On the home page—
(For easier reading, try narrowing your browser window to the minimum width of the header above.)
dpFWIW finally outgrew its original host, www.cliffshade.com. Thanks to the generosity of National Directory Information Services, LLC, dpFWIW now resides at http://www.dpfwiw.com/.
Please update your bookmarks by replacing “www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/” with “www.dpfwiw.com/” in the URL. (The original dpFWIW subdirectory structure below “www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/” has been preserved.) For example, you’ll now find the exposure article previously at “www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/exposure.htm” at www.dpfwiw.com/exposure.htm.
We’ll continue to redirect traffic from “www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw” through May, 2004. After that, such URLs will fail.
This user-to-user (U2U) online digital photography resource humbly offers practical, experience-based information to fellow digital photographers. All of the observations and opinions and most of the photos published here are those of the dpFWIW contributors. We’ve done our best to present accurate and timely factual material. We’ve received no inducements or considerations for any of the products mentioned here; nor do we have a stake in them. We just call ’em like we see ’em.
Our pages now include a few relatively unobtrusive Google ads to help defray costs, but user-to-user donations remain an important source of funding. If you find dpFWIW useful, please consider a donation of US$2.00 (or any amount you deem fit over US$0.30).
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your continuing generosity.
hits since 10-01-2000
Digital Photography Articles of General Interest
|Advice for first-time digital camera users—what you’ll need to know to get off to a smooth start|
|Backcountry digital photography—what you’ll need if you decide to go digital||Best Printers for Photographers—when you decide to print your photos.|
|Batteries for AA-compatible digital cameras—selection, care and feeding for long life and reliable power delivery|
|B&W digital—grayscale imaging with a color digital camera|
|CD-R basics—a primer in CD-R image archiving by Robert Barnett|
|Exposure strategies for digital camera s with priority and manual exposure controls|
|Filter options for digital cameras—pre-processing light for capture|
|Flowers—irresistible but hard to get|
|Human vision and digital imaging—a profitable look under the hood leading to Lab color|
|Image retrieval—archiving images with retrieval in mind|
|Infrared (IR) basics for digital photographers—capturing the unseen|
|Novel uses for digital cameras—what to do with a digital camera between masterpieces, or talking points for buying one|
|Post-processing outdoor digital color photographs—powerful PhotoShop tips from an experienced hand|
|Red-eye control—an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure|
|Shooting the moon—making the most of a tempting but challenging digital subject|
|Trail support—a lightweight hiking pole, ball head and quick-release solution|
|Using a polarizer effectively without TTL control—how to set camera angle and rotating ring without seeing what the camera sees|
|Why I went digital—personal choices in photography|
Articles with an Olympus Slant
These articles focus on Oly C-series digital rangefinders (including the C-2100UZ) but also contain a good bit of information of general digital photography interest.
|Auxiliary lenses for Oly C-series digitals—what to know before you buy|
|Equipment for Oly C-series digitals—a hyper-linked master list of more or less indispensable paraphernalia|
|Checklists—staying out of trouble with my Oly C-series digitals|
|External flash with Oly C-series digitals—varied implementations of a valuable tool|
|Filters and lens shades for Oly C-series digitals—what to know before you buy|
|Lens armor and other useful Oly C-series digital camera modifications—protect your investment with a lens tube, a lens cap, a tether or two, and perhaps a filter or an LCD cover|
|Low-light work with Oly C-series digitals—one second exposures and beyond|
|Oly power—Oly battery chargers and AC adapters for Oly C-series digitals|
|Tips and tricks for Oly digital camera users—pearls that don’t quite fit elsewhere on dpFWIW|
Use the links in the table below to go directly to the newest or most recently updated dpFWIW sections and articles.
The newest updates are on top. Changes too diffuse to link effectively aren’t chronicled here. Nor are the many small but potentially important tweaks made on a frequent basis, as explained below.
