Sony DSC-505 1600 * 1200, 475k

Sony DSC-505 1600 * 1200, 315k

Sony DSC-505 1600 * 1200, 341k

Sony DSC-505 1600 * 1200, 367k

Portraitfotografie

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Sony DSC-505

The Sony DSC-505 was a revelation. The picture on your left seems quite simple, but there is a sense of depth: look at the leaves on the foreground. There was no camera that could give you such feelings of perspective. At the time this camera was released, it was one of the best, sporting Carl Zeiss lenses. 90% of the photographic properties of an image are coming from the lenses, and those used in the Sony were the best on the market at that time. The camera had also an incredible 5X zoom. One of the negative sides was that the camera was extremely slow and was totally inoperative while writing to memory. The Sony also used proprietary memory stick (haven't they learned from the Betamax experience?)

Digital versus Chemical

Not so long ago, digital cameras could only compete with the cheapest film cameras, but things have changed a lot in the past years. Digicams are still way more expensive than film cameras, but using them can reduce the TCO (total cost of ownership to use some economic jargon) in favor of the digital world.
Digital cameras are digital things, meaning they reduce the whole world to zeroes and ones. Long ago, audio purist were reluctant to change from analog vinyl to digital compact disc just because of that. And because you could hear the digital sampling at work. With digital pictures, you have exactly the same story: pictures are composed of ones and zeroes (an awfull lot of them if you happen to count them one by one). This mean that the whole world has to be compressed in the available range of values that some engineer created long ago. The practical result of this, is that the magnitude of available light intensities is limited. A good film can render more subtle details and will also be able to express high contrast values in the same picture (it has a broader dynamic range). However sending your correctly exposed film to a bad photolabo will definitively ruin all your labor. Even a small temperature offset of the developer bath will cause havoc. After a number of films are developed, the baths are depleted. Some labos still use these baths, but increase the time the film stays in the bath so the whole effect is (at first glance) the same. But staying too long in a bath will have adverse effects on the picture: some sort of chemical bleeding will occur, meaning that you will loose lot of details in the picture. These effect are irreversible. Even if you send your digital pictures to an cheap labo, they have no way of destroying/loosing your originals. Of course you didn't send them your memory sticks, did you?

A film picture will also have some more details than a digital picture. Experts says that a 24*36 film can be compared to a 10 megapixel digital image, and have a broader dynamic range than a digital picture. Forget about digital cameras for the years to come and wait for the 10 megapixel camera with 16 bit/channel (instead of the 8 bits/channel used nowadays)?
It is important to state that these values are only obtained if you use fresh film stored in a cool place, use a good camera, send the film (immediately!) to one of the best labs available and pay a lot of money for maybe one or two pictures that are really great and make indeed use of the 'extra' of film photography. So for your everyday photography, i am quite sure you will be best suited with digital photography.

Look how well-exposed these interior pictures are, without using a flashlight.

On the other side, digital cameras are full of electronics that will make live easier for you. First of all, automatic light temperature compensation (automatic white balance). That's something no film camera has, but it is already used for years in video camera, so it's quite accurate (if you happen to live in a non-NTSC country that is). All sorts of light have different lightning characteristics. A Edison bulb will glow yellow, and even the sun will give you different results depending on the hour of the day, the clouds and constructions on which light is reflected. A digital camera will take care of it all and always produce correctly compensated pictures. And don't forget autofocus and automatic exposure that generally outperforms their equivalents used in film cameras.

But the most important characteristic of digital photography is the immediate availability of the picture. Directly after you have taken your picture, you can check it. Onboard digital zoom will let you check important parts of the picture, and bad pictures can simply be erased, making room for better ones.

Compression

Before being stored to the memory device (being a Smart Media, Compact Flash, Digital Media, PC Card or even Memory Stick), the picture is compressed. An uncompressed 3.3 Megapixel image would need some 10 MB of storage space for that single picture, making the advent of digital photography unthinkable of. We can cite two sort of compression methods: lossless and with (some) loss. The lossless compression encodes recurrences of groups of bytes and uses the fact that in some applications not all available byte values are used. The ZIP format is mostly used for text data, spreadsheets and so on, but the TIFF picture format in it's compressed version is actually also a lossless compression.
JPG is most widely used for picture data, where it is not that important that all information is carried along. If used carefully, a JPEG picture will show no compression artefacts (compression up to 10 times). Ultimately, you will have to check by yourself witch compression ratio suites you best, depending on your available memory capacity. They are also slightly different compression algorithms, so one compression factor won't give you the same results used on another brand. Most cameras will have 3 quality levels (corresponding to increasing compression ratios). The Sony cameras don't have a high compression ratio setting, and therefore always produces big files, even for non-important pictures.

Looking for images and extra information (night photography, fireworks)? Visit my home server: pictures where you can find lots of high-res pictures and useful information.
Most internet providers will provide you with a web directory, but the available size is limited to some 50 MB, fine for some 100 high resolution pictures. If you run your own server, you have virtually an unlimited capacity (only limited by the size of your hard disk). Part of the server pages will help you to run a home server.


JVC GC-S5
Hardware
Showing your pictures
Sony DSC-F505
Digital vs. Chemical
Compression
Nikon Coolpix 950
Resolution
Sony DSC-F505V
Batteries
Olympus Camedia C3030
Nikon Coolpix 990
Action pictures
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Sony DSC-F707
vs.
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Nightshots
ON4CHL
Nikon 5700 vs. Sony 707 vs. Nikon 990
Nikon 5700 features
Comparing the Sony DSC-F828 Nikon 5700 Canon 300D Sony DSC-F828 Nikon 5700 Nightshots and flashlights Comparing the Sony DSC-F828 and Canon 300D Portrait photography with the Sony DSC-F828 and Canon 300D het fotograferen van modellen