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Help with technical requirements

Posted by mgeca (My Page) on
Sat, May 21, 11 at 12:27

Hi--My first post in this forum and I sure hope to get some help.

I will be taking digital photos of buildings and landscape for a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. All photos are to be black and white and be expected to last at least 75 years. I'm not sure about these technical requirements:

be first generation
be .tiff, original capture .tiff or RAW converted to .tiff
pixel array at least 3000x2000
resolution of 300 ppi
be RGB color mode (printed in b+w)

I need to buy a digital camera with a good range from wide angle to max zoom. Right now, based on features and price I am comparing Nikon L120 and Kodak Z981. But I have no way of determining if either meets the requirements. All camera in my range are .jpeg but Kodak is also RAW.

Printing and paper is another nasty issue and more $$. I have a nice 35mm set-up but good b+w prints are a worse headache it seems.

One last--reviews all mention noise with 14mp cameras. Is this really visible to the untrained eye and a problem?

Bureaucrats have me in a corner. I really need help to determine what it all means and what I need to look for in a point and shoot.

Please excuse my long post but photo season for my subject is here, budget needs to be created, work needs to be done, and just call me---confused.

Thanks much - Mike


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with technical requirements

Mike, I'm not qualified to address all, or even most, of your issues. If you don't get the help you need, I know you'll get lots of responses at the very active Beginner's Questions Forum at DPReview.com.

In the superzoom category, which seems to be what you want, the leader of the class is Panasonic. I've lost track of the latest model, but this is the one I have. Mine is about a year old, and it is my second Lumix superzoom. My son has the FZ28, a little older than mine and also excellent.

I've read many times that Nikon's strength is in its DSLRs, not in point-and-shoots, including superzooms. Kodak has its fans, but not among advanced amateurs generally.

You'll apparently need a camera that can shoot in RAW, and you'll need an editing program that can convert the image to .tiff.

Re printing, are you referring to the need for a printer with good greyscale inks? That gets very expensive. If you don't have a huge number of prints to make, I recommend you utilize a good outside printer. I use Mpix.com and Adoramapix.com. The latter has lower prices. The upload process for either is easy.

The ink, and I suppose the paper as well, determines the life of the photograph. I believe both websites discuss archival issues.

You will convert the image to B&W in post processing, before it is sent to the printer.

I don't have a 14MP camera, but I know that megapixels are overrated. How big are you printing? I print 16x20 for my exhibits, and have no complaints about resolution with my cameras, which are 10MP and 12MP.

As for noise, I'm definitely not qualified to answer that, as I often fail to see the "noise" others swear they're looking at.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. If you need further clarification, don't hesitate to ask.

Susan


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Susan--you are an enormous help. I have posted on the site you mention and the number of responses is great. Bits and pieces are coming together for me--I am not without experience with digital, just not past real basic.

I knew your advice was sound when I read you have the Panasonic Fz35. After all of this, it is my choice as I am beginning to understand what I need in a camera to meet the requirements (basically nothing exotic except RAW) and then what camera of that type meets my purpose--backward reasoning maybe. I have buildings in tight spaces as well as interiors to consider with wide-angle; long views will take care of themselves as I see them. The Leica lens is a selling point to me, the RAW sort of seals the deal. Cost isn't too bad--I was surprised what large price ranges there are on-line. I'm guessing the cheapest sell the camera out of the box and then sell you a bundle that was in the box in the first place. But now I know what to look for.

Can you help me here a little more? I am guessing there is some way to set camera to RAW for images. Taken in color you seem to be saying. Go home, download to what--my basic Microsoft photo thing or do I need something else. Or do I need conversion software for RAW to .tiff before I go anywhere? Will I be able to edit--crop or whatever and be first generation? Each image has to have a name on it, keyed to an external list--maybe this will become obvious. You are saying, if I read it right, that now I turn the color image to B+W using some effects setting, that I don't shoot in camera's B+W mode. That's the RGB.

Now I have to have the capability to burn a cd or dvd, right? I don't. I will want a copy for my records--burn it twice or get a copy made? I can upload images (do they have to be from CD/dvd or just in my file?) to the sevices for prints.

As far as the printer goes, there is a list of inks and papers that will meet the must last 75+ years rule. Printers using the materials are available at "reasonable cost" (reasonable from a source part of a trillion dollar++ shortfall).

I know some of the answers, can make educated guesses about others. It would be very helpful to be walked through the typical process, with what needed technology (hard and software), from turning on the Fz35 in the field, making a setting of jpeg or RAW (if necessary). Shooting I can do. Then take the image in the camera to a final B+W image ready for and put on CD. I almost get it, am mostly confused about RAW/.tiff "likewise, can .jpeg be saved as .tiff?] conversion, if there is then any difference in editing (more $$oftware in .tiff).

I have used 35mm for nearly 50 years, had a darkroom, reasonably skilled photographer, but from what I can deduce using B+W film, while preferred, is a mega-headache in terms of film, processing, printing on archival paper--to be avoided. Alas.

