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Photography and the web
Web photography - digital or film?
There's no denying that digital cameras have improved immensely over the past few years, with some capable of outputting photographs that rival the quality of film.
Certainly for web use, you'd be hard pressed to find any difference between analogue or digital photography, but you'd be pushing it if you intend to blow up your images to poster size.
As a rough guide, a 2 million pixel camera can produce film quality prints up to 10" x 8".
Most digital cameras proudly display their 'megapixel' resolution values and although it's generally true that the more pixels the better, this figure is not the only consideration.
Colour balance, noise and the quality of the optics all play a part in the overall image quality.
Being able to preview your photos straight after you've taken them is one of the biggest benefits of a digital camera, but the LCD screens can be a huge drain on your batteries.
Look out for digital cameras that also feature power-saving optical viewfinders and be prepared to shell out for extra batteries and more storage - some cameras can conk out pretty quick and only store a handful of images.
The biggest drawback to digital photography is the hefty price tag of cameras. There are a few cheapo digital cameras around, but in my experience they can prove a false economy (i.e. they're crap) - expect to pay £300 upwards for reliable results.
If that kind of money's making your eyes water, you may want to consider getting a second hand film camera. Some of these represent outstanding value, capable of producing top flight results for very little outlay.
Tip: For fast action or night shots, there are some distinct advantages to using film. Using ISO 800 colour film or ISO 3200 B&W won't bring down your image quality much, but boosting a digital camera to ISO 400 equivalent will introduce lots of colour noise (although some of the more expensive digital cameras are using techniques to effectively combat this problem).
Article © Mike Slocombe 2001
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