|04/01/04||More updates and rewrites as experience with the C-5050Z unfolds.|
|03/25/04||Updates and rewrites throughout the site following acquisition of and initial experiences with a new Oly C-5050Z camera and Oly WCON-07 0.7x wide-angle conversion lens, most notably in the exposure, IR and C-series lens articles.|
|11/15/03||Updates and rewrites (for greater clarity and reduced verbiage) throughout the site.|
|10/25/03||800×600 image file sizes reduced throughout the site via increased JPEG compression (now at 65% quality) to reduce hosting costs related to bandwidth consumption. Full-sized images should load much faster now.|
|09/25/03||Improved (read “less convoluted”) explanations of EV and EC and how they differ.|
|09/25/03||New intelligence on IR work with Canon DSLRs from Chris Miekus.|
|09/25/03||Added donation button in hopes of reducing out-of-pocket hosting expenses.|
|12/01/02||Updated the external flash article for broader applicability for both Oly and non-Oly users.|
|09/14/02||An unusually stimulating discussion on RPD inspired the a new section entitled Editorial: The Proper Role For Rules at the end of the Exposure strategies article.|
|09/8/02||Another facelift in progress: Things may be a bit unsettled as I seek out a new garish color scheme for dpFWIW. I’m monitoring e-mail at dpFWIW@cliffshade.com again on a sporadic basis, so if you see something you really love or really hate, feel free to drop me a line there—particularly if you’re one of those Mac/Netscape types who kept complaining (and rightly so) about barely visible text.|
|09/6/02||Added material on blurring the background at the scene and in post-processing in Exposure strategies.|
|09/1/02||Expanded generic discussion on mounting and sizing filters on digital cameras in Filters options for digital cameras.|
|08/16/02||Eating Crow Department: I hereby acknowledge that near IR contamination can produce visible artifacts in digital visible light photographs, and that my long-abandoned Heliopan 8125 “Digital” UV/IR cut filter may turn out to be useful after all—in some very unusual situations, at least. However, I still contend that the 8125 offers no visible benefit in outdoor work.|
|08/16/02||In the new Filter Test—Color Bias and Saturation section in the Filter options for digital cameras article, I photographed a standard color input target with 6 ostensibly neutral filters and no filter at all under strong incandescent lighting. I found the results a little surprising with regard to both color bias and saturation.|
|08/13/02||Updates to the section on neutral density filters.|
|05/26/02||Updates to the image retrieval article, particularly with regard to archival image formats and retrieval strategies.|
|04/23/02||The spammers finally stumbled onto dpFWIW. Don’t bother sending e-mail.|
|04/19/02||Getting started with unsharp masking parameters.|
|03/6/02||New reciprocal link policy statement. The short answer: All links here are strictly content-driven.|
|12/24/01||Advice for first-time digital camera users—a new article inspired by the ever-growing Christmas rush on RPD|
|11/26/01||A new understanding of the false colors seen in color digital photographs taken through infrared filters|
|11/20/01||New illustrations and text enhancing previous discussions of teleconverter-filter synergies and the joys of infrared photography|
|11/15/01||Novel uses for digital cameras—a new article full of useful and amusing things to do with your camera between masterpieces, from the clever folks at RPD|
|11/10/01||Bounce Flash to the Rescue—a new external flash section detailing how to get the most from bounce flash and bounce cards.|
|11/08/01||Shooting the Moon—an extensive update inspired by a recent RPD discussion on the moon as part of a landscape.|
|11/03/01||Whence the IR Look—a renamed and extensively rewritten section based on new information about why digital infrared images look the way they do.|
|11/02/01||Ever wonder why it’s red-eye in humans and green-eye or blue-eye or yellow-eye in dogs and other animals? Well, wonder no more.|
|10/28/01||A simple way to remember whether your extra battery sets are charged or discharged.|
|10/21/01||Miscellaneous corrections and updates (mostly related to batteries, filter mounting and limited C-x040Z information) accumulated over the 5 month hiatus surrounding our move to Colorado.|
|05/20/01||Revised the polarizer article in the never-ending quest to write more clearly about this challenging subject.|
|05/18/01||Updated Bagging the Armor section in the Camedia tips and tricks article to include my new hip pack.|
|05/13/01||Updated color post-processing article, still a modest attempt at a potentially huge subject.|
|05/12/01||Updated lens cleaning section in the Oly auxiliary lens article. I’ve mended my gritty ways.|
|05/10/01||New When Not to Bother with a Polarizer section in the polarizer article.|
|05/09/01||Much expanded UV photography section in the generic filter article cross-linked to a new, illustrated UV flower photography section in the flower photography article.|
|05/09/01||Much expanded flower photography article, now with many annotated samples and a new UV flower photography section.|