Susan you make great sense with clarity. If you would follow up with the critical getting me from image in camera to B+W on a CD I would be very grateful.
Honing me in on the Fz35, cross-references to other useful sites, links for prints, all of it special.

Thank you, hoping for some more - Mike


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Can you help me here a little more?

I'll see what I can do......

I am guessing there is some way to set camera to RAW for images.

Yes, I'm sure there is. A lot of my online photographer friends shoot in RAW. But I never have, so I don't know what to tell you except to suggest you tap into the wisdom at DPReview.com.

Taken in color you seem to be saying. Go home, download to what--my basic Microsoft photo thing or do I need something else.

Hmmm.......I'm not familiar with your basic Microsoft photo thing. :-) I use Photoshop Elements, but I'm told there are some useful free programs around. Like Irfanview (I hope I spelled it right).

Or do I need conversion software for RAW to .tiff before I go anywhere?

When I edit in Elements, I have the option of saving as JPEG or TIFF or a bunch of others. So I assume that's what you would do.

Will I be able to edit--crop or whatever and be first generation?

I meant to ask you what they mean by first generation. It's probably a term commonly used in photography publication, but I've never encountered it.

Each image has to have a name on it, keyed to an external list--maybe this will become obvious. You are saying, if I read it right, that now I turn the color image to B+W using some effects setting, that I don't shoot in camera's B+W mode. That's the RGB.

Most people I know convert to B&W in the editing process. If you Google "digital black and white" or "digital B&W" you'll find information on getting good results using RGB settings. Or you could try shooting in both color and B&W and see how they compare.

Now I have to have the capability to burn a cd or dvd, right? I don't.

If you don't have a CD burner, an easy solution would be to save your image(s) on a flash drive and take it to a good instant photo kiosk like the Kodak one at Walmart. A CD can be made for you quickly, with one or many images on it. You can do this directly from the camera card (the kiosk will take all sorts of memory devices), but I assume you'll want to do some editing before the images go on the CD.

I will want a copy for my records--burn it twice or get a copy made?

Burn it twice (see above).

I can upload images (do they have to be from CD/dvd or just in my file?) to the services for prints.

They can be on your computer. Mine upload from My Documents.

As far as the printer goes, there is a list of inks and papers that will meet the must last 75+ years rule. Printers using the materials are available at "reasonable cost" (reasonable from a source part of a trillion dollar++ shortfall).

LOL I think many of the current crop of printers will meet the criteria. However, since your images will be in B&W, a bigger issue is the greyscale capability. I researched this a couple of years ago myself because I've been scanning my dad's extensive collection of negatives from the 1940s. Unless things have changed since I looked into it, it would cost me a minimum of about $800 to get a printer that would produce high quality B&W prints. And printers in that class come with a steep learning curve. So I've been using the two print services I mentioned.

Do you know anything about shooting in RAW? As I said, I've never done it. But I know one thing: Images shot in RAW require post processing. Some photographers like it because it gives them absolute control over the image in terms of lighting and color, etc. But unlike JPEG, you can't use a RAW image right out of the camera. Again, those mavens at DPReview can probably tell you what you need to know.

Good luck with this! I hope you'll follow up and let us know how your project progresses. And of course come back with more questions if you have them.

Susan


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Hi Susan, more help than you can imagine. It all is coming together, I am starting to visualize--and looking for my credit card.

Your response about burning cd by going to Walmart or similar is priceless--that's me, overanalyze, make the direct complex.

I do miss my 35mm and lenses and medium format cameras. With a career as archaeologist/preservationist, I created hundreds of b+w images that worked fine, from holes in the ground (contrast problems) to hulking buildings. Frame, focus, shoot, bracket, shoot, pray, bring to photoshop. Youth, familiarity with the tool, simple support system was nice.

I have hundreds of medium to large format b+w negatives related to my study property: 1920s to 1949. Fairchild camera aerial views, on and on. Getting prints has been a nightmare--I'm doing a few with an on-line service and have promise of prints, digitizing, etc as student project at local community college in the fall--great but too late for my schedule.

I could chip in on your post with some stories. Best tho, I checked out the scanner you mentioned. It will do up to 8.5x11, film, wow? And the price is great--I bought half of it with on-line scanning order. Your images a beautiful, just the quality I hope for with my larger negatives. The photographer was good too.

I certainly will keep you posted as I learn and get about my work. Help from all corners is wonderful. Winner? Go to Walmart!

BTW, I am upstate NY native, the region was my primary research focus for several years.

Mike


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Great Help

Hi Susan, more help than you can imagine. It all is coming together, I am starting to visualize--and looking for my credit card.

Your response about burning cd by going to Walmart or similar is priceless--that's me, overanalyze, make the direct complex.

I do miss my 35mm and lenses and medium format cameras. With a career as archaeologist/preservationist, I created hundreds of b+w images that worked fine, from holes in the ground (contrast problems) to hulking buildings. Frame, focus, shoot, bracket, shoot, pray, bring to photoshop. Youth, familiarity with the tool, simple support system was nice.

