Contents

 

Compositions

Camera Types

Camera Controls

Shutter Speed

Lenses Angle of View / Focal Length

Lens Types

Lens Controls

Depth of Field

F numbers

Exposure Metering

Bracketing

Film construction

Types of Film

Film Speed

Film Latitude

Film Spectral Sensitivity

Film Contrast

Filter Types

Flash and Studio Flash

 

Paper: Digital Photography

 

Assignment: Colourful Fruit

 

Appendix a – Shutter Speed Examples

Appendix b – Perspective and Camera Position

Appendix c – Depth of Field Experiments

Appendix d – Use of Grey Card and Filters

Appendix e – Film Types

Appendix f – Under and Over Exposure

Appendix g – Infra Red Film

Appendix h – Examples of Studio Flash

Appendix i – Examples of Digital Photography


Camera Types

 

Cameras are available in a variety of designs and film formats to accommodate a wide range of applications. The five main types are as follows:

 

Single Lens Reflex

 

The single lens reflex or SLR camera is a very common design, which uses a pentaprism, allowing the operative to view ‘through the lens’ using a mirror. At the point that the button is pressed the mirror lifts up out of the way and allows the image to be projected onto the focal plane. Some SLRs have a mirror, which drops down to allow the use of very wide-angle lenses. Most SLR’s use a focal plane shutter, which is either a curtain (fabric) type or a metal type. The advantage of this is that each lens does not have to contain a shutter mechanism and thus reduces the cost of each lens. Shutters can be either mechanically timed or electronic. The latter obviously requires batteries and is often regarded as a disadvantage. Film is advanced and rewound via a manual winder or an electronic motor wind. In addition the cameras will have a method of assessing and setting the film speed (modern electronic cameras use optical DX coding to automatically set the ASA or film speed, older cameras are set manually. Flash sockets for the use of external flash guns and studio equipment are also normal.

 

SLR formats

 

35mm

Designed to utilise a 35mm cartridge film. This is by far the most common type of SLR. Popular brands of 35mm SLR are:

 

          Nikon

          Pentax

          Minolta

          Canon

 

Medium Format

Designed to use 120 roll film. Medium format cameras are used by professionals who require a larger film area for more ambitious prints and for digital scanning. The 120 roll film will support many configurations in the medium format range:

 

          6cm x 4.5cm

          6cm x 6cm

          6cm x 7cm

          6cm x 9cm

 

Popular brands of Medium format SLRs are

 

          Hasselblad

          Pentax

          Mamiya

          Bronica

 

Twin Lens Reflex

 

The twin lens reflex camera works in a very similar way to an SLR with the exception that the lens unit contains two lenses, one for the film and one to look through. The need for a movable mirror is therefore negated, however it does mean that the lenses are more costly to manufacture. The advantage of this system is that the user does not loose sight of the object as the mirror lifts, but this advantage is offset by parallax error created by one lens being on top of the other. Parallax error is accentuated when objects are closer to the camera. Most TLR’s do not have interchangeable lenses and are limited in flexibility.

 

TLR formats

 

The majority of TLR’s are medium format and 6x6 format. There are a few

Exceptions such as a mini Rolleiflex. Popular brands are:

 

          Rollei

          Mamiya

          Seagull

          Yashica

 

Rangefinder

 

A rangefinder camera is light, small and quiet in comparison with an SLR or TLR, the operator views through a sighting lens which does not ‘look down’ the lens, so it does not require a pentaprism or mirror. It has some disadvantages as a result of this, the main one is parallax error which is generated by having the viewing lens offset from the lens. Some cameras have lines ground into the viewing lens to assist in the sighting. In addition to parallax error, the rangefinder also has to use a device to measure the distance to the object which the operator is focussing and then the lens is set accordingly. This device is unsurprisingly called a ‘rangefinder’. Rangefinders are often used in reportage photography due the light, quiet nature and often the camera is completely mechanical with the exception of the light meter.

 

Rangefinder formats

 

Rangefinder cameras are available in a variety of formats from the 35mm ‘happy snappy’ and disposable camera, and the panoramic ‘X-Pan’ type cameras. In addition there are 6x7 and 645 medium format cameras available from Mamiya, Fuji and the like.

