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[P]
Affordable Digital SLR for the masses

By SharQ in Media
Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:01:46 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

It's been a while since the Canon EOS D60 Digital SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) has been launched. I ended up buying one the other day, and have come to some interesting conclusions..


The Canon EOS D60 is not the first digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) from Canon, and it will most definitely not be the last. But it is a very special model nevertheless, for several reasons. One of them, of course, is that it is the first digital SLR I have ever liked so much I decided to buy it. But I am getting ahead of myself here...

About the camera:

The EOS D60 is pretty much an exact copy of the D30, with one exception; The resolution.

The D30 set a new standard when it came. Many - in particular people working for the press - photographers traded their 35mm equipment for digital for the first time, because the D30 behaves just like a normal film-based SLR. Not that the D30 was the first one to do this, but the D30 was the first camera that was even remotely affordable for most people.

The D60 - released in March 2002, at just above $2000 - continues this legacy by upgrading the D30 from 3 megapixels to 6 megapixels, and adding a few other minor features.

Most important technical data:

  • 6 megapixel CMOS imaging chip
  • Takes regular Canon AF lenses*
  • USB connection
  • Uses Compact Flash cards (can use the IBM Microdrives, up to 1 Gb)
  • Shutter times 1/4000 sec - 30 sec + bulb
  • X-sync up to 1/200 sec (or 1/4000 with EX series speedlights)
  • 100 - 1000 ISO in 5 steps

*) Because the imaging chip is smaller than a 35mm negative, the focus length of the cameras have to be multiplied by 1.6. This means that a 100mm lens becomes an 160mm lens when mounted on the D60. This can be an advantage (a 400 lens becomes a 640 lens - cheap zooming power for hardly any money!) or a disadvantage, as the wide angle sector of the market is still quite sparse, and quite high in price. This is quickly changing, however.

Short explanation of the tech data

Those data mean that the D60 is not really a digital camera. It is a full-fledged SLR that just happens to be digital. The specifications of the D60 are about the same as that of an Canon EOS 30 35mm film camera (which it was, in fact, built on). It is not part of Canon's professional line of cameras, but with 6 megapixels and otherwise great performance, there is no reason not to use it professionally.

So how does it compare with 35mm photography?

Well - in many ways, it is a lot better. For one thing, the resolution of the CMOS chip is better than the "resolution" of 35mm film has ever been. It has been commonly acknowledged that it is pointless to scan a 35mm film in any more than 7 megapixel, because the actual grain in the film starts to show. With the D60, if you shoot in 800 ISO, the "grain" is significantly less visible than in a 35mm scan with the same ISO values.

Also - scanning a 35mm shot at full resolution takes roughly a minute at highest resolution. A full roll of film, therefore, takes about half an hour. Transferring the images from the D60 to the computer takes 3 minutes (or less, if you get a firewire cardreader)

First hand experience with the D60

I have fallen in love with it. I have seen some great scans in my life, but on a recent fashion-shoot I did, upon reviewing the pictures at home, I could actually sit down and count the hair on the models' arms. The resolution is incredible, and the fact that you can switch lenses, use proper external speedlights (flashguns), the fact that you don't have to wait for your scans, and the fact that shutter lag is gone makes me very happy.

Bad things about the D60

Of course. Nothing can be all good. The D60 has trouble focusing in low light, sadly enough. This is the same for all of Canon's non-professional cameras, but it is rather sad, still. Of course, using an external speedlight helps a lot (it emits a red crosshair that the camera can use to lock on to), and if things get really bad, you can always focus manually.

Also, for some reason (and pretty depressing, when you buy a camera for 2000) Canon have not made Mac OS X drivers for the camera yet, so as of now, I have to reboot into OS 9 to transfer my images. I am assuming both Apple and Canon are working on this, though, and this problem is probably solved before the end of the month (i hope...).

Further reading

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Poll
Will digital replace 35mm film?
o It already has 11%
o Within a year 9%
o Within 10 years 48%
o It will never replace film 14%
o Who gives a flip? 16%

Votes: 62
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o DPreview's camera review of the D60
o Steves Digicams' review of the D60
o Article about D60 and D1 pictures in Sports Illustrated
o Also by SharQ


Display: Sort:
Affordable Digital SLR for the masses | 75 comments (68 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Resolution; grain. (4.00 / 1) (#2)
by i on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:19:52 AM EST

if you shoot in 800 ISO, the "grain" is significantly less visible than in a 35mm scan with the same ISO values.
What about ISO 100 film? ISO 50?

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

ISO values // Speed of film (none / 0) (#5)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:24:49 AM EST

I suppose I should have addressed that more clearly.

The ISO 100 (slowest value of the cam) is approximately the same as that of ISO 100 of your average consumer film. Mind you, a Fuji Velvia (or similar pro film) would be able to pull more detail out of an image, but also has significantly longer developing times.

The point I tried to make was that on faster ISO values, digital has actually surpassed film photography.

