PDA

View Full Version : Help!! Newsletter photos are terrible!!



snowowl
08-15-2004, 01:32 PM
I work for a nonprofit org. and the dig. photos in the newsletter are terrible. The pixels in the photos are visible.

A donor agreed to buy us a better camera. What do I look for? Photos are taken at indoor meetings and outdoor events. We print in black and white and give a camera ready copy to our printer. Any suggestions? Also, are higher megapixels necessarily better? :confused:

Thanks a lot for any advice.

speaklightly
08-16-2004, 08:44 AM
There are more than a few variables within your question.

(1) What has your printer told you will improve the photos?
(2) What kind of digital camera are you now using for your photos?
(3) What is the experience level of the person taking your photos?

Without more info, we are somewhat handicapped. At first glance, I would hazard the generalized opinion that either the Kodak DX-7440 or the HP R707 would measurably improve things for you. However, please give us some more info. It may be as simple as the fact bthat your printer has some very specific requirements>

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
08-16-2004, 10:41 AM
I work for a nonprofit org. and the dig. photos in the newsletter are terrible. The pixels in the photos are visible.

A donor agreed to buy us a better camera. What do I look for? Photos are taken at indoor meetings and outdoor events. We print in black and white and give a camera ready copy to our printer. Any suggestions? Also, are higher megapixels necessarily better? :confused:

Thanks a lot for any advice.

I doubt that you will need a camera with more than about 3 megapixels and 3X optical zoom. The HP and Kodak cameras that Sarah has recommended will work fine for your needs.

But you may also want to consider that the $250 Canon A75 will meet all of your requirements and save you about $75 to $100. It uses low cost AA rechargable batteries, and low cost complact flash memory. A very economical, high performing, digital camera.

judge9847
08-16-2004, 10:42 AM
You also need to consider how your photos are being prepared for publication, i.e. via Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro or Picture It! or whatever software it is that's being used.

Are the photos being over-optimized so as to reduce them to a certain size? Are you using jpegs or some other format for your pictures.

If you could post a sample of an image straight out of the camera and also the result of whatever post-processing that's done you'd certainly be able to get a lot of help.



We print in black and white and give a camera ready copy to our printer.

It would also be useful if you could post a sample of what you mean by giving a camera ready copy to your printers ... that kind of doesn't make a lot of sense, if you don't mind me saying so.

snowowl
08-16-2004, 03:30 PM
I hope I can answer your questions.
(1) Our printer hasn't told us anything. He tells us they are terrible when we bring the copy to him. We place the photo in the copy before we bring the copy to him. They are terrible at that point.
(2) I asked my co-worker about her camera. This is her reply: "My camera is a Sony model MVC-FD85. It doesn't tell how many pixels the
camera is. I can adjust the image size ranging from 640 x 480 to 1280 x 960.
The picture I sent you from my camera was at 1024 x 768. I hope this helps."
(3) I think the exp. is average for a film camera and this was a new digital a few years ago. Thanks so much.

There are more than a few variables within your question.

(1) What has your printer told you will improve the photos?
(2) What kind of digital camera are you now using for your photos?
(3) What is the experience level of the person taking your photos?

Without more info, we are somewhat handicapped. At first glance, I would hazard the generalized opinion that either the Kodak DX-7440 or the HP R707 would measurably improve things for you. However, please give us some more info. It may be as simple as the fact bthat your printer has some very specific requirements>

Sarah Joyce

snowowl
08-16-2004, 03:32 PM
:) Thanks, I appreciate your response.


I doubt that you will need a camera with more than about 3 megapixels and 3X optical zoom. The HP and Kodak cameras that Sarah has recommended will work fine for your needs.

But you may also want to consider that the $250 Canon A75 will meet all of your requirements and save you about $75 to $100. It uses low cost AA rechargable batteries, and low cost complact flash memory. A very economical, high performing, digital camera.

snowowl
08-16-2004, 03:37 PM
When we worked with black and white film photos, we gave the photo to the printer and he had negatives made. He placed the photo where we wanted it in the newsletter. Well, most of the time--once in awhile there was a surprise!

Now we place the digital photo in the newsletter and give it to him ready to print (not zerox).

We do make the images smaller and a volunteer used Photoshopto format the pictures. We are using jpegs.

