The May 2004 COBA meeting was held last night at the usual place and the usual time. The main focus of the meeting was taking a look at prints from various digital cameras. We wanted to see how much difference there was between 3, 4, 6, 8, and 11 megapixel cameras. Last Sunday, a number of COBA members met at Stanford University armed with a veritable arsenal of photography equipment. We tested a Canon PowerShot S30, EOS-D30, EOS-10D, EOS-1D, EOS-1Ds, EOS-1D Mark II, Nikon D100, Sigma SD9, and a Sigma SD10. Over the next couple of days, I made some prints of the images have a fairly consistent post-processing procedure.
The results were very interesting and in some ways, surprising. As expected, at 4×6, there was little difference between all of the cameras. At 8×12, the PowerShot S30 was clearly lacking compared to the DSLR’s, but its image was still acceptable to most people in the room. At 20×30, the differences between the various DSLR’s were noticeable, but as much as many people initially suspected. The biggest difference between the cameras was in color rendition. I tried my best in post-processing, but it was very difficult to get the colors to match, even in a simple daytime photo such as this one!
It’s worth noting that the photos we analyzed we taken under relatively ideal conditions. There’s more to a camera than the number of megapixels. Features such as ISO range, durability, speed, autofocus, battery life, and weight are all important factors for people when choosing a digital camera.
Now, sometimes more megapixels are better. For the July, 2004, meeting, we’re going to have Graham Flint come in to talk about his gigapixel camera. You heard that right, a gigapixel camera! Graham has constructed his own camera which takes exposures on 9×18 inch film negative. The image is then scanned and processed in a computer to product enormous prints. Graham’s friend, Michael T. Jones, brought some prints from the camera, and they were jaw-dropping stunning. If there’s one COBA meeting that you’ll want to attend, it’s the July meeting!