 

Digital

 

Digital cameras are different from normal film cameras in that the data is stored in electronic format as opposed to film. Digital cameras are available in rangefinder and SLR style, the latter being very expensive. Many medium format cameras with removable backs have digital backs made for them. The media is often a smart card or CDR in the cas of new Mavicas, which allows portability or directly connected to a computer for higher resolution photography. This course module is an introduction to photography using traditional means and an in depth discussion of digital media is not needed.

 


Monorail

 

A monorail camera is a type of large format camera which uses sheet film usually 5”x4” or 10”x8”. There are other film sizes available but not often used. A monorail or technical camera is a completely different camera to those discussed previously, they are technically demanding to use, very heavy and not very portable, cost a great deal of money and in general are not used by hobbyists. However there is no doubt that in terms of quality, creativity and flexibility these cameras are second to none. The general construction is a lens board and a backboard (which houses the viewing screen and the film) connected by a set of light tight bellows and mounted on the rail. The boards have independent movement up, down, tilting and swivelling and also longitudinally along the axis of the rail. Lenses are changeable via the lens board and the shutters are all of leaf type. The operation of these cameras is entirely manual and requires a good deal of skill.

 

Makers of Monorail cameras:

 

Cambo

Sinar

etc

 

Field Camera

 

A field camera operates very much like a monorail camera but is smaller, lighter and designed for portability! The movements are restricted due to the ‘box’ construction which enables the camera to be folded away for transport.

 

Makers of Field cameras

 

Linoff

Polaroid


Camera Controls

 

 

Important parts of the camera are:

 

1.     Film rewind crank – for rewinding the film after use

2.     ASA setting ring – this interacts with the light meter for calculating the automatic shutter speeds in Aperture Priority Auto mode

3.     EV +/- ASA dial lock – this allows the EV (exposure value) to be set up or down using the calculated EV as a base.

4.     Hot Shoe – for housing a flash unit

5.     Shutter speed selection dial – shutter speed is the time that the film is exposed to the light.

6.     Shutter release button – the button which opens the shutter

7.     Film advance lever – winds on the film to the next frame.

8.     Multiple exposure button – depressed to prevent the film from being wound on despite the shutter being re-cocked.

9.     Frame counter – displays how many frames of the film have been used.

10.                        Carry Strap bracket – for attaching a strap

11.                        Depth of Field preview – allows the user to view though the lens with the aperture ring stopped down.

12.                        Self Timer – delays the shutter release from the depression of the button.

13.                        Lens release lever – allows the fitted lens to be removed.

14.                        Focusing ring – facilitates focusing

15.                        DOF indicator – Gives a visual indication of the depth of field

16.                        Aperture ring – changes the aperture of the lens

17.                        Exposure lock – when using auto exposure mode this allows the user to read the light from one view and carry the settings to another view

18.                        X synch socket – for connecting studio flash

 

 

 

19. Film chamber – 35mm film canister sits here

20. Metal focal plane shutter – the shutter is a multipart shutter made from metal as opposed to a curtain type

21. Viewfinder eyepiece – allows the user to view the picture

22. Sprocket teeth – ensures correct alignment of the film

23. Take-up spool – winds the film onto the spool as the film is advanced.

24. Film pressure plate – keeps the film flat and true ducting exposure

25. Camera back - cover

26. Power winder coupler – allows a motor wind on to be fitted

27. Rewind button – allows the film to be rewound

28. Film rail – keeps the film in line

29. Film guide rail – keeps the film in line

30. Tripod socket – permits the camera to attach to a tripod

31. Battery chamber cover – houses the battery for the light meter

32. Power winder electronic contacts – allows a motor wind on to be fitted

 

 


Shutter Speeds

 

The shutter speed is the amount of time the film is exposed to the image through the lens. Modern cameras allow shutter speeds from 1/2000th second to several seconds. The shutter speed for a correct exposure is inversely proportional to the aperture. The actual numbers given for a shutter speed are normally incremented in ‘stops’. One stop higher is twice the duration and therefore 1 stop lower is half the duration. My camera has the following settings:

 

1/1000th sec

1/500th sec

1/250th sec

1/125th sec

1/60th sec

1/30th sec

1/15th sec

1/8th sec

¼ sec

½ sec

1 sec

2 sec

4 sec

Bulb – manual control for very long exposures.