I had the person who takes the photos email me a photo but I think you want one directly from her camera. I'll see what I can do.


You also need to consider how your photos are being prepared for publication, i.e. via Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro or Picture It! or whatever software it is that's being used.

Are the photos being over-optimized so as to reduce them to a certain size? Are you using jpegs or some other format for your pictures.

If you could post a sample of an image straight out of the camera and also the result of whatever post-processing that's done you'd certainly be able to get a lot of help.




It would also be useful if you could post a sample of what you mean by giving a camera ready copy to your printers ... that kind of doesn't make a lot of sense, if you don't mind me saying so.

speaklightly
08-16-2004, 05:05 PM
Firstly, I believe that you need more digital photo resolution (a different digit camera). Secondly, (and for this I am somewhat handicapped due to the lack of a sample photo from your "staff" photographer) I believe the digital camera skills might have to be upgraded somewhat. Finally, please have somebody who is fairly knowledgeable in digital photo editing "tweak" (process) the digital photos you want to use in your newsletter so that they have good to excellent contrast and are very, very sharp.

You should definitely change digital cameras. The suggested Kodak DX-7440 and the HP R707 are digital cameras with a higher resolution that should improve matters but keep in mind that you are still at risk due to the skill of the "staff" photographer, and the experience and skill of the person "tweaking" or processing your digital photos.

I hope that helps a bit.

Sarah Joyce

judge9847
08-16-2004, 06:57 PM
We do make the images smaller and a volunteer used Photoshopto format the pictures. We are using jpegs.

I'd agree with Sarah here - I reckon it could be "operator error" when using Photoshop. It can be a really difficult piece of software to handle if you're not sure of yourself, especially the earlier versions. There are other, simpler (and cheaper" :) ) photo editors which will produce the results that you want.


I had the person who takes the photos email me a photo but I think you want one directly from her camera. I'll see what I can do.

That would be really great! If you get a problem with file size and posting to this forum let me know and we can make other arrangements. And it would be really useful as well if you can let us see the one that's been emailed. :)

snowowl
08-17-2004, 04:30 AM
[QUOTE=snowowl]I just bought a Nikon Coolpix 3200--that I'm trying to see how it works. Is this as good as the Kodak that you suggest.

speaklightly
08-17-2004, 09:38 AM
Please take a good look at the digital camera review of the Nikon 3200 that Jeff did right here on www.dcresource.com. You will be able to learn a great deal by just reading the review. The digital camera is an average point and shoot. It does much better outside than inside due to it somewhat weak flash. So the person who holds the title of "staff " photographer must take that factor into consideration when taking the digital photos.

Sarah Joyce

snowowl
08-17-2004, 10:10 AM
:) Thanks again. I've been reading the reviews and will take back the Nikon Coolpix and either get the Kodak DX -7440 or the HP R707

I also looked at the review for the Canon A75 it was written that there are 3 jpeg quality levels. What does this mean and is it important to me.

Thanks so very much!! Also I was told not to buy a name brand camera from wallmart that you are getting a name brand camera made to Walmart cheaper specifications. Have you heard this? There is no camera shop in town. Thanks again.

speaklightly
08-17-2004, 11:11 AM
Snow Owl-

You might take a look at the digital camera review on the Nikon 3200 right on this website. It will help you with learning this new digital camera.

The review characterizes the Nikon3200 as an average point and shoot digital camera. It does well outdoors. However, due to its weak flash, does not do very well with inside digital photos done with flash.

Please make whomever might be taking your digital photos aware of this characteristic weak flash. Otherwise you are going to have underexposed, dark to very dark digital photos for your newsletter. If you attempt to use the Nikon 3200 to photograph larger groups of people you will have to make adjustments. The flash on the Nikon 3200 will reach out only to approximately 10 feet. In short, the Nikon 3200 is not your ideal indoor digital camera. Just be very careful please.

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
08-17-2004, 12:52 PM
:) Thanks again. I've been reading the reviews and will take back the Nikon Coolpix and either get the Kodak DX -7440 or the HP R707

I also looked at the review for the Canon A75 it was written that there are 3 jpeg quality levels. What does this mean and is it important to me.

