INTERNAL MEMORY vs. STORAGE MEDIA vs. TRANSFERANCE

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Curious Angel, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. Hi Everybody . . .

    I'm finally getting serious about this DC and wonder if you experts could (again,
    sorry) help me to narrow down some of the features I need. If you'll recall my
    earlier posts to this group some months ago, I am clueless as to cameras, so please
    be somewhat forgiving of my questions. <blush>

    • I've worked in graphics for over 20 years so I'm one of those annoying people who
    _must_ have high pixel count.
    • I need to be able to shoot indoor images at extremely close-up range (under 1
    inch) -- a camera with _excellent_ MACRO capability
    • I have to have (now be kind) a camera with that er "curved hold thingy" -- that
    thingy you can wrap your hand around -- on the left-hand side. No flat camera for
    this girl.
    • And here's the big kahuna of my question: STORAGE

    If you can buy (eg.) memory sticks and flash media . . .
    What relevance does the (eg. 32MB) internal memory feature of the camera have in
    relationship to its storage media? Here's my hypothetical: Let's say that I'm
    looking for a camera with a 5.0+ pixel count and I find one that's especially good
    with MACRO (really up-close, under 1") shots, and it comes in two flavors
    ——> 8 MB
    ——> 32 MB
    BUT! you could buy 256MB in storage media for either model. What I'm trying to
    understand is the advantage to the higher resident memory. Couldn't you just write
    your pictures directly to the camera's storage media (since that's where they'll end
    up eventually) and worry about cleaning up the shots once you've transferred them to
    your hard drive?

    Having worked with graphics, I know too well how huge they can be (well, mine are at
    any rate, because I can't abide low res graphics). So I guess what I keep coming
    back to is that 32 (or even 64, in time) MB "ceiling" in my price range: Wow.
    That's just _nothing_ when we're talking about a high resolution TIFF, for example.

    I'm rambling but, you get the gist of my confusion I hope. Thanks for any help with
    this.

    Angel
     
    Curious Angel, Nov 16, 2003
    #1
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  2. Curious Angel

    Ray Fischer Guest

    What's "high" and how much are you willing to spend?
    Lots of makers produce macro lenses.
    You want a digital SLR with a left-hand grip?!?

    Aren't any.
    None. I doubt you can even find how much internal storage most
    cameras have.
    Digital cameras all take some kind of flash memory (mem that doesn't
    erase itself when the power goes away). It's what the pictures are
    stored on. It's what you spend money buying lots of.
    Forget about it. It's not important and generally isn't reported.
    What you look for is how many pictures can be taken quickly. The
    Canon 10D, for example, can take a burst of 9 pictures at a rate of 3
    per second. Then you have to wait a bit for the images to be
    transferred to the memory card.

    [...]
    Cameras do not, as a rule, use TIFF. JPEG is by far the most common.
    RAW is next (vaguely like TIFF but about 1/4th the size). A 5MP image
    will take up about 3MB of space.
     
    Ray Fischer, Nov 17, 2003
    #2
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  3. Curious Angel

    Flux Guest

    What is 'high'? What size do you want to print to?

    For now, the highest pixel count digital camera is the 14 MP Kodak dSLR. The
    lowest current dSLR are 6 MP (Canon 300D/10D, Nikon D100, Fuji S2). In the
    consumer range, 5 MP is now common, the only two cameras that go over that
    currently are the 6MP Fuji S7000 and the 8MP Sony F828 (but the latter has
    been delayed and is not yet available). Note that pixel count is only part
    of the equation: the size and make of the sensor determines image qualityto
    a great extent - dSLRs have larger sensors than consumer models, and so even
    a low pixel count dSLR will be superior to any consumer camera.
    If you want the best possible quality, you'll want a dSLR. In that case, the
    Macro capability depends only on the lens you get, I believe most
    manufacturers build good Macro lenses that should be capable of doing what
    you want, just go to their sites and look at what they have.