[ Parent ]

Velvia (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:48:11 AM EST

I shoot exclusively on Velvia. I have postponed upgrading to digital mainly because right now it would actually be downgrading, quality-wise.

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


[ Parent ]
You can upgrade right now! (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by i on Wed May 08, 2002 at 09:05:31 AM EST

To medium format :)

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Argh! (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed May 08, 2002 at 09:12:43 AM EST

Hit post instead of preview!

...
Sooo, I'm a serious amateur wannabe pro stock photographer, mainly travel and low-light photography. Velvia is the de facto standard in stock photography, although digital is making an impact.

Does anyone have experience or test results on Velvia vs. digital film? I'm mostly concerned about color saturation, dark area definition, dynamic range and making big (as in .5m x .5m + sized) enlargements out of digis vs. Velvia.

Good drum scanner is 4800+ dpi, which translates to roughly 31 megapixels (based on 24x36mm positive size, if my calculations are correct), which is a far cry from even the high-end professional digital camera.

A quick search on google gave me this, rather outdated comparison, but it doesn't give a flattering picture (get it, picture, photographs) of digital cameras.

Should I even consider getting a digital back for my glass?

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


[ Parent ]
31 mpx is optimistic. (none / 0) (#21)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 09:28:21 AM EST

Yes, with a drum scanner you can pull 4800 dpi out of the negative. However, at 100%, you will see every single grain of the film.

At 6 mpx the grain of 100ISO film becomes visible. For 50iso Velvia, this is at about 13 mpx, if I am not mistaken (these are values I have tested myself in the past, but unfortunately I don't have the actual test data here with me). Scanning any higher resolution than 13 Mpx, therefore, would possibly be a waste.

As for stock photography; I am a bit confused. You talk about scanning 135 velvia, but also digital backs. As far as I know, there are no digital backs worth having for 135 cameras. For medium format, this is something you might consider, but the price factor is disgusting - unless you are either very, very rich, or you make a lot of money from photography.

For most photography (i.e hobby, press etc), digital is more than good enough, but also cheaper and faster.

For specialist photography, such as high quality repro work (product photography, ad campaigns for VERY large format banners and posters), nothing can compete with Velvia medium format (or large format systems)

SQ

[ Parent ]

My thoughts.... (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Profane Motherfucker on Wed May 08, 2002 at 10:58:47 AM EST

I don't see how you could compare Velvia and digicams. What's your goal: niceass butterzone Ilfochrome 10x15 prints hanging in your office/home/selling them? No competition here. You'll never get a nicer print that with good reproduction, and digi stuff is shitty when output. The contrast shoots up, and digi cams have some real issues with contrast. They act like picky slide film, not unlike Velvia -- blowing out the highlights, mainly.

If you want fast reproduction, then go with C-41. I was at a convention a few years back and heinz klutmeier, big shot with Sports Illustrated was asked his thoughts on if SI would ever shoot digital. They shoot ISO100 slide now, and in a hurry had been using C-41 and processing it in a minilab.

Klutmeier's response, nearly verbatim: Digital! Who the fuck can't wait 15 fucking minutes for a picture?!

As a self-proclaimed Profane Motherfucker, this was a memorable event for me.

Most digi stuff is unsuitable for quality reproduction, unless you get a studio digi camera that has the three shot R, G, B, modes. If you have the luxury of shooting a 4x5 on a tripod, then you might be interested. If it's fast and 35mm, I highly doubt you'll be pleased with digi stuff, especially coming from Velvia.

But hey, it's been a while, so perhaps I'm full of poo.

[ Parent ]

Another potentially helpful link (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by MilTan on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:41:41 AM EST

A search on google for my own edification regarding Velvia film turned up this, which may interest you, or anyone who is considering the switch:

http://www.templetons.com/brad/nondig/d30velvia.html

This is a comparison between the D30 and Velvia film. The author doesn't use a full-quality 4800 dpi scanner, but he seems to have his own opinion as to why this is not necessary. I found it more useful for the two/three comparison images than for his commentary - although to recap his conclusion, he thinks the D30 already produced better results than Velvia film, and that a 6 Megapixel camera (read: D60) would lead him to switch completely away from film.

[ Parent ]

Velvia vs. Digital (none / 0) (#44)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:34:36 PM EST

I shoot exclusively on Velvia. I have postponed upgrading to digital mainly because right now it would actually be downgrading, quality-wise.
Check out this webpage: D-30 vs. Provia 100F -- you might be surprised. Why Provia 100F? As he says, "I used this film for the test because it is arguably the finest grained, sharpest ISO 100 speed film available." And the D-60 has twice the resolution of the D-30.

I think that if you're not shooting medium format, the D-60 will not be a step down.