|05/05/01||New properly anti-aliased text annotation bullets courtesy of Andrzej Wrotniak.|
|04/08/01||Flowers—a new dpFWIW article.|
|04/05/01||By popular request, black marble background removed to improve readability.|
|03/25/01||Improved search page instructions.|
|03/22/01||Pared down image sizes (mostly to 800×600) to free up server space in order to move toward a higher illustration-to-text ratio.|
|03/03/01||B&W digital—a new dpFWIW article celebrating black-and-white photography digital-style|
|03/03/01||Shooting the Moon—expanded|
|03/03/01||Human Vision and Digital Imaging—expanded|
|02/25/01||Human Vision and Digital Imaging—a new dpFWIW article exploring the linkages between how we see and how we photograph|
|02/17/01||First, Know Your Sources—an expanded look into the sources of near IR in the digital photographer’s environment.|
|02/17/01||What a find! Light and Color—a fabulous optics primer developed for microscopists but fully applicable to digital photography. The Java simulations alone are worth the trip.|
|02/11/01||Checklists—a new dpFWIW article to keep me out of trouble.|
|02/10/01||Shooting the Moon—a new dpFWIW article inspired by this month’s spectacular full moon at perigee.|
|02/10/01||Now an official dpFWIW contributor, Rick Matthews has been a big help all along.|
|02/05/01||A new-found battery caddy that doubles as a nifty nanobag.|
|02/01/01||Updated DOF and hyperfocal sections in the Exposure strategies article.|
|01/27/01||Expanded RPD Tips section.|
|01/21/01||New white balance section added to the Exposure strategies article.|
|01/14/01||New filter size option table summarizing the pros and cons of the most common choices for the C-20x0Z and C-30x0Z.|
|01/13/01||Facelift complete: For better or for worse, dpFWIW has a colorful new look intended to enhance readability. Thanks for all the feedback. Most has been positive, but the minority opinion (that light text on a dark background is tiring to the eye) has been duly noted.|
|01/07/01||Updated thumbnailer information here and here, occasioned by an impressive new release of my old favorite, PIE.|
|01/02/01||Recording Mode—Before the Exposure—a primer on resolution, compression, sharpening, white balance and ISO choices.|
|12/19/00||IR Filter Choices—updated information based on new experience with the Wratten 87 and continued experience with the Hoya R72|
|12/10/00||Bagging the Armor—a minimalist’s bag for the armored C-20x0Z and C-30x0Z|
|12/10/00||RPD Tips—how to get the most out of RPD (rec.photo.digital)|
|12/10/00||Oly B-300 teleconverter—new, improved lens and filter mounting info|
|12/06/00||Digital Zoom—Mother of All Pointless Features|
|12/06/00||SmartMedia Device Capacities—can yours handle 64-128MB cards?|
|11/26/00||EagleEye OpticZoom 5x teleconverter—new intelligence from the front|
|11/25/00||Suggestions wanted: How should dpFWIW signal updates?|
|11/20/00||What About the C-30x0Z and C-2100UZ? sections identifying salient differences in articles originally slanted toward the C-20x0Z. BTW, information on the Oly C-2100UZ is being added throughout the site as it becomes available and verifiable.|
|11/20/00||Uploading images for slide-shows—proper filenames and Camedia Master required|
|11/1/00||Tips and Tricks for Camedia Users—a dandy macro trick launches this new dpFWIW article|
|10/30/00||Batteries for AA-compatible digital cameras—the battery article’s been extensively rewritten, but NiMH AAs remain the answer for most situations|
|10/30/00||Lens tubes—updated and summarized pros and cons in a new at-a-glance table|
|10/1/00||Battery packs—updated information and some nagging runtime questions|
|09/20/00||Exposure strategies—a much-expanded article, including a new section on tonality control|
|?||New Oly C-180 teleconverter information|
|?||New close-up lens test series|
|?||Improved monopod technique|
|?||Revised “Camedia equipment” article—now with more C-30x0Z information|
|5/01/00||Infrared basics for digital photographers—a new article much expanded from a smaller IR section previously in the Filter options for digital cameras article|
|?||Xtend-a-View and Hoodman LCD hoods|
|?||Updated Oly 1.45x teleconverter information|
|4/19/00||Cokin A-series graduated neutral density filters on the Camedia|
|4/15/00||Hoya multi-angle lens hood for the Camedia|
|?||Fun with reversed circular polarizers—a diversion|
- Guidelines for selecting a digital camera
- Basic printing issues in digital photography
I’m no expert in photography (digital or otherwise), image processing or website design. (The last should already be obvious.) Nor do I put forth this content as fully verified and error-free, although I try very hard to make it so.
My goal here is simple—to share what I’ve learned through experience and carefully cross-checked reading in a rapidly growing and developing field still rather poorly documented by the vendors themselves. Along the way, I’ve managed to enlist the aid of several knowledgeable contributors who help me extend dpFWIW‘s experience-based coverage. For more site philosophy, click here.
