be used for e-mail and not printed )

SQ2 - low resolution ( use for images that will be used for web pictures)

Super Macro - can focus at 1.5"

T - telephoto

TIFF - TIF - .tif - Tagged Image Format - image file extension

OS - Operating System - 95 - 98 - ME - 2000 - XP - MAC

USB - type of cable that connects to computer

W - wide angle

WB - White Balance

Should I go digital?????

1 - Are you a happy film shooter?

If you are a happy film shooter and don't see any reason to go digital - don't.

2 - Do you like computers?

Digital cameras are computers. You can use a digital camera a lot like a film camera - shoot then take the memory card to a developer.

A film camera shoots whatever is in front of it when you press the button. A digital camera thinks. It checks the light (exposure), it checks how far to what it thinks you want for a subject and figures where to focus ( focal length) then it decides on a shutter speed ( how much light it should let in). Sometimes it thinks about all this and decides you need the flash, pops it up and takes the picture. This is some of the stuff it thinks about and calculations it makes - shutterlag. Digital cameras especially point & shoots ( p&s ) have shutterlag. Some people can't stand shutterlag - they are happier with film cameras or DSLR's ( Digital Single Lens Reflex - think 35mm cameras with lenses that you change ). P&S's usually have fixed lenses.

One of the main attractions to digital is the ability to see the picture right away - delete the duds - and print right away. The price you pay for this is time - time to learn how this camera thinks - time sorting the pictures and deleting the duds - and printing them - keeping the printer running, or doing it yourself at a kisok.

Then if you take it up another step you download the pictures to the computer - and now you can spend lots of time - organizing and cropping and playing with the color and adding words and arranging them on layouts with all kinds of pretties. If you are a perfectionist you may never get each picture to PERFECT. Then you fall in the group of digital photographers that never print a picture. 1000's of unprinted pictures. - If you are afraid you fall in this group you may want to stay with film.

With digital you have a tendency to shoot more pictures - why not? - you aren't wasting film or developing. Most digital photographers have no intention of printing all their photos - just the good ones. Then we arrive at the how do I organize and store these pictures. There are other ways to do this but burning them to CD is one of the main ways to save them. Do you have a CD burner? Or a DVD burner? External hard drive? If the pictures are important to you saving them on two CD's and one or two harddrivers is considered minimal. This all takes time. But you get a new level of control over your pictures.

If you want to be a digiscrapper shooting digital gets the pictures to the computer a lot faster than film.

Going digital has a whole new lingo you have to take time to learn - pixels - memory cards
- MB's - LCD - jpg - raw - 10x - etc. The manual is gobbledigook until you learn some lingo.

If you REALLY want something that digital offers that film doesn't - and you have the time - you should love going digital.