My only problem is: I already have an EOS-5, so it means spending $2300 I don't want to. And that I shoot low-light (no flash), pushing EPH two stops to 1600.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

After further investigation (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by i on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:59:48 AM EST

I found this. Maybe that was the problem? Scanning introduces lots of artifacts when scanner's "grain" and film's grain are of the same order of magnitude, which is apparently the case with ISO 800 films.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
The price of the cam (2.50 / 2) (#4)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:22:23 AM EST

Of course, two grand for a camera is not "affordable for the masses" as such. However, compared to the $10.000 (or even three or four times that amount, a few years ago), "affordable" becomes an usable word.

SQ

Glad you cleared that up... (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by deefer on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:56:57 AM EST

SLR also stands for Self Loading Rifle.

I was getting a bit bothered that you were saying it was "for the masses"...

I remember when the first EOS series cameras hit the market. In the viewfinder, there were 5 hotspots in a horizontal line across the centre of the field of vision. If you looked at one, the camera would highlight it, and adjust so the autofocus would use that as the point of reference. Good kit. Does this version have the hotspot in the viewfinder?


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

Eye-controlled focus points (none / 0) (#14)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:57:09 AM EST

You are referring to the EOS 30 and EOS 3, which have eye controlled focus points.

I tried an EOS 30 for a while (I normally use the EOS 1n - HS), but disliked it strongly. When using the camera in portrait mode (I do that a lot), the auto points don't work too well. Also, I some time use glasses and other times use contacts - which really screws up the eye controlled focus. Also, if you let somebody else use the camera, it will recalibrate (iirc), which means you are back on square 1.

As for your qyestion: No, the EOS D60 doesn't have eye controlled focus point, but it has 3 automatic automatic focus point (which I don't like) and a shortcut button for selecting one of the three points (which I do like)

SQ

[ Parent ]

Eye controlled focus points... (none / 0) (#68)
by bani on Thu May 09, 2002 at 06:54:01 PM EST

My friend has an EOS-3. The eye focus point works for shit if you have glasses (eg not at all).

[ Parent ]
Will digital ever replace film? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by gordonjcp on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:58:56 AM EST

Probably not completely. I suspect that digital will take over the "Instamatic" market completely before long, with cheap but decent USB digital cameras getting cheaper all the time.
However, there are some things that you can only do in chemical photography - although you can mimic certain effects with image processing programs, there's no substitute for the real thing. Digital video is very handy, too, but will probably not totally replace film for serious cinematography. There's something in the "look" of film that makes a difference when you watch it back. Even the best DigiBeta cameras look "home movie"-ish compared with 16mm film, although the quality is much better.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


Cheap? (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by FredBloggs on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:30:06 AM EST

Cheap as in `crap` maybe? How is it that digital cameras are still outrageously expensive? I mean, for ones which are any good? You can get a whole PC including monitor for less than this tiny little box with a couple of meg of ram and a hole in the front. Are hardware manufacturers making PCs as a `loss leader` and reaping back the profits from digital cameras? I think we should be told.

Question for people in the know: I have an APS camera which cost me £140. Its tiny, takes pretty good pictures, and i like it. I want a digital camera to replace it. Same sort of price, same sort of quality. How much am i likely to have to spend? (I dont mind which currency you use!)

[ Parent ]

Not that bad (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by fishpi on Wed May 08, 2002 at 09:06:54 AM EST

If you compare digital cameras with film cameras of equiavalent features, the price difference isn't that bad.Good quality CCDs are expensive (I would guess they are the most expensive component), and you will always pay disproportionately more at the high end of the market as they are not produced in such large numbers. Regarding your APS camera, I got a compact digital zoom (Olympus C-920) for 200 last summer, and added a 64Mb card (stores over 100 pictures) for 20. I'd say the quality is about the same as any zoom compact I've seen (although to be fair none of them compare with a proper SLR). I'm very happy with it for what it is, although I'll use my film SLR when I want quality pictures.

[ Parent ]
The Digital "Look" (none / 0) (#45)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:42:36 PM EST

There's something in the "look" of film that makes a difference when you watch it back.
Yup, six months ago I'd have agreed vehemently with you. The I got to see some images from a D-30. Man, it shocked me, it was as though the world suddenly changed. Apparently the "video look" (or the "digicam look") is due to the CCD imaging element; Canon used a CMOS element and adjusted their de-mosaicing etc. to emulate the "film look" -- and I think they succeeded.

I think when I can justify spending another $2300 on photo equipment I'll have to get one. (Maybe now that the D-30 is discontinued I can pick one up for cheap....)


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Examples? (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:52:21 PM EST

However, there are some things that you can only do in chemical photography

A few examples would be nice.

There's something in the "look" of film that makes a difference when you watch it back

I don't want to sound as if I'm trolling or arguing with you here. But I beleive that this is because the slower frame rate smooths everything out, making it look surreal. And the reason people like it compared to digital is simply because they are used to seeing it that way.

How ever. I do agree that digital will never totaly replace film, just like CDs will never replace vinal.

