Slowing Down, plus: A Photo Quiz!

I’ve been blogging pretty much daily for most of this year. Today, I looked ahead at what the third term of my MSc holds, and realised I probably wouldn’t be able to keep that up.

So, this is one of the blogs I’ll be filing under the tag ‘excuses’. By this time next month I’ll be actively contributing to no less than 4 blogs (this one, my Imperial student blog, a research blog for my Web Design site and a new project), so I’ll be slowing off here for the time being. You can still expect posts – hopefully, if I ease back my target of a post a day, I’ll finally be able to spend the time needed to work on some of the good drafts I’ve been saving up – but less!

I also need to get out there and get some new photos, because I’m getting sick of digging too far into my archives! However, I did get set a challenge on Saturday morning. I was told that a point-and-shoot camera’s photos could always be distinguished from those taken by a better camera (it was in a discussion about photography in which people were lamenting their inability to take good pictures with point and shoot cameras). I disagree; there are probably clues, yes, but I don’t think that they are necessarily going to be ‘worse’ for it.

The Photo Challenge

I maintain that point-and-shoots are worth using, but their limitations are much greater than SLR cameras, so they need to be deployed in more specific situations. Here’s eight photos selected from my archive, four from point and shoot cameras and four from digital SLRs. Can you tell me which was taken by each type of camera?

1. A surfer taking off on a sick wave at South Stradbroke Island.

2. One of billions dropped wantonly into our environment each day...

3. An autumnal sunset.

4. A cool, winter's day at Yamba.

5. Crisp, fresh raindrops on a red velvet leaf.

6. Surface tension holding together another red raindrop...

7. Clouds threatening to cover a brilliant blue sky.

8. A scooter at Currumbin's Swell Sculpture Festival.

OK, so there you are: eight pictures. If you want to take the quiz (no EXIF cheating allowed, photographers!), copy and paste this into the comment box and put “PS” or “DSLR” under each number (bonus points if you explain why you chose each).

Go on, let’s see how good you are!

Categories: photos, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Slowing Down, plus: A Photo Quiz!

  1. Kostas

    Challenge accepted!
    Although, I never said it can always be distinguished. If you have the same shot with both, then you can probably tell the difference. And again, it’s only fair if similar setups have been used, for example if you use both cameras on automatic. An SLR with poor manual settings is probably worse than an automatic point-and-shoot most of the times.
    On the pictures:

    For me, it is most of the times the crispness and the vividness in colours of that comes out much better in a DSLR shot. That said, I have taken some very nice pictures with a point and shoot indeed.
    Under well diffused, bright light, when no fast shutter speeds are needed and for large depth of fields (landscapes etc) a good point and shoot is just right!

    • Yes. I don’t think you argued a hard line on this, I just thought it was a fun exercise. For the record, you got 4/8. I’ll wait for a few more responses before I put up the answers!

      The real differences come in at full resolution (ie 100%) and in things like low light. At web size, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference – but that’s where most photos end up these days.

  2. Well, I´m not an expert and I´m not sure if I can tell the difference but I like the excercise!!
    1. PS because it looks like when somebody uses the digital zoom, no sharpness, as if the lense were shaking.
    2. PS again but it´s hard to tell why. It looks like when you use the macro mode and not a macro lense. The area that is out of focus blurrs differently, but this is the part I fail to explain, how exactly different.
    3. PS because of the dark areas. My camera does the same, it´s like it fails to capture the details of the darkness.
    4. PS. Pretty much the same reason as in 1.
    5. and 6. PS. It has to do with what I said in 2. and also with that color thing I mentioned in 3, something about the dark parts. Also, either it was windy and the flower moved or your hand moved, the sharpness of the areas in focus is not well defined.
    7 and 8 DSRL I paid attention to the tones, both pictures have contrasts and they were well captured, bright and darker areas are detailed.

    And please, don´t give me my score!! My answers are based in feelings, not in knowledge!!! but it was fun to have a close look and try to guess!!

  3. bengood4000

    I have no clue….but think they are very nice pictures regardless :)

  4. Sarah

    I agree that they’re fun pictures, regardless of where they came from, but here are my guesses:
    1. PS – I would think you would use a point and shoot, when you’re near that much water, most of the time.
    2. DSLR – I like the detail in the photo, even if I don’t like the subject :)
    3. DSLR – you fit a lot in the frame, which seems more like something a DSLR would accomplish… I’m pulling these “explanations” out of thin air. I might go back and look at these, again, and decide differently :)
    4. PS – vacation shot… it would have depended on how much you wanted to pack for that trip
    5. DSLR – I like the detail, again
    6. PS – Looks less detailed
    7. DSLR – detail
    8. PS – cameras and the beach don’t mix well… I wouldn’t take my DSLR into the sand, if I was going to be playing :)

  5. OK, I think there’s been a few responses, and now time for answers! I deliberately made this pretty tough; the main clue would be in the aspect ratios of the pictures (my DSLR shoots 16:9 and point and shoot is 4:3).

    1. PS
    2. PS
    3. PS
    4. DSLR
    5. DSLR
    6. PS
    7. DSLR
    8. DSLR

    So I think everyone managed 4/8… lots of different explanations though! It only really shows that these relatively low-res pictures can look decent from any type of camera. Thanks for playing everyone!

  6. Chris

    Now, do I put my PS on Auto for my trip to Europe, or play around with the settings?


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