Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 27, 2004, 12:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 32

I've read Steve's and many other reviews of the D70. I finally thought it might be
time to go digital.

I went to Bedford camera in Little Rock; used the camera and took 18 photos
inside, outside and macro. They printed these photographs and also gave me a CD
of them. I took the CD to the local one hour Wal-mart for them to print also.

Took the prints home and started comparing the digital photos to ones made by my
35 year old minolta 101 and also to a little $75 fuji point and shoot that my
wife used for quick shots of kids,etc.

Results - the prints from the film were clear, crisp and sharply defined. BTW
- most of these were made at Wal-Mart one-hour. There was a discernible
difference from the D70 printed photographs. The digital photos were almost
blurred in comparison.

I was thinking the digital had finally caught up with film in print quality.
Was I wrong - or could my test be invalid?

RonE is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 27, 2004, 1:52 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036

There was either something wrong with the D70 or with your use. Take a look at some of the images online.


These are full size:



If IE resizes the photos go Tools>Internet Options>Advanced>Multimedia and uncheck "enable automatic image resizing"

I have a wide format photo printer and print images from 5Mp cameras not as competent as the D70. They are crisp and clear. Not sure what went wrong, but the D70 will give spectacular prints.

Maybe you could get some hints about what might have gone wrong on the Nikon forum.
slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 27, 2004, 2:16 PM   #3
Delos's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 78


I've got a D70, an F5 and a Canon G2. I find the D70 to be an incredible camera. I've posted a lot of my D70 "Garden" photos at:


and a few at:


Additionally, there are perhaps thousands of D70 photos posted all over the internet. Sorry, but its sounds like something screwy was going on when you tested.
Delos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 27, 2004, 6:43 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 544

Files coming right out of a digital SLR need to be "tweaked" in a photo editing program, a process that the developingand printing labs do for you with your old 35mm chemical camera. Most folks coming from "point and shoot" digital cameras are initially disappointed with the results because saturation and other parameters are enhanced in P&S cameras, but not in DSLRs, unless you chose to do so.

I'd applaud you for your approach to compare the two media (chemical vs digital) but you may have left out a step. One of the biggest advantages of digital photography is your ability to modify photos after you press the shutter. You're no longer at the mercy of a lab (or some person who works there) as to what looks good.

Shooting in RAW mode gives you maximum flexibility. You can adjust white balance, saturation and other parameters on your desk top to make the picture look exactly the way you want it to. Whether you print it yourself or send it out, digital gives you maximum control of your photos.

Hope this helps...
Wildman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 27, 2004, 7:59 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 32

I understand the ability to tweak the photos. However, it seems either the shot is sharp or it isn't.

Regarding the print labs tweaking -- this test was a good example. The prints from the much more expensive camera shop were not as sharp as the prints from Wally's one hour service. I was thinking they may have tweaked them to remove some blemishes etc.

RonE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 27, 2004, 8:47 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803

Most walmarts use very good printing equipment (I believe its the Fuji Frontier.) They might not have well trained staff, but they have pro lab quality equipment. So comparing them to a lab isn't that far off (the difference is that they can be spot on, or way off in left field... because it's the techs fault for switching a setting without knowing it. And I'm not sure that Walmart guarrenties which paper and inks they use.)

You are not correct about a picture either being "sharp or it isn't". Digital SLRs are designed to produce images that are intended to be post processed, just as wildman said. What you did was not a fair comparison. You took pictures directly out of the camera (without retouching them) and had them printed.

The pictures out of the camera will be soft (not "unsharp" just "soft") but they will sharpen up very well on your computer before printing them. Most cameras have a setting for how much in-camera sharpening you want. If you don't want to edit your pictures (and I don't blame you if you don't) then increase the sharpness and contrast in-camera to get pictures that please you. As you probably know, some pictures look better when they are sharp, and others less sharp. The prime example is a portrate. People don't want every pore and blemish in their skin tack sharp. But if you take a picture of a butterfly's wings, it should be tack sharp. It is much easier to add sharpness than to remove it... so the higher end cameras actually produce softer images intentionally.

Now, I have never used the D70, nor have I knowingly seen output from it. But I can almost guarrenty you that it takes pictures just as good as your film camera. and better yet, at higher ISO values, it will produce pictures with less grain (called "noise" with digital cameras) than your filmcamera.

eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2004, 8:24 PM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 32

Talked to the camera store today - the clerk indicated he may have not set the camera properly. I plan to repeat the test.

Will let you know the results.
RonE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2004, 8:45 AM   #8
Senior Member
marokero's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 769

Also think about how long you've know your Minolta and the carefree shooting of the point and shoot Fuji, compared to quick walk in the store and barely any time to get to know the D70. Next time take your Minolta along, and using the same settings on both 101 and D70 take shots of the same subject. Then compare the prints. Just to let you know, Nikon's DSLR's have a tendency towards under exposere because a slightly under exposed shot can be salvaged, but not an over exposed shot where highlights have been blown. That applies to all digital cmeras.
marokero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2004, 9:45 AM   #9
Senior Member
Alan T's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Chester, UK
Posts: 2,980

RonE wrote:
it seems either the shot is sharp or it isn't.
No, that's not the case. The reason folk are delighted with their 2-3Mpixel digicams is that many of them, by default, apply various twiddles to the image before saving it. The most important from your point of view is 'sharpening'. This is applied 'in camera' by default in most 'point & shoots' and in some of the auto programs and 'best shot' modes of more upmarket cameras. Saturation enhancement is another feature that gives an erroneous idea ofthe quality of the original image.

Sharpening by Unsharp Masking (USM) is an optical illusion, which enhances the contrast across edges in the image. If you are post-processing an image before printing it, you need to do the sharpening *last* before printing to optimise for your desired print size. You need to experiment with sharpeningyour own images in Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro or similar image editing software to see what we're on about.

If you've got a posh camera, you need either to set the sharpening and other enhancements to suit you, or to do it yourself later on your computer (which is much better). If you do it in camera you may regret it later when you want to do a really big print. Unless you've shaken, or misfocused, or made some other error, it's likely your upmarket camera has produced a shot as sharp as it could be. A cheapo camera might look better at 6x4, but it's done by digital software magic.
Alan T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2004, 10:46 AM   #10
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 19

Was wondering if I could interject an additional question when it comes to post process sharpening?

How much will post process sharpening compensate for a lens that generally produces a "soft" image.

Lens A cost $1500 and is rated at producing quality sharp images

Lens B cost $500 and is rated at producting soft images.

Would an amateur like me be able to take those soft images and apply Unsharp Mask to come out with an acceptable sharpness instead of buying the higher priced lens? Keep in mind that my photos are not being sold or held to a higher standard as a professional might have. But is there a limit to the sharpness I'll be able to achieve?

Thanks Jim
Magee is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:50 PM.