[ Parent ]

Alright-y (none / 0) (#51)
by gordonjcp on Wed May 08, 2002 at 05:29:13 PM EST

Black and white photography. Yes, you can desaturate and pratt about with the curves to imitate the response of b&w film, but why bother?
Really really long exposure times. You can lock the shutter of a decent SLR and expose for as long as you want. You know those "star circle" pictures in your high-school physics book? That kind of thing. I've taken photos of a couple of comets with a plain ordinary Pentax MX, 50mm lens and 400 asa film by exposing for around 30s (not long enough for streaking though).
Don't get me wrong, I'd love a digital camera. But I would never give up chemical photography.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Some counter-points (none / 0) (#54)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 06:28:47 PM EST

Black and white

yes, I agree. I have spent more hours in a darkroom than I care to remember, and I agree that it is a lot easier to do b/w work with film.

However - In photoshop, if you go to the Channel Mixer (I believe it is Image -> Adjustments -> Channel mixer), you get full control of how much of each colour goes into the black an white image. This means that you are in fact applying coloured filters after you have taken the picture (no more guesswork in if you have to use the red or orange filter). This means that if you create Actions for your various settings, that you can very easily create stunning black and white photographs.

Okay - a lot more hassle than film, but still...

Long shutter times

With the D60 I have tried shutter times up to 6 minutes. No significantly disturbing noise (@100 ISO). Agreed, if you need any longer than that, film would be it. But how often (unless you do astronomy pics or extreme macro) do you use shutter times of longer than 6 minutes?

But I would never give up chemical photography.

I will not :) I still have my medium format and another 35mm outfit :)

But, admittedly, my 35mm has been unused since I got the D60. We'll see in a few months, but I am afraid it will remain where it is for a good long while.

[ Parent ]

Mmmmm.... Medium format... (none / 0) (#55)
by gordonjcp on Wed May 08, 2002 at 06:53:52 PM EST

Mind you, I still (rarely) chuck a roll into my 16mm and shoot some cine film (but at 30 per roll, it's a serious luxury).

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Long exposures (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:12:14 PM EST

I've taken photos of a couple of comets with a plain ordinary Pentax MX, 50mm lens and 400 asa film by exposing for around 30s (not long enough for streaking though).
Do you take exposures long enough for reciprocity failure to be an issue?

Used to be that observatories would have to do all kinds of things like expose the emulsion to hydrogen for a few hours and cool it to LN2 temperatures to be able to take exposures of hours. Today they all use CCDs.

I don't know if the CCDs in cameras are anything like the ones used in astronomy, but CCDs qua CCDs are not the limitation for long exposures.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Digital vs. Chemistry (none / 0) (#60)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:33:17 PM EST

But I beleive that this is because the slower frame rate smooths everything out,
Still photographs have the same property too. The same for TV: stuff shot with TV cameras (CCD imaging elements) looks very different from stuff shot on film and broadcast on TV.

And the reason people like it compared to digital is simply because they are used to seeing it that way.How ever. I do agree that digital will never totaly replace film, just like CDs will never replace vinal.
Yup, it's quite likely that we make these subjective judgements because the look of emulsion is what we're used to. And also that digital will never replace film, CDs vs. vinyl is a good comparison. For me, working in the darkroom is a very different (and enjoyable) experience compared to working on a computer with Photoshop (in my case, The GIMP) and I don't want to give that up.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Something you can never do with digital cameras (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by bart on Sun May 12, 2002 at 10:21:12 AM EST

If you take a fully manual SLR camera like the Pentax K1000 where film winding and rewinding is done with a little lever, you can do something that's impossible to do not only with most (if not all) digital and new SLRs where film handling is automated.

You drop a roll of film into the K1000, leave the lens cap on, and shoot the entire roll.  You then mount the camera on a tripod, take off the lens cap and put the exposure time on Bulb.  Press the button to open the shutter and start rewinding the film at different speeds.

The result is a fun lesson on exposure time and the apparent motion of a still object.  I don't think this experiment has any applications besides education, but it's still something that can't be done with digital cameras.

You could probably use motion blur and dodging filters on the digital photograph to get the same effect, but the essence of the experiment would be lost.

[ Parent ]

Like? (none / 0) (#75)
by bigbtommy on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 11:08:25 PM EST

Like the true grain you get from good emulsions... like Kodak's Tri-X emulsion, or Ilford's Delta emulsion, which although has been simulated in Photoshop won't get anywhere near as good as real film.

The darkroom encourages a lot of chemical-based experimentation techniques, such as lith printing, <a href="http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=003aPB">experimentation with different developers</a> (in that link: coffee, tea and horse urine!! w00t w00t!), and numerous other experiments.

I've done both - and the darkroom has merits that no digital manipulation can compare to.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

What would be really spiffy (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by xriso on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:33:30 AM EST

A digital Polaroid-style camera. i.e. built-in printer. Actually, you could maybe just make a printer add-on that connects to the data port.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
Canon etc. (none / 0) (#13)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:52:29 AM EST

Actually this exists already. Canon makes mini-printers for their IXUS and A/S line of cameras. Ridiculously expensive in use, but the quality is photo quality!