Thanks so very much!! Also I was told not to buy a name brand camera from wallmart that you are getting a name brand camera made to Walmart cheaper specifications. Have you heard this? There is no camera shop in town. Thanks again.

1. The 3 JPEG levels are superfine, fine, and normal. This compares to the amount of compression which affects the quality of the saved image. superfine is the lowest compression, highest quality, and largest file.

There are 3 resolution settings as well: Large (3.2 MegaPixel), Medium 1 (2MegaPixel) Medium 2 (~1MegaPixel) and Small (VGA 640 x 480).

I've never figured out why they still offer these lesser resolutions, as they are worthless. Why would I buy a 3.2 MegaPixel camera and then use it as a 2 MegaPixel (or smaller) camera?

All digital cameras have these type of settings choices. They are not unique to Canon.

Note:

I always recommend taking the original picture in the best possible resolution, so the original is the best it can be. You can always shrink-to-fit (and save to a separate file), but you can't go back and make the image better.

One of the nice things about cameras that use Compact Flash memory is that it is cheap, so you can buy a larger card and use the best quality setting.

2. Since you mentioned it. You should seriously consider the Canon A75.

3. Wal-Mart does not get special "spec" cameras from the major camera companies. If they receive "refurbished" cameras they must sell them as refurbished. The discount at Wal-Mart is no deeper than on-line discounters, their volumes just carry a "big stick". The camera guys sell mostly their low-end or "push" product through Wal-Mart and even Target. Incidentely, this includes some pretty good cameras.

Hope that helps. Have fun, and good shooting.

snowowl
08-17-2004, 02:37 PM
Thanks, George. The Nikon is going back tomorrow and I'm again reviewing the specs on the Kodak D-7440, HP R707 and the Canon A75. I need to look at types of batteries again. The Prop. are really expensive and sometimes having elec. to charge is also a problem. Have to give that some thought.

Thanks to everyone! I've learned so much on this site.

speaklightly
08-17-2004, 03:47 PM
Snow Owl-

Check out the digital camer review on the Nikon 3200 published right on this website. It might help you learn your new digital camera. Paraphrasing from the review: "...the Nikon 3200 is an average point and shoot digital camera...digital photo quality is good outdoors, but is only average or below indoors due to the weak flash on this digital camera."

If your staff photographer is going to be taking digital photos of large groups indoors using flash, some compensations will have to be made or else your digital photos will be measurably underexposed and quite dark.

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
08-17-2004, 04:34 PM
Thanks, George. The Nikon is going back tomorrow and I'm again reviewing the specs on the Kodak D-7440, HP R707 and the Canon A75. I need to look at types of batteries again. The Prop. are really expensive and sometimes having elec. to charge is also a problem. Have to give that some thought.

Thanks to everyone! I've learned so much on this site.

The Kodak and the HP both use proprietary batteries. And both use SD/MMC for memory cards. The SD cards are getting cheaper, but Compact Flash is really inexpensive. I just picked up a 256MB for $14.99 and a 512MB for $34.99 at Fry's after rebates. But even without rebates they were $29.99 and 59.99.

I would recommend the MAHA C204F charger, no matter what batteries you get. It is designed to use the full capacity of your batteries without over or under charging. I have used mine (3) for 6 years, and nearly 700,000 miles of travel, and they have never let me down. You'll find it, and NiMH batteries, at:

http://nimhbattery.com/maha-mh-c204f.htm - charger
http://nimhbattery.com/batteries.htm - batteries

Two of the main reasons I'm always recomending the A75 is that it has all of the right stuff. High quality images, full auto or manual modes, AF Illuminator, and it uses AA rechargables, and Compact Flash. So, not only is it a high quality camera that's cheap to buy, but it's also cheap to feed.

snowowl
08-18-2004, 04:36 AM
HI George, Thanks so much for recent reply and info. Printed reply so I can have it handy. I hate to ask more questions because it shows how little I know. What is an AF Illuminator and what is a Compact Flash?

Thanks again and I'll let you all know what I get.

Oh, we are going with a new printer. The man that is doing the printing hasn't upgraded his equipment in years. We are going with a small company that can receive the newsletter electronically.

snowowl
08-18-2004, 04:40 AM
Thanks for all the advice.