    However, if you don't want to go up to a dSLR, your options are more
    limited. There are only a few non-SLR cameras that will focus down to under
    1 inch, I know the Fuji S602/S7000 do, and I believe the top Olympus cameras
    (C5050, C4040) are capable of it too. But with any of these cameras you'll
    have some problems with distortion and lighting when focusing that close to
    your subject,
    A left hand grip is too much to ask for I'm afraid. Plenty of cameras in the
    prosumer range have quite nice right hand grips though, I believe the Fujis
    and Olympus cameras have the best ergonomics, and the new (unreleased) Sony
    looks good too.
    If you only need 5 pixels, I think any current camera with 2+ MP must be
    overkill ;)
    Internal memory is hardly ever mentioned, it wouldn't do much to know it
    anyway. The only impact of internal memory is in burst speed and capacity,
    so just look at those stats instead. Don't confuse 'internal memory' with
    'supplied memory' though. The latter is simply storage that comes with the
    camera, but can be easily replaced/expanded.
    Most digicams store their images in JPEG format, at current high resolutions
    (4-5 MP) that comes to about 2 Mb per image. If you want to avoid JPEG
    (because it is a lossy format) some cameras offer the option to save in TIFF
    format and others in a proprietary RAW format. RAW is lossless like TIFF,
    but it is smaller than a corresponding TIFF file.

    So depending on how much quality you need, how often you'll be able to
    unload to your PC, and what camera you get, 64 Mb can be lots or very
    little. Either way, buying extra memory is cheap and easy (specially if you
    choose a camera that takes Compact Flash cards).


    In choosing a camera, you should start by considering what you want to do
    with it, and how much you are willing to spend. Then you can start looking
    for the best camera within those parameters.


    Flux
     
    Flux, Nov 17, 2003
    #3
  4. Er . . . they _are_ on the left for right-handed folk (which I am). Most people hold
    the "hand grip" portion of the camera with their left hand and shoot with their right
    index finger. I think we're talking about the same thing (it just sounds backwards
    when you actually describe it). A rounded, ergonomic "grip thingy" is what I was
    referring to, but another way of saying it is what it _isn't_: A flat camera. The
    getup I'm talking about has bulk. Read on for an example.
    Okay, now we're getting down to business. Now that _is_ interesting. Ray (anyone),
    can I give you the link to one camera I'm looking at right now? It's on the Dealtime
    site, and it's the SONY CYBERSHOT DSC-F717:
    http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Sony_Cyber_Shot_DSC_F717

    This is a 5.24 MP camera, well-reviewed with an excellent .8 MACRO capability. If
    you scroll down you'll see the two things that worry me:
    “Max Images In Superfine Mode” = 2 :(
    “Included Memory Size” = 32 MB

    Here's why it worries me. I work in graphics you see, and I gotta tell you . . . the
    thought of any image _under_ 600 DPI gives me the shakes (see my other responses vis
    TIFF vs. JPEG formats). Now, when I scan in a (4" X 6") 35mm picture on my excellent
    Microtek flatbed scanner and save it -- even as a modestly-sized TIFF file, and yes,
    UNcompressed (so the thing is salvageable) -- we're talking 10 MB _per picture_ at a
    720 DPI at a MINIMUM: That is what it takes to have an image with any decent
    capacity to edit.

    Now stay with me.

    I went to the (excellent) Steve's Digicams website, and let me quote from Steve's
    SONY F-828 review at
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/f828.html
    he writes
    ". . . 8.0-megapixel CCD image sensor provides the Cyber-shot DSC F828 camera with a
    maximum image size of 3360 x 2460, equating into 11 x 17-inch prints at 200 dpi or
    8.5 x 11-inch prints at —> 300 dpi."
    (that's my embellishment btw)

    Since I consider 300 DPI to be something akin to drawing with crayons . . .
    What would it take to get (for example) a 5" X 7" print at 600 DPI (yes yes, money, I
    know ha ha) AND ——>have enough storage capacity that I'm not
    a) bankrupted in flash/other storage
    b) constantly having to transfer the "superfine" (to use Dealtime's
    nomenclature) image to its storage unit

    I'm trying to ascertain what technology is driving (no pun) the SIZE of the image and
    their site has two versions of this which are confusing the hell out of me:
    “Memory Type”
    “Included Memory Size”

    When I see
    “Max Images In Superfine Mode” = 2
    and that's probably at 300 DPI (although I'm not certain, I'm not great with math) .
    .. . I just do a cursory calculation and figure I might as well give up on a Digital
    Camera for at least another 10 years because in my case -- working with 600+ DPI and
    uncompressed TIFF's that have half a chance at being edited properly -- I'd probably
    need a $5,000 camera to have an even remotely pleasureable experience with the thing.