Also, there are attachments for various cameras that will "print" the picture to a polaroid.

SQ

[ Parent ]

Eh? (1.60 / 5) (#22)
by tombuck on Wed May 08, 2002 at 09:37:08 AM EST

I happen to own one of these cameras and nothing you state above is true. Yes, it may have seven-megapixel resolution, but that means shit when the camera's so slack it can't even be bothered to take a picture worth more than a 320x220 picture on the pc.

I mean really, yes digital cameras can be really quite good fun, but this is one over-priced pile of shite that I can't wait to get rid of.

--
Give me yer cash!

Liar. (none / 0) (#24)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:02:19 AM EST

I am sorry. But if you don't manage to get a 320x220 picture out of this camera, you should probably not be let anywhere near any digital equipment. Especially anything that allows you to post on k5.

[ Parent ]
what's your excuse? (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by eLuddite on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:32:09 PM EST

6 MP cameras are not new and were not better than film when they were new. Your article and replies contain more exaggerations, technical inaccuracies and outright boners than is usual for even the most ardent member of the "film is dead" crowd. I really have no interest in debating digital vs film with you, but I did want to let you know that at least one person recognizes your distinct lack of authority on the subject.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

please correct, then. (none / 0) (#43)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:32:04 PM EST

You say there are errors, but not what the errors are and what the facts are. Please tell me.

[ Parent ]
he can't. (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by bani on Thu May 09, 2002 at 06:49:33 PM EST

because there are no errors.

[ Parent ]
Really! (4.50 / 2) (#46)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:49:25 PM EST

Quoth tombuck:
I happen to own one of these cameras and nothing you state above is true. ... this is one over-priced pile of shite that I can't wait to get rid of.
You claim that you own a D-60, and it's crap and you hate it and want to get rid of it? Excellent! I'll take it off your hands -- where are you and how much do you want for it?

Or are you just trolling?


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Canon Sucks (1.71 / 7) (#25)
by Fon2d2 on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:17:06 AM EST

I have never owned or known of somebody that owned a Canon product that did not break down and basically act like a pathetic piece of shit. I had to put up with a Canon printer for most of my time in college and it was always, always acting up. I'm surprised my dad even bought it for me given how poorly the Canon he had performed. Roommates who have owned Canons have had similar shitty experiences. Canon is the Packard Bell of the printing industry and I will never buy or endorse another Canon product ever. I was so happy to finally get an HP printer that just worked. Thank God, it's such a relief to have a decent printer. One thing I cannot fathom is how Canon has managed to stay in business all this time. It simply blows my mind.

HP. (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by ambrosen on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:32:40 AM EST

HP license their printer engines from Canon, so they're the same. Canon cameras are also widely respected, as evidenced by their ability to stay in the top end of the market.

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
Shut up (1.16 / 6) (#30)
by Fon2d2 on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:13:28 PM EST

I don't want to hear your crap. I see through your lies and deception. There's no point trying to fool me. I won't fall for such garbage.

[ Parent ]
Please. (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by ambrosen on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:19:16 PM EST

Feel free to put a smiley in there, so I can be sure you're not being stupid and rude.

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
Please. (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by Fon2d2 on Wed May 08, 2002 at 02:04:33 PM EST

I shouldn't need to explicitly indicate context.

[ Parent ]
Only the lasers, HP builds thier own Inkjets (none / 0) (#61)
by 0xA on Thu May 09, 2002 at 03:07:51 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Well.. (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by henrik on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:46:59 PM EST

Canon's pro and midrange cameras are high quality, and expensive, stuff. You've probably never used one, since you've made a comment like the above, but Canon cameras are the coice of almost every photographer who doesn't use Nikon.

Sure, Canon makes it's share of consumer crap, but you've seem to have had very little exposure to their quality products. Bashing a company like that without any basis seems.. well, stupid :)

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Re: Canon sucks (none / 0) (#48)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 04:58:53 PM EST

I have never owned or known of somebody that owned a Canon product that did not break down and basically act like a pathetic piece of shit.
Well, you don't know me, but I have two Canon EOS bodies and a few EF lenses. I have put them through hell, and they still work just fine. (I have not owned any Canon except for their photo stuff; but this discussion is about a Canon camera.)

I also have a Canon G1 -- that too is fine, except for the boneheaded focusing algorithm. After three months with it, I still cannot reliably predict what it will choose to focus on. (There is no focus target like there is on the EOS bodies.)

Do you have a point?


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Bizarre. Why not a video finder? (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by jet_silver on Wed May 08, 2002 at 11:36:57 AM EST

Why, why do they add the Mickey-Mousery and vibration of a moving mirror and a penta prism to what is basically a fine-grained VTR that only takes stills?