 

It stands to reason that the longer the shutter is open for, the more light will be exposed to the film, so a correct shutter speed can be calculated for a given aperture in a given light level. For example:

 

Sutter Speed

Aperture

1/125th sec

F 2.8

1/60th sec

F 4.0

1/30th sec

F 5.6

1/15th sec

F 8.0

1/8th sec

F 11.0

¼ sec

F 16.0

½ sec

F 22.0

 

Will all give the same exposure to the film. Using the shutter speed selector, the picture can be modified to give the desired effect for the photograph. Fast shutter speeds can freeze the action of fast moving objects such as sporting events or scientific applications. Slow shutter speeds can record the activity over long periods of time such as waterfalls, car headlights etc.

 

See appendix a for examples of shutter speed


Lenses

 

Traditionally lenses were single pieces of glass ground to a bi-convex disc which forced light to converge to a single point. This is known as a ‘simple’ lens, which has inherent image inaccuracies in the photographic arena. The focal length of the lens is the distance from the centre of lens to the point at which light coming from infinity converges to a single point as illustrated in this diagram:

 

 

In modern photography compound lenses are used to correct the optical imperfections of the simple lens. The compound lens is made up of several elements which means that it has no centre point. The calculated centre point is known as the rear nodal plane. This has the interesting characteristic if not necessarily being in the vicinity of the lens in all instances. This diagram illustrates the point:

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Lens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compound Lens

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, compound lenses have other inherent problems, mainly that of inter element reflection. Most lenses now are called coated or multicoated lenses, which minimise internal reflection. The advantage of the compound lens is that a 300mm lens does not have to be 300mm way from the focal plane of the camera, which makes lenses smaller and lighter. Conversely it is possible to produce wide-angle lenses with focal lengths of 20mm and below, this would be a problem as most SLR cameras have a space of at least 20mm between the focal plane and the lens mount.

Lens resolution is measured in Lines per inch, but since the advent of CAD in lens manufacture, the lens resolution has outstripped the ability of most film to render the resolution.

 

Lens focal length is proportional to image size and is therefore oblivious to the format of the camera. So as a result, a standard lens on each format of camera is different. This is generally calculated as the diagonal of the film size eg 60 mm x 70 mm using Pythagoras’ theorem the diagonal will be Ö602 + 702 = 92.2 = 90mm

 

Types of Prime Lens Table

 

35mm Lens Range

Focal Length

FishEye

~18mm

Ultra Wide

~20mm

Wide Angle

28 – 35mm

Standard

50mm

Telephoto

50 + mm

 

645 Lens Range

Focal Length

FishEye

30mm

Ultra Wide

35-45 mm

Wide Angle

45 – 55mm

Standard

80mm

Telephoto

80 + mm

 


 

Viewing angles

The angle of view of a lens is dictated by its focal length. The longer the focal length, the narrower the field of view. The illustration on the right gives a graphic indication of the angle for a 35mm camera.

 

It should be noted that although the viewing angles change with the focal length, an object taken with at distance a with a 50 mm lens will not produce the same result taking the same picture with a 28mm lens from closer in.

 

Please see appendix b for examples of Perspective and Camera Position

 


Lens Types

 

The lens discussed previously have all been of Prime type, however there are several types which are described below:

 

Prime Lenses

 

Prime lenses are those with fixed focal length. Generally these prime lenses are faster and are of better quality than the other types. An explanation of faster is given later.

 

Zoom Lenses

 

A zoom lens has a variable focal length, for instance 28-70mm which allows the user to select the appropriate focal length for the task in hand. These lenses are relatively slow in comparison to prime lenses.

 

Fisheye Lenses

 

Although fisheye lenses are generally prime, it should be noted that these lenses are ‘uncorrected’ which means that the lines are not optically forced straight.

 

Shift Lenses

 

A shift lens allows the user to simulate the rise and fall of a technical camera on an SLR. Shit lenses are offensively expensive and have very specialised applications such as architectural photography.

 

Macro Lenses

 

A macro lens permits the photography of extreme close up shots. Macro facility is added to many zoom lenses. To convert a prime lens to macro the focal distance needs to be increased either by extension rings or bellows.