I’ve tried to stick with reliable sources and reference them whenever feasible. Throughout this site, you’ll find the text marked with these annotation bullets and icons:
|Major articles, each subdivided into topical sections listed and linked at the top of each article.|
|Go with it—the paydirt, bottom line, executive summary, action line. Material so marked comes from authoritative sources confirmed by personal experience or otherwise verified to my satisfaction. If you don’t read anything else…|
|Caution—unverified content that should probably be confirmed elsewhere before acting.|
|Stop—please take heed of these items before acting.|
|Skip—opportunities to cut straight to the next short answer or action item, bypassing long-winded discussions (one of my specialties according to my wife and kids).|
|Under construction—incomplete material too useful to hold back. Stay tuned—the entire site evolves endlessly, but material so marked is particularly likely to change or expand in the near future.|
Think of the (caution) and (go) bullets as confidence indicators. Watch out for anything marked with (stop)—there’s definite trouble ahead.
The bullet and (skip) icon are navigational aids. Clicking on the bullet in the article index on the home page will take you to the corresponding article. Clicking on will always leapfrog you to the next major point of interest. Clicking on icons and bullets will otherwise bring you back here to review what the icon says about the text so marked.
If you spot an error and have the right stuff on good authority, try an offered solution that fails the test of your own experience, or have other constructive feedback to share, I’d very much appreciate an e-mail at dpFWIW@cliffshade.com. Please include your sources where pertinent.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Andrzej Wrotniak for the anti-aliased bullets.
|Listed below are the digital photography enthusiasts who have made major additions to dpFWIW, roughly in temporal order of first contribution. Their mention here is a small recognition of the expertise, experience, time and effort they’ve donated to the cause of user-to-user (U2U) digital photography help via dpFWIW.That doesn’t mean that contributors endorse material other than their own.
Throughout dpFWIW, you’ll find many other contributors cited by name on the fly. They’ve all helped dpFWIW extend its experience-based coverage. Special thanks go to Don Ellis, who volunteered to tidy up the dpFWIW logo for a black background, and to Andrzej Wrotniak, who provided properly anti-aliased bullets.
All dpFWIW contributions large and small are greatly appreciated. If you have pertinent material to share, please drop me an e-line at dpFWIW@cliffshade.com.
|Contributions: All material except as noted below.As editor and primary author of dpFWIW, the buck stops with me for all the material presented here. Brevity is not one of my long suits, as you’ll no doubt see, but a taste for detail can be a virtue now and then, especially when it comes to photography.
My credentials? I’m just an avid amateur with a passion for nature, science, jazz and digital photography. I enjoy digging to get the story straight and trying things out to find and fix the kinks. I also enjoy writing. (In fact, the writing often drives the learning.) My day job as a physician designing and interpreting medical imaging studies and performing imaging-based interventions to help others return to health is another manifestation of all the same penchants. It also allows me to “play” with some pretty amazing medical “digital cameras” making images of the body using physical phenomena as diverse as x-rays, nuclear magnetic resonance, ultrasound and positron emission, among other exciting technologies.
I currently use an Oly C-5050Z for most purposes, but my C-2020Z is still my infrared camera of choice, and my 7-year-old D-340L rides in the car at all times. My next camera has yet to be released.
Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
|Ocean kayaking in Monterey Bay, CA|
Contributions: Post-processing outdoor photos
Despite his steadfast devotion to film photography, Paul drops by RPD now and then. His extensive experience with the digital post-processing of photographs comes primarily by way of scanning 35 mm slides. Be sure to visit Paul’s Wilderness Wales website to see the spectacular Welsh landscapes he’s produced from scanned 35 mm slides using precisely the post-processing techniques detailed in his article, Post-processing outdoor photos.
Contributions: Raynox lens tube info and C-2020Z intelligence scattered throughout this site.
Mike traded up from an Oly C-2000Z to the C-2020Z soon after the latter became available. His careful testing and manual reading originally supplied many of the C-2020Z details found here. For more digital photography info, stop by Mike’s Coastal Fog site.
A programmer by trade, Jay shares with us (among many other things) his simple and elegant adaptation of two of CCD astronomers’ best tricks—dark field subtraction and image averaging—using Adobe PhotoDeluxe 3.0, the modest but capable image processor bundled with many a digital camera. Jay currently uses an Oly C-2020Z. Lately, he’s been taken with infrared photography, and his IR observations—both on this site and on his own—are worthwhile for anyone exploring this fascinating corner of digital photography.