Aside: I own a Nikon F with a Photomic T viewfinder. The camera was built in 1962. It takes excellent pictures, forty years on.

The hassles of an SLR could have been got around easily here, and I don't see what you gain by having an optical rangefinder image when that doesn't matter. The idea behind a (film) SLR is you frame what the film will 'see' and you focus on the lens image because you cannot tell until later what the film recorded. All this stuff is unnecessary when you can get an excellent idea of what the 'film' will see in a digital camera BY USING A DISPLAY IN THE VIEWFINDER. I have a delightful Canon camera called a Powershot A10, and when I really need a picture I use the built-in video screen to see what the focal plane sees.

You even say the camera focuses poorly in low light, so you are not using the SLR advantage of next-to-perfect optical focusing.

The SLR 'feature' here seems utterly pointless.
"What they really fear is machine-gunning politicians becoming a popular sport, like skate-boarding." -Nicolas Freeling

SLR versus compact (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 12:16:41 PM EST

Advantages of having an SLR over a compact:
  • Interchangable lenses (everything from 11 to 1200mm lenses are available)
  • Accurate manual focussing
  • Faster automatic focussing (yes, bad performance in low light, but that is compared to other - much more expensive - SLRs. You cannot focus accurately manually in that kind of darkness (0-0.5 EV) anyway.
  • Bright viewfinder
Advantages of a high-range digital camera over a simple digital camera:
  • Fast flush times (shorter time between each shot)
  • No shutter lag
  • Higher resolution
  • Better performance on long exposures (no noise)
  • Better manual control
  • Faster fastest shutter time (1/4000 for the D60, 1/8000 or 1/12000 (?) for the D1)
.. Although I do realise you are right (Most people won't need any of this - and the camera you mention probably takes as good pictures), for some users, like myself, the above are important things. Also, I like the speed (no developing time) and price of taking pictures (nothing).

I guess it is all a matter of taste.

[ Parent ]

d1 or 1d? (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by henrik on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:42:35 PM EST

> 1/8000 or 1/12000 (?) for the D1 I presume you mean the 1d since you're talking about Canon cameras? It's minimum shutter speed is acctually an amazing 1/16000 of a second thanks to an electronic shutter on the ccd.

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]
Doesn't answer the question (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by gidds on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:59:09 PM EST

Okay, that's why the SLR size is better, but you haven't said anything about the need for the reflex itself.  As the man says, the only reason for a reflex is so that the viewfinder can give exactly the same view as the film; surely a digital viewfinder gives this more accurately, without the need for mirror, prism, etc.?

Andy/
[ Parent ]
Well.. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:20:36 PM EST

The LCD screen on the back is per definition lagged - to be able to take a picture, all the data must be flushed from the screen CCD (or CMOS), then the shot must be taken. Also, even the BEST LCD screens on the backs of cameras are (at best) 0.2 megapixel. The norm is around 120.000 pixels. Furthermore, LCD screens draw a lot more battery, and are very inaccurate for use in low light focus.

Not a bad idea, mind you, but I don't think the LCD technology is good enough - and if it is, it is likely to be very expensive for a while.

Also - to support a heavy object such as a digital SLR (especially if you use 400mm or larger lenses - the whole system can weigh around 5 Kg (11 lbs) without any problem), you would want to hold it close to your body (laws of physics, and all that). This means that an actual little screen on the back of the camera is just problematic. Of course, putting the LCD on the top of the camera somehow would be a solution, but I doubt many photographers are willing to adapt their shooting style for this.

I would love to try a prototype of the kind of camera you mention, to give it a go, but I think that the form factor (i.e shape) of pro cameras won't change any time soon.

[ Parent ]

What a 6 megapixel "film" sees (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by i on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:06:11 PM EST

is not what you see through a 600x400 LCD. Close, but no cigar. Gimme a 6 megapixel LCD viewfinder, then we can talk. (Actually, gimme 25 megapixel viewfinder and sensor. Then I'll dump my film-based gear. Maybe.)

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
600*400 px screen on the back of the cam? Sorry.. (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 01:21:29 PM EST

The resolution of the LCD on the back of digicams is usually approx. 0.12 mpx (200*300 or something like that)..

In other words; It ain't even NEAR 600*400... So a good viewfinder is rather important :


[ Parent ]

the problem with the d60 (4.00 / 3) (#39)
by phork27 on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:01:28 PM EST

the main problem with the d60 is that the cmos sensor is to small for hte amount of pixels they pack into it. Since the pixels are packed so tightly if you use an apperture smaller than f11 your resolution goes down due to diffraction. It would be a far more appealing camera if the sensor had the same number of pixels, but at a larger spacing.
and about the resolution of film, most experts agree that for the quality of a digital camera to equal the quality of a pro-quality 35mm slide it will have to be between 35-45 megapixels, and be 12 bits per channel instead of 8. There is a reason that scans of slides are generally 100-200 megabytes.