 

Mirror Lenses

 

Mirror lenses are long lenses which are made more portable by using a mirror to bounce the light up and down the length of the barrel to simulate a longer barrel. Using this method a 500mm telephoto lens can be made 150mm long.


Lens Controls

 

Depending on how wealthy you are the lens will have some or all of the following controls:

 

Focusing Ring

The focusing ring allows the operator to fine adjust the focus of the image. This process is normally aided by a focusing aid built into the camera.

 

Aperture Adjustment Ring

The aperture adjustment ring allows the ‘F stop’ of the lens to be selected.

 

Shutter Speed

Cameras that do not have focal plane shutters control the exposure time from a leaf shutter in the lens. This is an attribute of large format and some medium format cameras.

 

 

Pentax 50mm Lens
Depth of Field

 

Depth of field is the area of the photograph, which is acceptably focused. The depth of field decreases with an increase in focal length. This chart is calculated from focusing the lens to 5’ and set at F22:

 

Focal Length of Lens

Range of Sharp Focus

20mm

1.5’ – infinity

28mm

2.5’ – infinity

35mm

3’-20’

50mm

4’-8’

85mm

4.5’-5.7’

135mm

4.9’-5.2’

 

This chart is supplied by Mamiya for the 645 Super:

 

 

 

 

Most 35 mm/ Medium Format lenses have a depth of field scale on the barrel which is used when the lens has been focused – see diagram.

 

 

 

 

Hyperfocal distance

 

When a lens is set to infinity focus at a given aperture, the nearest point to the camera which is acceptably sharp is known as the hyperfocal distance. If the distance is then set on the focusing ring then the depth of field will be from half the distance of the hyper focal length to infinity. 


F Numbers

 

F numbers or F stops are the diameter of the lens expressed as a fraction of the focal length. Eg a 50mm lens with a 12.5mm opening would calculate out as 50/12.5 or 4/1 which would be f/4 or f4.0.

 

The normal set of FULL stops is as follows

 

f1.0, f1.4, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f32, f45, f64, etc 

 

As this series is based upon an area then the multiplying factor is Ö2

 

Modern lenses stop up and down in ½ or 1/3 stops as well as full stops.

 

Lens Speed

 

The bigger the aperture (smaller the f number) the faster the lens is described as. F1 lenses still cost a lot of money and are only available in prime lenses. Lenses are described as the lowest f number that is available eg 50mm f1.7

 


Exposure Metering

 

Exposure metering is the process of reading the amount of light available to the camera and making a decision on which combination of shutter speed and aperture will give the desired result. This is also dependant on the film speed or ASA rating (described later)

 

Light meters return a reading to turn the whole scene to an average of 18% reflectance, mid grey or Zone V.

 

Exposure meters come in a variety of flavours but are primarily those which are integral to the camera and those which are hand held.

 

Integral Meters

 

Integral Meters or TTL metering uses a mechanism in the camera, which measures the light coming through the lens. The camera then reads the aperture (for AE exposure) and suggests the correct shutter speed. Modern cameras use centre weighting and other computer controlled patterns to ensure that the exposure is right. The software used is very sophisticated and some cameras even use memory sticks to store preset conditions such as seaside, snow, mountains etc. Although this is all very impressive, the camera still does not know what the subject matter is, so there is no substitute for doing the job by hand where time and circumstance permit

 

Hand Held Meters

 

There are two types of hand held meter. Incident and reflective, incident requires the operator to be close to the subject which is great for portraits but not so good for landscapes. Reflective readings can be taken from the camera position, but take readings of objects which may skew the result depending on the reflectance of the object. For example if the reflective surface is a white wall then the wall will be produced mid grey, which is not desirable.

 


Spot Meters

 

Spot meters can take readings from very localised objects. The accurate spot meters will read a 1 degree arc, less accurate meters read 5 degrees. Spot meters are very useful for reading grey cards.

 

Flash Meters

 

Flash meters read the amount of light that is delivered in a studio flash setup. Meters can be either set to wait for a big burst of light or operated by a synch lead. As most cameras will only operate at certain shutter speeds with a flash system, the meter just delivers an F stop.

