[Scribus] quality images for press (digital camera? cheap/free online stock s? scan?)

Craig Ringer craig
Wed May 4 11:57:36 CEST 2005

On Wed, 2005-05-04 at 10:21 +0100, Tariq Rashid wrote:

> my local photography shop (run by photography and optics enthusiasts) insist
> that i don't need a digitial camera with more than 2MP - i don't believe
> them!

Well... it depends on what you want. More resolution gives you more
freedom to manipulate the image, and the option to print it at larger
sizes / on higher resolution media.

(Note: I'm no photography expert. This is mostly gleaned from my time
working with digital images and helping with the colour issues at work,
and my experience with the different cameras we've had here and that
I've used)

My workplace uses a six megapixel camera and regularly prints half-page
(~A4, since we print on ~A3+) shots from that - but we print on
newsprint at 85lpi and 150-200dpi. Your needs may vary. There's no
single right answer - determine what you need before setting your

Remember though that resolution ("megapixels") is just one factor in
digital camera image quality. Dynamic range, sharpness and optics
quality, and ability to avoid tinting and casting are also absolutely
critical. There are 6MP cameras on the market that produce much worse
shots than a 2MP camera with good optics and smart firmware. Good lenses
are REALLY IMPORTANT - and really expensive.

Remember to test the camera you're considering buying in a variety of
lighting conditions - bright and dark, direct and indirect, natural,
incandescent, and flourescent, etc. This will help you pick up how
resistant it is to colour casting and tinting.

Also be sure to check how good the shots look at max resolution at 100%
size. If they're less than fantastically sharp, chances are the optics
in the camera aren't good enough to actually get you the detail you'd
think you're getting at a given MP rating. It could even be doing really
bodgy things like scaling up in firmware (eew!).

Also - turn off digital zoom. It's just nasty, at least in the cameras
I've seen - most of them scale the pic up after cropping it. Eeew! Crop
in software later instead.

> some have advised that i use an analogue camera and scan the developed
> photos?

Only if you have a really, really expensive scanner will that get you
better results than a good quality digital. You need excellent dynamic
range and sharpness (btw, don't believe manufacturer quoted dynamic
range, it's usually a pretend "theoretical" DR calculated from
resolution that means nothing in reality) and that costs a lot,
especially if you need a fast scanner too.

That said, I seem to reliably pick utterly crap scanners, so it may not
be wise to listen to me in this.

> can anyone advise on any of this? is a 5MP camera enough? can anyone
> recommended one that has a good end-to-end system (lens and processor, not
> just CCD).

Again, depends on what you need.

I've been very happy with the Canon EOS 10D. Beatiful images, very
sharp, very tolerant with lighting, and fairly affordable. The software
is utter crap, but so is almost all digicam software.

> or perhaps someone knows of a cheap/free online resource of high quality
> images?

http://burningwell.org/ has some awesome work on it.

eg http://www.burningwell.org/gallery/Animals/dsc08346 and
http://www.burningwell.org/gallery/Animals/dsc08362 and many more by a
fellow from the local LUG in Perth, Leon Brooks.

Craig Ringer

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