Select camera
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How to select a camera?

Selection of a camera:
Will digital cameras replace classical cameras?
No. Digital camera can produce pictures suitable for imaging processing. It can be monitored through a television, computer, Internet or simply printed out. It can be used as a special purpose camera. For general purpose, it does not have the portability of monitoring *1, capacity of storage *2, low cost of production *3, good colour quality *4, and high definition as silver halide film *5.
* Note:
1. You can not demonstrate you digital image unless you have the proper equipment with you.
2. Good quality image requires lots of storage space. Typically 1M to 50M of memory required per picture. One hard drive can store only a few rolls of film. If the hard drive crash, you will lose every thing.
3. To produce a digital print out will cost you few dollars of ink and half hour of time verses 25 cents per print in a one-hour photo.
4. Prints by digital do not have stable colour as silver paper. They can fade out in half-year time.
5. You can see dots and pattern in a digital print out.

Can the Advance Photo System replace the 35mm?
I don't think so. If you look at the history of photography, there were many formats have been obsolete. 620, 127, 126, 110, Disc, Rapid, 8mm, 16mm and etc. are mostly disappeared from the market. It is only 35mm format can survive through out the ages since Leica made the first 35mm camera.

Could a disposable camera take good picture?
Any Camera can take good pictures. It is very depending on the photographer how to control his equipment. But one thing for sure is a disposable camera has very limited performance. Your chance of getting a good quality picture is very low. A disposable camera has a plastic lens of very small aperture, therefore under exposure is a very common trouble. Because of cheap camera does not have exposure and focusing control, you could also get over exposure on a bright sunny day. Pictures taken will also lose definition because of no focusing function.

Square face boy This square face little boy picture was taken with a disposable panoramic camera. The exposure was by chance correct because it was taken out of door with little sunlight. Focus is on the brick rather than on the head because the camera does not have any adjustment.

There are many cameras in the market can take panoramic pictures, are they real panoramic cameras?
No, these cameras are just cropping out the top and bottom portion of your negative to make its format looks like panoramic. In fact, any camera can have the same function without cropping your negative. These panoramic features are only a selling feature to make people believe their product is more versatile.

Panoramic Picture

The above panoramic picture was taken with a real panoramic camera. Please note there is a joint line on the front wheel of the minivan. This is because the negative of this picture is much longer than the standard 35mm format. A regular photofinisher will not be able to handle this format unless printing two pictures and joint together as shown. A real panoramic camera has a lens, which can rotate like an eyeball during shooting. Most panoramic cameras in the market are just format imitation.

How many types of camera are there?
There are two major types of classical cameras, range finder and through the lens type.

What is a range finder camera?
The viewfinder of a range finder camera is beside the lens. The advantages of these cameras are low cost, lightweight, fast handling, and quiet. Disadvantage is it has parallax error *1. It is not what you see is what you get. It is very obvious on taking close up pictures. For example, most people taking pictures on a birthday cake will get only half of it although they were actually saw a full cake through the view finder.

My brother

Note 1:
My brother was taken with a range finder camera without parallax correction. Please note the hair portion of the girl was cut out although the photographer has seen the hair when he took the picture.


What is a through the lens camera?
Through the lens camera could be a single lens reflex or twin lens reflex. Single lens reflex camera is you see through the lens on a movable mirror. Therefore, it is what you see is what you get. Disadvantages are high cost, bulky, heavy, and noisy. Twin lens reflex camera is view through an extra lens with a non-movable mirror. It has almost disappeared from the market nowadays. It is bulky, heavy, and difficult to handle, and has parallax error as a range finder camera. Advantage is quite.

Dandelion This Dandelion picture was taken with a single lens reflex camera equipped with a bellow attachment. The object distance is only two inches. With this kind of close up distance, most range finder cameras will have difficulty to focus.


What kind of camera should I buy?
It depends on your demand and budget. For general purpose, you can get an auto-focus range finder camera between $100 to $400. For serious photographer, you can get a single lens reflex camera from $400 up.

What is the difference between a focus free, auto-focus camera and manual focus camera?
Focus free is a lower cost camera designed in such a way the picture is within focus in a certain range of distances. That is, it does not have adjustable focusing. Auto-focus is a better feature. The focus is automatically adjustable by electronic means. There are many grades of auto-focus features. Lower quality will have only two step adjustment. Better quality may have five steps or higher. Manual focus is continuously adjustable.

What is an automatic exposure camera?
Automatic exposure is a feature that control the amount of light exposed to a film such that it has the appropriate dosage to create better picture.

Used camera:

Does an old camera have better quality?
Camera industry is peak between 1950 to 1980 before the fully automatic camera become common. Within this period, people do not concern too much with automatic features, weight, and price. They are more concerned on optics, mechanical performance, ruggedness, and semi-automatic features. As a serious photographer point of view, they have better choice at that period.

Should I buy a used camera?
Quality used camera retains its value with time. You could pay much more money on a used camera than a new camera. You are buying an old camera is not because of the price or performance, it is simply because you like it. Many used cameras are collectable.

Roleiflx.jpg (12393 bytes) This classical twin lens reflex camera has very high quality lens. Its vibration free shutter is so quite that modern single lens reflex camera can hardly match. It is a medium format, professional quality camera.

 What should I watch out on buying a used camera?
On the optical side, you should watch out if there are scratches on the lenses, fungus between the optics, and oil leaks in the lens diaphragm. On the mechanical side, you should check out the shutter if it is working precisely, film winder, exposure meter, battery corrosion, and etc.

What are the most common troubles on a used camera?
Dried lubrication oil, fungus, dust, battery corrosion, photocell aging, water damages are the most common troubles in a used camera.

Can I just add oil into a shutter?
You could cause more damages to a camera if you do not know how to do it. Too much oil or adding oil into a forbidden area can ruin your camera.

Hi-Tech Photofinisher
5143 Tomken Road, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 1P1, Canada.
Tel: 905-625-9261