A Compaq engineer from Massachusetts, Dave’s a frequent and valued contributor to RPD. In fact, if there were a Croix du RPD medal, I’d nominate Dave without hesitation. Look for his thoughtful and factual posts over the “/daytripper” handle. I’ve certainly learned a lot from them. After bravely pioneering the DigiPower AC adapter and the Oly C-210 1.9X teleconverter for the rest of us C-20x0Z owners, he was kind enough to share his gleanings here.
Contribution: CD-R basics article
Ilkka writes “I’m a 31-year-old dairy farmer in Finland who earns a little extra as a freelance writer. Recently I have written mostly about using computers and accessories (including digicams) in agriculture and small businesses. Photography has been my hobby for about 14 years. Some of my photos have been published with my articles, some elsewhere.”
Contributions: Digital IR photography intelligence and samples
In Carl’s own words, “I retired from Cornell University (fisheries research scientist) five years ago and have since renewed my long term interest in photography. I used to do a lot of traditional B&W landscape photography using 35 mm and medium format cameras, but never explored the infrared. After seeing Eric Cheng’s digital infrared work, I started experimenting with infrared filters on my Nikon 950 and soon became hooked on this new way of viewing the landscape.”
Carl’s unquestionable talent as a landscape photographer comes through loud and clear on his own gorgeous and informative “Beyond Red…” IR site. His newer “Digital Grey” gallery is a tribute to B&W digital photography and the power of tonality.
I’ve been tapping Tom’s extensive experience as a 35 mm film photographer on a regular basis ever since we met on RPD. After all, digital and film photography have much more in common than in opposition. In fact, the saying,
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
applies in spades to digital photography. Photographers (like me) with experience mostly on the digital side would do well to learn what we can from experienced film-based colleagues like Tom.
Professor and chair of the Department of Physics at Wake Forest University, Rick started in digital photography with a Kodak DC-120, then fell in love when he moved up to an Oly C-2020Z (home) and a C-3030Z (work). His regular and well-grounded contributions to RPD have inspired or informed many a dpFWIW section beyond those listed above.
Physics lies at the very heart of photography but is never far below the surface. Rick’s expertise in that arena is especially welcome.
|This user-to-user (U2U) help site is nothing more than an informal collection of useful digital photography tidbits and recommendations gleaned from the personal experience and carefully cross-checked reading of its contributors. (Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” doctrine proved that he couldn’t be wrong about everything.)This growing site remains a work in progress subject to change without notice and offered strictly on an FWIW (for what it’s worth) basis.|
The solutions offered here are to be taken strictly as examples of things that work—at least for dpFWIW contributors. No doubt many visitors will find our solutions wholly unsuited to their needs—in which case they’ll at least have come away some ideas on what not to do.
Topics are chosen primarily for their practical value and for the frequency with which they arise in the DP-related discussions and newsgroups I encounter. Useful information we’ve found difficult to come by will also appear here.
Since some of the material on this site will be specific to my own equipment, at least in part, you should know that I have direct experience with only 4 digital cameras:
- The handy, rugged and surprisingly competent 1.3 MP Olympus D-340L point-and-shoot. The D-340L’s still going at 6 years and counting. Now it rides in my car, on the ready for unexpected photo ops.
- The versatile 2.1 MP Olympus C-2000Z with 3x (35-105 mm EFL) zoom and many other advanced features for its time, including aperture- and shutter-priority exposure control and a lens bezel mounting thread allowing adaptation of a wide variety of filters and auxiliary lenses.
- The 2.1 MP Olympus C-2020Z upgrade of the C-2000Z adding fully manual exposure and focus, grayscale recording, explicit external flash support and a much-improved user interface with many, many small but welcome enhancements. Oly really listened on this one. The C-2020Z remains among the best choices for digital infrared work.
- The finely-honed Olympus C-5050Z, with a fast f/1.8 version of Oly’s crisp 3x zoom lens. The C-5050Z offers consummate control over every aspect of digital photography. Once again, Oly’s been listening to its user base.
I also do my best to cover similar Oly C-series cameras like the C-2040Z, C-30x0Z, C-4040Z and the C-2100UZ, but I make no attempt to cover other Oly offerings like the C-7xx series and digital SLRs like the E-10, E-20 and E-1. I know very little about the specifics of other digital camera makes and models and plan to keep it that way. The other dpFWIW contributors are mostly Oly users as well. Nevertheless, there’s much here of general digital photographic interest, even in the articles slanted toward Oly cameras.
I deeply appreciate the many kind e-words that come my way regarding dpFWIW. As with most labors of love, I’ve had little choice in the matter, but it still pleases me to hear that digital photographers find the material here useful.
