Mini Course

Digital Photography: Cameras, Scanners, & WWW

© Morris Firebaugh


A. Background & Survey
B. Photography Fundamentals
C. Digital vs. Chemical
D. Evolution of Digital Cameras
E. Scanner Features and Operation
F. Digital Images on the WWW

A. Background & Survey


B. Photography Fundamentals

The basic concept of photography originated with the camera obscura ("dark chamber") first described by the Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti in the fifth century BCE. Aristotle understood the principles of the camera obscura, and Leonardo describes it in his notes in 1490. It was used by early painters such as Jan Vermeer.

View of Delft by Jan Vermeer, 1662 in The Hague

A camera obscura is basically a "pinhole camera."

Features of pinhole camera:

How do we turn a pinhole camera into a "regular" camera?

Camera Specifications

An excellent summary of how cameras work is given by Tom Harris

An excellent summary of the principles of photography is given by Andrew Davidhazy of RIT.

C. Digital vs. Chemical

The choice between digital and chemical photography depends on several considerations:

We believe the tipping point in favor of digital came with the arrival of ~2 Megapixel cameras. These produce images of 1600 X 1200 pixels.

D. Evolution of Digital Cameras

The four digital cameras I have owned sample the evolution of digital cameras.

Apple QuickTake 100

Olympus D-400 Zoom

Nikon CoolPix 950

Olympus C-50 Zoom

Weight = 1 lb

9.5 oz

12.3 oz

6.8 oz

Size = 6 X 5 X 2"

5 X 2.6 X 2.1"

5.6 X 3 X 1.4"

3.9 X 2.3 X 1.6"

# Pixels = 0.307 M

1.31 M

2.1 M

5.0 M

Max Image = 640 x 480 (pixels)

1280 X 960

1600 X 1200

2560 X 1920

# Images = 8




Memory = 1 MB

16 MB

128 MB

128 MB

Aperature = f 2.8 - f 16

f 2.8 - f 11

f 2.6 - f 4

f 2.8 - f 8

Shutter = 1/30 - 1/175 sec

1/2 - 1/500

8 - 1/750

1/2 - 1/1000 (Still)

1/30 - 1/8000 (Movie)

ISO = 85


80 - 100


In addition, the last three cameras all have:

The Olympus C-50 also has movie mode (no sound)

For more information on the Olympus 400D, go to my RM-MUG Seminar


Downloading from Camera to Computer

Chargers and Batteries

Demonstration of the use of the Olympus C-50 Zoom and the Nikon 950 CoolPix

Problems with Digital Cameras

Practice with the Nikon CoolPix 950 with class as subjects!

E. Scanner Features & Operation

Currently have two machines:

Consider the Microtek Scanmaker 4800


Task: Scan pictures from Mom's Diary to build History page:


  1. Plug in (has no off/on switch)
  2. Insert material for scanning
  3. Run ScanWizard
  4. Click Preview Button
  5. Crop scanning region for desired shape
  6. Click Scan to button
  7. Save as JPG to desired folder


Notice some artifacts due to poor cropping and old, scratched image. Call in Photoshop Elements to clean up. We get:

In the Image Processing MiniCourse, we examine such techniques in detail.

Finally, the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program converts scanned text into an editable, word processing document, with better than 99.9% acccuracy.

Consider the Epson Stylus CS4600

• Enjoy the DURABrite® Photo Series advantage
• Scan and restore faded color photos
• Benefit from convenient individual ink cartridges
• Make Black and Color copies without a PC
• Print up to 15 ppm black text, and 15 ppm color?
• View, select and print PC-Free from popular memory cards
• Get beautiful results that last
• Print borderless photos (4" x 6", 8" x 10", and letter)

Examine results from Epson CX4600

F. Digital Images on the WWW

Once we get digital images stored on our computer, what do we do with them?

Making Prints

Emailing Friends

Upload them to the WWW for a wider (exclusive) audience


Professional Web Page Design

Updated February 1, 2005