Ah.. (none / 0) (#41)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 03:28:42 PM EST

Very good points. Actually, so good that I would love to be directed to a separate article describing this. I don't doubt for a second that you are correct, but I used to run a digital cameras page (digitalkamera.no), and was unaware of the above :)

Also; I have tested the f/11 thing, but haven't actually noticed any loss in quality - nothing other than what is normal with the lenses I am using to begin with. I'll try shots around f/11 and f/22 soon, but (as I said) I haven't noticed anything. I am curious about the physics of this, too, though... How can there be more of a diffraction with a smaller aperture than with a fully open lens?

But I am waaay beyond my area of knowledge in this scepticism, so take all these statements with a pinch of salt :)

[ Parent ]

Diffraction (none / 0) (#50)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 05:15:43 PM EST

I am curious about the physics of this, too, though... How can there be more of a diffraction with a smaller aperture than with a fully open lens?
The other defects (like barrel and pincushion) are worse at wider apertures; diffraction is worse at smaller apertures. The diffraction depends on the physical size of the aperture, not the f/ number. This is why it's common to see f/64 in large-format work.

Also, which lens are you using for testing? Borrow or rent a wide "L" series lens, like the 24mm f/1.4L. (If you own this lens, I'm envious!)


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

I was using a 50/1.4 L (nt) (none / 0) (#52)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 06:11:25 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Duh. Sorry. That should have been 50/1.4. No L. (none / 0) (#53)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 06:19:17 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Re: the problem with the d60 (none / 0) (#49)
by phliar on Wed May 08, 2002 at 05:05:15 PM EST

the main problem with the d60 is that the cmos sensor is to small for hte amount of pixels they pack into it. ... if you use an apperture smaller than f11 your resolution goes down due to diffraction.
Ah! That is good to know. I will definitely perform some tests to see if this might be a problem for me. (Of course since just about all of my shooting is at f/2 or wider -- available light, no flash -- it might be ok for me.)

Another problem with the small imaging element is that if you have a nice wide 24mm lens, it gets turned into a 38mm -- a rather expensive lens that becomes an only slightly wider than normal. Luckily for me I prefer longer lenses so my 100 becomes a 160, which is a perspective I like.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by henrik on Thu May 09, 2002 at 07:20:00 AM EST

> the quality of a pro-quality 35mm slide it will
> have to be between 35-45 megapixels, and be 12
> bits per channel instead of 8. There is a reason
> that scans of slides are generally 100-200
> megabytes.

First, a minor factual correction: the D30, D60, 1d are 12 bits per channel as long as you shoot raw instead of jpeg.

Second, a 40 MP scan of a 35mm slide will just show you every individual grain, it won't give you more resolution. Resolutionwise high quality slide film like fuji velvia is only marginally ahead of todays best digital SLRs, and only at larger print sizes. As long as you don't blow the print up to more than A4 or maybe A3 most (including myself) prefer the smoothy gradients and grain free images of a D60 or D30.

And if you want larger prints than a A3 you should be using medium format gear anyway :)


Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Missing poll option (1.00 / 1) (#56)
by joshjs on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:25:27 PM EST

I think it'll happen, but not within ten years. Over a very long period of time, digital will become super-mainstream. imho. ymmv.

Ten years... (none / 0) (#57)
by SharQ on Wed May 08, 2002 at 07:57:56 PM EST

Ten years ago, the Internet did not exist. The 286 was the hottest thing ever. Digital cameras were unheard of.

In 1996, $500 got you the hottest consumer digital camera ever - A 0,5 megapixel Canon powershot.

In 1999, The Nikon 800 was the hottest of the hottest, and the first 2 mpx cameras started to make their entry

In 2000, the Canon G1 was it. 3 mpx and a hotshoe. Hot stuff!

today, 4, 5 and 5 megapixel cameras are rolling out one after the other, and you can buy decent entry level cameras (such as the Olumpus C-2 etc) with 2 mpx for about $150.

See what has happened in ten years.

I am not saying you are wrong, but if you ask me: If digital is ever going to take over, it will happen within the next five years or so.

[ Parent ]

I see where you're coming from. (nt) (none / 0) (#58)
by joshjs on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:19:20 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Computing timelines (none / 0) (#65)
by meaningless pseudonym on Thu May 09, 2002 at 12:41:29 PM EST

I see your point re: cameras, but really.

You go back to 1992 and try and sell a 286.

486s appeared in 1989, 386s in 1985. The 286 was new in 1982 - when it wasn't that hot unless you were already locked in to x86. Heck, Intel regarded it as a product to help people move from x86 to their spiffy new line of chips...