Regrettably, since early April, 2002, the dpFWIW mailbox has been targeted with daily floods of spam. Before the onslaught, I read every legitimate e-mail dpFWIW generated. Now, I’m only checking dpFWIW mail sporadically and responding even less. (This is still largely a non-commercial site, after all. Family and work come first, and frankly, most of what I know has already been covered here in adequate detail.) Corrections, contributions and updates are always appreciated (after all, that’s what U2U help is all about), but at this point, they’re likely to get lost in the flood.
Use the dpFWIW keyword search page to zero in on material of interest within this site. The search page generates links to other dpFWIW pages with text matching your search string. Once on a matching page, use your browser’s Find function (Ctrl-F in Internet Explorer) to drill down on your keywords. You’ll find related material heavily cross-linked throughout dpFWIW.
If your search on dpFWIW comes up empty-handed, I strongly recommend taking your questions public on the digital photography newsgroup rec.photo.digital, or RPD for short. You’ll benefit from seeing your issue from more than one angle, and other RPD readers will benefit from the answers you receive. RPD welcomes questions at all levels. If current threads don’t address your topic, search the RPD archives via groups.google.com.
Please note that I’m usually quite ignorant about equipment not explicitly mentioned on dpFWIW, and that goes in spades for non-Olympus cameras. You’ll find it much more productive to float questions regarding other brands and models on RPD.
Sorry, dpFWIW does not engage in reciprocal link arrangements. Nor do we post link-related commercial logos. A few Google ads aside, the links in this largely non-commercial site are strictly content-driven and will remain so as long as the current funding arrangement holds out. That said, sites wishing to link dpFWIW are welcome to do so.
Sorry, We Don’t Carry That
What you won’t find here:
- Glitz at the expense of content (in fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find any glitz on this site)
- In-your-face ads (as long as donations permit)
- Camera reviews (sorry, not my bag)
- “Why didn’t they” rants and whines (chances are, “they” had their reasons)
- “My camera’s better than your camera” neener-neeners (the root of all evil lurks here)
- Attempts to save the souls of those still using and enjoying film cameras (they have a right)
You can easily get your fill of all that and more on the big commercial sites and in newsgroups like rec.photo.digital (RPD).
This growing site remains a work in progress subject to change without notice.
My knowledge and resources keep evolving right along with digital photography, which itself evolves at a particularly daunting pace. It’s easy enough to date the occasional entirely new article or section, but in reality, most of the site’s changes come in dribs and drabs. Many of the articles here see small additions and refinements on a monthly basis. Not infrequently, new insights, syntheses and organizing concepts come along and set off cascades of changes affecting scattered portions of many articles. Some small changes might potentially be quite important to certain users, but I’m afraid that signaling all these updates in a timely and thorough manner would take nearly as much time and text as the articles themselves.
This site functions in part as an unofficial reference for my favorite digital imaging newsgroup, news://rec.photo.digital, or “RPD” for short. RPD is an unusually friendly and well-informed bastion of U2U support well worth frequent visits for any digital photographer. I’m greatly indebted to the many RPD contributors who have enriched dpFWIW indirectly through the expertise, experiences, comments and insights they’ve volunteered on RPD.
On RPD, you have access to the collective experience and wisdom of many other digital photographers of all levels and backgrounds. Everyone benefits from the open discussion, and you’re likely to see more of the angles on issues that turn out to be controversial. RPD welcomes questions at all levels, but see below before firing off questions likely to have come up many times before.
Of course, all newsgroups require a healthy dose of skepticism and even a thick skin at times, but no website I’ve seen offers the breadth and depth of DP experience to be mined at RPD, especially when it comes to specific products and techniques.
It’s worth repeating explicitly that on RPD,
Even sincere, well-meaning responses may not be as authoritative as they sound.
My wisest professor once said, “Two-thirds of everything you know is crap—you just don’t know which two-thirds.” Judging from RPD, he may have been a bit optimistic.
While dpFWIW serves as an extension of RPD in some ways, it’s no substitute for the open public forum RPD provides.
With the meteoric rise of digital photography, RPD has more than its fair share of frequently-asked questions (FAQ). Chris Friesen’s thorough and beautifully compiled FAQ for RPD is an invaluable resource on recurring issues. Erica Sadun frequently posts a very helpful mini-FAQ (search the “from” fields for “Sadun”) which also resides on the web.
I’ve nevertheless elected to develop my own parallel FAQ material on dpFWIW out of
- a strong desire to help out on RPD where I can,
- an equally strong distaste for typing out the same RPD responses over and over, and
- an awareness that I learn best through writing.
