Digital Imaging
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(Image rights: https://jeshoots.com/)

Photography & Videography

Many now use their phone for digital photos and video because of the convenience of a device that is always carried.
Some prefer to use a camera of some sort, from compacts to high end enthusiast cameras.
Some prefer to use an iPad or tablet for photographs and video.

Here is a brief comparison of cameras in phones and tablets versus dedicated cameras.

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The camera type is mostly a matter of personal preference but if there are times when images are to be used for other than social media purposes then it may be necessary to choose a dedicated camera over a phone or tablet. Here are some end uses where phones or tablets may not achieve sufficient quality.

  • Prints – upload to print service online or in shop, particularly large prints for hanging
  • Photobook – various types: online, software on device
  • Diary – various forms: social media, personal notes
  • Album – online or prints: gallery style online, book to hold prints
  • Photographic Enthusiast - prefers to utilise camera, lenses and settings and process in a 'digital darkroom' to achieve more advanced results

Some of the more sophisticated cameras can also use a mobile phone or tablet as a preview and remote control device.
This includes some of the so called 'action cams' which are small, robust cameras that are attached to helmets, bicycles or surfboards to make a recording of the adventure.
(See below for a brief discussion of cameras and megapixel size which is often a point of confusion)

Image Quality

Whatever camera choice is made, consideration should be given to the quality of the image before it is edited.

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams

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Ansel Adams: National Archives (USA)
https://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams

Much time will be saved in editing if the image is close to the desired result to begin with. Editing also cannot save some some images that are not reasonable to start with. Consider:

  • Lighting - is there enough lighting in the right places, no deep shadows or very low light
  • Focus - is the focus set to the main subject? It is nearly impossible to adjust focus at editing
  • Exposure - can the important parts of the image be seen clearly or are they too dark or washed out?
  • Composition - don't just 'snap'. Consider the position of the subject and the surroundings. Take a few different angles and choose the best. More ideas
  • White Balance - This is a correction for the type of light that is lighting the subject. Daylight, electric lights, candles etc all cause colour variation which is corrected by white balance. Auto white balance works well in most situations but it can be adjusted manually if needed on some devices.

For videos the above also holds but there are other aspects to consider. Click here for further discussion.

Where are my photos or videos?

Whatever choice is made about how to shoot images or videos, the question 'Where are my photos?' rarely arises with a camera as it is well known that they are on the memory card inside the camera. It is a question however, often asked about mobile phones and tablets. Too often 'Where are my photos?' is asked in frustration as the user tries to find the latest picture. When they are eventually found the next question is often 'How to get them to…?'. It could be how to get them onto social media, onto a computer or into some other location.

If you need some details about where your photos or videos are stored on your tablet or phone or perhaps how to move the images somewhere then click here.

Editing Photos or Video

Editing is about changing and improving photos and videos. It can be simple or very complex, but that is your choice.
Some devices provide basic editing functions built in. There are also apps from the simple to complex depending on your need.

If you wish to learn more about editing images click here

If you wish to learn more about editing video click here

Prints

Digital images may be used to make the common small prints for photo albums but can also make larger prints or poster prints for wall pictures for the home.

Printing businesses provide a range of print sizes and differing backing materials to fit with varying needs. Prints may be made on gloss or matte paper, canvas, vinyl or even metallic surfaces. Quality printing will be affected by a number of factors which vary considerably with the size and type of print.
In general the original image needs to have good lighting, be well focused and 'large enough' before printing can be considered.

Printing businesses will usually be able to advise on the requirements for a particular print size and type to determine if a particular image can print well.
For more discussion on issues related to printing please click here Photo Printing

Photobooks

You may wish to print your digital images to place in a photo album.
There is also the option to print a photobook which is a photoalbum printed by a commercial print service using your selected images.

This type of printing allows a lot more flexibility with choosing different image sizes, adding text, maps and other information to make a unique and informative book. It is also not necessary that a photobook be limited to travel or a wedding. There are many places a photobook can be used to collect memories. There are even groups that get together in a kind of photobook bazaar where people sell their work to interested others.

Some ideas for photobooks:

  • Travel Diary
  • Family Wedding
  • Grandma's 'Brag Book'
  • Special occasions
  • Life story book
  • Special interest book (customised cars, motorcycles, gardening, collections…)
  • Research work
  • Genealogy

Click here for more discussion about Photobooks

Cameras and Megapixels

It is often confusing that newer mobile phones and tablets are having ever more 'megapixels', even getting near to the number of megapixels on compact cameras. Why not just use the phone all the time? Is it better to have 6 Megapixels, 8 Megapixels, 16 Megapixels?

Essentially, a pixel is a 'picture element' or coloured dot that makes up part of the picture. The pixels are part of a 'sensor', the digital equivalent of film. These sensors come in a huge size range. The smaller the sensor the tinier each pixel is and the more challenge it is to make it work at high quality.

An camera on a mobile phone has a sensor generally smaller than 5 x 4 mm (20 square mm) and may be 8 Megapixel or more. Compare this to a larger compact camera with a sensor about 14 x 9 mm (266 square mm) which could have much larger pixels and still be 8 megapixel or have even 16 megapixels and still have larger pixels than the mobile phone.

(A professional DSLR camera by comparison, at 36 x 24 mm sensor size, could have 25 to 50 Megapixels and still have larger pixels than the mobile phone.)

This table shows a comparison of the sensor sizes commonly used.

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Image from:
http://squareone.blog/choosing-camera-for-architectural-photography/

In general, the larger sensors will perform better in low light situations and provide a lot of scope for editing. However, the more megapixels, the larger the file size for each image so the more storage is needed. A new mobile phone with lots of megapixels will need a lot more memory than a mobile phone with a lesser megapixel camera.

While some excellent images can be made on mobile phones and tablets, there are a range of limitations that can really only be overcome with larger cameras and high quality lenses. The pixel size especially can affect digital printing. See Photo Printing

Here is a document with terms and explanations related to digital imaging:
Click to download

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