Standard Digital Imaging,
Photography Studio Equipment:
There's Much Ado About Pixels
How to apply standard digital imaging and a digital imaging resource to selecting photography studio equipment is discussed on this page.
If you plan to buy a camera, either for digital SLR photography or point-and-shoot, analyze your needs before your choices.
Are you interested in something that just gives you a quick and easy image for Facebook, family album, etc.?
Are you looking to photograph your child's or friend's basketball or soccer games?
Do you have any idea what "megapixel" is?
Do you want fries with that?
It's the age-old, standard digital imaging question: Is a good photo the result of the camera or the photographer?
Well, it depends. An amateur will rely on the camera since he has fewer skills than a pro, who expresses his talent through his camera.
But you know, it sure helps to use a quality camera!
Yes, Paul McCartney could accompany his vocals with his famous Hofner violin bass or even with a five-buck, out-of-tune clunker bought at a yard sale. But chances are he'll also tell you it's less of a headache to make beautiful music with a more technically-correct instrument.
When I look back on my 20-years-plus career in photojournalism, I can tell you there were several times when I wished the band would catch up. Especially when shooting sports, when I wanted a lens that focused as quick as possible and a camera body that took the picture as soon as I pressed the shutter button.
I came to realize it wasn't that simple. "Auto" focusing doesn't always mean "instantaneous" in standard digital imaging.
If I wanted something that gave me "the shot" (an auto-focusing camera/lens that delivered sharp first and subsequent frames at peak action moments), I knew I needed to invest some time into research. I needed to find out which lenses and bodies produced results while factoring in the size of my pocketbook so there would at least be some money left over for a Big Mac.
Way back in the film days, I wore out a few Canon bodies and when the company entered the digital age, I bought its first "pro-sumer" SLR model - the D30. For $5,000. Body only. Gulp.
Since the pro models were in the five-digit range, Canon developed a digital SLR photography product that had many features of a pro model, but with a price that serious consumers could find reachable. The 30D was a three-megapixel, three-frames-per-second beauty that satisfied many a pro-sumer.
Also at the time, my main workhorse lens was a Canon 200mm at 2.8. I also had a 400mm at 5.6 for the outdoor sports and a couple of wide angle lenses.
But the band was still lagging. Many times, I had to take the 200mm off autofocus and shoot manually. Luckily, I was weaned on focusing sports action manually in my early years in the newspaper business so the task wasn't as difficult as it could have been.
The D30 eventually became my second body when I decided to upgrade to a Canon 10D. This SLR cost $2,500 and boasted six megapixels. Let's see, that's half the price of the D30 and double the megapixels.
But I wanted a faster lens - "something with better glass," as they say.
A lot of the daily newspapers use the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM so I did the usual research and decided to take the plunge. It was $1,700 well invested.
The 10D has since been discontinued as Canon upgraded to meet the digital SLR photography times. Early in 2009, I purchased Canon's 50D with its 15-megapixel output and six frames-per-second capability for around $1,200.
As a side note, I had a chance in 2003 to shoot a machine gun - the pro Canon 1D - which whipped off eight frames per second before you could say, "Hey, this Big Mac tastes really good."
On with the tutorial in this series of standard digital imaging articles...
Wikipedia can explain it in detail.
Basically in standard digital imaging, it all started with a dot, then more dots came over, then millions of them got together and formed one big happy photograph.
One thing you have to understand is the difference between a point-and-shoot camera that says it's an 8 mp and a camera for digital SLR photography that's also pumping out 8 mp.
You'll get the same quality of image, right?
Wrong, big fella.
It boils down to the camera's image sensor size. A point-and-shoot camera has a smaller sensor and needs to squeeze smaller pixels on it to arrive at its 8 mp goal.
A DSLR has a larger sensor, which in turn leads to better dynamic range, signal-to-noise ratio, low-light sensitivity, etc.
Your 8 mp DSLR gets a better bang.
Let's say you and 74,999 other people were together in one place to watch the Super Bowl, would the quality (and comfort!) of your experience be better if they housed all 75,000 of you in a stadium or your friend's rec room?
DP Review is a great place to learn more about digital SLR photography and standard digital imaging.
A point-and-shoot also won't meet your expectations when shooting motion. The shutter lag and focusing time is too slow. Invest in a camera for digital SLR photography.
For compositions of things that just stand there and if you're not too fussy about digital image quality or if you are going to put the camera on auto-everything...go to the point-and-shoot store for your standard digital imaging choices.
Finally, getting back to your trip out in the field for some digital SLR photography HDR action, remember to bring your tripod – you’re going for some maximum depth of field, which means show shutter speeds.
Oh, and clean your lenses and camera sensor as well. Since you’re shooting at the maximum aperture today, be warned, everything will be in focus and come to life, which unfortunately means any or all dust that’s been hiding in your gear’s inner workings.
I’ll show you in another page how to get rid of the dust in Photoshop. As this photo attests, you can get some heavy UFO traffic in those skies...
Return from Standard Digital Imaging to About HDR.