 

Grey Card

 

A grey card is a piece of cardboard which has 18% reflectance. This enables the grey card to be read by whichever metering system is required and the meter should produce accurate results.

 

Bracketing and Under / Over Exposure

 

Under exposure and over exposure are errors in the exposure calculations, but bracketing is hedging ones bets. Some cameras will bracket a 1/3 stop either way of the mean. Bracketing ensures that the shot will come out as you intended. This is very useful with transparency as the exposure latitude is very narrow.


Film Construction

 

 

 

Anti-scratch Layer

This layer protects the emulsion from physical damage

 

Emulsion

This layer contains the halides which form the photographic images

 

Adhesive Layer

This layer bonds the emulsion to the film base

 

Film Base

A transparent layer which supports the image

 

Adhesive Layer

This layer bonds the anti halation and anti curl layer to the base

 

Anti-Curl/ Anti-halation Coating

This layer prevents the film being exposed from the rear and stabilises the laminate to prevent curling.

 


 

Film Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35mm Films

 

 

 

 

 

120 Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5x4 Films

 

 

 


 

Formats

Description

APS

Advanced Photo System – The film self loads and will produce a variety of picture shapes

35mm

The most popular format, sprocketed and supplied in a canister

110

A small format cartridge film

120

Roll film for medium format cameras

220

A longer version of 120 film

Sheet

For technical, monorail & field cameras etc

 

Black & White Print Film

Black and white print film produces a negative for printing onto photographic paper

 

Black & White Transparency Film

Black and white transparency film produces a slide for viewing through a projector or high resolution scanning

 

Colour Print Film

Colour print film produces a negative for printing onto photographic paper

 

Colour Transparency Film

Colour transparency film produces a slide for viewing through a projector or high resolution scanning


Film Speed

 

Film speed in measured by a number of scales but the most common is the ASA (American Standards Association) or ISO (International Standards Organisation) depending on the country you are in. Each time the film speed doubles or halves, it is equivalent to 1 stop. A shot taken at f2.8 for 1/60 sec on Technical Pan could be taken at f32 on Delta 3200.

 

General Film Speeds are:

 

ISO

Example Film

25

Kodak Technical Pan

50

Ilford Pan-F Plus

Fuji Velvia

100

Kodak T-Max 100

Inford Delta 100

Fuji Provia

Kodak Gold

160

Fuji NPS

Kodak Portra

200

Kodak Gold

Fuji Superia

Kodak ED

400

Ilford Delta 400

Kodak T-Max 400

Fuji Provia
Kodak Portra
Fuji NPH

Fuji Neopan

800

Fuji NPZ

1600

Fuji Superia

Fuji Neopan

 

3200

Ilford Delta 3200

Kodak TMX 3200

 


Film Latitude

 

The latitude of a film is the amount of exposure error the user can make before the picture degrades noticeably.

 

Black and White Print and Colour print film have quite a high latitude ie at least a full stop either side of the ideal. However slide film has a latitude of about 1/3 stop either side of ideal.

 

Film Spectral Sensitivity

 

Film is receptive to certain regions of the electromagnetic spectrum

 

Panchromatic Film

 

Colour Films are generally sensitive to the whole of the range of visible light, however some films are balanced for specific lighting conditions which ‘corrects’ the film to show what we as humans would see. Examples are:

 

EXAMPLES OF COLOUR FILM FOR TUNGSTEN

 

Black and white films are, in the main panchromatic, which means that they are equally sensitive to light across the spectrum. Some examples are:

 

EXAMPLE B&W FILMS

 

Orthochromatic Film

 

Orthochromatic film is sensitive to the blue end of the spectrum, reaching the wavelength which produces green light, but not red. This film is still used today for line drawings and some graphic arts applications as well as the medical industry. Examples are:

 

Fuji UM-MA – Mammography film

Kodak Precision Line Film LPD7 – Duplicate Film

Kodalith Ortho – Lith printing film

 

Infra Red Film

 

Infra red film is used in both scientific and creative photography. It is a panchromatic film which has sensitivity skewed to the red end of the spectrum. Examples of Infra red film are:

 

Kodak High Speed Infra-Red

Ilford SFX 200

Konica 750nm 120 Infra-red Film

 

 


Filters

 

Filters modify the light, which reaches the film by light filtration. Some filters are quite severe and some are just enhancers such as warm up filters. Colour and black and white filters are quite distinct but can cross over such as a polarising filter.