I'll let you all know which camera I buy.

We are going with a new printer. The man that is doing the printing hasn't upgraded his equipment in years. We are going with a small company that can receive the newsletter electronically.

Thanks again.

Please take a good look at the digital camera review of the Nikon 3200 that Jeff did right here on www.dcresource.com. You will be able to learn a great deal by just reading the review. The digital camera is an average point and shoot. It does much better outside than inside due to it somewhat weak flash. So the person who holds the title of "staff " photographer must take that factor into consideration when taking the digital photos.

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
08-18-2004, 06:32 AM
HI George, Thanks so much for recent reply and info. Printed reply so I can have it handy. I hate to ask more questions because it shows how little I know. What is an AF Illuminator and what is a Compact Flash?

Thanks again and I'll let you all know what I get.

Oh, we are going with a new printer. The man that is doing the printing hasn't upgraded his equipment in years. We are going with a small company that can receive the newsletter electronically.

Sorry to take a while to answer. I have a new lens and have been shooting everything in (or out of) sight.

1. An AF Illuminator is generally a light on the camera that shines briefly in low light conditions so that the camera can focus (Auto Focus Illuminator). I rarely recommend a camera that does not have this feature as my old Nikon 990 would drive me crazy "hunting" for focus in dim conditions.

2. Compact Flash, or CF is a memory card format. Others that are common are SD (Secure Digital), XD (don't know what it stands for), MS (Memory Stick - Sony), and SM (Smart Media - is being phased out in favor of XD).

CF comes in 2 versions CF I and CF II. Typically CF I is the primary format. CF II is about the same length and width, but is a few mm thicker to accomodate Micro Drives (very small disk drives) and larger memory arrays. Many cameras will accept either, but for consumer cameras it does not really matter. 90% of the available Compact Flash memory cards are CF I. For sanity sake you should probably buy 256MB (~160 pictures - Superfine mode) or 512MB (320 pictures in SF mode). You could use 128MB cards as well, but 256MB is usually just a few dollars more. Remeber, the more you take, the more you have to review, edit, and title (hence the sanity statement).

Hope this additional info helps. Good luck with the new printer. I don't think the camera will be part of the problem in the future.

speaklightly
08-18-2004, 10:43 AM
Snow Owl-

Learning your new Nikon 3200 might become a faster process if you referred to the digital camera review of the Nikon 3200 post right here on this website.

It is a good review, I have read it. It will give you some good hints, such as the fact that the Nikon 3200 has a weak flash. That means that your "staff photographer" will have to compensate for that weak flash. Otherwise, you will end up with underexposed, dark, digital photos.

Sarah Joyce

snowowl
08-24-2004, 05:48 PM
HI Guys, I read Steve's reviews and I found all three cameras that you recommended. The Canon A75, Kodak DX7440 and the HP R707. The Canon A75 was in the same category as the one I returned. I really liked the HP R707 review but when I saw the camera I didn't like the feel of it and also it has no grip area. So I bought the Kodak DX7440. Great grip area and the buttons are slightly raised and easy to use. The photos are fantastic and I even experimented with a short video. Plugged the camera into the TV and we could hear the lapping of the water against the shore. The mike is great and visually I couldn't be more pleased. Thanks for all your help and now I need to learn how to use it. I love the easy screen features and I can even take a photo of a document!! Can't thank you all enough and I have told everyone who sees the camera about this site. :)

speaklightly
08-24-2004, 06:08 PM
Hi Snow Owl-

I am really glad that you found exactly what you wanted. I own the Kodak DX-7440 and that is why I suggested it to you. Please come back again if we can help you.

Sarah Joyce

Euan
08-25-2004, 01:30 AM
I bought the Kodak DX7440. Great grip area and the buttons are slightly raised and easy to use. The photos are fantastic and I even experimented with a short video. Plugged the camera into the TV and we could hear the lapping of the water against the shore. The mike is great and visually I couldn't be more pleased. Thanks for all your help and now I need to learn how to use it. I love the easy screen features and I can even take a photo of a document!! Can't thank you all enough and I have told everyone who sees the camera about this site. :)
Glad you like it. That's one I've been looking at for sometime now. Just waiting on my local Jessops getting some in so I can go and have a look at them!