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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 05, 2006

Guardian Garbles a letter

I was mildly incensed by an article in the Guardian before Xmas on digital photography without a flash. It came across to me as an example of somebody's mate buying a new camera and turning it into a newspaper article, without bothering to do any actual research or know anything about the subject.

Today, the Guardian prints my letter on the article (scroll down), but of course completely garbles it in the editing. I should have written less, but it's a subject demanding at least, you know, a column, of properly researched material, which is what they didn't provide in the first place.

Here is my original text, in which you'll note that Konica-Minolta is a single (albeit merged) company).

I though David Hewson's article on digital photography without a flash
was interesting, but it didn't really give a full picture (ahem), and
came across more as an advertorial for Fuji cameras, which I - for one
- have tried on several occasions (I work for a dealer, so I borrow
them to test) and have always found disappointing.

I think that Fuji's haxagonal CCD technology, whilst a clever idea, is
poor in execution, and Fuji shots are typically soft - looking out of
focus at their worst.

There are two main issues with low-light digital photography, both of
which Hewson mentions. One is noise, and the other is camera shake.

Noise in a digital shot is simply caused by squeezing too many photo
elements into too small a sensor. This is why a 6 megapixel digital
SLR will produce a cleaner image than an 8 megapixel compact: the
sensor in the SLR is bigger.

Compact cameras can't have bigger sensors without compromising battery
life - but Sony have just released a model (the DSC-R1) with a low
power consumption APS-sized sensor*, which other manufacturers will
surely adopt.

A larger sensor is one option, so if you're serious about low-light
photography, get an SLR or a compact with the new Sony sensor.

The other thing to look for is anti-shake technology. Technological
leaders in this field are Konica-Minolta, who use the technology in
their SLR and compact models. I have taken photographs with the K-M
A200 (8 megapixels) at shutter speeds as low as 1/6th (one sixth!) of
a second, hand-held, with beautiful results.

(Here

Here's one at 1/10th)

Canon are another manufacturer offering anti-shake in some models.
Photography starts with the lens, and in common with many
photographers I prefer the lenses made by the likes of Zeiss (as used
by Sony), Minolta, Canon, or Nikon, etc.

Will I never learn?

*I should have added that the new sensor in the R1 is a CMOS-type rather than CCD. It's generally reckoned that CCD technology is better - at the same size - than CMOS. But because CMOS uses less power, the chips can be bigger, which more than compensates for their supposed inferiority over CCDs. Canon were pioneers with CMOS, and Sony's adoption of the technology is significant, because many other manufacturers use Sony sensors.

3 Comments:

  • By Blogger OORANOS, at 12:32 am  

  • I guess the lesson is that less is more, at least when it comes to being reprinted in print. Your letter got chopped about because we're limited by physical space - unlike here on the web. I'm actually thinking that it would be good to "print" the letters we do get somewhere on the Gdn website; then we could run them full-length, in all their sense or non-sense, and extract them in print.

    Nice blog, btw. And of course Lost had the full set when it came to racial identity, eh?

    By Anonymous Charles, at 8:22 am  

  • Thanks, Charles, and thanks for visiting. Indeed, Lost ticked all the boxes - even saw the plot potential in cultural differences.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 8:49 am  

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