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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

Apple Confusion

I tried to sign up for the free Apple Photoshop seminar and there were almost no seminars listed on their Web site. What's up with that?


The seminars filled up much faster than expected and locations were removed from their site as they were filled. New seminars are being added. Please click here to request a seminar in your city

We're Human Too!

I've been reading Vivid Light for about a year now. One of the most refreshing things about y'all is that you admit to making mistakes and that at one time you were novices too. It makes me feel like there's hope for me yet.

Thanks, Alf

Gary's article Holding on to the Passion REALLY struck a cord with me! I have a lot of shots like that in my shoe boxes. Shots where I really didn't know how to capture the scene that was in front of me but that I just can't seem to part with because the memories are so vivid. It's nice to know that even the pros have these kinds of emotions - and miscues.

Mark Anderson

The Fur is Flying!

Your feedback concerning the possible murder of animals at a game farm didn't treat this serious issue seriously enough. Fur is murder! Meat is murder! You should do an article on why our society fails to recognize the senseless slaughter of animals. We senselessly slaughter animals for food and clothing and we kill them with our cars. Thanksgiving is a celebration of slaughter! You are obviously all lovers of nature and the outdoors. Why not write about this issue?

Josh Gilroy

Josh we are indeed lovers of nature and as a group we're probably more sensitive to environmental issues than most. But some people let their passion overtake their common sense - and it sounds to me like you might be one of those folks.

With that in mind I'm going down to the kitchen to partake in the barbaric ritual of eating a leftover turkey sandwich. Let the carnage begin!

Contest Critiques

I looked at last month's contest winners and I thought that the runner-up "Worlds End" was much better than the winner. Was the guy who picked the winner stoned or what?


Chuck wasn't stoned - just a little loopy from the darkroom chemicals.

The monthly photo contests are my favorite part of the magazine. I'm not sure where you come up with your ideas but the contests get me to try things I wouldn't normally think to try. I haven't won *yet* but I'm trying every month.

Karen R.

Karen, that's what it's all about.

Full Frame Digital

I like you technical articles specially "First Look: Kodak's DCS 14n" I wonder how you bring the number of 27Mpixels for the 35 mm. Is it possible to tell how you got this number? To my knowledge the 35mm has a 24x36. If I take 100 lines of resolutions I will come up to (24 X100) X (36X100)= 8.64 megapixels . Please clarify also the film sensitivity ISO ???

I will grateful to you
Costa Issid

27 Megapixels is the commonly accepted digital equivalent of films' resolution.

Finally an explanation of digital photography chips that made sense. 

Thank you,

Thank you for clearing up something that I have found confusing for some time. Now I understand why full frame chips really are an advantage. I use my D60 mostly for shooting my son's high school football games and I have to say that not having to buy a longer lens has been a plus. It also puts a smile on my face every time I think of my high school photography teacher who beat into us that cropping any image was some kind of mortal sin!

Loving Digital
Harry the Hat

I'm not convinced about this article. Yes, you can get the same magnification by cropping if you have a larger chip. However, if you have a full size 6 mp chip as compared to a smaller 6 mp chip, when you crop to get higher magnification with the 6 mp chip, you will end up with 4 mp worth of picture.

Moreover, the corners of camera lenses have poorer resolution, even for film, than the centre. The smaller CCD therefore takes advantage of the best part of the lens.

Peter Spiro

Peter, now you're getting into some different areas, specifically pixel density and light fall off in the corners which is a function of lens design. The latter is a huge variable as there are huge differences in light fall off depending on the design and manufacture of the lens. The former is a more technical topic. This article was intended to focus on the basics.

"So we ask forbearance among our more technical readers. For the sake of this article a chip is a chip is a chip - whether it be a CMOS, CCD, or Foveon chip we'll refer to it as an 'image chip'." 

I was surprised and a little miffed when I read this. There are specific characteristics of CMOS and CCD chips that directly effect the design decisions of engineers as they pertain to digital cameras. Specifically... [balance deleted]

Dr. J. Edward Mathews
San Francisco, California

Your article on digital image processors raised a valid point regarding the size of the chip. However you did not address the issue of the spacing of those pixels or the distance between pixels (pixel density)... [balance deleted]

[name withheld by request]

I read with interest your discussion of the new full frame digital cameras. However you failed to address how specific decisions in the design process and particularly the fabrication process can effect the overall ability of an image processing sensor to accurately record... [the next 4 pages of text on microprocessor design deleted]

S. Patel

Jeez guys. I got through a couple of levels of calculus in college and your letters brought it all back (but after a couple of days the nightmares finally stopped). I will take it on faith that the calculations and details of your emails are correct. But they kind of miss the point. The article was about clearing up some basic details in layman's terms. The reality is that most photographers could give a horses fanny how the chip works, what design decisions are made when laying out circuit boards or what raw materials are used in it's fabrication. They're concerned with how those basics affect their photography. In the end no one can look at am image and say "That was captured with a CCD chip." It's about the image - not the technology. 

The article on image chip size in your November 2002 issue is superb! Very informative. I was of the opinion that the smaller chips provided "magnification", rather than the cropping of the image that actually occurs. It's a situation that is similar to the tilt-shift lenses which work by providing an image circle which is larger than the film frame. Canon's use of micro lenses in front of the image sensor is also fascinating. The use of multiple small corrective lenses was used to fix the Hubble telescope.. Multiple adjustable lenses are being used in ophthalmology with wave-front technology to analyze and correct refractive errors. 

