on the Net ver. 2
Flemming V. Larsen.
I am not a professionel photographer, so don't consider what you read here as the golden rules of photography. This is just some guidelines according to my experience with fungi photography. I won't be covering the top professionel equipment like midlle or high format cameras and film - but focusing on the more transportable equipment most people are likely to carry around on there field trips.
Nowadays your first choice seems to be whether to go for a standard SLR film camera or one of those new digital cameras. The digital cameras are getting cheaper day by day but still they aren't at a level where you can compare them to a standard SLR camera.
First of all when we talk about images resolution the film resolution is at least 20 : 1 compared to the digital images. You can't of course argue that a resolution at 1028 x 756 is enough for you if you only want to publish the images on the web - but then you have to consider that the image you get from the digital camera is already compressed - so there maybe some unpredictable artifacts and you'll lack some information if you want to do some manual retouching afterwards.
Furthermore considering the weather condition most fungi prefer I am a little concerned about the durability of the electronically parts in a digital camera.
Therefore my choice would be a good quality SLR camera. As you are likely to carry it with you through many tuff landscapes be sure to look for a robust lightweight 25 mm single lens camera. And go for a camera with a self-timer (could be substituted by a cable release) and option for manual exposure settings (both shutter speed and aperture).
To come close enough to the many tiny fungi out there it's a must to have a macro (also known as micro-) lens. Some camera come with e.g. 35-80 mm zoom with macro and they are very good although they can be a bit heavy to carry around. If you have the money for it a dedicated 50 or 60 mm macro lens is the best. As a substitute/extras you can use a set of Extension Rings.
As you'll be working a lot with self-timer / cable release and low shutter speed be sure to have a good flexible tripod. Look for a tripod where you can have the camera close to the ground: either a small "pocket" size, one that can spread it legs wide or one with a telescope pipe that can be placed upside-down
To have your pictures transferred to a computer you'll
need to have it scanned in a digital format. There are to ways to
go: If you only need to have a small amount of picture scanned occassionally
the cheapest way is to have your pictures transferred to a photo-CD.
Otherwise you'll need your own scanner. If you allready has a flatbed
scanner yuo might be able to get a Slide-extension for it - But don't
expect high resolution.
There are two common format used for publishing images on the web: GIF and JPEG. You should be able to save your images in these formats from the majority of graphic software.
GIF keeps the image information intact except that it can only hold 256 colors - it is best used for line art type of illustrations and illustrations with clear colored surfaced like technical drawings (spores) and logos etc.
JPEG can hold millions of colors but it is a loosy compression (you loose some of the image information - so remmember to keep the original in e.g. TIFF format for other uses). JPEG is best suited for photorealistic illustration with a lot of uneven and mixed colors like (fungi) photos - and if you use the right compression rate, you can't hardly tell the difference between an 50 K JPEG and a 500 K TIFF.
Allthough GIF are making larger file size than JPEG it might load faster on the website due to the fact that your computer has to work a lot harder to decompress the JPEG.
Flashpix is a new and interesting format. It's like a jpeg'ed
photo-CD format for the web: It contains several resolutions in one
file, which makes you able to zoom fairly close into the image without
pixelization and without having to download the full image file at
once. The downsite is that the viewer has to use a plugin and that
you have to have access a web-server for the uploading software.
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