However, the FAQ for RPD is far greater in scope than this site. If you don’t find what you’re after here, the FAQ should be your next stop.
The Usenet is an invaluable self-help tool. And as with any tool, knowing how to use it gets the best results, particularly on high-traffic newsgroups like RPD. You may never get a scolding for straying from the guidelines below, but you may never get a reply, either. These tips will substantially improve your chances of getting what you came for—reliable help, instructive dialogue and perhaps even a sense of community.
- Check the FAQ first. However new it may seem to you, your issue has probably come up before—often many times before. Your shortest path to a reliable answer will usually be Chris Friesen’s comprehensive FAQ for RPDor Erica Sadun’s mini-FAQ. (The articles on this site address many of the FAQs as well.) Look for the frequently-posted message pointing to the FAQ and bookmark the link for future reference. Many RPD regulars also include a link to the FAQ in their replies. Please check the FAQ or dpFWIW before posting questions to RPD. If these resources don’t fully address your issue…
- Check for pertinent messages on RPD before starting a new thread. If your topic’s been hashed out recently—and chances are, it has—your post may be ignored if those in the know have tired of writing about it. Sort and scroll through the subject lines if you like, but you’ll generally find it much more effective to…
- Drill down on pertinent keywords or phrases using your news reader’s message search or “Find” feature. You’ll save yourself lots of time, you’ll substantially improve your chances of locating the best answers to your questions, and you’ll improve RPD’s signal-to-noise ratio by sparing this high-volume group many a redundant post. Note that the most apt keywords sometimes appear only in the subject field or only in the message body, so be sure to search both. With a little practice, you’ll be crafting message searches that are neither overly specific nor overly broad in no time. And to maximize the potential yield of your search…
- Max out the number of message headers your news client downloads at one time to capture more of the traffic. Some news servers retain posts longer than others, so catch them while you can, especially if you’re an infrequent visitor. But don’t despair if a keyword search of your news server’s current stock of messages comes up empty-handed. Old posts never die—they’re just waiting for you to…
- Search a Usenet archive like groups.google.com for pertinent RPD messages past and present. Chances are, the very best answer to your question has already scrolled off your news server, but don’t let that get in your way. Todd’s Walker’s well-illustrated introduction to Google Groups should be required reading for all new visitors to RPD.
- Don’t stop at the first promising thread you find. Popular topics like batteries and printing are often the subject of several different active threads on this high-traffic newsgroup. Some are more helpful than others.
- Watch for trolls. Some folks like to post inflammatory, rude, abusive or even misleading messages just to watch the fur fly. Resist the urge to reply. Ignore them and they’ll go away.
- Cross-check everything you learn on RPD before betting the farm on it. Misinformation abounds, however well-meaning, and it can come in very convincing garb.
Posting to RPD
As newsgroups go, RPD is both friendlier and busier than most. We welcome contributions, but to keep the signal-to-noise ratio reasonable, we strongly encourage visitors to take full advantage of the resources outlined above before posting questions. Redundant questions ultimately work to everyone’s detriment, but if you have useful input, or a question that covers new ground, by all means post it.
- Post only plain text—no images or HTML. Out of valid bandwidth and security concerns, RPD is a text-only group by charter. Posts containing embedded images or HTML code tend to draw little more than reprimands, if that. Worse yet, if someone complains to your ISP about such posts, your ISP may terminate your account summarily. To share an image, put it up on a web page and then post a link (URL) to it on RPD.
- Please keep it civil. Rude posts serve no one and are likely to sidetrack otherwise productive threads. Entitled demands for help (“OK, help me out here, folks…”) are seldom answered, and rightly so: You’ll find us happy to help, but keep in mind that no one on RPD owes you anything. RPD denizens and flies have little in common, but the old sugar vs. vinegar adage certainly applies.
- Craft an informative subject line to attract those in the know. Opaque subjects like “help!!!” and “camera question” tend to get skimmed over. Subjects like “Oly B-300 Lens Mounting Glitch” and “Canon G1 RAW Files Compatible with PhotoShop?” are much more likely to draw useful replies.
- Type Your Subject Line in Title Case. See how this one header stands out among all the others? Messages with subject lines in Title Case (like the title of a book) are much easier to skim and tend to draw more responses. Subjects in all lower case tend to escape notice in a busy group like RPD, and those in ALL CAPS tend to get actively ignored—probably because many experienced Internet users take all caps as SHOUTING.