 

Here is a list of colour filters:

 

Filter

Comments

Factor(stops)

1A

Skylight – UV absorbing. Often used to protect the front of the lens and left in place permanently

0

81A

Warm Up

1/3

82A

Light Blue filter to eliminate Red cast

1/3

80

Tungsten correction

2

85

For using Tungsten balanced film outdoors

2/3

FL

For correction of fluorescent tubes

1

Polariser

Reduces reflections

1 1/3

ND

Neutral Density – has no effect on colour or tone, just allows longer exposure times

Variable

 

Here is a list of black and white contrast filters:

 

Filter

Comments

Factor(stops)

#6

Yellow filter for moderately darkening blue skies

1

#12

Deep Yellow filter or minus blue filter

1 1/3

#11

Light yellow/green filter enhances blue skies and some foliage. Also corrects for tungsten lighting

2

#23a

#25

#29

Red filters of increasing severity which deepen blue skies and darken foliage. Also increases contrast in landscape photographs

2 2/3

3

4 1/3

#47

Blue filter lightens the sky and darkens foliage

2 2/3

#44

A cyan filter which simulates orthochromatic film

3

Polariser

Eliminates glare by only allowing light from one plane to enter the camera

1 1/3

ND

Neutral Density – has no effect on colour or tone, just allows longer exposure times

Variable

 


Special Effects Filters

 

There are special effects filters, which allow the photographer to use creative effects such as vignette, crystalline, graduated and other effects.

 

Filter Types

 

Filters are available in many forms, glass, gelatin, polyester, but they all fit into one of two fitting methods:

 

Screw on filters

The front of all camera lenses have a female screw thread which allow a filter of the correct size to be screwed on. The filter has itsown female thread on the front of it to allow subsequent attachments

Filter Systems

Filter systems allow the same filters to be used on many lenses by use of an adaptor system and a filter holder. Filters are then sized in two main sizes- 35mm and med/large format.

 

Filter Manufacturers

 

Kodak Wratten

Lee Filters (shown)

Cokin (below)

Jessops

 

 


Flash and Studio Lighting

 

Flash photography can be used indoors or outdoors. The use of flash outdoor flash is mainly for fill in flash, which simply fills shadows to enhance the lighting situation. Indoor flash is normally the primary source of light for the photograph, and in the case of studio flash, the only source of light.

 

Indoor Flash

Indoor flash normally refers to flash units attached to the camera. These flash units are not powerful and cannot replace studio flash equipment. External flash units can be set to an F stop which indicates the range of the unit. The flash unit itself will need to synchronise with the camera shutter. Cameras have a shutter speed allocated for this my Mamiya 645 is  1/60th  sec, whereas my Pentax ME is 1/125th second. If the wrong speed is selected, too fast in particular, then the shutter is not open at the right time and parts of the frame are missing.

 

Studio Flash

 

Studio flash consists of larger more powerful lights usually used in groups. The position of the lighting is vital to the end result. Here is a picture from Hedgecoe’s photographers handbook which illustrates:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following illustrations show how the picture would look using different combinations of lighting

 

 


 

 

 

Lamp 1 only used, close into and directly above the camera

 

 

Lamp 2 only in use

 

 

Lamp 3 in use

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamp 4 in use

 

 

Lamp 5 in use

 

 

 

Lamp 6 in use

 

 


 

 

Research: Digital Photography

 

What place does digital photography have in industry?

 

Digital photography is a fairly recent innovation in the world of photography. The digital market has developed to solve the problem of short runs and rapid turnaround. The position which digital photography now occupies is as a result of the capabilities of the equipment, rather than by design. A point that should not be overlooked in this discussion is the relationship between digital printing, computing and digital photography. In addition, the commercial world does not take photographs for the sake of art; there is normally some form of end use, which could be printed literature, posters, billboards or electronic presentations. The cheapest, fastest, most efficient method will always be favoured by industry and is the true guiding force behind digital development.

 

This document could have discussed speed in the press industry and various other advantages of the digital system, but I have chosen to stick with the printing and design industry.

