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Some Technical Stuff






Most photographs are equal when they've been reduced to ragged  600 x 400 pixel (or less) jpegs for a web site.  Not so for the original files - some of these are definitely more equal than others.  For anyone wondering what a particular image might be capable of the the prefix letter in file name is a guide:

p (for Pentax) means the original is a 10 megapixel RAW file which can take considerable enlargement. Even these "cropped sensor" DSLRs (which is most of them) are closer to the performance of traditional medium format film than to 35mm. The slice of Napier on the right is from a normal landscape oriented photograph, not from a portrait (vertical) shot.

f is for 35mm film, usually 200 ASA colour neg although most of the older stuff is transparancy. Most scans here have been made with my Canon 2700 dpi film scanner and they are fine for everyday use but for reproduction or exhibition use they need to be re-scanned at a professional image lab.  

c (for Canon) means the original is a 5 megapixel jpeg from my digital compact. The camera is RAW  capable but the slowed performance as the camera saves the uncompressed RAW files tends to defeat the purpose of a point and shoot camera, especially in the air.  Resolution is still good up to A3 but other qualities such as dynamic range and colour rendition suffer compared to the digital SLR and to film

If you find an "m " the original is a 6cm x 6cm black and white negative.  I did try my old twin lens Mamiya in the air during the long wait for Pentax DSLRs to move beyond 6 megapixels but the experiment  was not a success.  I'm glad I did hold out because Pentax cameras are the only ones that allow you to use all your old lenses. I'm taking a lot of pictures with two prime (fixed focal length) lenses that I've had in my camera bag since the early 1980s and the results continue to amaze and delight me. Let there be no doubt about it - digital cameras need good glass.

However, this is only a guide; my aerials have to be taken very quickly, often using one hand, and with everything pre-set.  Flying the plane safely always takes priority and I'm the first to admit that the aperture, ISO and shutter speeds etc are not always at the optimum settings for the job in hand.

The rest of the file name is straightforward.  There is a four-digit date code followed by a single digit indicating the consecutive film or memory card used that day, and after that the frame number for that film or card.

Finally, I can't be bothered printing at home.  I prefer to supply exhibition quality prints from one of the main-centre professional labs.  I have no idea what others charge but my starting point relies on the theory of doubling the cost of production i.e. printing, scanning (if from film), and postage, times two. This puts a nice 30 x 45cm print somewhere between $150 and $200.

I have no idea at this stage how  image licencing charges are determined.

Copyright (c) 2007 Peter Scott, all rights reserved