TOW Digital Photography

anthony goode
Tue, 17 Dec 2002 15:09:13 PST
as little compressed as you choose, depending upon your needs.


PS. And how about comments from someone other than me - PLEASE !

Dr John T Lonsdale ...

OK John, you've roused me into having my say.  However you should not
be surprised that we hesitate to chip in when your introduction and
subsequent comments amount to a masterclass - and don't bother to
argue that point, we've all seen the evidence of your prowess!

For everyone else, I'm afraid that a lot of this will sound familiar
as I have been a convert to the 'Lonsdale Method' for a couple of
years now.  (Consider this a testimony in support of Johns comments.)

I had been looking into purchasing a slide scanner to enable me to
convert some of my slides into digital files for web use.  John soon
convinced me that a digital camera would be an easier, cheaper and
more successful option.  His experience with the Coolpix 950 and
comparison with many other web images of plants convinced me to
purchase that Nikon camera.  As you know J has progressed along with
the Nikon range, I, however am still using my 950 (they can still be
obtained quite cheaply second hand in the UK) and remain happy with
theresults.   I have recently had some slides made by EDI and the results
are superb, close ups far better than I can get with my old SLR
camera.  I have considered buying a newer and more sophisticated SLR
camera but the expense of camera and lenses, especially a good macro
lens, has deterred me.  Now I can do everything that I want digitally
at a much reduced cost.  $1.95 (=£1.25) per slide may seem expensive
but you get 100% perfect shots - no more duds, and of corse the same
applies to prints.  EDI offer adigital print service at $0.49 for a 6"x4" print which compares OK with £0.39 from Kodak in the UK and £0.30 from Nikon in the UK.
(Nikon have a sliding scale, prints get cheaper the more you order.)

There are still colour issues, just as with conventional 35mm film.
What you see on the screen may not quite match the original or what
you get on a print.  If you have your own printer you have more
control and of course the ability to manipulate the images gives you
ultmate control.  You can even bring the plant (or a sample) indoors
to compare with the screen image!  My camera came with Photoshop LE
and Fotostation as part of the deal.  This cut down version of PS can
be purchased seperately for around 20% the price of the full version.
I find it more than adequate although it does not have the batch
facility that J mentions.  Fotostation does a similar job to Thumbs
Plus, allowing me to file my images in various folders on my hard
drive, Cd or Zip disc, giving me thumbnail images as a preview when I
open the chosen folder.  I can alter the display to show from 2 to 104
thumbnails at once, a useful feature.  (At a guess Thumbs is a more
powerful tool - J  knows his stuff.)

I have chosen to purchase a CD writer (would opt for one built in as
part of the package if I were buying a new PC) for back up.  I keep a
set of back-up CDs at my Mother-in-Laws just in case the worst should
happen - I wonder where J keeps his external hard drives?!!

I do find that the best pictures are taken in bright light, the
Coolpix 950 does not give such good results in very dull conditions.

2 years and 7000 images down the road (half have beeen discarded as no
good ... all those duds at no extra cost) I would not go back.  I'll
keep my SLR for plant holidays, using it alongside the digital for a
while but in the long term I can see it being discarded.

Hope this helps

Tony Goode.  Norwich UK

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