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Obtaining digital image files

Digitising color prints at time of processing This information is probably out of date
It is easy to have your film photos digitised at reasonable cost when you are having them developed and printed. Many film processors will provide a CD with image files of your photos if you order it. I have a CD described as Kodak Picture CD, produced in Australia by National Photos, by a mail order system. The
National Photos website (external link) quotes prices for all its services, and currently the cost of the CD for a 36 exposure film is about AU$8, which represents an additional 40% charge on top of the basic develop and print charge. The pixels size of the scans is 1536x1024, and the JPG files vary in size from 450 KB to 900 KB. The small ones have large areas of one colour, as in sky area, so the compression is more efficient. There is also a floppy disk service in which the files will have a smaller pixel size because of the small amount of storage space on a floppy. (July 2005: these notes might already be out of date because of the rapid adoption of digital cameras).

High quality scans of slides
Note that the Kodak Picture CD scans are not the same as Kodak Photo CD scans. Kodak will scan photos on to a Kodak Photo CD for you, at a price, at any time (not only associated with processing). These scans can be opened at various sizes, all quite large, and the quality is unnecessarily high for monitor display. Not all image processing programs can handle the Photo CD image format.

Digitising existing slides and prints
The local photo processors in Mackay, which is a small country town, are happy to digitise existing slides and prints at reasonable prices. I know nothing about the size or quality of the scans, but they are almost certainly good enough for web page display. SideStoke has a scanner which produces scans of slightly lower quality than the Kodak Picture CD scans, from prints or colour slides. Scanning of colour negatives is also possible but it is more difficult to produce results with accurate colour balance. Scanning black and white negatives is easy.

Digital cameras
Higher quality digital cameras produce digital image files of various sizes (and quality) and the pixel size of the images can be set at the time of taking the photos, as can the degree of compression. The camera handbook will quote the size of the resulting files for various settings. Digital cameras operate without film and processing costs so you can blast away like there is no tomorrow and experiment to your heart's content, provided that you have access to a computer for downloading the files. For photographing pots you need one with the ability to focus down to the distance at which you photograph your smallest pot, and you need some control over the aperture so as to have sufficient depth of field. For specifications and reviews of digital cameras visit (external link).

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