Robert Edelman, M.D.

After spending the last four months learning everything I could about digital photography I've decided to trade in my EOS for a pinhole camera. All this techno babble is making me nuts. 


Digital - To Switch or Not to Switch

Your article on the switch to digital is on the mark. Sometimes its hard to justify the necessity to purchase new technology or just do it and forget about the investment. I have been using a Nikon Coolpix 995 since April and do not like it. It is awkward and not easy to use. I would prefer to switch to a digital SLR. This would be a good time to rent a digital SLR and try it to see if the switch is for you if you are thinking about a purchase. Pro Photo Supply in Portland, Oregon offers a rental on digital SLRs and I am sure there are other retailers offering rentals. 

Thanks for the article.
James Saxon

Your article "Agonizing on the Switch to Digital" is nothing short of AWESOME! It covers all the issues without ripping apart either format. It is very well-written. The statement about - do I want pleasure at my light table or instant gratification in the field - drives it home. One of the things about photography that I look forward to the most is picking up my slides, making a cup of tea, setting up my light table and looking at my work. I am actually sad when I have opened all the envelopes and looked at all the slides. I am always looking for more. Digital photography does have its specific applications but for fine art photography, film is still on top. Keep up the great articles. You are very articulate!

Janis Anderson Photographer

I'm retired but have been a serious amateur photographer since I was in high school in the 50s. For Christmas 2001 my wife gave me a Nikon Coolpix 5000. Very nice camera, no question about it but did I get rid of my 40 year old Leica M2 and its four fine lenses and my equally old Rolleiflex TLR? Heck no. As was written, photographing with a digital camera does not feel like photography. There's nothing like the solid, smooth feel of that Leica and the Rollei. Simplicity and elegance. Never outmoded, as long as film is being made.

The instant gratification of digital is nice but it will never take the place of the classics.

Kurt Miska 
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Very interesting article on the switch to digital. In an upcoming issue of Shutterbug you will find a story on just that subject and interviews with a number of photographers and stock agencies. The switch is definitely happening - the Ludites are coming out of the woodwork to look around and most of them are liking what they see. 

What an exciting time - Roz Smith

I was surprised that you article on digital vs. film didn't take into account the new Nikon D2 to be released in January. There's quite a bit of information on it being posted at [Site Name Deleted]. It will be a 28 megapixel full frame camera with...

[Name withheld to protect the silly]

You really can't believe everything you read on the Internet. This site is obviously some kind of spoof.


Outdoor hint: while setting up in the dark to shoot elusive wildlife, the shiny legs of the tripod seem to glow in the dark....a 4 dollar investment in a camo rain poncho took care of that situation...the hood on the poncho can be pulled up and cover the camera and lens until "Bambi" comes into view! Thanks for the great site!!!

Best regards, 

I just finished your review of the Hakuba carbon fiber tripod.I agree with your assessment of light weight carbon fiber tripods. I use a Gitzo 1127 with a Bogen 3413QR head. I don't have or use any very heavy lenses and this setup works great with my D100, 18-35 Nikkor, 70-210 Nikkor and 105 Sigma macro. I always hand hold my 80-400 VR Nikkor so no problem there. This outfit is so light that you almost don't know it's there and my pictures don't show any signs of the shakes. What a relief not to carry 10 or more pounds of tripod. I really thank you for your reviews. If you remember, I purchased the 80-400 VR after reading your review and very recently the 18-35 Nikkor after your review of this lens. They perform just as you stated. Thanks for all you do for all of us with limited access to different equipment.

Bob Roach

Canon 100-400 IS

Just read the review on the CANON EF 100-400 IS. I just got the lens a couple of weeks ago. It's fantastic! You can really see the IS in action! I've got a 28-135 IS, but the effect isn't that great! Now, I'm looking at the 70-200 f/2.8L IS. I'm wondering if you have any review on that lens yet?


Not yet. 

I question your assertion that the Nikon VR lens is the equal of the Canon IS lens. I routinely shoot with a member of our camera club who has a VR and I've noticed that my bird images are sharper than the images he gets with his VR. It is common knowledge that Canon makes superior lenses. Did Nikon slip you guys a couple of bucks to talk up their lens?

B Emerson

It's more likely a difference in technique and/or ability. As a test, switch gear the next time you two are out shooting together. I would guess that his images will still be a little softer - even if he's using the Canon gear. As for it being common knowledge that Canon makes superior lenses - did Canon slip you a couple of bucks to say that? :-)

Men of Few Words

Fantastic magazine...great info and pics too! keep up the good work...


Read your thoughts on digital the last few months. I'll stick with film. As far as I'm concerned you guys are smoking crack.

C. Tyler

Just a note to thank you for your wonderful publication. Every month it is chock full of great articles and tips. Your magazine has helped me improve my photography skills by leaps and bounds. Thank you again.

John Phillips

Superb site, please more subjective tests like the one on the Nikon 18-35mm, and perhaps compare it to the sigma 18-30mm etc.

Well done.
Ron (UK)

I came across Vivid Light a few months ago and have been hooked ever since!! The articles are very helpful and it's great how VL is a web-based magazine - it means people like me are not disadvantaged by living half the world away in New Zealand!!

Thanks again, and have a great Xmas!!


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