- Repeat your subject in the body of your message. Don’t depend on the subject line to carry the freight here. Some news clients display only the first so many characters of the subject line without user intervention, and some news readers never return to the subject line once they’ve opened your message.
- State your question or reply as clearly and specifically as you can to help keep the thread on track and avoid misunderstandings. Things have a way of spiraling off into the ionosphere on the Usenet, even when there are specifics to constrain the discussion. Well-crafted questions generally get better answers, and well-crafted answers require less defending.
- When you’re guessing, speculating or extrapolating, please say so. Guesses have contributed to many a breakthrough on RPD, but less informed readers may well act upon guesses stated as fact. Remember, bad guesses can have real consequences.
- Don’t ask for private e-mail replies. They have a way of saddling the respondent with the full burden of helping you from that point forward. Worse yet, they deprive the group of the benefit of any ensuing exchange. Good donated help is worth coming back for.
Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Andrew Colfelt for the link to the Geoffrey Saxe poem recounting this mother of all fables. Thanks also to Bill Paire of RPD for pointing me to the RPD charter and a host of other Usenet references.
In the fast-moving world of digital photography, camera models multiply faster than rabbits. To keep up with the proliferation of the Olympus C-series rangefinders featured on dpFWIW, I use the shorthand camera notations below.
|C-20x0Z||Olympus Camedia C-2000Z, C-2020Z or C-2040Z|
|2.1MP rangefinders with 3x zoom lenses|
|C-2100UZ||Olympus Camedia 2.1 megapixel SLR sporting Canon’s widely-acclaimed image-stabilized 10x zoom lens|
|C-30x0Z||Olympus Camedia C-3000Z, C-3020Z, C-3030Z or C-3040Z|
|3.3MP rangefinders with 3x zoom lenses|
|C-40x0Z||Olympus Camedia C-4000Z, C-4040Z|
|4.1MP rangefinders with 3x zoom lens|
|C-50x0Z||Olympus Camedia C-5000Z, C-5050Z, C-5060WZ|
|5.2MP rangefinderss with 3-4x zoom lenses|
|C-8080WZ||Olympus Camedia C-8080WZ|
|8MP rangefinder with 4x zoom lens|
|Oly rangefinders||All of the above digital cameras|
|Camedias||All of the above cameras, but by no means all Olympus Camedia camera offerings*|
I’ll try to address at least the deltas pertinent to other similar Olympus digital offerings as experience-based end-user information becomes available.
* Note: I make no effort to cover the C-211Z, C-7x0UZ, E-10, E-20 and E-100RS Camedias or the new 4/3 E-1. They’re different enough that I simply can’t do them justice, but a good bit of the Oly-specific and generic info presented on this site will apply to them as well.
Years ago on a hike in Pinnacles National Monument, California, I came across a trailside plaque discussing some fairly ordinary-looking but apparently rare plants clinging to the north wall of a slot canyon known as Condor Gulch. The plants were apparently found only beneath overhangs casting just the right amount of cliffshade onto otherwise sun-baked vertical rock faces with southern exposures. The term resonated strongly with me for reasons I’ve never fully divined, but I know I like the way it sounds.
I hope you find dpFWIW helpful in your digital photography pursuits. Thanks for stopping by.
Among the many digital photography (DP) resources I’ve encountered on the Internet, those below are still very much worthwhile. Here’s a quick index into the links and references in this section:
- Major DP sites
- General DP help online
- Batteries, printing, etc.
- Noted Photographers
Additional materials are listed in the References section found at the end of each dpFWIW article.
Reviews, industry news, tips, tricks, FAQs, links, downloads and ads, these major, broad-spectrum DP sites have it all:
The DP in depth links listed above offer lots of help on all DP fronts, but the Web abounds with DP learning resources. Below are the best I’ve found, but these are just the beginning.
- Light and Color—a fabulous optics primer developed for microscopists but fully applicable to digital photography. The Java simulations alone are worth the trip.
I don’t claim to have tested all these titles thoroughly, but I’ve poked around with most of them enough to comment.
- EXIFRead freeware—Max Lyons’ handy utility mines the wealth of useful information stored in the raw EXIF image files produced by most current digital cameras, including exposure data and the camera’s firmware version.
- rec.photo.digital (RPD)—there’s often more heat than light released here, but the light’s usually worth the trip. Be sure to check out Chris Friesen’s FAQ for RPD—a beautifully compiled and invaluable resource dealing with the many important DP issues the come up with some frequency on RPD. Elsewhere, I offer some tips on getting the most out of RPD.