[ Parent ]

quality of the digital (4.75 / 4) (#62)
by kalamon on Thu May 09, 2002 at 04:42:42 AM EST

For one thing, the resolution of the CMOS chip is better than the "resolution" of 35mm film has ever been. It has been commonly acknowledged that it is pointless to scan a 35mm film in any more than 7 megapixel, because the actual grain in the film starts to show.
First, it is untrue what you say about the resolution. The resolution of a modern film (e.g. Ilford Delta 100 or Kodak Tmax) is far better than that of event the best CMOS sensor. I don't know what is your source of this supposedly "common" knowledge about scanning of the film, but it is not true. Try making 30x40cm prints from an Delta 100 negative - relatively low cost, no grain, top quality. Try the same with digital - you can see individual pixels the size of golf ball :-). And if you increase ISO value then yes, the film is usually grainier, but retains dynamic range and contrast while with digital, if you increase ISO, you lose dynamic range due to noise.

Second, resoultion is not all - dynamic range and contrast is also pretty important. And film is far ahead in this department too.

Third, with film, you can always switch to medium format and leave digital totally in the dust. You can get a decent medium format camera for the price of your D60.

That said, I admit that digital photography has its obvious advantages over film, but image quality is certainly not one of them

Medium format? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by bani on Thu May 09, 2002 at 06:45:11 PM EST

Try digital panorama pics. It's a bit of effort, but you can shoot pictures with arbitrarily high resolution. 80,000 x 60,000 would not be unusual for a panorama shot.

[ Parent ]
Foveon chip (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by bayankaran on Thu May 09, 2002 at 10:43:48 AM EST

If there is no immediate need for a new digital camera, it would be better to wait till cameras with FOVEON chips enter the marketplace.

Sigma already has one...but Sigma is no Canon or Nikon or even Olympus and I cant find a link to that camera.

thanks (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by gps on Thu May 09, 2002 at 07:27:29 PM EST

That's exactly what i was going to mention after just reading the first couple lines of the article.  digital photography has the pixels but it doesn't yet have the dynamic range of film.  8 bits per color channel is just not enough for an original image.  It is fine for the final output that you view.  good scanners give much more than 8 bits per color channel (10 or 12 bits usually).

that said, i still prefer digital for all my photography and my uncle (a professional) uses it for a significant portion of his.

i also dislike the title of this article.  since where are "the masses" the people who would spend $3000 on a camera?  Once a camera like the canon powershot S200 (digital elph) drops below $300, then digital is for the masses.

[ Parent ]

Digital vs film, an objective comparison... (none / 0) (#69)
by bani on Thu May 09, 2002 at 06:57:03 PM EST

Can be found here.

Keep in mind that the review is vs a Canon D30, and the D60 is newer, higher rez, and better.

Digital already rules astronomy... (2.00 / 1) (#70)
by bani on Thu May 09, 2002 at 07:11:12 PM EST

...If film really was better, why have all the pro astronomers been using CCD telescopes for years and years and years?

I expect in 10 years that digital will own a large percentage of the consumer camera industry.

It has made amazing progress in only a few years.

The whinging today from film buffs is similar to the whinging in the 80s from vinyl buffs when CD came out. The parallels are striking.

Plates (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by Graymalkin on Fri May 10, 2002 at 02:08:13 PM EST

Have you ever seen a photographic glass plate from old telescopes? They're expensive and difficult to work with, you also can't use all that cheap and abundant computing power to analyze them. It is a pretty basic notion, CCDs provide much more astronometric bang for their publicly funded dollar. These CCDs are also orders of magnitude better than the pieces of shit in consumer cameras. They're often times liquid cooled to reduce static in images.

You're also saying film buffs have something against digital consumer cameras. That is just retarded. Anyone even moderately interested in photography has a pretty decent SLR camera. You don't go out doing serious shooting with a crappy little automagic 35mm or Advantix camera. Digital cameras are definitely going to hit the consumer market hard, many camera manufacturers are taking the digital market seriously and releasing tons of digital cameras. Until the high end cameras get cheaper and more capable film buffs aren't going to abandon their SLRs. My Rebel 2000 which cost me 360$ including a Sigma 24-80mm lens. It is far more capable than a digital camera of the same price. For 350$ I might end up with a digital camera with an automagic zoom and a megapixel or two. My Rebel can use any EF lens I can get my grubby hands on (anyone selling a 100-300mm telephoto cheap? :). The similarly priced digital camera is stuck with its crappy little zoom lens and can't really be mounted on much.

[ Parent ]

Astronomy and photography are very different (none / 0) (#74)
by bigbtommy on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 11:01:48 PM EST

I'll tell you why - grain isn't always a bad thing. In many cases people actually enjoy grainy photographs. It's called art.

Astronomy is a science. Photography is an art. Therefore their reasoning is different.

I'm not anti-digital. I am pro- whatever works for you. And film works for me. Darkrooms are cheaper - you can now set up a home colour darkroom for under $500.

A good medium format rig will cost you the same as a PC, and will be a hell of a lot more reliable and produce far better images than any digital camera.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

Affordable Digital SLR for the masses | 75 comments (68 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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