 

The defining factor with production of images for any kind of media is resolution. Using film the options are small (35mm), Medium (645,6x6,6x7,6x9) and Large Format (5x4, 10x8 etc). The bigger the format, the more information that the picture contains. Using digital photography, the system is in pixels. Pixels are a unit of colour used to represent a picture. The resolution of a digital camera ranges from 480 pixels wide to thousands of pixels wide, the bigger the image the more it costs. In the past the production houses have had transparencies supplied, which are digitally scanned. High resolution scanning is quite expensive as drum scanners and ultra high-resolution scanners can cost £20,000 plus. Hence each picture can cost between £10 - £50 to be scanned depending on requirement.

 

Here are three example of applications

 

Billboard Image

 

The cost of taking an individual shot on 5x4 is about £2.50 for the film, £2.00 for the processing and £30.00 for a scan giving a cost of ~£35.00 per shot, this does not include Polaroid’s. I have not included the set-up or photographer’s time as these are consistent with digital photography. In this instance there is no decent alternative in the digital field which will produce a huge file of 300MB + for the production of a poster board.

 

Printed Catalogue Production

 

For decent product shots for a catalogue we would use a medium format film and camera. The quantity could be around 100 for a small catalogue. The film would cost around £6.00 per roll with processing which would give 12 shots for 6x7 format, assuming that 1 in 2 shots are used that would mean that the cost in film and processing would be £100.00 The cost of the scanning would be around £15 for scan and clean per shot so the total would be £1600 for the photography. Using digital the initial purchase of a digital back would be around 18k for a Phase One H20. Eleven jobs down the line, the investment is repaid and the studio in question has suddenly become ultra competitive. A good digital back like the H20 can produce a 48 Mb file which is ample for catalogue shots. Litho printing resolution is around 300 dpi and the pictures can be slotted straight into Quark Express or similar.

 

Web / Multimedia Catalogue

 

Digital photography could have been invented for screen resolution applications, a £150 digital camera will now produce an image that will fill a 1024x768 computer screen. It should be noted that cheap digital cameras are not suitable for commercial product photography as they lack the controls required for studio work.

 

To shoot 100 products for web, the products can be shot on either medium or small format, for the sake of this example, we will assume small format. The cost of the film and processing will be £7.00 per roll, using the same 1 in two formula that would be 6 films = £42.00 and £5.00 per scan at low resolution. The total cost would be £550.00. An investment of £2500.00 will buy a digital SLR kit which would more than cover the project. Personally I have been using a Nikon Coolpix 990 (costs around £600.00) and achieving good results for web and some small format printing. If the camera has manual control then the job can be done with an amount of creativity.

 

Conclusions

 

After considering the costs for our sample applications, it is apparent that the state of play at this time of digital development is as follows. The lower the resolution of the application, the more cost effective it becomes to use digital photography methods. However, there is a cross over point where the cost of the technology outstrips the payback. At the moment the technology is comfortable in the medium format arena, though still expensive for hobbyists. The low end of the chain where 72 dpi is the only requirement the only obstacle is the lighting and how to use it in conjunction with the digital camera. At the start I mentioned that the progress of the digital camera was linked to the progress of computing power and to digital printing. It can be seen that the advent of digital photography was borne from the need to create digital artwork for printing. This was created from the development of DTP packages such as Quark Express and the ongoing development of the Macintosh and PC. As the computers were able to handle them, the printing industry had to find a way of processing the files without having to reconvert them into analogue data for screen, plate and film production. Gradually digital to plate, digital to screen and eventually complete digital presses capable of producing finished product from a digital file. It was inevitable that the camera being the last link of the chain would soon follow suit.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

The Camera – Ansel Adams

The Negative – Ansel Adams

The Print – Ansel Adams

The Photographers Handbook – John Hedgcoe

Creative Photography Workbook – John Hedgecoe

Basic Techniques in Photography 1 – Ansel Adams

Basic Techniques in Photography 2 – Ansel Adams

The Darkroom Handbook – Michael Langford

 

http://www.leefilters.co.uk

http://www.kodak.co.uk

http://www.ilford.com

http://www.silverprint.co.uk

http://www.phaseOne.com/en

http://www.mamiya.co.uk