Many things

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Sat Jan 29 18:03:07 2005

> > > Or perhaps it shows how you are limiting yourself. Many of the things that
> >> I use a computer for are either not practical, or just plain impossible on
> >
> >It depends on what you want to do, I guess. I have no interest -- at all
> >-- in digital audio or video processing. I will only _consider_ buying a
> >digital camera when the results available are better than those from my
> >currnet film-based cameras (which, considering I have a number of
> >large-format sheet film cameras, won't be for some time!). For the
> >applications I use a computer for (text processing, programming,
> >supporting my classics by doing automatic testing, EPROM dumping,
> >assembling/disassembly binary programs, etc) a classic computer does all
> >I need!
> >
> >-tony
> I just realized that I included you in that comment, sorry about
> that. I find your reasons for using the computers that you do to be
> very rational.

I try to have a reason for everything I do. I am not arogant enough to
claim I am always right, of course :-)

FRor example, I try not to be a linux bigot. Yes, I run linux, and yes I
like it. For _what I do_ I think it's the best choice. That doesn't mean
it's the best choice for everyone, and I am quite prepared to accept that
other OSes, yes even including those from M$, are better choices for some
people. I do however know that Windows would not be the right choice _for

> The mention of camera's is an interesting point. I love digital
> camera's and find them *very* useful, but at the same time, I don't

I am the sort of person who will almost never trade quality for
ease-of-use :-) I am prepared to put in the time and effort to get things

Again, I can see the uses of digital cameras for some applications. An
obvious example is press work. The ability to transfer pictures across
the worlds seconds after they are taken is obviously a good thing there.
But I don't need to do that. I prefer the much-superior quality that I
get from a good film camera.

Incidnetally, the cost for me to get a reasonable digital SLR + lens
(because none of my existing lenses would fit) + PC + colour printer would
significantly exceed what I paid for a good second-hand large-format
(5"*4") sheet film camera + lens + new bellows + a good enlarger with colour
head + all the other darkroom bits... In fact the amount of money saved
will buy a lot of film and paper...

It's also worth remembering that quality can be easily removed, it can
never be added. If, for some reason, I want one of my photographs in
digital form, then the negative or print can be scanned (OK, I don;t have
a scanner, but I can find somebody who does). And I still have the
original film. If I'd taken the picture with a digital camera, no way
could I have got the informatiom that was lost due to the lack of
resolution of said camera.
> think they'll be able to replace any of my favorite cameras, as
> they're for 3D photography, and I don't think anyone will release a

Can you not couple 2 diginal cameras together with the lenses a suitable
distance apart. Or use one of the prism assemblies that fit on the front
of the lens and fiddle the resulting image file?
> 3D digital camera anytime soon, at least not an affordable one,
> though I'd love to be proven wrong. The newest of my 3D camera's is
> still about 50 years old, and the projectors that I use are just as
> old. At the same time I am looking forwards to when digital camera's
> matching 35mm resolution become affordable.

I estimate that a good 35mm camera + film is the equivalent of at least
20 megapixels....

Of course the pixel count is not the whole story. As the number of pixels
increases, the size of each photoreceptor site on the CCD (or whatever
sensor is used) goes down. So the amount of chrage produced per site goes
down too. You get more noise. Cameras with a large quoted number of
pixels tend to do poorly in low light conditions (and aren't brilliant in

Film, in a sense, has the same problem, in that faster (more sensitive)
films have a larger grain size. But at least with film I can pick the
right one for the job. I can decide I need 800 ASA film because I am
taking pictures inside a building and can't use flash. Or I can pick
Kodachrome 64 because I am taking static subjects on my workbench and it
doesn't matter if I have 10 second exposures.

Oh well, this off-topic bit has gone on long enough ;-)

Incidentally, I am not 'against' digital cameras in the sense that I
don't allow them to be used near me, of course. If I take some of my
toys, say, to an HPCC meeting, then members are welcome to photograph
them, and they can use film, digital, video tape, whatever. The only
thing I object to is flashpowder (the magnesium oxide smoke doesn't do my
machines any good at all!). Electronic flash or flashbulbs are fine...

> I do mess with audio and video processing (my Digital Audio
> Workstation is nearing the 10 year mark), but I must confess the
> addiction that isn't really practical for me on classic HW is
> "Desktop Publishing", and that's mainly due to image editing. The

Hmm... All that I've 'publisehd', including my Ph.D. thesis and the HP48
I2C interfacve manual were produced on classic hardware. OK, in the former
case the diagrams came from a CAD system on a mac, saved as postscript
files and transfered across to this linux box. In the latter case, the
diagrams were produced on a PC/XT machine with a CGA display, saved as
HPGL files, then transfered to the linx box. There I used hp2xx(1) to
turn them into epc files

All the text, of course, was formatted with TeX / LaTeX which will run on
classic computers. The dvips printer driver will quite hapilly pull in
eps files and get them in the right places....

I find the separate editing/formating stages to be much easier to handle
than a more normal word processor/DTP program.

Received on Sat Jan 29 2005 - 18:03:07 GMT

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