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khieg Mar 20, 2004 12:16 AM

Rebel 2000 vs Digital
I have a Rebel 2000 which I have been using for about 4 years. I have wanted to make the switch to digital but am unsatisfied with skin tones in any digital camera prints I have seen come straight from a digital camera or computer or online printing service without manipulating the picture with software.

I have been into my local camera store asking to see pictures with their best digital cameras including one "Canon days" event which had some of their top of the line cameras. I continue to look at prints of friends digitals as well. Skin tones consistently look grayish or ashen or, at best, pinkish.

When comparing my Rebel 2000 pics side by side with those from digital cameras it looks almost as though the 2000 has a "built-in" warm filter. Digital pics commonly look great on various computers sceens I have viewed, but in print consistently look as described above. I dont want to have to manipulate every pic before printing. I have not had the opportunity to try a warm filter on a digital.

Any input? Does anyone agree with this assessment?

BillDrew Mar 20, 2004 7:51 AM

The color you will get in your prints with a digicam depends on four things:
1) the camera settings
2) the light you are shooting in
3) the manipulations you make with your photo editor
4) the printer settings

With a chemical camera there are also four things:
1) the kind of film you are using
2) the light you are shooting in
3) how it is developed
4) how it is printed

Much the same issues- just swapping the camera options with the digital camera for choice of film in the chemical camera. But there is more than 50 years experience with chemical processing.

The reason you (often) get good skin color with a chemical camera is that the folks at the processing lab adjust things to make it happen right, and they have had a great deal of experience with the ways things can go wrong. With digital there is less experience and more ways to go wrong.

If you want to test this, take some pictures of Indian (East or West) folks with your chemical camera. The odds that the skin tones will come back right is rather low - the lab is likely to adjust so them look Caucasian.

Many years ago I was in my favorite camera shop (now closed). Mrs Brown was telling about a customer who had shot a whole roll film of their white poodle. The prints came back showing a white poodle: but they had dyed it green for St Pat's day. The lab techs knew there was no such thing as a green poodle so had adjusted the printing to make the dog white.

So the short answer is: yes, you can get good skin tones with digital. The odds of getting good skin tones with a digital camera straight out of the box is probably about the same as using a chemical camera with a random choice of film and sending it to a random lab more than 50 years ago.

khieg Mar 20, 2004 10:56 PM

Thanks for the helpful comments. I have to say, with the competition out there, I'm suprised they arent better at those adjustments with digital. The way the prints look is so consistent, it seems it might be an easy fix. Guess not. Your comments make sense. Thanks again.

ursa Mar 21, 2004 10:30 AM

The adjustments that the lab makes while printing is why most pro's shoot slide film - they're a lot less adjustments for the lab to make and the shot is exactly as the photographer took it.

In the film world your choice of film's make a huge difference - Fuji film tends to be stronger on greens, Kodak a bit warmer. Move into pro slide film and you can get stuff optimized for weddings.

The pictures I've taken with my Digital Rebel have been quite good, same with my G2. I believe on the 10D and 1D the camera is set up out of the box to be less 'saturated'. A lot of people complained that their SLR didn't take as nice a picture as their cheaper P&S.

There are settings that you can use on the Digital Rebel that will control this, it's under parameters. I've not used it so I can't comment beyond this.

In addition your choice of printer & ink & paper will make a difference. I've had good results with with my Epson for skin tones.

BillDrew Mar 21, 2004 5:11 PM


Originally Posted by khieg
... I have to say, with the competition out there, I'm suprised they arent better at those adjustments with digital. The way the prints look is so consistent, it seems it might be an easy fix. ....

Your photos from Your camera with Your settings look consistent with each other. The problem is that other people have different cameras and different setttings (white balance in particular, but also saturation, contrast, ...). Worse, a +1 (e.g.) saturation in your camera is very unlikely to be the same as +1 in a different camera. Then there is all the photo editing that is done before printing. It is akin to having a huge number of different "films" out there. As well as a huge number of different printing paper. It really isn't likely that a chemical photo lab would do well with (e.g.) 500 different kinds of film coming through, esp if many of them weren't even labeled to tell them what kind of film it was.

Surprises me that they come out as well as they do.

khieg Mar 21, 2004 11:18 PM


What I meant to say was, I feel like the pictures I saw from a variety of different digital cameras printed on personal printers and from various print services all looked somewhat consistent with each other--ie gray or ashen skin tones. Your most recent description of all the different "films" seems to be a good explanation of why there would not be a consistent way to output appropriatley processed prints from a processing lab. It suggests the only way to be consistent is to print my own pictures at home with a camera, printer, paper and software that i will have to learn to use well. We like to fill up photo albums with prints of our children so this would be pretty time consuming and makes me lean toward continuing with the Rebel 2000 and reserve the digital for B&W which consistently come out satisfactorily.


PKchopper Mar 21, 2004 11:42 PM

I enjoy my pictures on my computer especially on my laptop. They travel everywhere I go and I have so many that I don't think I would have enough space to print them all out.

That's one nice thing about the digital world. Just print the ones you want to display and keep all the others, even the just a little blurry ones.

I know I have seen rolls of film with only a keeper or two and the same thing happens in the digital world but it is easy to keep them all, especially since space (memory) is so cheap these days. :D

chuck biddinger Mar 22, 2004 12:04 AM

I never say never, but this time I will..... I would NEVER go back to a chemical camera.

checklg Mar 22, 2004 7:17 AM

Some of the best digital skin tones I've ended up with were by using Direct Sunlight white balance under incandecent lighting. Everyone ended up with a nice suntan.

As Bill points out it's a case of establishing the correct processing methods for the results that you are after, idealy with as little post processing tweaks as possible. None the less I've found that working with the most suitable colour space for the particular output device will make a difference. To date I've found this to be sRGB for monitors and Bruce RGB for my Epson printer. I use Adobe 1998 in my D100 and convert at the appropriate publishing step.


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