I have hundreds of medium to large format b+w negatives related to my study property: 1920s to 1949. Fairchild camera aerial views, on and on. Getting prints has been a nightmare--I'm doing a few with an on-line service and have promise of prints, digitizing, etc as student project at local community college in the fall--great but too late for my schedule.

I could chip in on your post with some stories. Best tho, I checked out the scanner you mentioned. It will do up to 8.5x11, film, wow? And the price is great--I bought half of it with on-line scanning order. Your images a beautiful, just the quality I hope for with my larger negatives. The photographer was good too.

I certainly will keep you posted as I learn and get about my work. Help from all corners is wonderful. Winner? Go to Walmart!

BTW, I am upstate NY native, the region was my primary research focus for several years.

Mike


 o
Great Help

Hi Susan, more help than you can imagine. It all is coming together, I am starting to visualize--and looking for my credit card.

Your response about burning cd by going to Walmart or similar is priceless--that's me, overanalyze, make the direct complex.

I do miss my 35mm and lenses and medium format cameras. With a career as archaeologist/preservationist, I created hundreds of b+w images that worked fine, from holes in the ground (contrast problems) to hulking buildings. Frame, focus, shoot, bracket, shoot, pray, bring to photoshop. Youth, familiarity with the tool, simple support system was nice.

I have hundreds of medium to large format b+w negatives related to my study property: 1920s to 1949. Fairchild camera aerial views, on and on. Getting prints has been a nightmare--I'm doing a few with an on-line service and have promise of prints, digitizing, etc as student project at local community college in the fall--great but too late for my schedule.

I could chip in on your post with some stories. Best tho, I checked out the scanner you mentioned. It will do up to 8.5x11, film, wow? And the price is great--I bought half of it with on-line scanning order. Your images a beautiful, just the quality I hope for with my larger negatives. The photographer was good too.

I certainly will keep you posted as I learn and get about my work. Help from all corners is wonderful. Winner? Go to Walmart!

BTW, I am upstate NY native, the region was my primary research focus for several years.

Mike


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Sorry for the multiple response--GW said it rejected me, retry, I did. You have my thanks again, a litle more about me.

Mike


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RE: Help with technical requirements

I don't know if anyone is still looking after the technical failure, but I received a new set of guidelines today and all the restrictions are gone. .jpeg allowed, color 35mm, all now high standards but do-able. Everything new to consider.

Federal government.

Mike


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RE: Help with technical requirements

LOL Good old government. Well, at least this time they're removing restrictions, not adding them.


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Mike, you may not need this now, since they've changed the requirements, but you might want to take a look at GIMP for your post processing. Though it's nowhere near as popular as Photoshop, many folks use it extensively and it's open source so no cost involved. I run it on a Linux box but it's also available for Windows. There are lots of plugins available for it, including one that could import from RAW format. I don't shoot RAW often, but it does give more control over your photos that might prove useful. I've been using the FZ35 for several months now and have really enjoyed it, so I'll second that recommendation as well.


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Thank you nwwoman. All my focus is on post processing right now. From the time I posted, the price of the Fz35 shot up daily and now it is nearly impossible to find as it is discontinued. I waited a few days too long, not aware of what was going on. The only places that seem to have it, and at low prices to boot, are sites that receive terrible, terrible ratings, bait and switch, exorbitant hidden costs. So my dream of the Fz35 has ended and stepping up to Fz40 doesn't work for me. So I guess a Nikon L120 at a great price locally will be it...and it should be fine for my needs.

Hence the post processing emphasis. I have to save .jpeg immediately to .tiff and go from there. It'll happen.

Thank you for the information--I will give it a try.

Mike


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RE: Help with technical requirements

I feel your pain on that price jump on the FZ - when I bought mine, they had just released the fz40 and demand spiked for the fz35. It had been much cheaper right before I bought mine. If I recall right, there were some things about the fz40 that didn't stack up so well against the fz35, so that helped drive up the price as well. If you do get the L210, I'll be interested in how you like it. I'm a Nikon fan and my workhorse DSLR is a D70.


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RE: Help with technical requirements

Happy day nwwoman. I was literally a keystroke away from finalizng the Nikon purchase when inspiration struck and I decided to give it one more go for the 35. I found it at a now-reasonable price (actually hard to find at any price), checked out the seller and feel it is a good bet--but wow! what a band of unscrupulous electronics vendors there are.

I can't explain my fixation on the Fz35 except to say it was the end of long search for something I no longer need but somehow anything else was "less" and disappointing. A nice Nikon is less? My heart leads my head too often. BUT, the Fz35 is coming soon.

I think why I persisted is the option of shooting RAW, which may or may not be meaningful depending on the poster. I'm sorta retired, got a nice gig, time to play, photography was an important hobby and part of my research life, maybe I can do the old dog-new trick thing.

After my sad announcement, I do get the toy I wanted. I remember the old advice about if you write a letter, put it in the desk drawer overnight beore sending (two nights if it is a love letter). I let that email keystroke sit right on my screen all day and ta da.


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