    It isn't helping me to see the word “Memory” bandied about by these comparison sites
    (Dealtime isn't the only one) because I'm trying to isolate the most important
    feature to me -- the SIZE of the graphic -- and determine how it's handled. Thus my
    questions vis 256 MB memory sticks et al. Perhaps the best thing would be for
    someone to actually describe the camera I'm looking for and I can work backwards from
    there? Regardless of price, I mean -- just to actually see what the thing I'm
    describing is?

    In the meantime I apologize that this is so long but I so _very much_ appreciate
    everyone's efforts at helping me understand storage.

    Angel
     
    Curious Angel, Nov 17, 2003
    #4
  5. 600 DPI on a 5" X 7" UNcompressed TIFF
    So DPI is driven by the size of the "sensor"? Flux, is that noted anywhere on the
    Dealtime site I referenced (in response to Ray's post) -or- do I really need to even
    get that "small" with the features, if the MP count is listed?
    That is VERY helpful. Thank you my friend.
     
    Curious Angel, Nov 17, 2003
    #5
  6. Ron, this was EXTREMELY helpful to me ! ! ! ! May I ask a hypothetical then:

    Let's say you had a camera with the capacity to render a 600 DPI image of a 5" X 7"
    print in an UNcompressed TIFF format -- a big (really big) graphic, in other words.
    Looking at the Dealtime site I referenced in response to Ray's reply -- and given my
    confusion over the phrases
    “Memory Type”
    “Included Memory Size”
    -- would a camera with 32 MB of “Included Memory Size” (to use Dealtime's
    nomenclature) have any advantage over an identical one with 16 MB . . . other than
    the speed with which the image is being processed?

    If every other feature _but that one_ was equal, could both render the same QUALITY
    of image? Thanks!

    Angel
     
    Curious Angel, Nov 17, 2003
    #6
  7. Curious Angel

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Most of the more expensive cameras are held with the right hand and
    the shutter release is done with the right hand. The Sony DSC-828
    is pretty typical.
    That just means that they include a 32MB memory stick. Most people
    find that size to be absurdly small and use a bigger one instead.
    It's not "internal" memory. It's INCLUDED memory. You can buy more
    and/or larger memory cards. 1GB is the biggest commonly available
    compact flash card size.
    You are confusing two completely different things. There is no "DPI"
    with a digital camera. There is only a number of pixels. There is also
    no degradation from scanning a print of a negative. The camera captures
    the image directly.

    Scanners need to have a high DPI in order to capture fine detail
    because it scan objects at their actual size. But how often do you
    scan a full 8"x10" sheet at 1200DPI? I'd guess never.

    With a camera you're not taking pictures at actual size. Want more
    detail? Move in closer.
    Do the math. 600 dots per inch times 7 inches is 4200 dots.

    But that's pointless since you won't find anybody who will print full
    color 600 DPI anyway.
    That's just tellin gyou how many images you can store with the
    supplied memory card. Akin to telling you how many pictures you can
    take with the supplied batteries.
    Shrug. Suit yourself. I don't know what kind of editing you need to
    do or what kind of printing your want to do, but if you insist upon
    5" by 7" at 600 DPI then there are no suitable cameras.

    Although I suspect that you don't really need that high a resolution
    if you're using a flatbed scanner to scan photographs. You lose
    _lots_ of detail going from film to print.
    The size of the image has NOTHING to do with the size of the memory
    card. It's like worrying that you cannot use your flatbed scanner at
    1200DPI because you have only a 10GB hard disk.

    If you have a fast network connection you can download some actual
    TIFF files taken with digital cameras. See for yourself.
     
    Ray Fischer, Nov 19, 2003
    #7
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