Posts Tagged ‘lesson

05
Apr
08

It’s Not About the MegaPixels! (Kanon Article 2)

As promised, I will post an English copy of the Photography Article I am writing in the magazine Kanon (kanonseattle.com).  Here is the April’s edition:

The first question I am always asked about my camera is “How many mega-pixels does it have?”. This question (along with an occasional “How far does it zoom?”) seems to be the only thing most people are concerned about. Practically everyone thinks that the mega-pixel count is the most important aspect of a camera, and therefore serves as a practical “rating” for that camera.


The truth is, however, that mega-pixels are not all that important! Roughly speaking, the mega-pixel count indicates the size of the image, not the quality. One can have a really large image but of really low quality, which is exactly the case with many point-and-shoot cameras. Furthermore, even if the camera produces high quality images, most people do not use their full mega-pixel capacity. For example, almost every printed image is 4 by 6 inches in size, which is actually only 2.2 mega-pixels!!! Full screen computer image is only about 1 mega-pixel, and a typical myspace picture is just 0.3 mega-pixels!!! So it turns out that most people never use more than 2 mega pixels anyways. What’s also funny, is that most of those that own the 7, 8, or 10 mega-pixel cameras, set their quality to “medium” because, as they say, “This way more pictures fit into the memory card”. They don’t realize that all they are doing is sizing down their images to 5, 4 or even 3 mega-pixels, which allows them to store more information on their flash card. When they were buying their camera, however, I am sure they paid the extra buck for those extra mega-pixels, which they never use!


Of course, many of you still cannot believe me; you have been brainwashed by the media to think that you need lots of mega-pixels. Well, to prove my point further, I have decided to create an interesting challenge. If you go to my website (www.danielusenko.com) and enter my blog, you will find eight different images taken with different cameras, ranging from 1.3 to 39 mega-pixels. The first person to match up the given cameras to the appropriate images will win a free photo session! Think you can tell the difference easily? You’ll be surprised that you cannot!

Are mega-pixels good for anything then? Well, of course, they do serve their purpose. If there is a need to print a large image, the more mega-pixels the file is, the better. However, I strongly believe that an average person does not need any more than a 5 mega-pixel camera, which is good enough to print quality images up to 6 by 9 inches in size.


You might be asking then, “If mega-pixels do not account for the quality of the image, then what does?” Well, there are three major variables that constitute for the image’s quality.


The photographer

There is much that a camera cannot do; understanding of light, taste, talent, and technical skill cannot be replaced. Even the most expensive camera will produce awful images if it is in the wrong hands. We will go over what it means to be a good photographer in the upcoming months.


The Lens

The reason many cameras shoot such low quality images is because the lens is of very poor quality. Since the lens is alone responsible for sending light information to the camera sensor, the best camera will have horrible looking images if a bad lens is used.*


The Sensor

The camera sensor is responsible for receiving light from the lens. Cheap cameras have very small, low quality sensors, which constitutes for poor images.*

*Thanks to Vitaly Druchinin for clearing up information on these issues.

The obvious question now is—Which cameras have the best Lens-Sensor combination AND don’t cost an arm and a leg? To find out the answer to this and many other questions, please read next month’s article!

Advertisements
12
Jan
08

Lesson 1–Backup Your Stuff!

Today could have been one of my worst days of my life. About two hours ago my hard drive with 600 GBs (gigabytes) of my files just broke. Did I have a backup? Yes, but it also broke, at the same time (For those that know what RAID is–let’s just said that both of my drives for RAID 1 broke). ALL my music, personal pictures, and wedding pictures were on these drives. ALL of it.

Luckily, I have a third copy of all these files. Of course I did loose some of my files, but it could have been much much MUCH worse. Another reason I’m not crying right now is that I was not in the middle of any project, which means that I do not have to reedit any pictures (you see, I don’t create a third copy of projects I work on at the time) or albums, which believe me, makes me extremely relieved right now, as I sit in a Starbucks and write this entry.

I was not going to write about backups, yet. I was going to show you some before and after pictures of some images that I really like. But I can’t now, since the before/after files of that images are gone now (that file was not backed up to the third hard drive). So I have to tell you about backups. After all, what good does it make if I tell you about how to take beautiful pictures but you loose them all every time your computer breaks? It makes sense that we would know how to take care of the images we love. And so here it is:

First, you computer WILL break. The question is not if, but when it will break. Mine broke numerous times, especially the hard drives. Please learn from my mistakes, not your own; trust me it’s a painful experience. Just think about what you have on your computer-music, pictures, documents-all that can be gone instantly. Well, it WILL be gone if you don’t backup your information. There are many ways of making sure that you have a backup:

1. External Hard Drive: External hard drive can be bought at any computer store or such electronics stores as Best Buy or Circuit City. You can plug them into the computer and copy all the important files onto it. When you’re done, it’s a good idea to store the hard drive in a different place than where your computer is. This way if there’s some kind of fire or flood, all of your backups don’t get ruined. Important: NEVER unplug your external hard drive from the electricity outlet while it is on. I have broken 3 or 4 of my drives like that, until I learned my lesson.

2. DVDs: This can be a good, quick and inexpensive way to backup your data. The problems with backing up your data on DVDs is that they only hold 4.7 GBs and they are easily ruined.

3. RAID 1 (stripped): This is a system where two identical hard drives are configured in a way that stores the same information on one and the other. This is the easiest system to use and very reliable. Whenever one of the hard drives breaks, the system fixes itself within hours. However, this is not bullet proof, and both drives can break at the same time-that’s what happened to me today.

4. Online: probably the most reliable way to store your important files is to upload them online. The downside of course is that if you have a lot of files like I do, this can be very impractical. But still consider this an option. You can check out www.carbonite.com; it’s one of the best ways to store your files.

I should add, though, that even if your hard drives break, in most cases you can still recover your files. This, however, can cost anywhere from $300 to $7,000 sometimes. About a year ago when my hard drive broke (yes, this happens often), I had to pay $3000 to recover my important files.

Well, in summary, I should simply say that you MUST backup your files. Computers are evil, so save your most important possessions, your memories and pictures, from disaster.




Please also visit my website www.danielusenko.com
Advertisements